Ransomware is expanding to a new target.

“Ransomware gangs have moved from consumer computers to health care networks, and they are likely to go after manufacturing companies next, according to researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology.” – InfoWorld

Many of us have long thought of ransomware as a threat primarily to sensitive company data, but researchers are showing how ransomware can easily shift its focus from data to infrastructure, wreaking havoc that has the potential to cause more tangible, physical harm.

Georgia Tech researchers recently simulated a ransomware attack on industrial controls, demonstrating how ransomware could install itself in a water plant, allow the attackers to change water chlorine levels, shut off water valves and send monitoring systems false readings.

InfoWorld also notes the similarities between health care networks and manufacturing:

Health care networks are obvious targets for ransomware because they typically have older equipment, a weak security posture, and intense time pressure to stay up and running. That sounds a lot like manufacturing networks, where many of the industrial control systems are years old and have little to no security controls.

Now is the time for manufacturers to take action and update their systems to ensure their systems and data are protected.

If you have concerns about the safety of your manufacturing or industrial operations against a potential ransomware attack, or are seeking stronger forms of prevention and detection, please call CHI Corporation to speak with a specialist.