Outdated Operating Technologies Expose Australian Manufacturers to Nation-State Cyberattacks, Reveals BlackBerry Study

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In light of the growing danger from nation-state assaults, the most recent BlackBerry Manufacturing Cybersecurity Study shows how obsolete and unsupported legacy operating technologies (OT) expose serious risks for Australian manufacturers. 

According to the report polling 191 manufacturing IT decision-makers throughout Australia, 38% of participants predicted a greater danger of cyberattacks in 2023, 79% were afraid of assaults by nation-states on the industry, and 59% were worried about foreign governments snooping on their facilities. 

Additionally, 87% acknowledged running core operations on out-of-date and unsupported legacy operating systems, and 71% said it was challenging to defend OT infrastructure.

Malicious malware assaults were reported to be the significant worry of manufacturing IT decision-makers in Australia (62%), followed by phishing attacks (54%) and unauthorised access by non-malicious insiders (47%). 

Jonathan Jackson, BlackBerry’s Director of Engineering for Asia Pacific and Japan, said Australian manufacturers are in trouble due to nation states’ increased monitoring and the high and rising risk of cyber catastrophes. 

A threat surface mainly out-of-date and challenging to defend hinders the sector. Managers must converge security across old and new systems to move modernisation forward. 

“Cybersecurity has become a significant barrier to progress, and managers shackled by ageing hardware and outdated operating systems are challenged to unify security across old and new to forge ahead with modernisation,” Jackson added.

Protecting these settings with outdated and isolated technology is challenging but possible. To seal the vulnerabilities in industrial infrastructure, protection can be extended to every endpoint with a small footprint and an OS-independent solution.

The threat of ransomware attacks didn’t worry them as much. According to the study, 75% of Australian manufacturing IT decision-makers estimate the cost of a cyber breach to be AUD$373,525 or less, with company interruption only accounting for a tenth of that expense. Cyber events also caused customers to stop doing business with manufacturers or harmed supplier relationships.

Software developers are being urged to assume greater responsibility for the security of their products by the Five Eyes alliance, which includes the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC). To assure safety by design and default, it is vital to prioritise the development of built-in cybersecurity capabilities and shift the current security responsibility away from customers.

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