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Cyber attacks on critical manufacturers increase by 20 per cent

Cyber attacks on critical manufacturers in the US nearly doubled in the year ending 30 September 2015, according to a new report published by the Department of Homeland Security.

The investigation of 97 incidents at critical manufacturers by the DHS' Industrial Control Systems Cybersecurity Emergency Response Team (ICS-CERT) involved makers of metals, machinery, electrical equipment and vehicles and doesn't make for happy reading for those within the security sector.

Critical manufacturing was the most active sector, followed by energy (46 incidents), water (25 incidents) and transportation systems (23 incidents). The total number of cyber incidents increased by 20 per cent from the previous year to 295.

Whilst the report doesn't reveal who was behind the attacks or the effect they had on the companies involved, it does say that: "This increase over previous years … is primarily related to a widespread spear-phishing campaign that primarily targeted critical manufacturing companies."

Before the report was released, ICS-CERT's chief Marty Edwards warned of systems being exposed to the internet: “I am very dismayed at the accessibility of some of these networks... They are just hanging right off the tubes," he said.

Cyber security is already well on its way to becoming the conversation of 2016 and many companies have already predicted a busy year ahead as the threat landscape continues to develop at an alarming pace.

Image source: Shutterstock/lolloj