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Half of UK manufacturers have been hit by a cyber attack

(Image credit: Image Credit: Firma V / Shutterstock)

More than 80 manufacturing plants in the UK have already fallen victim to stealth cyber attacks as cybercriminals have begun to deploy tactics that could put critical national infrastructure at risk according to new research from the trade group EEF.

The bosses of utilities, transport and health services have already been warned by British spy agencies that Russian hackers are infiltrating unprotected networks ahead of a potentially serious attack. 

New evidence from an anonymous survey of almost 170 manufacturers across the UK carried out by EEF has revealed that cyber attackers have already begun to target UK factories with almost half of participants admitting that they had fallen victim of a cyber attack. 

Of those surveyed, 48 per cent said they had experienced a cyber security incident at some time and half of the manufacturers said that they had suffered either financial loss or disruption to their business as the result of an attack. 

EEF's security expert, Oliver Welch explained that manufacturers might not even be aware that their systems had been targeted or had fallen victim to an attack, saying:

“There's evidence out there that there is quite a lot of malware that is designed to sit in the background, not really do very much, while the person infected doesn't even know that it is happening.” 

Cyber attackers have the potential to do significant damage to the manufacturing sector if left unchecked and this is why businesses and governments must come together to prevent them from gaining access to critical infrastructure

Image Credit: Firma V / Shutterstock

Anthony Spadafora
After living and working in South Korea for seven years, Anthony now resides in Houston, Texas where he writes about a variety of technology topics for ITProPortal.