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HomeResource8 Cybersecurity Threats That Could Put Your Construction Project At Risk

8 Cybersecurity Threats That Could Put Your Construction Project At Risk

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Construction projects are a high-value target for cybercriminals. Not only are these projects big and expensive, but they also provide easy access to vulnerable staff and infrastructure. Cyberattackers usually attack a company through operational technology or OT. That’s why protecting your construction project against potential cybersecurity threats is essential.

This post outlines 8 of the most common OT security threats and how to protect yourself and your crew. Ready to take action? Let’s get started!

What Is OT (Operational Technology) Cybersecurity or OT Security?

OT Cybersecurity is the practice of protecting data and infrastructure from cyberattacks. OT covers many activities, including:

  • Network security
  • Data protection
  • Incident response
  • User authentication and authorization
  • Application performance monitoring and management

IT cybersecurity has been a top priority for organizations for many years. Besides, OT cyber security is a relatively new field. Organizations are now beginning to realize the importance of securing their industrial systems. They are frequently necessary for business operations.

OT cybersecurity is the application of security controls to protect OT assets and systems. These assets and systems include:

  • Industrial control systems (ICS)
  • Supervisory authority and data acquisition (SCADA) systems, and
  • Other process control systems

OT security is essential for most organizations. It is because these systems are often critical to the operation of organizations. Besides, they can be targeted by cybercriminals who want to disrupt operations or cause physical damage.

Additionally, OT systems are often not well protected against cyber-attacks. So, it makes them an attractive target for hackers. This is where OT security solution companies come in handy. It is essential to have a robust security solution in place to secure your company’s operational technology.

A perfect OT solution service can use data loss prevention solutions like continuous data protection (CDP). It encrypts sensitive information before sending it over the wire so that third parties cannot steal it. This way, an OT security solution ensures users are trained to identify threatening online content. The cybersecurity company can also report anything suspicious immediately!

Top 8 Cyber Security Threats That Affect Construction Project

Cyber security threats data protection

Cybercrime poses a severe threat to construction projects. It can disrupt the money flow and damage your equipment and the overall construction process. Keep reading to learn more about the top 8 cybersecurity threats that affect construction projects.

1. False or Malicious Data Injection Misconfigurations

Malicious data injection is a relatively easy tactic. This cyberattack includes:

  • Changing data,
  • Changing settings,
  • Changing default setpoints, etc.

Once these attacks are applied, they can have disastrous consequences in OT environments. Your OT process becomes vulnerable to integrity attacks such as:

  • False data injection
  • Malicious setting modification, etc.

It may result in the removal of preconfigured safety settings. So, machinery may operate at temperatures above a safe threshold. As a result, it endangers the company’s equipment and personnel.

2. Ransomware

Ransomware is malware used by attackers to infect a computer system or encrypt files. It also prevents users from using or accessing the encrypted files until a ransom is paid.

Safety Detective says the construction industry is the third most affected by ransomware attacks. Many construction companies lost sensitive data or had systems shut down due to ransomware attacks.

Cyber-attacks can take many forms as more technological solutions are put in place. That’s why construction companies must be prepared to defend themselves.

Criminals hack into systems, lock or delete data necessary for their operation, and demand a ransom. As any contractor knows, even a day or two of downtime can be costly.

3. Fraudulent Wire Transfers

Fraudulent wire transfers include:

  • Any bank fraud involving electronic communication,
  • Fraudulently obtaining bank account information, and
  • Access to bank accounts.

This cybercrime poses an exceptionally high risk to the construction industry. It’s because large sums of money are frequently transferred between project participants.

Companies should reduce the risk of fraudulent wire transfers. They can do it by implementing multiple-party verification steps and approvals online. They also can enforce written policies on proper fund transfers.

4. Business Email Compromise (BEC)

BEC is known as whaling, spear phishing, or CEO/CFO fraud. The attackers perform deep research on the victim’s company. They also target employees who have access to the company’s financial information.

In attack methods, an attacker gains unauthorized access to company funds. They send email spoofs from legitimate senders, such as customers or trusted company executives. The emails typically encourage employees to act quickly. They demand that a price should be paid or an emergency is in action.

5. Denial of Service/Distributed Denial of Service

Denial of Service (DoS) happens when a website is overloaded so that it cannot be used. This can occur for various grounds, including:

  • Spamming or flooding the server with requests,
  • Using automated tools to send large numbers of requests at once, and
  • Hacking into the servers.

Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) occurs when many computers attack a single target. To prevent them from being able to do their job. This can lead to websites crashing or becoming unavailable altogether.

Common DoS attack types include botnets. DDoS attacks come from many sources.

In both attacks, the system freezes and tries to respond to requests but is overwhelmed. In a construction environment, a DoS attack can bring your business to a complete halt.

6. Supply Chain Attacks

Complex projects in the construction industry are particularly at risk of cyberattacks. Because they often involve many entities, such as suppliers, contractors, and partners.

Suppose an attacker compromises these entities. In that case, they can use them as a platform or channel to launch attacks against the systems and employees of the targeted company. The trust relationship between parties makes it less likely for an attack to be detected.

The potential impacts range from disruptions, delays, and financial losses to reputational damage.

7. Intellectual Property or Personal Data Breach

Data breach cyber security threats

Suppose a construction company’s computer system contains highly sensitive blueprints or schematics. In that case, a breach of these computer systems occurs, unfortunately. It could result in significant reputational damage and potential lawsuits.

A construction company stores information about its bidding strategies on an OT computer system. So, accessing and acquiring these files could result in a loss of competitive advantage.

8. Eavesdropping

Eavesdropping is the act of secretly listening to or watching someone without their consent. It is usually for an improper and unethical purpose. Eavesdroppers can be anyone from a disgruntled employee to a jealous spouse. This illegal activity can have serious consequences, including:

Eavesdropping can threaten control systems by allowing attackers to access:

  • Commands
  • Settings
  • Other sensitive information

It helps launch more sophisticated attacks that destroy the company’s total system.

In General

Whether your business handles a construction project or not, cybersecurity has become the top priority. And with that, you need to ensure that all the cyber risks are taken care of.

Besides, construction companies can take relatively simple steps to reduce cybercrime risks. Security software and firewalls should be installed on all networks. Firewall-as-a-Service (FaaS) can provide a dynamic and scalable barrier that adapts to the needs of an organization.

You can also enable advanced email and web filtering on all business networks. This can prevent employees from accessing executive-level content at work and harmful websites.

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