The manufacturing industry is displaying higher rates of cyberattack-related lateral movement and reconnaissance, according to a Vectra report released on Wednesday. This is due to the confluence of both operational technology and enterprise information technology networks, said the report.

Organizations with weak internal access controls can easily fall victim to attackers, who can circumnavigate perimeter security to find and steal information, said the press release.

SEE: IT leader’s guide to cyberattack recovery (Tech Pro Research)

While the retail, financial, and healthcare industries have appeared to be the main focus for cybercriminals, intellectual property theft and business disruption have made manufacturers increasingly attractive targets, said the release.

The report found a higher number of malicious internal behaviors, which means that attackers are probably already inside the organization’s network. Data shows a high volume of both reconnaissance behaviors and lateral movement, which indicates that attackers are mapping out networks in a search for critical assets and that attacks are expanding within the network, said the report.

“The interconnectedness of Industry 4.0-driven operations, such as those that involve industrial control systems, along with the escalating deployment of industrial internet-of-things (IIoT) devices, has created a massive, attack surface for cybercriminals to exploit,” said Chris Morales, head of security analytics at Vectra, in the press release.

SEE: The rise of industrial IoT (ZDNet special report) | Download the report as a PDF (TechRepublic)

In order for organizations to stay protected, they must continuously monitor their internal network for suspicious behavior as well as add more access controls, said CIO of Brugg Cables Jürg Affolter in the press release. He added that agent-based solutions aren’t possible options for IoT devices.

Check out this TechRepublic article for more strategies on how to protect your business from a cyberattack

The big takeaways for tech leaders:

  • The manufacturing industry is at higher risk of cyberattacks because of industrial IoT devices and Industry 4.0 initiatives. — Vectra, 2018
  • Data has revealed that many attackers are mapping out networks in a search for critical assets, as well as letting attacks proliferate within the network. — Vectra, 2018.