In the wake of COVID-19’s effect on global supply chains, the increasing calls for a manufacturing resurgence in the United States could open new cybersecurity vulnerabilities. As economic effects from the virus began bleeding into business production and the shuttering of factories, many manufacturers in the U.S. began championing President Trump’s call to bring back the glory of “Made in America”. The idea being, supply chains, and production systems would be less susceptible to disruption if manufacturing efforts were redoubled state-side.
The problem, as many leading authorities in the field see it, is that bringing these businesses back to the U.S. would present unique opportunities for cybersecurity threats. As Mathew Gardiner, a strategist at the cybersecurity firm Mimecast notes, “Manufacturing was consistently a top-targeted sector throughout the three-month pandemic.” And even without a global pandemic, the manufacturing industry consistently faced cybersecurity threats from all angles, especially here in the U.S. “As the industry adopts more and more IoT, cloud computation and automation, there are increased opportunities for a data breach with unsecured wireless networks, servers with weak passwords, and malware infections”, says senior director of solutions engineering at Cenys, Art Sturdevant, “Manufacturing is one of the most targeted industries for cyberattacks and data breaches.”
The major hurdle in bringing businesses back to America in terms of cybersecurity vulnerability will be the initial phase, says Coalfire Director John Neumann. “Making the shift to onshore production will lower security risk in the end but have a short-term risk due to bringing everything back into the US. “But is it worth it? Statistics show that China manufactures 90% of U.S. antibiotics and nearly all ibuprofen marketed in the States. In fact, some estimates claim up to 80% of all basic ingredients in US drugs come from China. With drug prices, even those covered by insurance policies, already sold at expensive rates, the higher cost incurred by domestic production would only add to an exorbitant pricing fiasco that has plagued the U.S. pharmaceutical industry for years.
As the manufacturer of the industry’s first Solid-State-Analog-Meter (SSAM), specifically designed to address cybersecurity concerns, OTEK keeps a keen eye on this ongoing issue, striving to make our technology both efficient and safe.
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