The world is becoming more digital. The internet has a major positive impact on our lives. Meanwhile, it is also creating serious threats. Digital use is rising quickly in the construction sector as well.
Cybersecurity is one of the biggest risks put on due to technological advancement in the construction sector. Every construction company is now at risk from cyber security. This means that cybersecurity in the construction industry needs to be treated with the same seriousness as physical security.
What Is Construction Cyber Security?
Before we go any further, let us understand cyber security and its importance. Cybersecurity refers to the technology and process of protecting networks and devices from attacks, damage, or unlawful access, according to the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency.
Cybersecurity is critical for every country’s organization because data is its foundation. There are many risks involved if that data is misused. Cybersecurity is important because it protects against loss and damage to many data types.
However, Construction cybersecurity protects computer networks from unauthorized physical or virtual access. Construction companies must take measures to protect their networks from both external and internal threats. External threats include hackers who gain internet access to construction company networks. Internal threats include employees who accidentally or deliberately damage company data.
Best Practices to Secure Construction Cyber Security
As was already said, cybercrime causes a threat to all types of businesses. Your company must have a security plan to protect itself from cybercriminals. To protect systems, OT cybersecurity plays an important role.
Operational technology (OT) is the hardware used in corporate sectors for control and monitoring systems and networks. These systems are used to manage and monitor critical infrastructure and industrial processes. They are often complex, interconnected, and sensitive to environmental changes.
Besides this, in this cyber security guide, the following practices can be used to protect against Construction cybercrime risks.
1. Create a Secure Environment
Security operation centers are necessary due to a rise in malware. As a result, their methods for identifying and keeping an eye on harmful traffic on their networks and equipment are improved. With an OT security solution, you can secure this. Using an operational technology cybersecurity system, you can develop multiple layers which help to avoid the risks.
2. Create a Secure Password
Adequate online security requires strong passwords. Make your password difficult by changing it regularly. You can also use two-factor authentication. Automated login attempts are only protected against accounts that use two-factor authentication. Additionally, it guards you against phishing emails.
Establish a password policy for your company’s staff to follow security best practices. To manage your password policy, look into various technological solutions, such as regular password resets.
3. Install a Firewall
Between your PC and the internet, firewalls serve as effective filters. They serve as a barrier to stop cyber threats like viruses and malware from spreading. Firewall devices must be appropriately configured, and their software and firmware must be kept up to date, or else they may function differently than intended.
4. Reduce the Size of Your Attack Surface
Attack surface refers to the range of ways cyber attackers use to access your OT systems and steal important data. Your system and network will be less exposed to cyber risk if you understand and decrease your attack surface.
The two primary attack surfaces are people and devices.
5. Update Software and Hardware Frequently
Updates offer essential security upgrades that aid in protecting against known bugs and issues. Maintaining updated devices and software will help you prevent becoming a victim of crime.
What Makes Construction Operational Technology a Target?
Construction operational technology, or COT for short, is often a target for cyberattacks. This is because COT systems are usually less secure than other types of systems, and they often contain sensitive information. Here are some of the reasons why attackers often target COT systems:
- They contain sensitive information: COT systems often store sensitive information such as blueprints, construction schedules, etc. This makes them a prime target for attackers who want to steal this information.
- They are less secure: COT systems are often less secure than other types of systems due to their nature. They are often developed quickly and without much security, making them an easy target for attackers.
Risks to the Computer Security in Construction Sector
Construction firms are the ideal victims of hacking, malware, and data theft. This is because they frequently work with numerous partners, demanding data transfer, efficient communications, and mobility. This makes all forms of spying possible.
A weak construction company or partner could be subject to various cyber-attacks and other risks. Each has a different effect and harm. They consist of, but are not limited to:
Ransomware holds a computer system hostage for payment. It can restrict a construction company’s access to crucial systems and potentially delay the work of a Project. A construction company might also be forced to bear the costs of paying the ransom.
This can be financially unsustainable. However, damage caused by a Ransomware incident is not just limited to the ransom payment; it may also include damage to the reputation.
Malware can take many different forms, but all viruses, bugs, and other types are made to damage your systems and data. In some cases, such as with Ransomware, this can be an effort to extract money from the victim, although other malware kinds may only have harmful intentions.
This refers to an effort to gather data by tricking someone into opening an attachment or clicking a link in a spam scam. This can enable malware to get installed on the computer or send the user to a fake website where they can submit sensitive personal or corporate data.
4. Possible Data Leak
A construction company may lose a competitive edge if information about its offer methods is stored on a computer system and is accessed or acquired. Data may be physically or electronically spilled. It can leak through hard drives, USBs, or mobile phones.
Attackers could use a weakness to obtain access to an unprotected database or website and install malware or web skimmers that collect user information, login information, financial transaction information, and other information.
Cybersecurity concerns are increasing as the world becomes increasingly digital. The construction industry faces the biggest risk as a result of technological innovation. Since data is the basis, this needs to be taken seriously.
In modern times, OT and IT merge their fields to safeguard devices from assaults, damage, or unauthorized access. Additionally, software upgrades and implementing strong policies and training are helping to protect data.