Construction is the No. 1 industry hit by ransomware, according to an analysis of 1,200 companies in 35 different industries by NordLocker, an encryption software firm based in the U.K. and the Netherlands. Ransomware is a computer virus that takes over the target device until the victim pays a fee to regain access, usually through cryptocurrencies.
The construction industry has closed their technology gap over the past several years. What was traditionally considered a labor focused business, is now emerged in technology. Today’s construction site is not only driven by technology, but it is also heavily reliant on technology to help manage production, material usage, safety and scheduling risks. However, the same tools that help manage construction project risks, also increase cyber-risk if they’re not used and managed properly.
Additionally, construction companies are installing more technology than ever into their end products. Devices tied to the "Internet of Things" (IoT) includes building access controls, HVAC, lighting, safety control, and sprinkler systems, as well as cameras, appliances, televisions, and artwork.
All these new technologies increase the number of vectors that cyber attackers will try to infiltrate for various motives. Motives include theft of money, intellectual property, and sensitive information. Attackers might also want to wreak havoc on projects and cause disruption to supply chains.
Every construction firm needs to ask questions about the interconnectivity of these technologies and the potential risks if they are not implemented and managed with a security mindset.
"IoT devices — asset tracking, worksite security, machine control, wearables, etc. — are typically the most vulnerable, as these devices often were not designed with cybersecurity in mind," said Bud Broomhead, CEO and founder of Viakoo, a Mountain View, California-based IoT security provider. "Special attention should be paid to surveillance devices, like IP cameras, as cybercriminals can use those devices for recognizance operations to observe behaviors, examine materials and plan attacks."