While construction sites have always been appealing targets for robbers, the construction industry now faces challenges from a completely new area: online. Discover which threats your company may face and how to mitigate the risks.
Theft and minor crimes like vandalism have long plagued the construction business. Construction enterprises and construction sites can be appealing targets for thieves due to the mix of valuable moveable equipment and transitory locations. Physical theft of machinery, equipment, and supplies can be extremely costly to a firm.
According to Allianz, theft costs the construction sector £800 million in the UK alone each year, and every prudent construction firm attempts to mitigate the risks by implementing the finest security standards. Physical barriers such as gates, locks, and secure buildings, security guards and patrols, equipment tracking, and asset management systems could all be used.
However, in recent years, the building industry has faced a new threat. When compared to industries such as finance and retail, some construction workers may not believe the industry to be a high-risk target for cybercrime. However, this relatively new sort of criminality is now a threat to all businesses, including small businesses and construction firms. This also implies that cybersecurity in construction should be treated with the same seriousness as physical security.
Construction Cybersecurity Threats
As previously said, all sorts of businesses are vulnerable to cybercrime, but the dangers, risks, costs, and remedies are not uniform. distinct industries have distinct problems, and some cybersecurity threats in construction are unique to the way the business operates.
Among these industry-specific risks are:
- A Workforce That Is On The Move
Construction is carried out in a variety of sites and locations, which might provide a physical risk, but it can also heighten the hazards of cybercrime. Workers connect to company networks and systems via laptops, tablets, and smartphones at bases, which are frequently temporary sites such as worksite cabins and trailers. Security is frequently laxer than it would be in a permanent workplace, particularly if a "bring your own device" (BYOD) policy is in place, allowing employees to access crucial systems on their own devices. It is critical to have a policy that mandates passwords and other forms of authentication, and mobile devices should be scanned for vulnerabilities.
- File And Data Exchange Outside Of The Organization
A construction project frequently requires collaboration among specialists from many disciplines, as well as stakeholders such as owners and clients. This means that designs, blueprints, and other sensitive information like bids, financial data, and employee records may have to be shared outside the organization. Building information modeling (BIM) requires several parties to collaborate, and when combined with a common data environment (CDE), it provides a potential data treasure mine. Naturally, security should be a major consideration.
If working within or dealing with the EU, data storage and protection must also comply with relevant rules such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
- A High Rate Of Personnel Turnover
Even within the organization, there may be a high turnover rate and a reliance on subcontractors, making it difficult to plan and offer consistent IT and cybersecurity training.
Threats Of Many Forms
Cybercrime is an increasing global threat. Intelligence services in Germany, for example, have warned that escalating cyber attacks are "ticking time bombs" that threaten key infrastructure as well as commercial interests.
"The construction industry lags behind others when it comes to investing in high-level security and keeping up with current threats," according to HUB International, "and hackers are well aware and take advantage."
There are numerous forms of cyberattacks and other dangers that could endanger a vulnerable construction organization or partner. Among these include, but are not limited to:
Malware can take many forms, but viruses, worms, and other varieties are all designed to do damage to your systems and data. Sometimes this is done to extract money from the victim, such as with ransomware, although other varieties of malware are just malevolent.
This sort of virus encrypts and "locks up" essential systems and data, with cybercriminals demanding a "ransom" to unlock them. This form of attack is on the rise, with some high-profile examples in recent years, such as the WannaCry attack, which targeted the NHS in the United Kingdom, the Spanish telecoms company Telefonica, and other organizations globally.
This entails attempting to collect data by convincing someone to click a hyperlink or open an attachment in a phishing email. This might allow malware to be installed on the machine or redirect the victim to a phony website where they could enter sensitive personal or corporate information.
- Password heists
Cracking passwords can provide attackers with unrestricted access to vital data and systems.
- DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service)
These can be used to crash a website or prevent legitimate users from accessing networks and services. This is often accomplished by flooding the site or system with unnecessary requests.
How To Reduce The Risks
Fortunately, there are several rather basic precautions that construction companies can take to lessen 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. On all business networks, you may also enable advanced email and web screening. This can prevent employees from viewing unsuitable content at work as well as potentially harmful websites.
All email attachments and links can be scanned by advanced threat detection (ATD) before they reach the user. Setting up your own password-controlled Wi-Fi on-site rather than logging into other people's networks might also assist you in limiting the possible threats you face. Strong permission controls can limit the files, data, and network elements that various users can access.
While cybersecurity strategies, software, and systems play an important role, human mistake can also put businesses at danger. As a result, it is critical to implement strong policies and training to assist guarantee that everyone in your organization follows optimal security practices. It is practically difficult to guarantee immunity in the cybersecurity weapons race, but it is possible to dramatically minimize your risks simply by using common sense and taking the problem seriously.