Risk Management: Cyber Assaults Are Shutting Down Production Lines for Midwest Manufacturers

Oct 04, 2019

Risk Management: Cyber Assaults Are Shutting Down Production Lines for Midwest Manufacturers

By Mike Salazar

Cyber-attacks can happen to anyone. Is your organization covered if cyber criminals target you?

Ransomware is the fastest growing malware threat, targeting users of all types – from the house to the production line. The targets can lead to temporary or permanent loss of sensitive or propriety information causing not only disruption of work, but also financial losses.

Over the last several weeks, Gregory & Appel’s claims department has seen an increase in ransomware attacks towards manufacturers in the Midwest. Cyber criminals are attacking middle market manufacture employers with 500 employees or less, not just the Fortune 500 firms causing significant financial damage to Midwest manufacturers. 

At times the ransom demands are in the six-figure range. One cyber-attack interrupted an entire production line due to the equipment being connected to the compromised server. Unfortunately, the attacks weren’t out of the blue – in a few cases, the organizations had email trouble prior to the full fledge attack as a warning that something more severe would be happening.

Now more than ever it is important that manufacturers take the time and resources to protect and reinforce/evaluate their current prevention strategies and get cyber liability coverage in place.

Educating your employees is the key to ensuring attackers don’t get the upper hand. Reminding employees to never open unsolicited links or attachments in emails and bringing workforce awareness to the issue is step one in protecting your network. Prevention is the most effective defense against cyber criminals.

Your IT Network Team plays a major role in protecting your organization. Check out these tips from The U.S. Government (USG) on how your organization can be proactive and prevent your computer networks from falling victim to ransomware:


  • Implement an awareness and training program. Employees should be aware of the threat of ransomware and how it’s delivered
  • Enable strong spam filters to prevent phishing emails from reaching end users (employees)
  • Scan all incoming and outgoing emails to detect threats and filter executable files
  • Configure firewalls to block access to known malicious IP addresses
  • Patch operating systems, software and firmware on devices
  • Set anti-virus and anti-malware programs to conduct regular scans automatically
  • Manage the use of administrative access – only those that absolutely need it should have access and should only use them when necessary
  • Configure access controls – including file, directory and network share permissions
  • Disable macro scripts form office files transmitted via email
  • Implement Software Restriction Policies (SRP) or other controls to prevent programs from executing from common ransomware locations, such as temporary folders, popular Internet browsers or compression/decompression programs
  • Consider disabling Remote Desktop protocol (RDP) if it is not being used
  • Use application whitelisting, which only allows systems to execute programs known and permitted by security policies
  • Execute operating system environments or specific programs in a virtualized environment
    Categorize data based on organizational value and implement physical and logical separation of networks and data for different organization units
  • Back up data regularly and verify the integrity of those backups often. It’s important to not forget to secure the backups and make sure they are not connected permanently to the computers and networks they are backing up.
  • Conduct an annual penetration test and vulnerability assessment



If your preventive measures fail, cyber liability coverage can help.  Contact a team member today to see how we can help keep your organization from falling victim to cyber criminals’ attacks. We are here to help protect your assets and keep you from losing a greater financial loss.