May 16, 2020

Industry 4.0: the development of unique cybersecurity

David Shepherd
5 min
David Shepherd, Area VP, Pre-Sales EMEA at Ivanti discusses the unique challenges that manufacturers face as organisations adopt industry 4.0 digital so...

David Shepherd, Area VP, Pre-Sales EMEA at Ivanti discusses the unique challenges that manufacturers face as organisations adopt industry 4.0 digital solutions.

Organisations in every sector are implementing digital solutions and upgrading legacy systems at an accelerating pace to effectively manage digital transition, and the manufacturing sector is no different. However, it’s important to note the sector faces unique cybersecurity challenges due to the made-to-measure nature of manufacturing systems, making the patching process and implementation of cybersecurity solutions increasingly complicated. 

The criticality of the production line to the success of a manufacturing company has meant that security is often an afterthought. For these reasons, IT departments in the manufacturing sector have often been late adopters of enterprise IT and cybersecurity solutions. However, as digital technologies proliferate every aspect of our lives, the need to protect manufacturing IT systems is becoming increasingly pertinent. Over half of manufacturing organisations have experienced some kind of cyberattack, the cause of significant downtime and business continuity issues. Fortunately, 87% of manufacturing organisations now say cybersecurity is quickly becoming a key part of business continuity planning. 

Industry 4.0: A digital double-edged sword

The move towards automation and data exchange has been labelled ‘Industry 4.0’. This refers to the shift from a physical, on-premise environment to cyber-physical systems such as the Internet of Things (IoT), cloud computing and automation. Global manufacturers, such as car manufacturer Audi, are now using intelligent automation and machine learning to continuously improve processes, moving towards a data-driven and highly flexible manufacturing process. Many other smaller manufacturers are seeing the benefits and building their own automation strategies in order to harness the potential of Industry 4.0. 

It’s easy to see why – connected technologies in factories bring untold improvements to efficiency and productivity, as well as increasing visibility throughout the entire company. However, companies must factor into their Industry 4.0 strategies that increased connectivity amplifies their attack surface. 

A cyber-attack can ultimately impact the productivity of an organisation, leading to the loss of a plant or production line for a period of time, causing crippling revenue losses. Something as small as a general email ‘phishing’ attack, where employees are sent an email containing a malicious link, can have devastating results. 

Using this method, cybercriminals can infect a manufacturer’s network with malware or ransomware, rendering its IT systems unusable, impacting its reputation and leaving it with a hefty bill. Small automotive manufacturer C.E. Niehoff & Co, found itself targeted by a phishing campaign last year. After an employee clicked on a malicious link, attackers were able to hold its IT systems ransom as well as target its supply chain and customers.

A holistic approach to cybersecurity 

In order to tackle multi-faceted threats, manufacturers should approach their security operations with a ‘defence in-depth’ approach. This involves layering multiple cybersecurity solutions in order to ensure protection at every level. 


Manufacturers should follow a robust security framework, such as CIS Controls or the NCSC Cyber Essentials model. This in turn can help businesses benefit from additional tools such as vulnerability management, privilege access management, application whitelisting, anti-virus protection and employee awareness and training programmes. 

However, whilst following these steps will put manufacturers in a good position to combat threats, any defence must be flexible enough to respond to emerging risks, and this will only become more prevalent as the digital landscape continues to evolve. One such example is the IoT, which poses a pertinent threat for the manufacturing industry. As more and more internet-enabled devices and systems are connected to internal business networks, the entry points for attackers also increase. However, as cyberthreats develop so does the technology designed to defend against them. For example, manufacturers can implement automation as part of a layered approach to help IT and security professionals stay one step ahead.  

The benefits of automation

When automation is introduced, organisations experience huge time-saving benefits, freeing up the IT team to take care of other tasks. One of the areas that can benefit from automation is patching, typically a time consuming and tedious task – but one of the most valuable when defending against cyberthreats. This will ensure systems are consistently up-to-date and protected against the latest vulnerabilities. Automation also allows a comprehensive overview of every user and device connected to a network and enables the effective detection of any suspicious user or device behaviour. This way, organisations can combat a range of threats, from malicious insiders to infiltration by external attackers. The next step is AI, which brings a learning element to this process, allowing security systems to alter their defensive approach based on what they have learnt from previous attacks. 

However, automation and AI still need effective reporting and auditing capabilities, or they too could become a cybersecurity blind spot. The best way to combat blind spots is to find a balance of proactive defensive tools and awareness of new and emerging threats. 

Manufacturers must be fully aware of the huge risks posed by malicious actors, not just to business operations, but also to the infrastructure and security of their clients and supply chain. A serious compromise to security can result in huge losses across the industry and even a country’s economy, as was seen with the 2017 WannaCry attack that compromised every industry from healthcare to retail and manufacturing. Technology can bring huge benefits to businesses, but this must also be complemented with robust cybersecurity solutions. By layering a best practice approach with effective technological solutions, manufacturers will be able to decrease their attack surface in the face of even the most sophisticated attackers.

For more information on manufacturing topics - please take a look at the latest edition of Manufacturing Global.

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May 10, 2021

Lion Electric to Construct US EV Manufacturing Facility

Georgia Wilson
3 min
Lion Electric |Smart Manufacturing | Sustainable Manufacturing | Electric Vehicles | Electric School Buses | Electric Medium and Heavy Duty Vehicles | Sustainability | Technology | Freight | Transportation
Lion Electric announces its selection of Illinois to construct its all-electric medium and heavy-duty urban vehicle manufacturing facility...

Who is Lion Electric?

Founded in 2008, Lion Electric is an innovative manufacturer of all-electric, zero-emissions, medium and heavy-duty urban vehicles. Lion Electric designs, manufactures, and assembles all components for its vehicles that have unique features specifically adapted to the users and their needs. “We believe that transitioning to all-electric vehicles will lead to major improvements in our society, environment and overall quality of life,” believes Lion Electric. 

Lion Electric’s new Illinois Manufacturing Facility

Just two months after announcing plans to construct a battery manufacturing plant and innovation centre in Quebec, Lion Electric is expanding its locations further, selecting Joliet, Illinois for its new manufacturing facility in the US.

The new facility is said to “represent the largest dedicated production site for zero-emission medium and heavy-duty vehicles in the US,” as well as being the company’s biggest footprint in the market. The new facility will give Lion Electric the capacity to meet increasing demand for ‘Made in America’ zero-emission vehicles and bring production closer to customers. 

It is expected that the first vehicles off the production line will be in the second half of 2022.

“Lion’s historic investment to bring its largest production facility to Illinois represents not only a win for our communities, but a strong step forward in our work to expand clean energy alternatives and the jobs they bring to our communities,” said Gov. J.B. Pritzker. 

“The new Joliet facility will put Illinois at the forefront of a national movement to transition to zero-emission vehicle use, advancing our own goals of putting one million of these cars on the road by 2030. In Illinois, we know that a clean energy economy is about more than just vehicles – it’s about healthier communities and jobs for those who live there. We are excited to welcome Lion to the Land of Lincoln and look forward to their future success here.”

Lion Electric’s Agreement with the Government of Illinois

Over the next three years, Lion Electric will invest a minimum of US$70mn into Illinois. The new facility - totalling 900,000 square feet - is expected to create a minimum of 745 clean energy direct jobs in the next three years, and have an annual production capacity of up to 20,000 all electric buses and trucks.

Scaling electric bus production and decarbonising freight and transportation

As the US moves to electrifying its school buses, the additional production capacity at the facility will help Lion Electric to scale its electric bus production, as well as produce an increased volume of heavy-duty zero-emission trucks to help governments and operators in the US further the decarbonisation of freight and transportation fleets.

“Lion is the leader in electric school buses and has always been dedicated to the U.S. market, and our commitment to be close to our customers is one of the core values we have as a company. This significant expansion into the U.S. market will not only allow us to drastically increase our overall manufacturing capacity of electric trucks and buses but to also better serve our customers, while adding critical clean manufacturing jobs that will form the backbone of the green economy,” said Marc Bedard, CEO and Founder of Lion.

“I also want to acknowledge the crucial role that P33 and Intersect Illinois, civic groups committed to developing developing a long-term roadmap for the local tech industry, played in connecting Lion with the Chicago area’s business and civic community to help further commercial traction, as well as engagement with key workforce and supplier partners.” 

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