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Cybersecurity in the construction industry

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Cybersecurity in the construction industry

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According to a recent report, the construction industry is now the third-highest sector impacted by data security incidents.

Unlike the government, financial, and healthcare sectors where financial rewards are more lucrative, the construction industry has been almost immune from cyber events in the past. This was due to the limited personal data it keeps and collects, as well as the limited regulations and guidance the sector receives.

However, over the past few years, our sector has started to come under attack as cybercriminals expand their scope.

So what can construction organisations do to increase their cybersecurity awareness and address this rise in cyber threats?


How do cyber attacks impact the construction sector?

Cybersecurity is defined as a practice used by individuals and organisations to protect against unauthorised access to data centres and other computerised systems.

In recent years, there have been many high-profile cyber attacks in the construction industry, which have caused significant project delays and financial damage. The rise of AI and the extensive use of subcontractors and suppliers have heightened the exposure to cyber risks. The digitisation of the construction industry now means large amounts of highly sensitive and confidential data (including building models, documents, drawings, and personal data) are being processed, stored, and shared. 

This has amplified the need for the sector to implement a robust cyber risk strategy.

Top cyber risks to look out for 

Although construction projects are often associated with physical materials such as steel, cement, and concrete, they’re entirely reliant on internal data to function. The three key stages in the construction process (design, construction, and handover) involve extensive digital workflows. This presents unique risks to the construction sector due to the specific tools they use for managing data, delivering services, and systems control. 

These include: 

  • 3D Building Information Modeling (BIM)

  • 5D BIM 

  • Industrial Control Systems (ICS) and Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition Systems (SCADA)

  • Drones

  • Autonomous Construction Machinery

  • Robotics 

  • Biometrics

  • Cloud Technology 

  • Mobile Devices

  • Internet of Things (IoT) 

The current top cyber threats in the industry include:


A type of malicious software or malware, designed to deny access to computer systems or sensitive data until ransom is paid.

Payment interception:

This is where the client receives emails or phone calls claiming to be the builder, who then requests payments to be deposited into a different bank account. 


Malicious emails are designed to look genuine, which encourage users to click - infecting their computers in the process. 

Ways to mitigate cyber threats

While there are no guaranteed ways to prevent a cyber threat, here are some simple strategies businesses can implement to protect themselves:

Train your staff regularly:

It’s imperative to train your employees how to identify potential cyber threats. For example, ensure your staff recognises a suspicious email. Rather than passwords, encourage your employees to use passphrases. 

Verify payment requests:

If you’ve received a request to transfer a large sum of payment, or are advised of a changed bank account, it’s vital to ensure the request is legitimate. Contact the sender to confirm prior to transferring any payments.

Get cyber insurance:

You can limit the financial impact of a cyber attack by purchasing a cyber insurance policy. This will protect your digital assets and sensitive business data.

Backup your data:

Data backups allow you to restore systems promptly in the event of a ransomware attack. If your organisation manages the backup, ensure your plan incorporates multiple software-based strategies and approaches. Alternatively, you can choose to use a third-party.

In summary 

As a result of the construction industry relying heavily on digital technology for its operational efficiencies, our sector is now becoming an attractive target for cyber attacks, threats, and exposures. 

This vulnerability has created a growing challenge for the construction sector, intensifying the need for businesses to implement a prevention plan against these risks.

Fortunately, with the right protocols, training, and processes, organisations can effectively mitigate any cyber threats, potentially saving them millions of dollars in the long run.

About CGC Recruitment

CGC Recruitment is a specialist construction, infrastructure, engineering, and architecture recruitment consultancy. We view our clients as our partners and work closely with them to meet their business needs. We work with some of Australia’s largest construction brands through to specialist SMEs and boutique consultants. We have proven experience delivering permanent, contract and retained recruitment solutions, consistently providing the right candidates for the right roles at the right time.

If you have an active role you’d like to discuss or just want to talk to a specialist consultant, please contact us. Alternatively, you can complete our online client form and a member of our team will contact you.


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