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?
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.
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.
3D Building Information Modeling (BIM)
Industrial Control Systems (ICS) and Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition Systems (SCADA)
Autonomous Construction Machinery
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.
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.
While there are no guaranteed ways to prevent a cyber threat, here are some simple strategies businesses can implement to protect themselves:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Ransomware Facts, Trends & Statistics for 2023. Retrieved from: www.safetydetectives.com
What is Cybersecurity? Everything You Need to Know. Retrieved from: www.techtarget.com
15 ways to protect your construction company from a cyber attack. Retrieved from: www.kmtech.com.au
Future of Work: Artificial Intelligence and Automation. Retrieved from: www.cgcrecruitment.com
Cyber Risk Extends to All Industry Sectors: Impacts to the Construction Industry. Retrieved from: www.ajg.com
Cyber Vulnerability In The Construction Sector. Retrieved from: www.aon.com
6 ways major construction companies can avoid ransomware in 2021. Retrieved from: www.cybertalk.org
Why cybersecurity is important in the construction industry. Retrieved from: www.constructiondigital.com
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