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Trustwave SpiderLabs: LockBit 3.0 Ransomware Most Common Malware Used to Attack the Manufacturing Sector

As the manufacturing sector continues its digital transformation, Operational Technology (OT), Industrial Control Systems (ICS), and Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) are becoming increasingly exposed to cyberattacks, particularly those involving ransomware.

The 2023 Manufacturing Threat Landscape: Trustwave Threat Intelligence Briefing and Mitigation Strategies explores the dangers facing this sector, conveying data culled from Trustwave SpiderLabs' extensive research that includes the most prevalent types of attacks, threat actor methodology, and recommendations on how to mitigate these threats.


Ransomware is the Favored Weapon


One piece of data Trustwave SpiderLabs uncovered in its research that stands out is that Lockbit 3.0 is the predominant ransomware strain used to attack manufacturers, being used in 36% of all such attacks.

However, LockBit 3.0 is only one among many variants used in these attacks. The Trustwave team noted that Clop, BlackCat/ALPHV, and Royal are also favored ransomware strains that have substantially affected the manufacturing threat landscape.

The fact that several strains are in use indicates a strategic diversification by attackers in their operational tactics, eschewing dependence on a singular strain, the report stated.

While threat actors use ransomware to attack targets globally, they do focus on a select few nations. The report noted that 63% of these victims reside in the United States, followed by the UK with 14% and France 9%. Companies most likely to be targeted specialize in industrial equipment, robotics, automation, heavy construction, automotive, electronics, and chemical manufacturing, and are among those frequently listed as victims on ransomware extortion websites, the report stated.

Trustwave SpiderLabs expects attacks on this sector to continue unabated as many threat actors perceive its members to be less sophisticated regarding cybersecurity and more likely to pay a ransom. Attackers make this assumption based on the fact that manufacturers cannot afford to suffer any downtime on their production lines and thus might be more willing to simply pay a ransom to get back into operation.

Ransomware is only one of several threats facing this sector that Trustwave SpiderLabs covers in this report. The elite team of researchers and analysts delve into the impact of supply chain attacks on manufacturing and the danger posed by OT/IT convergence as this development exposes air-gapped systems to the Internet.

Trustwave SpiderLabs encourages all those involved in any aspect of the manufacturing sector to take the time to study its findings to learn about the adversarial cyber forces arrayed against this area.


Vertical Markets Under Attack


The 2023 Manufacturing Threat Landscape report is part of an ongoing research project conducted by Trustwave SpiderLabs that looks at how cybercriminals are attacking various vertical markets.

To gain a more comprehensive understanding of the overall situation, please also read:

2023 Retail Sector Threat Briefing and Mitigation Strategies

2023 Financial Services Sector Threat Briefing and Mitigation Strategies

2023 Hospitality Sector Threat Landscape: Trustwave Threat Intelligence Briefing and Mitigation Strategies

Cybersecurity in the Healthcare Industry: Actionable Intelligence for an Active Threat Landscape



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