What Can Contractors Do to Protect Company Data, Assets From Hackers? : CEG

Though people want to be able to access data from anywhere, in reality the fewer places data lives the safer it is.

Though people want to be able to access data from anywhere, in reality the fewer places data lives the safer it is.

Challenge-junkie cybercriminals have moved on from hacking personal information. Now corporate intelligence, infrastructure and even heavy equipment are targets. Though currently cybersecurity threats are incidental in the construction industry, the potential for widespread damage exists. What can contractors do to protect their company data and heavy machinery assets?

“We’ve crossed the rubicon,” said Erol Ahmed; director of communications of Built Robotics, San Francisco. Cybercrime is “now moving on to critical infrastructure, pipelines and potentially heavy equipment.”

Ahmed believes these large-scale operations make more attractive targets because the software used to run them is easy and accessible to criminals.

“So, it’s important to provide the right protection for users as much as possible.”

The bottom line, said Ahmed is yes, “we’re seeing an increase in ransomware and hacking, but we have the capabilities to fight back and keep our equipment running smoothly and safely.”

How It Happens

In early May, Colonial Pipeline suffered a ransomware cyberattack that impacted computerized pipeline management equipment.

The pipeline originates in Houston, Texas, and carries gasoline and jet fuel mainly to the southeastern United States.

Colonial Pipeline Company halted all of the pipeline’s operations and paid the requested ransom of nearly $5 million within several hours after the attack.

The hackers then sent Colonial Pipeline a software application to restore their network.

It was determined to be the largest cyberattack in U.S. history on oil infrastructure.

In 2019, two white-hat hackers selling security software from Japan-based Trend Micro proved how easy it would be to hack a construction crane.

With permission from machinery owners, while sitting in their car, the two hacked cranes and other construction machinery at 14 different sites in Italy.

The cranes’ vulnerability lies in their communication systems, which connect machine to controller.

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