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Mitigating security risks in the automotive industrial Internet of Things

Almost 90 percent of automotive companies implement IIoT in plants and assembly lines without fully evaluating risks or preparing responses.¹
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Security for connected and autonomous vehicles gets all the attention. But companies need to focus on fundamentals – the industrial systems used for manufacturing automobiles and their increasingly high-tech components. As manufacturing equipment and processes become more intelligent and automated through the implementation of IIoT technologies, these companies run the risk of cyberattacks.

While IIoT implementations can vastly improve operational efficiencies, they also expose potential new attack surfaces and security targets if not properly protected. Virtually anything can become vulnerable to cyberattacks, from high-value assets or services, critical workloads in the cloud, process control systems in cyber-physical systems, to critical business and operational data.

Cyber incursions can be led by cyber hackers, competing companies, countries engaged in corporate espionage or even disgruntled employees. They can be damaging on multiple fronts, including:

• Exposure of sensitive/confidential/critical data

• Damage to an organization’s reputation and loss of public confidence

• Production disruptions resulting from sabotage

• Extensive equipment damage

• Violation of regulatory requirements

• Potential for environmental harm

• Injury or loss of life

Automotive companies need improved cybersecurity capabilities that are contextual, cognitive and adaptive, allowing them to continuously identify, mitigate and prevent risk.

Our research has identified a group of top performers who lead the way in securing their IIoT environments. While these top performers have a ways to go before truly protecting their environments, they do have a significantly better grasp of what’s needed than their peers.

We review three areas where top performers differentiate in securing their IIoT environments. This report also outlines nine essential cybersecurity practices that these top performers embrace.

¹ Based on an IBM Institute for Business Value (IBV) survey


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Meet the authors

Ben Stanley, Automotive Research Leader, IBM Institute for Business Value

Lisa-Giane Fisher

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, Leader, Middle East and Africa, and Global Benchmark Research leader, Utilities industry, IBM Institute for Business Value


Giuseppe Serio

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Originally published 18 September 2018