Cyber Risk in the Construction Industry

Posted by Noff Colabella on Mon, Oct 30, 2017 @ 09:00 AM

cyber-risk-in-constructionCybercrime is a growing threat, and it’s not a problem for only the health and financial industries. Any business can fall victim to a cyberattack, including construction companies. To protect your construction company from financial loss and business disruption, you need to understand what the risks are and how to minimize them.

Hacked Equipment

Construction equipment is becoming more technologically advanced, and while this is generally beneficial, it also leads to new risks. As more and more devices rely on technology and are connected to the internet, the threat of hacking increases.

  • Signs: Pranksters love hacking electronic construction signs. While some of the messages may be funny, they’re also a headache for project managers who need the signs to convey important information.
  • Vehicles: Wired Magazine has shown how hackers could take remote control of a Jeep. Hackers could use similar techniques to take control of other high-tech vehicles, including construction vehicles. Researchers at the University of Michigan have studied the risk of truck hacking.
  • Drones: With many practical applications, drones have become increasingly common in the construction industry. Unfortunately, hackers have also figured out how to hack drones.

When equipment is hacked, the consequences can be both numerous and severe. The equipment itself is put at risk, and the company may suffer property damage as a result – for example, if a hacked drone crashes. Business may be interrupted as the company scrambles to fix the problem. Injury could occur, especially in the case of hacked vehicles. Liability issues may also arise.

Viruses and Online Schemes

The construction industry is vulnerable to many of the same cyber risks as other companies. Any business that uses computers and the internet can be the victim on viruses and schemes.

  • Ransomware: This type of virus encrypts all of the files on an infected computer or system. Then the cybercriminals offer to recover the encrypted files – for a price. Construction firms are among the many companies to have been hit by ransomware in recent years.
  • Denial of service: This common type of attack disrupts service, making a system unusable for the duration of the attack.
  • Fraud: Some cybercriminals target employees for their wire transfer schemes. Viruses sent via email can steal passwords, or employees can be tricked into providing information and making payments.

Again, the consequences are of these attacks can be extreme. A single wire transfer scheme can easily cost a company hundreds of thousands of dollars. Cyberattacks can also lead to business interruption when companies are not able to access their computer systems.  

Protecting Your Construction Company

Business owners need to be proactive when it comes to cyber risks.

  • Train all employees on cyber security. Hackers may target anyone in your company, so everyone needs to be prepared.
  • Use anti-virus software and apply software patches as they become available. Don’t just think about your computers, either. Any “smart” equipment with access to the internet needs to be kept secure.
  • Don’t use default passwords on equipment.
  • Transfer risk with cyber insurance.

BNC Insurance is your construction insurance partner. Ask us how we can help you take control of risk.

Tags: cyber risk, cyber risk in construction