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The construction industry and cybersecurity

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The construction industry is a lucrative industry with massive project budgets being established regularly. This naturally makes them a target for cybercriminals. And the construction industry provides access through more than one access point. Also, some businesses in the industry aren’t focusing on cyber threats and they lag when it comes to executing digital security protocols. 
Petty crimes like theft and vandalism have always plagued the construction industry. But with the new era of technology, a new threat has risen for the construction sector. Cybercrime is a relatively new kind of threat that should be taken seriously. 

What are the risks to construction firms?

Workforce Access
Construction is executed in different locations and can present a physical risk, but it can also attract cybercriminals. With remote construction sites, workers can connect to the networks of the business via mobile avenues such as laptops, mobiles, and tablets. The security in these remote sites tends to have more relaxed security protocols in comparison to their office bases. For example, workers may be allowed to bring their personal devices to access the business’s critical systems. Because it is their device, it is not normally assessed for vulnerabilities regularly, which poses a cybersecurity threat for the company.

Data Sharing
Construction projects normally include cooperation and collaboration between different professionals from different disciplines. This may even include stakeholders and clients. This means that blueprints, plans, and other information are shared outside of the company. To share data with outsiders usually would involve the integration of sensitive information with common data environments. This would then be a potential treasure trove of information.

The availability of several access points and lack of security measures for the construction industry is highly attractive to cybercriminals. Because it holds vast amounts of data that are interesting to criminals. This information can range from employee data, building information modeling (BIM), and other design files. Which could lead to data ransoming. 

What are the types of threats?

This comes in several forms. Worms and viruses are designed to harm your systems and data. This can be used to leverage money out of their victim through ransomware. But other forms of malware attacks could also be purely for malicious intent.

This malware locks up and encrypts key systems and data with the criminals demanding a form of ransom before they release the withheld systems or information. Essentially, these criminals are hijacking your system or data and ransoming it. This kind of attack is increasing in other business sectors such as the ransomware attack on the Spanish telecommunications company, Telefonica. 

Phishing is the harvesting of data by getting people to click on a hyperlink or even open an attachment in an email. This would then lead the attached malware to be installed in their system. Phishing emails could also lead to fake websites where people are prompted to enter in their personal or business information. It is one of the most widely used ways of stealing information from individuals. The phishing of data is not limited to emails though, they can also be sent via text or a call alert.  

Password Hacks
Cracking or hacking the password of users can give these cybercriminals access to critical systems and data. 

DDoS or Distributed Denial of Service
These are used to crash a website or interrupt the valid user’s ability to access systems and networks. This is normally done by bombarding the system or site with superficial requests. 

Wire transfer
In this scam, criminals will send a fake invoice or a fake call to a business and request immediate payment for items to avoid a financial default on the said orders. When the criminals receive the payment, they can disappear forever and also still have access to the back door of your payment processes. 

These are invisible applications that normally silently install themselves on unsuspecting users after they open a malicious or phishing email. This application would allow the criminals to access and collect your information such as passwords, financial information, and other confidential information as they are being typed on your keyboard. 

Unpatched software
A path is an update to a program, whether on your mobile device or computer. It is intended to close or remove known vulnerabilities by its developers. But unpatched applications provide an entry opportunity for cybercriminals that would allow them onto your network, computer, or mobile device.

A cyber-attack can have large consequences for the construction industry. Because no one is immune to this threat that has recently been growing. By understanding these risks and taking the necessary steps to improve your cybersecurity measures you are ensuring the longevity of your organization. A breach in your network or systems can happen at any time and any place. 

It is vital for a business that operates in this generation to establish robust policies and training to ensure that everyone in their company or business follows the best and efficient security practices. In the realm of cybersecurity, it is virtually impossible to 100% guarantee immunity but that doesn’t mean it is impossible to reduce the risk that your business in undertaking by simply integrating security protocols to ensure your company and your worker’s confidential information’s safety.

Shivendra helps construction companies and contractors win more projects and grow profitably. Regarded as a master of practical implementation, Shivendra has guided organizations such as Downer and Siemens as well as smaller contractors to achieve double-digit improvements to their bottom line. Underpinning his extensive industry experience are qualifications in engineering and a Ph.D. focused on rapid cost improvement techniques. He is the author of two books, The Competitive Contractor and From Paper to Profit, host of the Competetive Contractor podcast, and the founder of Shivendra & Co and The Constructors Network. You can find more about Shivendra & Co on