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Cybersecurity Infrastructure is Critical rather than Optional for The AEC Businesses- Better Start Swimming or You’ll Sink Like a Stone

 

The AEC Industry is faced with challenging and dynamic ecosystem changes with the emergence of Digital Technologies.  

The Architecture, Engineering, and Construction sector is reaping the benefits of the new technological advancements, digitization, and automation. However, this makes the AEC industry more susceptible to cyber threats and attacks. 

The AEC sector is unique in its own way and therefore it is very critical to understand the equally unique challenges faced by the industry. Only after comprehending these challenges, we can come up with security measures and processes that are tailor-made for the industry. 

How exposed are you as an architectural, engineering, and construction business (AEC) to cybersecurity risks?  

Is Your data secure? Are your designs and drawings susceptible to security breaches?  

Let’s dig in deep to understand the importance of Cybersecurity to Thrive in a Digital Playground. 

What is Cybersecurity? 

Cybersecurity is the counter effective method that uses technology, procedures, and controls to defend against cyberattacks on systems, networks, programs, devices, and data. 

Cybersecurity aims to lower the danger of cyberattacks and safeguard against the unauthorized use of technology, networks, and systems.  

Even before the Covid-19 outbreak, our lives were becoming increasingly digital at an incredible rate. The lockdowns have accelerated this transformation, and with greater reliance on the internet also comes greater vulnerability. 

Though most of us are still unaware of it, we have changed paradigms very quickly. There is no turning back now that decentralized digital currencies have entered the scene and given cyberspace a new dimension.  

You better start swimming, or you’ll sink like a stone for the times now are changing; Adjusting to the new reality is not an option but critical for the AEC businesses.  

Cybersecurity Stats – Key Insights 

America saw an unprecedented increase in cyber-attacks and malicious cyber activity in 2021. These cyber-attacks impacted businesses in a wide range of industries, as well as the American people. Cyber threats have also evolved and become more interconnected with traditional foreign intelligence threats and emerging threats. 

According to the Internet Crime Report by IC3, in 2021, IC3 received a record number of complaints from the American public: 847,376 reported complaints, a 7% increase from the previous year, with potential losses exceeding $6.9 billion. Ransomware, business e-mail compromise (BEC) schemes, and the criminal use of cryptocurrency are among the top incidents reported in the 2021 complaints received. In 2021, there were 19,954 complaints about BEC schemes, with an adjusted loss of nearly $2.4 billion. 

The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) provides a direct platform for the American public to report cybercrimes to the FBI. They also analyze and investigate the cybercrime reporting to track trends and threats posed by cybercriminals, and then share this information with the intelligence and law enforcement partners. 

A BEC/EAC is complex fraud aimed at transferring money from individual and business funds. The BEC/EAC scheme has changed over time as fraudsters have become more skilled and protective measures have been put in place. The technique has developed from straightforward email account hacking or spoofing, along with a demand for wire transfers to be sent to phony bank accounts. 

In the past, these BEC/EAC schemes involved stolen vendor emails and requests for W-2 (The Internal Revenue Service’s Form W-2 is a tax document used in the US to declare the wages paid to employees and the taxes deducted from those payments) information, targeting the businesses with phony requests for substantial quantities of gift cards. Fraudsters are now utilizing virtual meeting platforms to hack emails and impersonate the credentials of business executives to start fraudulent wire transfers. 

Recovery operations are made more challenging because these illicit wire transactions are sometimes transferred right away to cryptocurrency wallets and spread swiftly.  

According to The Coveware Quarterly Ransomware Report, ransomware would affect 51% of American organizations in 2020, with an average ransom demand of $178,000.  

According to recent data, AEC companies are twice as likely to experience ransomware attacks as businesses in other sectors. More than 30% of businesses that experience successful hacks become victims once more or more.  

According to another study by DataProt: 

  • More than half (60%) of consumers expressed increased concern about data security since the COVID-19 pandemic 
  • Cyberattacks will have caused $6 trillion in total damage by 2022 
  • So far, cyberattacks have resulted in $2 trillion in losses 
  • Every 39 seconds, a cyberattack occurs 
  • Every 14 seconds, a ransomware attack occurs 
  • Although the threat of Cybersecurity is so Paramount, Small businesses spend less than $500 on cybersecurity on average 

Cybersecurity and The AEC Industry 

The AEC sector is typically one of the least digitalized and slow movers & adapters of evolving technological advancements when compared to other sectors. This can be attributed to people being resistant to change, which has been one of the key causes of the AEC industry’s slow and gradual digitalization.  

A number of digital tools, technologies, and methodologies, including robots, data analytics, additive manufacturing (AM), artificial intelligence (AI), the internet of things (IoT), machine learning (ML), digital twins, drones, are, however, causing a change in this. The necessity and integration of these technologies have been the subject of prior studies within the construction research community, but the implications for cybersecurity have garnered minimal attention. 

The majority of an AEC firm’s intellectual property, including project files, drawings, designs, models, and contracts, resides in the digital realm. This is why a cybersecurity plan must be implemented immediately. Think about the repercussions: a hacker might get access to your design files of an ongoing project and demand payment in exchange for the data.  

Federal agencies, as well as state and municipal customers, want AEC companies to comply with greater security compliance requirements as outlined by the Department of Defense Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification due to this risk.  

Construction is moving quickly toward integrating digital tools and technologies, which will lead to an increase in cybersecurity challenges, notably cyberattacks. They can be divided into categories based on the types of attacks. 

In the project life cycle phase, vulnerabilities and inconsistencies are the main causes of assaults. It is also important to keep in mind that some of these attacks happened as a result of flaws and inconsistencies in earlier stages. Therefore, care must be taken to comprehend, examine, and create defenses against the underlying causes of cyberattacks. To create a successful cybersecurity risk management strategy, it is essential to have a thorough grasp of all the project phases and how they interact with one another. 

Lack of cybersecurity-related best practices can have serious effects on assets during construction, facilities that have already been built, people who utilize these facilities, individuals working on construction sites, and other things because of the inherent nature of the AEC business. This could endanger human lives in addition to having financial repercussions. As a result, it is imperative that the construction research community study these implications and develop strategies to reduce these hazards. 

Despite the fact that hackers appear to be here to stay, a proactive strategy for robust cybersecurity processes can help AEC firms continue to operate with little interruption. 

Classifications of Cyberthreats 

Cyber threats can be of various kinds and intensities. Some common online dangers include: 

  • Malware – Ransomware, botnet software, RATs (remote access Trojans), bootkits, rootkits, spyware, Trojan horses, viruses, and worms are all examples of malware 
  • Backdoors – These threats allow remote access via backdoors 
  • Formjacking – Formjacking is the practice of injecting harmful code into online forms. 
  • Cryptojacking – Installing unauthorized bitcoin mining software 
  • DDoS – Attacks called DDoS (distributed denial-of-service) flood networks, systems, and servers with traffic in an effort to take them offline 
  • DNS – attacks on the DNS (domain name system), which manipulate the DNS to reroute traffic to malicious websites 

Cybersecurity Strategy for the AEC Businesses – How to Get Started? 

Every infrastructure network has a related information technology network where its managers and users carry out their daily operations. 

You must implement a few essential measures to create an integrated cyber defense before beginning to build a cyber security ecosystem. 

  • Creating a Culture of Security – Every employee would recognize cyber security as their responsibility if there were a strong cyber security culture in place and it is supported by regular training. Data breaches are most often caused by human error. As a result, you need to arm employees with the knowledge they need to counter threats. Staff awareness training will enable employees to understand how security dangers impact them and how to apply best practices to practical scenarios through. 
  • Ensure Security of Web Applications – Most of us work in a remote ecosystem leveraging web applications for communication and coordination. However, cybercriminals frequently enter computers using web application vulnerabilities.  It is crucial to emphasize web application security as applications take on an ever-more-important role in the company. 
  • A Secure Network – Protecting the integrity and functionality of your network and data is paramount. This is accomplished by doing network vulnerability scans, which evaluate your network for security flaws and vulnerabilities.  
  • Strong Password Encryption – Most people still use generic and very vulnerable passwords like “password,” or “123456″. To assist personnel in creating secure passwords and maintaining them, you should adopt a password management policy. 
  • A Dedicated Cyber Response Team – It is critical to select and train an incident response team before an incident occurs. Teams should include cybersecurity professionals skilled in cyber investigation and analysis, as well as experts familiar with the overall operation of the infrastructure asset, as well as leaders capable of making timely decisions on issues such as whether to shut down infrastructure or notify the public about an incident. 
  • A Committed Leadership – The secret to cyber resiliency is leadership commitment. Without it, it is challenging to set up or enforce efficient procedures. Top management needs to be ready to spend money on the right cyber security tools, such as awareness training.

Security has typically been considered an afterthought or, at best, a side issue. It is imperative to make it clear that security measures are a crucial component of continuous delivery in light of growing cybersecurity concerns. to adopt a security-centric stance that holds the entire development team accountable 

While artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies are swiftly becoming overused and poorly understood buzzwords, they hold immense promise for cybersecurity. Our defensive capabilities will be significantly improved if we can effectively forecast attack behavior in the future using data from the past and find weaknesses. 

INDOVANCE Incwith its exclusive delivery hub in India is a global CAD outsourcing partner serving the needs of the AEC industry since 2003. At INDOVANCE we focus on the unique need of each project or client and believe in addressing the real challenges and guarantee that the process will be well-coordinated, smooth, efficient, and hassle-free. 

We collaborate with our customers around the world to develop bespoke business solutions using our enormous engineering talent pool and state-of-the-art technology. To deliver long-term engineering and business strategies, we align with your culture and processes to create an unbreakable partnership. With over 500 full-time employees and more than 600 customers in the US, Europe, India, and Asia, we are poised for the next level of success. 

For more queries regarding any of the above-mentioned topics, feel free to connect with us on our website www.indovance.com or contact us on  +1-919-238-4044

 

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