IT in Manufacturing

Protect critical infrastructure and manufacturing plants

December 2019 IT in Manufacturing

As manufacturers around the world analyse and embrace the importance of being more connected to the IIoT, cybersecurity experts caution that the benefits of being interconnected come with a warning, and companies need to protect their plants from being hacked.

This is according to Stefan van de Giessen, general manager: cybersecurity at Networks Unlimited Africa, who adds: “The IIoT allows tools and machinery of all types to be connected to the Internet, bringing major benefits but also risks to the business that, by and large, simply did not exist a decade ago. In South Africa, manufacturing is the fourth-largest contributor to the economy, according to Statistics South Africa, which makes the importance of protecting manufacturing plants and critical infrastructure even higher.

A recent study by the IBM Institute for Business Value (IBM IBV) showed that industrial companies are not doing enough to protect their plants from being hacked. The Institute clarified that deploying technologies at a faster pace than securing them can open up an Internet of Threats, and also that for industrial manufacturing, chemical, oil and gas, and utilities, security breaches can lead to wide-scale contamination, environmental disasters, and even personal harm.

“Another IBM IBV research document found that almost 90 percent of the automotive companies surveyed were using these technologies without fully evaluating the risks or preparing effective responses, thereby leaving themselves vulnerable to cyberattacks,” continues Van de Giessen. “I believe we could take this as a proxy for other manufacturing industries, and even if the numbers don’t play out exactly the same, this points to the new reality of the threat of cyberhacking in the manufacturing industry, and the critical need for organisations to protect themselves.”

The Indegy solution

To this end, Networks Unlimited Africa recently partnered with Indegy, a leader in industrial cybersecurity that protects industrial control system networks from cyberthreats, human error and malicious insiders. Networks Unlimited Africa now brings Indegy solutions to South Africa and throughout the continent. “Indegy undertakes to protect industrial control systems from cyberthreats,” elaborates Van de Giessen. “External threats bring the most risk potential. A well-planned cyberattack will usually cause significant destruction, which can include physical damages, financial costs and reputational threats for the business.”

In the manufacturing sector, Indegy was recently involved in securing the scada network of a large cement producer in Israel, which has production sites at different locations. Together, these sites produce about 60 percent of the cement used by Israel’s construction industry. With the introduction of connected technologies, Nesher realised that its scada network could potentially be exposed to cyberthreats that could jeopardise the safety and productivity of its factories. Therefore, determined to reduce risk and also minimise production downtime, the management team chose Indegy after deciding to invest in a dedicated industrial cybersecurity solution.

Nesher CISO Roy Shalev elaborates: “With cement furnaces operating round the clock at 1200°C, Nesher’s most important operational concern is safety. The furnaces and other critical equipment are managed by industrial controllers, which, if compromised by a cyberattack, could lead to an explosion and possible loss of life. From a business standpoint, a cybersecurity event in Nesher’s scada environment could bring cement production to a halt. Such an incident would cause a major cement shortage in Israel’s construction market, as well as revenue losses of millions of dollars and reputational damage.”

Nesher required full visibility of its complex scada network, together with real-time 24/7 alerts on any changes to its controllers. This level of visibility is crucial for enabling early detection of security risks before they have a chance to impact on productivity or safety. The system implemented by Indegy offers maximum visibility using proprietary technology that actively queries devices in Nesher’s industrial environment, ensuring that its scada engineers are aware of all changes to all assets in the environment. Additionally, the Indegy user interface design makes it easy for Nesher’s engineers to control traffic and operations in the network, while the accuracy of the alerts means that the security analysts can focus their efforts on investing real threats, with a minimum of false positives.

“A solution like Indegy allows security operators and engineers alike the comfort of knowing that their plant is protected from cybersecurity threats according to the highest standards available,” concludes Van de Giessen.

For more information contact David Wilson, Networks Unlimited Africa, +27 11 202 8400,,

Share this article:
Share via emailShare via LinkedInPrint this page

Further reading:

Digital twin allows process simulations
December 2019, Siemens Digital Industries , IT in Manufacturing
The high-tech company Grenzebach’s portfolio includes the simulation of material flow in complex plants in the glass industry, which it achieves using Siemens simulation solutions. Together, the two companies ...

Game-changing digital solutions for mines
December 2019, SKF South Africa , IT in Manufacturing
With digitalisation creeping into the mining industry and transforming day-to-day operations, this sector is enhancing its Industry 4.0 operation and process compliancy. As a preferred supplier of premium ...

Extending analytics to EAM and operations users
December 2019 , IT in Manufacturing
Today’s manufacturing operations and maintenance teams generate vast amounts of data in all forms.

AI in manufacturing – revolutionary opportunity or well-trodden path?
December 2019, Absolute Perspectives , IT in Manufacturing
Artificial Intelligence (AI) has become a catchphrase used by marketers that attributes the characteristics of human intelligence to a computer system.

Blockchain technology in the food and beverage industry
December 2019, Schneider Electric South Africa , IT in Manufacturing
Advances in blockchain technology could enable the food and beverage industry (F&B) to enhance traceability. In the US alone, food recalls and food-borne illnesses cost some $77 billion per annum, including ...

Navigate the fourth industrial revolution with PricewaterhouseCoopers
November 2019 , IT in Manufacturing
Using the building blocks of 4IR to transform business processes into manufacturing advantages requires a holistic approach.

Artificial intelligence in manufacturing – a practical and simplified view
November 2019, Altron Bytes Systems Integration , IT in Manufacturing
Looking at and interpreting data generated during the manufacturing process to find ways to reduce waste, improve quality and increase yield is not new. However, the increased use of digital technologies ...

Intelligent data glasses support production
November 2019, Siemens Digital Industries , IT in Manufacturing
Augmented Reality (AR) has arrived in the workplace: for the last three years, a consortium of six companies and institutions chaired by Siemens has been researching the use of augmented reality (AR) ...

Siemens launches report on Dawn of Digitalisation and its Impact on Africa
October 2019, Siemens Digital Industries , IT in Manufacturing
Africa needs a digitalisation strategy to compete in the global economy.

Integrating IT with Operations Technology - a CIO perspective
October 2019, Absolute Perspectives , IT in Manufacturing
Digitisation projects, spurred on by Industry 4.0 and technological advances, have opened up many possibilities to create new value.