Cybersecurity in the AEC industry – A deep dive around Construction 4.0

The construction industry has already made a shift towards digitization and automation also coined as Construction 4.0. An amalgamation of three domains Architecture, Engineering and Construction aka AEC industry has stepped on the pedal and is bringing in technological applications towards modernization. The umbrella concept for the current happenings to digitize construction related activities aka Construction 4.0 has paved a way for digital information to be stored on machines and the cloud environment. One of its key components is cyber-physical systems.

The AEC business isn’t just making progressively important advancements but additionally the structures and constructed frameworks are built utilizing computerized innovation. Both these factors makes the construction industry a potential target for cyberattacks. These new technologies will also make the industry more connected, and the consideration of cybersecurity will become of paramount importance. Due to the rapid development of the ICT (Information and Communications Technology) industry, many aspects of the fields like 3D printing, virtual reality, big data and IoT have become key developments in the AEC industry. With the current pandemic, the WFH environment poses different challenges in the AEC space and there is a growing need for cybersecurity to be considered as an important factor to address the potential vulnerabilities associated. [Reference]

Source: Reference

Generally, the construction industry entails quite a lot of information, the most important of them being designs, financial bids and the entire agreement conditions between the organization and the client. Over the last few months, AEC companies and public agencies have seen a dramatic increase in COVID-19-related cyberattacks due to the vulnerabilities associated with sudden and widespread remote work. With most of the information being stored in the digital space, it gives hackers a greater opportunity to access the information and perform malicious attacks causing tremendous impact to the organization. [Reference]

Consider, for example, if a hacker can get to the design records for a bridge under construction and holds that data for redemption or on the other hand envision if a cybercriminal gets design data that will permit access into a rapid transit framework. The attacker would then be able to take advantage of the travel office’s network and cause mass disruption. As the business turns out to be more connected, one factor that will impact the AEC industry is the significance of network security, which should be considered as an important piece of the business now.

Cyberattacks are getting significantly more typical, and when you take a glance at critical infrastructure (CI), it’s so essential to keep information and venture data secured and simply accessible to the individuals who ought to have it. Several cyberattacks have already occurred in the AEC industry with an intention to steal proprietary information, gain access to unauthorized files, and tamper existing records. As construction sites become more connected and digital platforms become the new normal, cyber attacks will increase.

People and intellectual property are the biggest assets for an AEC firm. A cyberattack can create significant financial, operational and reputational impacts to these assets. Construction professionals need to be able to identify cybersecurity risks before assessing and formalizing plans to address them . None of the existing standards formulate a procedure to identify these risks, especially in the AEC space.

Published by The Art of Cyber-Space

I am a security professional specializing in network security. With vivid experience in different industries, I am looking to explore the current cyberspace and discuss the ideology of certain ideas from a different perspective.

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