New research has revealed the top Chemical Manufacturers in the EU all have concerning levels of vulnerabilities and weak spots in their attack surface.
According to the 2022 Web Application Security for Manufacturers report by Outpost24, 60% of European Chemical Manufacturers had vulnerabilities that are critically exposed and open to attacks.
This new industry threat report examined the digital footprint and application security posture of the biggest Chemical Manufacturers in the EU, (as ranked by Chemical & Engineering News) and found these enterprises run a total of 22,507 internet exposed web applications over 6,175 domains.
In fact, one in six (16%) of the applications discovered are utilising outdated components which contain known vulnerabilities, while 4% of them were classified as being suspicious and 1% deemed dangerous.
UK’s Linde, Ineos and Johnson Matthey were among the companies running vulnerable web apps as was Germany’s BASF and France’s Air Liquide. In total, 15 European Chemical Manufacturers were evaluated.
The findings are extremely concerning given external facing applications are prime targets used by threat actors for initial access to launch malware or ransomware.
“From the web applications that were examined, the Chemical Manufacturing industry has a very insecure digital footprint and overall security posture,” said Nicolas Renard, Security Researcher at Outpost24. “We know the significance a cyberattack can have against these critical systems, especially as these relate to hazardous chemicals, national infrastructure, pharmaceutical and medical supplies, which can impact core services.”
Using, Scout, Outpost24’s attack surface management tool, it found that 60% of the manufacturers studied were over what Outpost24 considers ‘critically exposed’ with an aggregated risk score of 32 or higher (out of 58.24). This puts the manufacturers at a significantly higher risk of potential cyberattacks. When compared to other industries in previous studies, Chemical Manufacturers had an overall average exposure score of 35.2, scoring only below EU retailers (48.30) and EU insurance providers (38.1), but above pharmaceutical and healthcare (32.79).
Amongst the most common attack vectors in web applications, the following 3 pose the biggest risks to the Chemical Manufacturers:
- Security Mechanism: 63% of organisations had this as a critical issue
- Degree of Distribution: 38% of organisations had this as a critical issue
- Active Content & Cookies: 31% of organisations had this as a critical issue
“Having continuous asset visibility into the number of web apps that are exposed, and the conditions they are in, will go a long way in reducing risk and remediating any critical vulnerabilities before hackers spot them,” said Stephane Konarkowski, Security Consultant at Outpost24. “With many of the systems internet-connected or external facing, adopting a proactive approach to improving security hygiene and vulnerability exposures could potentially save the company millions.”
To view the full research, click here.