Wharton Construction has welcomed a national initiative to highlight the threat the industry is facing from cybercrime.
The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has partnered with the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) to issue guidance to support small and medium-sized construction businesses to protect themselves from cyberattacks.
Construction has been identified as the number one industry targeted by ransomware and malware, according to a recent analysis of 1,200 companies across 35 different industries by UK encryption software firm Nordlocker. There have also been several high-profile attacks against construction businesses.
Matthew Wharton, a director of Darlington-headquartered Wharton Construction, said the industry has not historically been a target of cybercrime and as such many SMEs are unprepared or unaware of the threat.
He said: “Construction companies are increasingly losing money through malware and ransomware attacks and, as more buildings have technology built into them, we are seeing the rise of ‘siegeware’ which targets smart buildings’ control systems.
“This is a fragmented and disjointed industry, dealing with numerous clients, invoices, and an extensive supply chain. At the same time, it is embracing new technologies and digital ways of working which increases its exposure to cyberattacks.”
The guidance is aimed at the owners or managers of construction businesses and sets out the threats associated with each stage of the construction process – design, construction, and handover. It also provides advice on how to make a business more resilient against common cyberattacks.
Matthew added: “Like many others across the industry, Wharton Construction has transitioned in recent years to a point where we use technology at every level, both in the office and on site.
“We are involved in a number of high-profile projects across the North East and North Yorkshire and, as such, we take the threat of cyberattacks seriously and have taken steps to protect our business critical data.”
Caroline Gumble, chief executive of CIOB, said: “The consequences of poor cyber security should not be underestimated. They can have a devastating impact on financial margins, the construction programme, business reputation, supply chain relationships, the built asset itself and, worst of all, people’s health, and wellbeing. Understanding the digital aspects of a business, and then minimising and managing the risks presented, is therefore of prime importance.”