HERNDON, VA. – With the United States stepping up sanctions over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, PMMI, The Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies, produced a short list of tips that could be useful in preventing cyberattacks that attempt to disrupt US infrastructure and supply chains.

On the latest episode of the “UnPACKed with PMMI” podcast, PMMI’s IT director, Andy Lomasky, and the association’s OT specialist, Bryan Griffen, provided some recommendations that can assist employees at all levels of processing and packaging operations. 

The first tip, Griffen said, is for companies to ensure all “devices, operating systems, firmware and software are patched and up to date, and that all have an antivirus or antimalware tool that is capable of detecting sophisticated threats, like ransomware, deployed across your organization.”

Lomasky said PMMI also recommends that plants implement access protections such as multifactor authentication on as many log-ins and accounts as possible.

“Make sure your log-ins are long and complex to prevent them from being easily cracked,” Lomasky said. “And remember to follow the rule of least privilege, only providing access to what employees need to get their jobs done.”

As a third piece of advice, Griffen said companies should scan their networks.

“Know what is on it and make sure you know how to configure it and protect it – especially those hidden devices on the manufacturing floor like wi-fi modems,” Griffen added.

Additionally, Lomasky urged packaging and processing companies to back up every type of file that’s important to business operation, as well as to have a good IT disaster recovery and business continuity plan that has been tested.

Finally, Griffen encouraged companies to make sure employees are trained to recognize cybersecurity threats, “from phishing and smishing, to spoofing and malware. Employees are your first line of defense on the front line every day.”

The entire episode is available on PMMI’s website.