Does Your Cell Phone Put Your CNC Shop at Risk


Does Your Cell Phone Put Your CNC Shop at Risk?

As Industry 4.0 continues to unfold, it’s clear that manufacturing is more and more reliant on collecting and analyzing data to improve processes and business practices. Moreover, bilateral communications between machine tools and peripheral devices, such as bar feeders, along with using the Internet to remotely monitor production makes us all more vulnerable to hackers.  

Meanwhile, major security breaches in businesses, credit reporting agencies and even government have prompted manufacturers to shore up their defenses to protect these data from cyber criminals. Of course, these actions are primarily focused on computers, servers and remote data storage.

But what about your mobile phone? Is it as secure as the rest of your information systems?

Virtually everyone has a cell phone and many of us use them for both personal and business purposes. That means that the data they hold is a treasure trove for bad actors whose intent is to steal our identities, trade secrets or other intellectual property.

Here are some things you can do to protect your cell phone data.

  • Update immediately. How often have you received an operating system update notice and tapped the “later” option? Most OS updates include security fixes that help keep your data safe. The sooner you update the OS or install a security update, the better.


  • Lock it up. It’s unlikely you leave the doors to your home unlocked when you go out, yet some people keep the access to their cell phone data wide open at all times. Use a passcode and other safeguards provided by your smart phone. If your device allows for a passcode longer than 4 characters, opt for it. The longer, the stronger.


  • Avoid public Wi-Fi. The free Wi-Fi at the coffee shop or in your hotel is handy and keeps your phone’s data costs down, but it also exposes you to cybercriminals. These Wi-Fi connections are simply not secure and any hacker can grab your data and even take control of your phone.


  • Consider encryption software. The best protection against someone accessing your cell phone data when in transmission is encryption technology. Most smart phones have some degree of encryption, at least for text messaging, but none offer 100% data safety. In addition, all major social media sites have only limited encryption. If you want to be certain that all of your calls and data are safe from prying eyes, look into encryption APPs that are offered for your particular smart phone.


  • Keep all APPs updated. Hackers often exploit vulnerabilities in APPs, and even use them to install malware on your mobile phone. That’s why you should only use APPs from a trusted source, enable auto-updating so security fixes are immediately installed, and get rid of any APPs you no longer use.


It’s unfortunate that the very communications technologies that make our business and personal lives so much better are also gateways for criminals who can cause us great harm. By taking these and other simple steps, you can help keep the cyber wolves at bay.