With IP the lifeblood of today’s globally integrated microelectronics supply chain, protecting confidential information is vital to electronics companies around the world. Additionally, the industry’s central role in ensuring the national security and economic competitiveness of every country ups the ante. Yet the supply chain is fraught with security risks. Malicious actors never rest in their work to infiltrate factory systems or human resources databases with the intent to steal IP, disrupt production or embed malicious software that can open the door to future attacks.
Cyberattacks in the financial and retail sectors typically draw much more public attention than IT security breaches in the semiconductor industry. While large microelectronics companies are not immune to these threats, they tend to deploy some of the world’s strongest security systems and implement robust security policies and protocols to help mitigate risks. Many of their small and mid-sized counterparts with modest IT budgets and limited expertise, on the other hand, struggle to maintain a similar level of cyberhealth – a critical gap in the microelectronics industry, one of the most strategically important in the world.
SEMI is out to help change that by collaborating with cybersecurity experts to help members strengthen their cybersecurity defenses. SEMI plans to increase cybersecurity awareness within the microelectronics workforce and offer cybersecurity assessments to member companies through a third-party provider as part of its SEMI Works® program.
Working with experts, SEMI will add cybersecurity-related competencies to the SEMI Works® Skills Portal database to help ensure educational and training programs address these skills. As part of SEMI’s recently launched Curated Content Initiative, member companies will have access to workforce training courses on how to raise awareness of cybersecurity risks and mitigate them.
Strengthening IP protections across smart technologies and industries driving the next wave of microelectronics industry growth such as artificial intelligence (AI), 5G, medtech and mobility starts in chip design and extends through fabrication to packaging and ultimately end-use applications. Helping to establish a baseline understanding and awareness of cybersecurity risks and how to mitigate them throughout the supply chain is critical.
Bolstering cyber protections at small and mid-sized member companies is a key step in that direction. Commercial success, national security and the security of the ubiquitous IT infrastructures at the center of how we work and live depend on it.
Mike Russo is vice president of Industry Advancement and Government Programs at SEMI.