In late 2014, a steel manufacturing facility in Germany lost control of its blast furnace, causing massive damage to the plant. The catastrophe's trigger was traced not to employee error, but rather, a cyber attack.

Hackers had used a "spear phishing" campaign, sending targeted individuals at the company legitimate-looking e-mails that, when opened, pilfered logins and passwords that were used to break into the facility's furnace-control systems.

While facility damage resulting from a cyber attack is rare, the event was an eye-opener for manufacturers worldwide. "People think of Cyber risk in terms of data privacy, not property damage and downtime," says Geoff Taylor, executive vice president for Willis Insurance Services of California, in San Francisco.

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