DURHAM, N.C. (AP) — Online thieves are increasingly hitting today's just-in-time manufacturing sector with cyberattacks that demand ransom to make computer malware go away.

A report by NTT Security says manufacturers, government and financial firms are now the top targets globally for illicit intrusions by criminals, foreign espionage agencies and others.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's incident response data show that since 2015, U.S. manufacturers considered "critical" to the economy and normal modern life, like makers of autos and aviation parts, have been the main targets of cyberattacks. That outstripped energy, communications and other types of critical infrastructure.

The numbers may be imprecise because companies in key industries often don't report attacks for fear of diminished public perception.