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What Businesses Should Know About Supply Chain Attacks

The past two years have been nothing short of chaotic, not only for the general population but also for businesses both small and large alike. Taking a trip up to the store became impossible for a while, and in some areas of the world, flat out illegal. That, in turn, brought on a whole new set of challenges for business. Setting up online stores, learning e-commerce, and estimating shipping charges and shipping times all added to the stress. Imagine juggling all that as a business only to have a cyberattack become the forefront of your issues. 


Supply Chain Attacks on The Rise 

As the utilization rate of online shopping increases, so does the utilization rate of your supply chain. What is a supply chain? As the name suggests, it’s simply a sequence of processes involved in the production and distribution of a commodity. In 2020 the disruptions of supply chains saw an uptick of 67% and are expected to increase 268%. 

A supply chain attack occurs when threat actors compromise enterprise networks using connected applications or services owned or used by outside partners, such as suppliers. What makes supply chains so valuable to hackers is the amount of trust and sensitive data involved. Hacking into one segment of the supply chain can lead them up the chain, if you will, to a larger segment where they can steal, encrypt, or destroy critical data and cost companies millions in both repair costs and reputation damages. 


A Domino Effect 

As a company grows and adds more links to their chain, the threat of supply chain attacks compounds. Often companies work with each other, which can cause an overlap in data transactions. A successful supply chain attack can be detrimental to more than one link in the chain. In late 2020, the Solar Winds attack saw more than 18,000 companies worldwide affected. Due to the nature of their services and products, hackers successfully gained access to a vast amount of networks, including cybersecurity group FireEye. Supply chains are more than just a few links long. In the cyberworld, every “cyber-bridge” built could be a pathway leading to your company. 


Attack Methods 

The main goal of supply chain attackers is to compromise and gain access to trusted services. Once they've accomplished that, they can gain access to much more valuable corporate resources. One very common tactic is phishing. A successful phishing excursion can lead to account data and passwords, making it easy for them to examine source codes without triggering network defenses. Malware is common as well. It can be used to extract key source codes, which can be modified and reinserted. 


What Can You Do? 

After all of that, you may be left with feelings of doom and inevitability. Well, you shouldn’t. You can think of cybersecurity like any other security. Take your house, for instance. If a burglar breached your house, they would have access to all your personal information. The simplest way to protect your home would be making sure the locks on the door work, and the same can be said for cybersecurity. 

Penetration Testing is the process of identifying security gaps in your IT infrastructure by mimicking a real-world attacker. It allows you to know whether or not your “doors are locked,” so to speak. Another common defense you can implement is Security Awareness Training. There are many aspects to the training, but one tool, in particular, is a Phishing Simulator. It is a dummy email sent to employees of all ranks to test how easily they fall for a phishing scam. They look compelling and realistic, making the training a valuable tool for when a threat inevitably targets your organization. 

The team at TechGuard Security is highly trained to help secure organizations from all types of cyberattacks. Learn how we can use the tools mentioned above to prevent supply chain attacks from bringing your business to a halt.


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Written by Kevin Urbeck