Is a Vendor Your Biggest Cybersecurity Headache?

Risks of a Supply Chain Attack

Cybersecurity is a main focal point in most organization’s business objectives. But have you considered the risks posed by attacks on your vendors, and what it could do to your business?

A supply chain attack is when your system is infiltrated via an attack on a vendor’s system, where that vendor has access to your data and systems. This type of attack is drastically changing how businesses should enforce cybersecurity measures.

The risks of supply chain attacks are at an all-time high. Cyber criminals are becoming increasingly intelligent, with better resources and tools to execute a breach. Consequently, your business is left exposed.

Here, we look at the main risks to your business when one of your vendors suffers cyberattack.

How Big a threat Are Supply Chain Attacks?

The odds of falling victim to next-generation supply chain attacks are against your business. According to the latest 2020 State of the Software Supply Chain report by Sonatype, supply chain attacks have massively accelerated by 430% in a single year.

As businesses tighten their cybersecurity efforts, attackers are heading further down the channels, and infiltrating where protection is weakened, and where detection is severely delayed.

The Dangers of a Supply Chain Attack

It’s clear that any form of attack will be bad news for business. The longer attackers go undetected, the more damage is done. There are medium- and long-term consequences to supply chain attacks. These include:

·      Loss of Internal Information

Infiltration of your systems could spell devastating consequences from the theft of confidential information and internal data that may also bring day-to-day tasks to a halt.

·      Loss of External Information

Information falling into the wrong hands could cripple a company that was supposed to provide a secure environment.

·      Company Reputation

A consequence of lost trust, failing your responsibility to host confidential information and data in a safe environment. A damaged reputation may lead to loss of business, huge profit losses, and years to regain your customers’ trust.

·      Sanctions

In a bid to protect users, regulations are tightening. For example, GDPR became mandatory for those conducting business in Europe in May 2016, placing the responsibility of the protection of confidentiality squarely on businesses’ shoulders. If you fall victim to a supply chain attack, you’ll also suffer a further devastating blow of sanctions from breached legislation.

Are You Vulnerable?

All vendors are vulnerable to a cyberattack, meaning that you are vulnerable to a supply chain attack.

Cyber criminals seek those who are least prepared; and those who are least prepared are often those who least expect to be targeted. Thus, no vendor can be eliminated from risk. However, vendors that use the following software and infrastructure are proving to be most vulnerable to supply chain attacks:

·      Commercial Software

Any company that produces software or hardware for other vendors is at an increased risk of being attacked. This includes security vendors. Security vendor Immuniweb reported that 97% of the world’s top 400 cybersecurity companies suffered data leaks or breaches in 2020.

·      Open Source

Sonatype’s 2020 State of the Software Supply Chain Report states that supply chain attacks on open-source software projects are a major issue due to vulnerabilities.

This may be especially relevant to your business, as 90% of all applications contain open-source code and 11% of those applications have known vulnerabilities.

·      Foreign Sourcing

Foreign countries may pose high threats when those countries export technology. Therefore, any organization or private company that sources technology from foreign suppliers, especially low-cost countries, is exposed to potentially compromised electronics from the moment of purchase.

·      Hardware Manufacturers

Hardware manufacturers provide routers, servers, IoT devices, and mobile phones through outsourcing certain components to a complex network of vendors, often with limited control over security risks. Though hardware will require a much more sophisticated attack to be tampered with, the consequences would be highly serious.

6 Tactics to Avoid a Supply Chain Attack

To protect the high-impact consequences of a supply chain attack, follow these tips:

  1. Create and regularly update an effective software asset inventory.
  2. Communicate with vendor CISOs to ensure their security processes and procedures provide the required level of protection for business.
  3. Remove outdated or redundant systems, reducing access points to infiltrate.
  4. Routinely assess key services for protection, as well as implement contingency plans in the event of a security breach.
  5. Ensure validation of supplier risk is engrained continuously, and not simply periodically.
  6. Ensure the latest technologies specific to business needs are being incorporated, such as Runtime Application Self Protection (RASP).

Organizations should also maximize efforts to improve employee awareness and understanding, and engagement of security protocols, increasing vigilance and detection efforts to reduce risk.

Protect Your Company from Supply Chain Attacks

Vendor security is an evolving threat to businesses who think they’ve closed all potential access points to their systems. It’s time you took inventory of your current security measures and risk points with a professional, high-spec security assessment, conducted by our team of experienced and certified U.S.-based consultants.

If one of your vendors is attacked, by the time you hear about it, the damage to you may already be done. To ensure your cybersecurity with quality penetration testing services at competitive prices, contact Tiro Security today.

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