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Cybersecurity in Supply Chain

Supply Chain is the set of processes, activities, people, organizations and resources involved in the production and delivery of a product or service to the final consumer. It begins with obtaining the necessary materials to prepare them and includes all the steps up to final delivery to the customer. These steps are:

  • Production;

  • Packaging;

  • Transport to distribution;

  • Storage;

  • Inventory management.

It is important for the success of any business, as it helps to reduce costs, improve the quality of products and services and increase efficiency and customer satisfaction. With efficient management, it is easy to minimize risks and uncertainties, such as delivery delays or quality issues.


What are Supply Chain Attacks?

Supply Chain attacks are a sophisticated form of cyberattack that takes advantage of the complexity and interconnectedness of a company's supply chain to infiltrate its network and compromise its security systems.


Particularly dangerous and difficult to detect, they affect a large number of organizations, even if the attacker only targets a single vendor and hides within a trusted one rather than directly within the victim's system.


They are carried out through various methods, such as the use of malicious software in the suppliers' products or services or the exploitation of vulnerabilities in hardware components.


The attacks not only affect the target company, but also its customers and business partners, causing financial and reputational damage. Organizations need to be prepared to deal with this ongoing threat by implementing appropriate security measures and carefully checking the integrity of their suppliers and business partners.


Attacks Reported in the News

Below are some examples of Supply Chain attacks that have been widely reported in the media:

  • SolarWinds Supply Chain Attack: In 2020, software company SolarWinds fell victim to a cyberattack that crippled its network management products. The attackers injected malware into a company software update, which was then distributed to thousands of customers, including all branches of the US Military, the Pentagon, the State Department, as well as hundreds of universities and colleges worldwide. This allowed those responsible for the attack to have access to confidential information and user data from various organizations.


  • Attack on Target's Supply Chain: In 2013, Target, a chain of retail stores in the United States of America, was the target of an attack that compromised the credit card data of more than 40 million customers. The hackers were able to obtain Target's systems through an outside heating company that provided HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) services for the store.

  • NotPetya Supply Chain Attack: In 2017, malware called NotPetya spread across the globe, causing massive damage to businesses across multiple industries. This malware was spread via an update to Ukrainian accounting software M.E.Doc, which was widely used in the country. Hackers altered the software and distributed the altered version to the provider's customers under the guise of a valid software update.

How to be Protected

The examples above are just a few examples of Supply Chain attacks, and illustrate how hackers use the supply chain to compromise the security of organizations around the world. Because they are increasingly common, sophisticated and difficult to detect and avoid, there are measures that serve to protect against these attacks, some of them are:

  • Choosing Reliable Vendors: Research into the reputation and security record of the vendor needs to be done before choosing it. Make sure it has a robust policy and regularly conducts security tests.

  • Implementing Access Control Measures: To reduce the risk of an attack, limiting entry to important systems and data is essential. Therefore, control policies have to be implemented so that only people who need to can access the systems.

  • Network traffic monitoring: In detecting suspicious activity, network traffic should be regularly monitored. This helps identify potential supply chain attacks before they become a problem.

  • Performing regular security checks: When performing regular security checks on vendors, put policies in place. The action includes assessing vulnerabilities, risks and reviewing these security policies.

  • Use of Encryption: Encryption is necessary to protect private data both at rest and in transit. It includes two-factor authentication and other security measures.

  • Stay tuned: Keep up with the latest security and technology trends, as well as vendor security updates. Also, install security patches regularly.

Remember that security is an ongoing effort and there is no single solution that can completely protect you from Supply Chain attacks. Always be vigilant and take proactive steps to maintain security.


Final Considerations

Supply Chain attacks are a significant threat to businesses, especially in a world that is increasingly interconnected and dependent on outside vendors. Attacks that can be devastating, allowing hackers to gain access to networks and systems through trusted vendors. Detecting such attacks can be difficult, making prevention and preparation even more important.


There needs to be collaboration between organizations and their suppliers, with both parties working together to ensure that security measures are created and maintained. Only with a proactive and collaborative approach to risk management is it possible to have a secure and resilient supply chain, protecting organizations against attacks.


Did you already know about attacks in Supply Chain? Leave your like and stay tuned for more news!

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