Securing The Supply Chain

Education,

Recently, the Magecart hackers struck again. This time they targeted more than 17,000 web domains, taking off with sensitive user credit card information. What makes these attacks so difficult to prevent is that Magecart is not a particular group of hackers or a name given to specific malware. Rather, it is an umbrella term that encompasses all cybercriminals who insert digital card skimmers on vulnerable websites. They can use a vast array of methods to infect a wide range of websites.

However, what we are seeing here is only a part of an overall trend of cyber attacks targeting the supply chain. According to a recent report, about 50% of all attacks are targeting the supply chain. With all of this in mind, let’s take a look at some of the biggest cyber risks facing the supply chain today and what one can do to defend against them.

Tampering in the Cloud

All of the software that is used to manage the supply chain, as well as the data storage, is now being hosted in the cloud, which makes securing all apps and data more pressing. If you do not have adequate protection, you are opening yourself up to huge risks, such as unauthorized access or leaving the cloud storage repositories completely opened for anyone to access. In fact, this is one of the largest security gaps that Magecart exploited in their latest when they targeted misconfigured Amazon S3 buckets.

The cloud solution that you choose must have robust access and permission management. This will allow you to connect all of the vendors you are working with to a single network and conduct all of your business more securely. Also, each user will have a role that they will be assigned and each of these roles will only grant them access to the information they are authorized to see. More importantly, there will be an audit trail that keeps track of actions performed on the network, allowing you to see what actually transpired and exactly what the truth is.

Trusting Third-Party Vendors

Given all of the money companies spend on securing their systems and their reputation, we can see why they are hesitant to just simply hand over certain data or credentials. It is important that they only trust vendors that have passed a rigorous security audit. Such an audit will ensure they are using up-to-date security software patches, their procedures are well documented, and that they respond in a timely fashion under a strict protocol. One of the most important procedures to implement is a penetration test. This will allow you to uncover as many vulnerabilities as possible, making certain that all of the customer data is secure. Penetration testing can save you a lot of costs in fines and damages caused by hackers since it will allow you to get out in front of the dangers and stop them before they occur.

Social Engineering

As long as people are a part of the process, there will always be a human factor to deal with. It is easy for an employee of a company to open an email containing malware or simply click on a link that redirects them to a dangerous website. In order to combat this, you have to educate your employees about social engineering and actually test their knowledge and awareness in terms of what these dangerous emails look like.

Compromised IoT Sensors

Companies use IoT devices to manage their inventory supply and assess problems that occur with machinery. However, the sensor on ane IoT device can be breached, giving hackers access to all of the information that the device collects. This includes order volumes, relationships with suppliers and other sensitive information. In order to combat this threat, you need to make sure that all of the points in the IoT ecosystem are encrypted. Furthermore, it is advisable to start a bug bounty program. Basically, when you launch a bug bounty program like those provided by Hacken, you take advantage of the worldwide pool of IT security professionals to pour through your code in search of vulnerabilities. If someone notices that there is some kind of problem with your IoT infrastructure, they will report it to you and receive a bounty for doing so.

Have a Plan

Even if you have robust security measures in place, it would be a mistake to think that you are completely secure. New threats emerge every day, and the defenses that you put in place one day might be outdated the next. This is why initiatives like bug bounty programs and security audits are so important. You must have a plan of action for what to do in the event of a cyber attack. This will allow you to mitigate the damage caused by the attack and help you bounce back faster.

Such a plan should include a coordinated response facilitated by a team who will be responsible for minimizing the damage. They will need to identify the type of attack, allowing you to plan your best course of action to secure your network from further damage. Once the situation has been assessed,  it is time to implement a mitigation plan to deal with the aftermath. Most likely the data breach causes sensitive data loss, which could lead to a loss of trust with the customers. You must have a plan of action for restoring this trust, assuring users that you will prevent an event like this from happening in the future.

Given how complex the modern supply chain has become, providing effective security for all of the data, apps, and processes involved has become a huge challenge. There are so many access points for hackers to exploit that it is difficult for one to stay on top of everything. However, security is vital to the function of any supply chain, and your approach to security must be multifaceted including defenses against a broad range of attacks. This is why you must frequently conduct audits of your defenses, in order to understand exactly where you are vulnerable. The more you invest in defending your infrastructure, the more you will save in fines and reputation loss in the future.

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