Cybercriminals are remarkably lazy. Hackers are constantly refining their techniques in order to achieve maximum impact with minimal effort. One such accomplishment is the adoption of a Ransomware-as-a-Service model.
However, the invention of the supply chain attack may have marked the pinnacle of cyberattack efficiency. Supply chain attacks are becoming more common, to the point of crippling critical infrastructure in the United States. President Joe Biden had also signed an aspirational Executive Order calling for a complete reformation of supply chain information security standards across government agencies and the private industry to significantly slow this pattern.
What is a Supply Chain Attack?
A supply chain attack is a form of cyberattack in which an organization's supply chain is compromised. These flaws are typically associated with vendors who have poor security postures. Vendors demand access to private information in order to incorporate with their users; therefore, if a vendor is damaged, its users may also be compromised as a result of this shared pool of data.
Because vendors have a large user base, a single compromised vendor frequently results in a data breach affecting multiple businesses. This is what makes supply chain attacks so effective: rather than laboriously breaching each target one at a time, multiple targets can be compromised from a single vendor.
How can A Supply Chain Attack Be Prevented?
Every organization in a supply chain must recognize that it is a possible future target for cyber-breach and should understand how to protect its data and system. Here are some steps your company should take to strengthen its cyber defenses:
- Map Out The Threat Landscape
The very first step would be to outline the entire software supply chain. It can be comprised of a large range of software vendors, open-source projects, IT, and cloud services in a large organization. Software composition analysis (SCA) tools, for example, could be used to explore which software dependencies are hidden within an organization's software projects and scan those for security and licensing issues. However, this is not sufficient; you must also perform a thorough inventory of all third-party tools and services used during your software projects.
- Staff Education
Staff is the primary entry points for malicious software injections since they are frequently duped into granting cybercriminals access to an ecosystem. Spam messages are the most common type of deception (or phishing attacks). These emails appear to be sent by trustworthy colleagues, but when opened, malicious codes are activated and internal login information is stolen.
These login credentials could provide threat actors with access to an ecosystem, triggering the search for more privileged accounts. To avoid such incidents, all employees must be educated on common cyberattack methods so that they can recognize and report breach attempts rather than become victims of them.
- Control Risk Over Developer Endpoints
Several more supply chain attacks target developer workspaces or development environments. For attackers, a programmer workstation with permission to commit code to the CI/CD pipeline is a "jackpot." This is how the infamous SolarWinds attack managed to breach the company's build pipeline and inject malicious artifacts directly into its product.
Any endpoint - workstation, server, or cloud virtual machine - that is part of one’s company's build phase should be thoroughly protected. This can be accomplished by deploying endpoint security platforms, such as endpoint detection and response (EDR) technology, which can detect abnormal endpoint behavior and allow security teams to respond immediately.
- Limit Data Access
It is common for businesses to make their data accessible to third parties. This, however, must be done with caution. The fewer people who have access to information, the easier it is to limit and eliminate risks. Conduct an audit to decide who has access to the data and what they do with it. Regulation can also be exercised by a company sharing data with vendors in a one-way feed.
- Implementing Honeytokens
Using honeytokens can help your company avoid major risks. Honeytokens serve as data decoys, luring attackers to assets that show up valuable. As hackers approach the decoys, a message will be sent to the firm, able to alert the IT and/or cyber security groups to the presence of hackers, who may be dealt with immediately.
- Policies and Governance
Check that your supply chain vendors' security policies and practices are organized, affirmed, and certificated. Formal certification, such as a HIPAA Business Partner Agreement or a PCI audit, can be used to verify this. Internal governance is required for vendors to ensure that security devices and processes are put in place.
Contract terms between both the firm and its suppliers must state clearly the rules and guidelines for data access and use in order to accurately assign liability in the event of violations. Suppliers should be required to notify the organization if their agreements are violated. There must also be clear provisions for risk mitigation when a vendor relationship has ended.
- Network Segmentation
Third parties should not be able to view each point on your network unless absolutely necessary. This is completely unnecessary. Use network segmentation to divide your network into territories based on business features. It is more difficult for attackers to make concessions to your business operations when it is organized in this manner.
- Identify Insider Threats
Insider threats aren't always inspired by malice. Most of the time, they are unaware of the consequences associated with their behavior. Such inexperienced end-users will be weeded out by the cyber risk awareness program.
Insider threats from hostile insiders are difficult to detect. They're also far riskier since they can give threat actors the specific access they need to launch a software supply chain attack. Regular staff feedback surveys, as well as an open and supportive work environment, will address issues before they become hostile insider threats.
Get Started With Sun IT Solutions
By constantly monitoring for security flaws and information leakage that can be exported in a supply chain attack, Sun IT Solutions enables organizations to take full ownership of their third-party protection.
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