Supply Chain cyberattacks: The invisible threat organisations must address

2nd October 2023BlogAJ Thompson

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Supply chain cyber security has become a priority concern for many organisations today

In today’s digital landscape, cyberattacks have become increasingly sophisticated and widespread, with supply chain attacks emerging as a particular threat. These attacks exploit vulnerabilities within an organisation’s network by targeting its suppliers and partners. The consequences can be devastating, as cybercriminals gain unauthorised access to sensitive data and infrastructure.

In this article, AJ Thompson will explore the growing threat of supply chain cyberattacks and discuss strategies to effectively protect your organisation’s data.

The rise of supply chain cyberattacks

Over the past few years, supply chain attacks have become an alarming trend across multiple sectors. No organisation is immune, as even those with robust cyber security measures in place have fallen victim to these attacks. The very nature of supply chain attacks undermines frontline investments in cyber security, as vulnerabilities within partner systems provide cybercriminals with a backdoor entry.

AJ Thompson commented: ” Supply chain attacks are especially dangerous because they allow cyber criminals to exploit vulnerabilities in partner systems, even if an organisation has invested heavily in cyber defences.  Every organisation is at risk from these threats”.

Recent incidents reveal widespread supply chain cyber security vulnerabilities

In August 2023, Ministry of Defence documents were leaked online due to a breach at Zaun, a security fence supplier. The breach was carried out by the Russian cyber-security group, LockBit Ransom. Although Zaun was not the main target, their vulnerability allowed the hackers to access sensitive data by bypassing the MOD’s strong frontline security. This incident highlights how interconnected supply chains can put multiple entities at risk if one link is compromised.

Another recent incident serves as a stark reminder that even organisations boasting top-tier security measures are susceptible to supply chain attacks.

In August 2023, the Metropolitan Police fell victim to a supply chain breach when one of its IT suppliers was successfully hacked by cybercriminals, potentially jeopardising the personal details of thousands of serving police and support staff.

Earlier in the year, the hack of software provider MOVEit resulted in the theft of substantial amounts of data from numerous prominent organisations, including PwC, Aon, BBC, British Airways, Aer Lingus, Boots, Shell, Siemens Energy, UCLA, and more.

MOVEit, which offers managed file transfer software services, found itself targeted by a ransomware gang, highlighting how easily cybercriminals can gain access to data from multiple major companies with minimal effort.

Rethinking how we evaluate supply chain cyber security risks

The rising supply chain attacks require organisations to rethink their cybersecurity approach. Simply investing in frontline defences is insufficient for large companies to safeguard against breaches. Likewise, smaller companies must recognise their vulnerability to supply chain attacks, just like larger enterprises.

It is essential to recognise that no company, regardless of size or cyber security budget, is immune to these threats. All organisations must prioritise supply chain security to effectively mitigate the risk. Click To Tweet

Supply Chain Security

Taking a proactive and collaborative approach to supply chain cyber security

Traditionally, organisations relied on questionnaires to assess the cyber security capabilities of their partners. However, this approach is no longer sufficient in the face of evolving cybercriminal tactics.

Today, solutions capable of providing a 360-degree view of the entire supply chain, pinpointing potential vulnerabilities, allow organisations to promptly address security gaps. This proactive approach enables current partners to enhance their security measures before cybercriminals exploit weaknesses and empower potential partners to address concerns before formalising any contractual agreements.

How can you protect your organisation?

To effectively protect your organisation from supply chain cyberattacks, it is crucial to implement a multi-layered security strategy. Here are some key measures we recommend you consider:

Vendor Risk Assessment: Conduct thorough assessments of your vendors’ cyber security practices, including their data protection measures and incident response capabilities.

Continuous Monitoring: Implement continuous monitoring of your supply chain to detect any suspicious activity or vulnerabilities. This can involve using advanced threat detection tools and monitoring systems.

Secure Communication: Establish secure communication channels with your partners, ensuring the encryption of sensitive data during transmission.

Employee Training: Educate your employees about the risks of supply chain attacks and the importance of following cyber security best practices. Regular training sessions can help create a culture of vigilance and awareness.

Incident Response Plan: Develop a robust incident response plan that outlines the steps to be taken in the event of a supply chain breach. This plan should include procedures for containment, investigation, and recovery.

The way forward

“Companies must be aware of the danger and look into solutions that provide a full view of potential vulnerabilities within their supply chain. This approach will enable organisations to address any gaps in security before cyber-criminals attempt to exploit them.”

With the rising threat of supply chain attacks, organisations must stay vigilant and adapt their security strategies accordingly.  It is crucial to acknowledge the vulnerability of interconnected networks and take proactive steps to strengthen cyber security measures. By prioritising supply chain security and implementing robust measures, we can safeguard our data and minimise the risk of devastating cyberattacks.

Remember, protecting your organisation’s data is an ongoing process that requires continuous evaluation, adaptation, and collaboration with trusted partners. Stay informed, stay proactive, and never underestimate the importance of supply chain security in today’s digital landscape.

Take steps today to enhance your supply chain’s resilience and protect your valuable assets. Contact me at 020 74488500 or email me at if you have any questions or would like a free consultation on your cyber security posture.

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