Catapult Tech Solutions Blog

Beware! Supply chain attacks might come from an unlikely source.

Avoid the Trap of Supply Chain Attacks

Cybercriminals constantly refine their tactics to target new victims with the latest attacks. One of the latest tactics is a supply chain attack. A supply chain attack occurs when a bad actor targets a software vendor to deliver malicious code through seemingly legitimate products or updates. Supply chain attacks allow a fraudster to compromise technology software distribution systems to deliver malware, such as ransomware, and potentially create an entryway into the networks of the supplier’s customers.

How can a supply chain attack your company?

We have all been taught not to open emails or click links from unfamiliar sources. In addition, we know to never provide our credentials. But in the case of supply chain attacks, the malware is cleverly hidden. The hardware and/or software your employees are already familiar with compromises your system. Instead of directly infiltrating your network, they access information a third-party vendor delivers to your network. Consequently, delivery under the guise of being from a trusted source, no one suspects malicious activity. That is to say no one notices —until it’s too late.

Once the attacker breaks in, they have privileged access to the network. They can change code, hijack updates, and bypass perimeter security measures. As a result, they return for repeated access for multiple attacks on varied systems and levels.

Security Information and Event Management System

Hackers use whatever tools are at their disposal to gain access to data, systems, and networks. Certainly, there are things you can do to safeguard your system. For one thing, a Security Information and Event Management System (SIEM) can control cybersecurity. It is a powerful tool specifically with real time incident response to threats and vulnerabilities. Likewise, it addresses those threats that may get past regular prevention tools.

SIEM is a valuable, yet expensive and time-consuming tool. To configure, maintain, and review the alerts from the SIEM requires resources and time. To mitigate the strain to the institution’s time and resources, many opt for SIEM as a service. Your company hires a third party to manage the SIEM and monitor it. Your IT department then focuses on alerts from the third party, eliminating the need to identify every potential threat.

Endpoint Detection and Response

Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) is another tool. EDR detects and isolates malware in an infected system. That being done, it removes the malware, which solves the problem.

EDR employs artificial intelligence to learn baseline patterns of behavior. The data collected from EDR can be sent to a SIEM to add yet another layer of protection.

Supply chain attacks surpass cheap and fast software

Open-source software can be a high risk for these sorts of attacks. A point often overlooked is end users are comfortable with software that is cheap and fast. There is just so much of it around.

In some industries, regulatory frameworks test vendors and their security. But this can be expensive. The vendors then must pass the cost onto the consumer, or the consumer must vet the vendor itself.

3 strategies to prevent supply chain attacks

First of all, one basic way to protect your network from supply chain attacks is to conduct and test regular system back-ups. Ransomware holds your data captive. Significantly, if that data is stored elsewhere, the attack becomes less threatening. Sounds simple, but is often not the process in place. For this strategy to be successful, your back up must segregate and isolate your data from your regular online network. Otherwise, the attacker will grab the data AND the backups.

Next, it is important to realize that although a business can outsource network level cyber security, users are still a critical element. The in-house culture of the users must be focused on cyber security as well. Policies and procedures are important as is requiring their use.

The frontline of nearly every cybersecurity challenge is always employees. This is especially true when employees work remotely from other networks. Employees need up to date training on how to keep your data secure. Protect your institution by requiring your employees be proactive regarding cyber-security.

Last, another important consideration occurs on the front end of choosing a vendor. Insisting your vendor outline their security measures is an important element of the contract you negotiate with them. If a vendor experiences a breach they can be pushed out of business. In addition to losing a supply source, it threatens your network security. With that in mind, remember the possibility that you may be unable to recoup the loss or have any recovery systems available.

Cyber security demands grow every day

Doing all that is necessary to protect your business may appear overwhelming. There is a lot to stay on top of in the industry as well as installing and continually monitoring security status. Is it too much of a strain on your IT department? That is, if you have an IT department. You don’t need to create or “beef up” an IT department. Instead, look to Catapult Tech Solutions to help you. Outsource the management of IT security to professionals.

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