3 Tips For Cutting-Edge Cyber Supply Chain Risk Management

Man checking tablet for cyber supply chain risk management

Organizations are fast discovering the cybersecurity best practices they rely upon could prove inadequate in a supply chain cyber attack. The rise of supply chain attacks has impacted far-reaching companies without hackers needing to specifically target their operations. 

That’s why thought leaders are reaching out to managed IT firms with security expertise to perform a cyber supply chain risk management assessment. Knowing how supply chain cyber attacks occur and ways to reduce risk exposure could prevent millions in losses and a tarnished reputation.

What are Supply Chain Cyber Attacks?

Supply chain cyberattacks are attempts to exploit software and systems vulnerabilities to damage, disrupt, or steal valuable and sensitive digital assets. The criminal acts are typically orchestrated by hacking into or infiltrating part of a loosely connected network of organizations. In some instances, hackers deploy malicious applications into widely used software that organically spreads throughout supply chain business networks. 

By that same token, hackers may play the long game by launching a widespread attack with the intention of reaching a single target. In 2022, supply chain cyber attacks skyrocketed by 633 percent.

Examples of the Biggest Supply Chain Attacks

Cybercriminals have a penchant for exploiting the weakest link. This holds true of garden variety hackers who look for poorly-defensed networks and pluck them like low-hanging fruit. In terms of a supply chain attack, online burglars search for ways to end-run robust protections. Although there are too many examples to list, these are examples of recent supply chain attacks that highlight the problem.


The 2020 SolarWinds attack impacted more than 30,000 public and private organizations when advanced persistent threats hacked into the software company. Using login credentials reportedly left online by an intern, malware was hidden in a software update used by top government agencies, among many others. When the infected update was released, every one of the users got sick. The most notable include federal departments such as Homeland Security, State, Commerce, and the Treasury.


The credit bureau reportedly took a hit that negatively impacted 147 million customers. The cyberattack differed from methods such as phishing schemes and distributed denial-of-service attacks because hackers also used a software vulnerability. It appears the managed IT and security staff at Equifax failed to patch an application. Patching protocols are a subcategory of a larger cyber supply chain risk management strategy.

How to Prevent Supply Chain Attacks

The cost of cyberattacks is expected to exceed $60 billion by 2025. The economic impact on individual companies can run into the millions. But the reputational effect it has on customer loyalty and enterprises in your orbit can be devastating. When a vendor or supplier gets stung because another company didn’t patch programs or failed to protect sensitive data, the loss of trust ends relationships. That’s why the following ways to prevent supply chain attacks could save your livelihood.

1: Conduct a Risk Assessment

A formal risk assessment involves having a third-party managed IT firm with cybersecurity expertise assess your entire system. This includes everything from cloud-based data storage to remote devices and everything in between. A cybersecurity services consultant searches for the same vulnerabilities as a hacker. But instead of receiving a ransomware demand, you get a full report. The information helps industry leaders make prudent decisions about hardening their cybersecurity defenses.

2: Implement Zero-Trust Architecture

Companies that adopt the zero-trust model change the way they issue login credentials. Rather than allowing employees and vendors carte blanche access, each profile has restrictions. When someone logs into the system, they can complete tasks using only necessary files and applications. To go further, permissions are required. If you suffer a supply chain hack similar to SolarWinds, the cybercriminals would never have enjoyed open access to software update data.

3: Identify Insider Threats

Although it may sound like you don’t trust long-standing and dedicated employees, insider threats are not malicious in nature. One of the most consistent insider threats stems from human error. Between 88 and 95 percent of data breaches result from mistakes, depending on the study. The people you trust to perform goal-achieving responsibilities too often do not have the cybersecurity awareness training to identify a basic cyberattack scheme.

Hackers are keenly aware that wide-reaching companies need to adequately educate their workforce. Making awareness training part of your cyber supply chain risk management policy can only improve your security posture.

Contact a Trusted Cybersecurity & Managed IT Service Provider

At CyberTeam, our managed IT and cybersecurity experts have the experience and technology to deter and prevent supply chain attacks. Contact CyberTeam to schedule a risk assessment, and let’s get the process started.

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