Supply Chain Intelligence


What is Supply Chain Intelligence?

Supply chain intelligence is a type of threat intelligence that focuses on identifying, analyzing, and mitigating risks and vulnerabilities within the supply chain.

What is a Supply Chain Attack?

A supply chain attack is an attack that targets the less-secure elements in a supply network.

This includes compromising a supplier or third-party service provider to gain access to the target organization’s systems and data.

By infiltrating the supply chain, attackers can exploit trust relationships and bypass traditional security measures, potentially causing widespread disruption, data breaches, or unauthorized access to sensitive information.

Why is Supply Chain Threat Intelligence Important?

Supply chain threat intelligence should be part of your organization’s risk management program. Threat intelligence provides businesses with actionable insights to help them mitigate risks from their suppliers and partners. Here are a few of the important benefits:

  1. Prevent Disruptions: It helps prevent disruptions across the entire supply chain network by identifying potential threats before they’re exploiting and effect operational efficiency.
  2. Protect Sensitive Data: It helps protect sensitive data by monitoring for threats targeting an organization’s supply chain, reducing the risk of data breaches and security incidents.
  3. Maintain Reputation: It helps maintain a company’s reputation by preventing incidents that could harm customer trust and brand image.

Types of Supply Chain Threat Intelligence

When integrating supply chain threat intelligence, there are three types of intel that every organization should monitor:

  • Dark Web Intelligence: Recapture your vendors’ stolen credentials, session tokens, and corporate data that could be used to gain access to your network,
  • Malware intelligence: Monitor the latest malware threats, including the latest victims and TTPs, to identify potential risks to your network.
  • Brand Intelligence: Monitor brand mentions, lookalike domains, and impersonation attacks targeting organizations in your supply chain.

Examples of Supply Chain Attacks

  • SolarWinds Attack (2020): Hackers compromised the SolarWinds Orion software by inserting malicious code into its updates, which were then distributed to thousands of customers. This allowed the attackers to breach numerous government and private organizations undetected for several months. The attackers gained access to sensitive information and systems, causing widespread data breaches and security concerns.
  • Target Data Breach (2013): Attackers gained access to Target's network by compromising the credentials of a third-party HVAC vendor. Once inside, they installed malware on Target’s point-of-sale systems, leading to the theft of credit card and personal information of over 40 million customers. The breach caused significant financial loss and reputational damage to Target.
  • NotPetya Attack (2017): The NotPetya malware was distributed through a compromised update of the Ukrainian accounting software MEDoc. The malware quickly spread globally, causing significant disruptions to numerous businesses, including major companies like Maersk and Merck. It resulted in billions of dollars in damages due to it shutting down operations and loss of data.

How to Prevent Supply Chain Attacks

While there’s no silver bullet, there are a number of strategies to help prevent supply chain attacks or at least mitigate their impact, including:

  • Implement strict access controls: Limit access to sensitive systems and data for both internal and external users, using the principle of least privilege.
  • Use multi-factor authentication (MFA): Enforce MFA for all users, especially those accessing critical systems and data, to add an extra layer of security.
  • Implement dark web monitoring: Regularly monitor the dark web for any signs of compromised credentials, session tokens, or sensitive company data across both your organization as well as your supply chain partners. Automatically reset stolen credentials or terminate session cookies as needed.
  • Implement network segmentation: Segment your network to limit the potential impact of a supply chain attack and contain any breaches that occur.
  • Encrypt data in transit and at rest: Ensure that all data exchanged with suppliers and third parties is encrypted to prevent unauthorized access.
  • Monitor and audit third-party activity: Continuously monitor and audit the activities of suppliers and third-party vendors to gain real-time insights into any unusual or unauthorized actions within your network.
  • Establish incident response plans: Develop and maintain incident response plans that include procedures for addressing supply chain attacks.
  • Regularly update and patch systems: Ensure that all systems, including those used by suppliers, are regularly updated and patched to protect against known vulnerabilities.
  • Implement a zero-trust architecture: Adopt a zero-trust approach to security, which assumes that no user or system, whether inside or outside the network, is trustworthy by default.
  • Conduct thorough supplier assessments: Regularly evaluate the security posture of all suppliers and third-party vendors to ensure they meet your organization’s security standards.
  • Require contractual security commitments: Include security requirements and obligations in contracts with suppliers and third-party vendors to ensure they adhere to your security policies.
  • Conduct regular security training: Provide ongoing security awareness training for employees to ensure they understand the risks and know how to respond to potential threats.
  • Perform penetration testing: Regularly conduct penetration testing to identify and remediate vulnerabilities. A pen test report should offer valuable insights into how an attacker could exploit your network.
  • Use secure coding practices: Ensure that software development follows secure coding practices to prevent vulnerabilities that could be exploited in a supply chain attack.