Ransomware attacks on supply chains are becoming more common. The malware, which is most commonly spread through spam emails, encrypts users’ files and holds them ransom until the user pays a fee to access their data.
As business models become more sophisticated as a result of digitisation, their supply chains are being subjected to increased turmoil. Cybercriminals are more likely to target a company’s supply chain to maximise damage by threatening the whole ecosystem.
In order to protect your manufacturing business from cyber-attacks and ransomware, you need to implement safeguards that limit the risks you face when running operations.
What is ransomware?
Ransomware is malware that encrypts files on a user’s computer. The user is given a message demanding payment to decrypt their data. In some cases, the malware will even delete the data if the ransom is not paid.
When used against a supply chain, cybercriminals attempt to disrupt the flow of goods from one point in the supply chain to another. This can include the production and distribution of raw materials, parts and finished products.
In order for this type of attack to be successful, the malicious actor would gain access to the production and distribution facilities of the targeted company and disrupt the flow of goods. By doing this, the attacker could cause a delay in the delivery of finished products or have the wrong items shipped to customers.
An attack on a manufacturer’s supply chain would also have the potential to impact their suppliers. This is because if a company’s product is delayed or is not delivered to a customer, the customer is likely to take their business elsewhere.
Supply chain attacks and ransomware
The 2021 Kaseya ransomware attack is a prime example of the impact ransomware attacks have on businesses and their consumers through the supply chain. As an IT solutions developer, Kaseya provides IT solutions to managed service providers (MSPs) who then deliver the solutions to their own customers. Malicious actors took advantage of Kaseya’s software vulnerabilities, allowing them to spread ransomware through the supply chains. The MSPs affected unknowingly delivered the tampered software to their customers, who were then impacted by ransomware on their networks.
Service delivery disruption
Cyber incidents can have a strong negative impact on your business. Ransomware supply chain attacks targeting manufacturers can make providers and suppliers unavailable for prolonged periods of time as they work to restore service.
It takes time for a ransomware incident to disrupt any manufacturing industry supply chain, but the consequences can be severe. To minimise the risk, you must have a clear understanding of how you would continue to serve your customers in the event of a link being removed.
Proactively defending your supply chains
You should be constantly looking to proactively adopt cyber security measures that bolster the security of your supply chains. Cybercriminals are always evolving and changing the way they conduct their attacks, and your security needs to adapt in response.
The first thing to do is recognise the importance of a strong cyber security posture and understand the risks involved in being part of a supply chain. All partners involved in a business must have an agreement on liability for cyber breaches, and have a documented record of their cyber security procedures. For example, by regularly conducting penetration tests, you can identify where your vulnerabilities are and how to improve them.
Managing supply chain risks
Understanding each of your third parties, their inventories, and their risk management practices can help you identify who presents the largest threat to your cyber security supply chain management. Determine the risk levels associated with each third party relationship, and then evaluate it – when contracts are signed, and at intermittent stages throughout your partnership.
Ensure appropriate controls are in place to address key supplier cybersecurity risks by negotiating contractual terms. You will need to monitor these controls through ongoing assurance, and ensure these key controls (for example, authentication, user access, etc.) are continuously functioning.
Remain constantly vigilant of changes in the threat profile of third parties, and make sure you maintain a constant watch on them to stay informed of new environmental risks. One-off audits are not enough to ensure your supply chain risk management.
Ensure that your reporting mechanisms include SLAs and notification requirements for operational issues and cyber incidents, like data breaches or malicious code.
Lastly, but possibly most urgently, you must prepare for an attack. It is, unfortunately, a matter of “when” rather than “if”; in the last 12 months, almost half of Australian organisations have experienced a software supply chain attack. Response planning like data breach management plans will allow you to react quickly to minimise damage and downtime of your business.
Find the right solutions with the experts
The risks associated with supply chain cyber incidents vary widely, but include a disruption of service delivery as well as a potential loss of revenue and reputation. A key factor in cyber security is the protection of data, which is vital for managing risk.
The cyber security specialists at Itopia can help you implement customised security plans to reduce the risk of being infected with ransomware, protect your data, and respond quickly and confidently when the worst happens. Talk to them today and implement a holistic approach to cyber security for your business.