Cyber Supply Chain Risk Management

March 7th, 2023
Cyber Supply Chain Risk Management

Supply chain management is complex. Most business owners only need to work within a portion of the supply chain, ensuring that they have the products, technology, and resources they need to successfully run their business.

You’ve probably encountered supply chain issues in the past—suppliers lack the resources to provide you with the products you need, and you’re forced to find new suppliers to fill the gaps.

Cyber supply chain risk management is a bit different. Cybercriminals will find weaknesses in the supply chain and use these weaknesses to infiltrate businesses further down the supply chain. In this article, we’re going to learn how that works—and how you can mitigate the risks.

What is a cyber supply chain attack?

In a cyber supply chain attack, cybercriminals start by studying a supply chain. Typically, they’ll study the supply chains of large businesses (like Target), though they may also target the supply chain of smaller businesses with a large number of end-users (like POS suppliers).

Once the criminals have found a weak point, they typically use it to install malicious hardware or software that will affect end users down the line. In the case of the Target hack, it’s suspected that the criminals first targeted an HVAC company that worked with Target and used passcodes hacked from the company to gain access to Target’s servers.

Supply chain attacks, then, take many forms. Some of the most popular supply chain attacks involve finding unsecured networks and servers in the supply chain of trusted software, changing source code, and hiding malware in software updates. Because this software comes from a trusted source, the malware is unlikely to be detected by traditional security protocols.

Do cyber supply chain attacks affect small businesses?


Supply chain attacks can affect any business that’s further down the supply chain than the point the attackers infiltrate.

The types of supply chain attacks that most typically affect small businesses are those hidden in software updates and those that affect suppliers of POS systems and other ubiquitous software and hardware.

These hacks can leave your business open to ransomware attacks, data leaks, and more. Fortunately, there are ways that you can reduce the risk of being affected by supply chain attacks.

How you can mitigate the risk of a cyber supply chain attack

As you can imagine, it’s next to impossible for small businesses in Manitoba to stop a supply chain attack that takes place in the United States or elsewhere in the world. What you can do, however, is limit how likely those attacks are to affect your business. Here are a few tips:

  • Only buy parts and products from trusted suppliers. Ensure that all vendors have strong cybersecurity protocols in place.
  • Use modern cybersecurity solutions like managed detection and response (MDR) to keep potentially compromised nodes of your network isolated.
  • Tighten your network security—allow only authorized apps to run. Employ zero-trust policies.
  • Protecting yourself against supply chain threats is complicated. Everything from your purchasing decisions to your network security can affect how susceptible you are to supply chain attacks. By working with a full-service IT provider like Constant C, you can mitigate your risks on all sides of the equation. We can help you with purchasing, network security, and more.

    Interested in learning more? Contact us today.