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6/27/2019
03:50 PM
Jai Vijayan
Jai Vijayan
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7 Ways to Mitigate Supply Chain Attacks

Breaches caused by external vendors and service providers have become a major and escalating problem for organizations.
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Image Source: Shutterstock

Image Source: Shutterstock


Breaches resulting from third-party security lapses are on the rise. Last year, 61% of surveyed US organizations said they had experienced a breach caused by one of their vendors or another third party. Some 75% said they believed such incidents were only going to increase.

The growing complexity of the third-party landscape bears much of that blame, according to the Opus/Ponemon Institute survey. While companies in the survey, on average, said they shared confidential and sensitive information with as many as 583 third parties, barely one-third had as much as an inventory of these entities. Some 69% said they did not have centralized control over third parties, and more than 60% did not have adequate resources for managing third-party risk.

In a separate survey conducted this year by BitSight and the Center for Financial Professionals, 97% of financial services companies said third-party risk were becoming a major concern. Nearly eight in 10 companies said they had already terminated a business relationship, or had ratcheted it down, over cybersecurity issues. Barely 22% said they were continuously monitoring third-party cyber-risk.

"Supply chains are difficult to secure. They create risk that is hard to identify, complicated to quantify, and costly to address," says Steve Durbin, managing director of the Information Security Forum. 

Here, according to Durbin and several other security experts, are tips for managing third-party risks.

 

 

Jai Vijayan is a seasoned technology reporter with over 20 years of experience in IT trade journalism. He was most recently a Senior Editor at Computerworld, where he covered information security and data privacy issues for the publication. Over the course of his 20-year ... View Full Bio

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CharlieFrindle
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CharlieFrindle,
User Rank: Apprentice
8/30/2019 | 8:39:39 AM
192.168.l.l
Thanks for the valuable information and insights you have so provided here.
tdsan
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tdsan,
User Rank: Ninja
7/19/2019 | 10:29:39 AM
Re: attack
I agree the customer doesn't care where they get their services from, as long as the service is consistent, on-time it meets their requirements, they would care if it came from Tim-Buck-Too. 

But there is a bigger question to this dilemma; what if they do care where the parts come from and if the supplier added components that were not listed on the SKU (parts listing) and they discovered this device was sending information back to an unknown location where this data was tagged, labeled and could be used for purposes to affect the lives of others. Now the severity and importance have changed (i.e. NSA Prism's - Cisco Firmware upgrade to boards sent to China, France's Monitoring/Phone Tampering, SuperMicro Embedded Micro-Chips, Google/Apple/Microsoft embedded applications to capture user patterns - Telemetry). So now the dynamic changes because now it is affecting the lives of others.



I think we can try to mitigate the process but the problem is not the process, it is the underlying spy game that is being played by nation-states and the competitive advantage they are trying to gain. The root cause of the problem is in front of us, there needs to be clear rules that we both (the US and others) follow where we keep each other accountable to deter the wrong-doings; more nation-state policing such as fines, penalties, and sanctions is the only way to address this problem (use Blockchain's immutable process of capturing purchases and following the process from start to finish but there are ways - Cisco FW and SuperMicro - to step around the process). If this is not addressed at the executive and presidential level, no matter how intricate a process we have in place to monitor and mitigate breaches, there will always be another way to circumvent what we have, there really needs to be a truce.

Supply Chain Process



Todd
tdsan
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tdsan,
User Rank: Ninja
7/16/2019 | 11:30:34 AM
Re: attack
That's a problem, because customers don't care if it was the company's supplier that lost the data, not the company itself.. —Lyngiten

Interesting comment, let me play devil's advocate; if a cloud vendor worked with another cloud vendor to provide a service, would you care where the service came from (if they put it under the AWS umbrella) or would you ignore it and continue?

I think in most instances people they don't care (just like utility companies) where the service comes from, as long as it is reliable, consistent and it meets their business requirements (SLAs).

However, in the case of supply chain mgmt, it is essential to determine if the vendor/supplier is reputable and they are not willing to compromise their integrity. Apple did this when they were faced with the possibility of violating its security framework giving the FBI the ability to hack into their iPhone series.

In the case of SuperMicro, it was evident that one of their suppliers was being influenced by the Chinese government to use microchips on their system boards; so, we would care because it is affecting organizations around the globe (this was a clear and blatant misuse of power).

Todd
Lyngiten
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Lyngiten,
User Rank: Apprentice
7/16/2019 | 8:09:49 AM
attack
Only 18 percent of companies says they knew if those vendors were, in turn, sharing that information with other suppliers. That's a problem, because customers don't care if it was the company's supplier that lost the data, not the company itself.
tdsan
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tdsan,
User Rank: Ninja
6/30/2019 | 6:27:35 PM
Re: interesting but there is something we are missing.
We need to implement a "BlockChain" methodology when it pertains to the supply chain (only allow approved vendors), at least we would be able to see who purchased what and how the solution was implemented; that way we can determine if components were added a later time; this gives all interested parties the ability to cross-reference the material purchased (SuperMicro micro-chip was hard to detect but at least we have a way of matching the serial numbers to the device). If there was some tampering, we would know it.

Think about this, if every device emits an RF reading or electrical signature, then we could look for electrical signatures not part of the device (remove the obvious and what remains is the answer). Some sort of inexpensive Xray device that pinpoints RF energy readings.

T
RyanSepe
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RyanSepe,
User Rank: Ninja
6/30/2019 | 8:28:51 AM
Re: interesting but there is something we are missing.
"(they denied it of course)" Deny, deny, deny. Same nonsense is currently going on the wake of the Chernobyl mini-series. Russia, not being a fan of the telling, has decided they would like to create their own where the meltdown was the cause of espionage performed by the Americans.

It's astounding when even Nation-States don't want to have accountability.
tdsan
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tdsan,
User Rank: Ninja
6/29/2019 | 6:54:24 PM
interesting but there is something we are missing.
Do you remember the China hack that occurred with SuperMicro - https://bloom.bg/2OCRfgO. This was an elaborate attempt to place a microchip on the system board where the chip could control and monitor the system from anywhere. This was an elaborate setup by the government of China (they denied it of course) but this chip was state-of-the-art.
Quote - Elemental's servers could be found in Department of Defense data centers, the CIA's drone operations, and the onboard networks of Navy warships. And Elemental was just one of hundreds of Supermicro customers.

 Also, remember, we are doing the same thing (go back and review Edward Snowden's remarks - https://bit.ly/2o3lvE5. So in order for us to validate the process, the nation-states need to agree to work together and stop this surreptious undercover spy game or it will only continue (I don't see it happening anytime soon), they will find a way.

T
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