Supply Chain Risk and Cybersecurity: What You Need to Know
Cybersecurity: The supply chain runs on information and complex software programs that bring all this data together, which means it’s vulnerable cyber-attacks and malware. Nearly every aspect of the supply chain process is logged online. This data may be stored for years on end, so companies can go back through their records. More facilities continue to adopt supply chain management software programs year after year to streamline the data collection process.
But storing all this data can put your company at risk. Malicious hackers and cyber criminals will likely try to gain access to your network, which could compromise your operations. They may steal or expose sensitive information or tamper with your operations, which could impair your ability to transport and delivery merchandise. Learn what’s happening in the world of supply chain cybersecurity to protect your facility from online threats.
What to Know About Supply Chain Cybersecurity in 2021
Cyber security continues to evolve year after year as the authorities learn more about these criminals and how they execute these attacks. As part of the supply chain, it’s your job to keep up with the latest trends to make sure your facility is protected.
Cyberattacks can take many different forms. The most common types of attacks are:
- Data Leaks
Hackers may try and gain access to sensitive information about your business, including trade secrets, shipment data, and payment information. They may use this data to make fraudulent purchases or hold your data for ransom. This may include personal information inside and outside of your network.
- Supply Chain Breaches
A supply chain breach is when a bad actor gains access to your network, which then allows them to interrupt your operations. They may cancel, replicate, or adjust orders, making it virtually impossible to know which order are real and which are fraudulent. They could also corrupt data inside the system or delete your records, wreaking havoc on your operations.
Malware is a specific type of cyberattack where the hacker sends a message to members of your organization, such as a text or email. These messages often contain links or attachments. If your members click on the link or open the attachment, the hacker will gain access to your network. The messages are often designed to look like it was sent from a member of your organization or a third-party that you trust with fake heading and logos.
- Hijacking Updates
You will need to update your supply chain software program from time to time. These updates usually occur annually or even monthly in some cases. Hackers may hijack the update process by inserting their code into the new software program. Once you update your software, the hacker will have access to your network.
- Open Source Attacks
Many supply chain management software programs use what’s known as open source code. These codes live on established code libraries that are accessible to the public. Hackers may try and insert their malicious code into the program. Users will then copy that code to perform certain functions in the program without realizing this code has been compromised. In 2018, researchers discovered 12 malicious Python libraries uploaded on the official Python Package Index (PyPI). Hackers disguised their code in libraries labeled “diango,” “djago,” “dajngo,” etc., so developers seeking the popular “django” Python library would download it by mistake.
Studies show open source attacks increased 650% in 2021. The more popular the program, the more likely it is to contain malicious code.
How to Protect Your Operations from Cyber Criminals
These threats are always evolving. Your company needs to treat the cybersecurity as an ongoing process. Don’t assume your operations are free from harm once you install the proper safeguards. It’s only a matter of time before the hackers find a way to get around them.
When designing a robust cybersecurity system, you first need to analyze the risks your system is facing. What kinds of attacks are you most likely to encounter when shipping and distributing your products? What kinds of attacks will likely do the most damage to your operation? How will these incidents prevent you from completing task?
If you are using some form of cybersecurity protection, make sure it is working as intended. You may need to invest in additional tools to shore up your system, including staff training and education, artificial intelligence for analyzing and collecting data, or using a more advanced firewall to keep malicious hackers at bay. Encourage your suppliers, business partners, and vendors to adopt similar practices, especially if they have access to some of your data.
When it comes to safeguarding packages and merchandise, it’s best to use a tamper-proof pallet container to prevent bad actors from access the contents.
Some containers are easier to open than others. Consider using wooden crates, metal boxes, and locked cases to keep your goods safe from harm.
Everyone on your team should be aware of the risks of malware and how to spot it. Your team should never open messages, links, or attachments from someone outside your organization unless they are a trusted-third party. Everyone should watch out for warning signs that the message is corrupted, such as misspelling, formatting issues, and other typos. Use multi-step verification protocols on your software program to prevent bad actors from gaining access to the system.
If you believe your supply chain management system may be corrupted, inform the cybersecurity professionals right away. Keep records of all your interactions with the hackers and share this information with the authorities.
Cybersecurity remains a crucial aspect of the supply chain. Players large and small need to invest in the latest prevention protocols to prevent disruptions to their operations.
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