Mitigating Supply Chain Attacks

This is currently such a hot topic, and one which impacts on almost all of us in our daily lives, whether we like it or not. Let’s firstly start by diving straight into what these attacks are.


What is a supply chain attack?

The most commonly accepted definition of a supply chain attack is a cyber-attack that seeks to damage organisations by targeting less-secure elements in the supply network. They are not limited to IT suppliers, consultants and on-site engineers; but also software libraries, hardware etc.


How disruptive can they be?

Supply chain attacks are on the rise and impact all those who rely on the supply chain. They can lead to serious impact or complete disruption of an organisations ability to operate. I recall the attack on Maersk, where Malware was plugged into their accounting software, causing complete disruption for weeks, resulting in damaged running into the many millions of $$.



“No system is immune to cyber-attacks, no matter the size of your business. 'Knowing Your Supplier’ is your business’s first & most significant step towards mitigating supply chain attacks.”

Sanjiv Cherian, Head of Business Development – Cyber Security, A&O IT Group


So how do we prevent them?

Supply chain attacks are incredibly difficult to mitigate against. Organisations rely upon countless first and third party suppliers, with the supply chain for those parties stretching on even further. Even understanding the threats posed by these business-as-usual relationships is very difficult, securing it is even harder. Today many companies are investing in sufficient cybersecurity protocols by employing suitably skilled personnel, installing processes for risk mitigation, whilst adopting technology solutions to help detect, prevent and recover from attacks. So, a big thumbs up for preparation.

We know that cyber-hackers evolve and are a persistent bunch. They don’t work 9-5, they don’t publish their targets, are incredibly smart, and most importantly don’t generally accept defeat. These points simply can’t be over-emphasised.


Here are some steps to mitigate an attack:


It is vital to thoroughly assess the security controls in place for potential suppliers, including how well they are enforced. For the most critical systems, a limited number of vetted and trusted suppliers should be used.


Making sure you have limited access to certain or classified subnetworks, especially those that handle customer data, so conducting responsible network segmentation across your ecosystem. Seems a no-brainer, but this could be the difference between making and breaking your business and could deter a potentially earth shattering fine from regulators.


Conducting vulnerability tests on your IT infrastructure is a great way to identify any weak points in your network. It’s just good practice. As a business owner, just having the knowledge that you’re prepared, is enough to help you sleep at night.


Seems simple doesn’t it, just the idea that ensuring your systems are configured with the latest updates and security patches. Although, the majority of supply chain breaches occur before patching can help. But still good practice to keep all systems up to date.


Unfortunately, the above still does not fully protect your business from supply chain attacks. The threat surface is too spread, with attacks becoming increasingly advanced and more destructive. It is therefore essential to take back control, and proactively monitor your network. Quickly identifying indicators of compromise, such as unusual external network traffic, is key to allow swift action, preventing a bad situation from becoming disastrous.



How can A&O Corsaire help?

Our integrated offensive and defensive cybersecurity solutions have been developed to secure organisations against the spectrum of cyber threats. Our offensive security services include  thorough Penetration Testing and Red Teaming engagements, designed to replicate a realistic attack against your organisation and it’s key assets. Whereas our defensive solutions Managed Security Services (MSS) help you to inspect real-time events in your system, flagging suspicious incidents and preventing potential attacks.

We build rigid security frameworks, tailored to your business, and compliant with your regulator, including GDPR. 

Contact us today at +44 (0) 207 0969352

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About A&O Corsaire

One of the leading Security Services Consultancy, and part of the A&O IT Group, Corsaire helps monitor the cyber threat landscape for clients worldwide. Corsaire are consultants, providing detailed insight, best practice and prioritised actions to mitigate risks that in turn make businesses secure. A&O Corsaire is a CREST approved service provider.


About A&O IT Group

One of the world’s leading global IT services providers, A&O IT Group deliver ‘fully managed’ IT solutions and cyber security services. Combining over 50 years’ experience, expertise, and boasting an extensive global network, whilst remaining privately owned, A&O is the de facto standard, established as the most trusted IT services partner to clients globally, from Fortune500 to SMEs.

The internationally recognised ‘FieldView and TrainView’ technologies enable A&O to automate much of the outsourced IT process, delivering cost efficiency, project reliability and the ultimate service speed. From Pen Testing, Win10 Migration, to managing an entire IT ecosystem, A&O are the expert partners of choice for Managed Security Services. A&O are a CREST approved supplier and ISO27001, ISO22301, ISO14001 and ISO9001 accredited.


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