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Ways to prevent software supply chain attacks

The world we live in is no more limited to our surroundings. It is entwined with the digital world, with our devices acting as windows to places beyond our physical environment. As we become highly dependent on the cyber world, it also leads to unique and unheard crimes that jeopardize our lives as we know them.

Today, we live in a world where hacking and cyber crimes have become daily news. Cybercriminals are now operating in groups, often disguised as programmers in tech startups, and work together to develop innovative cyber attacks, using advanced methods. With the ever-growing number of public IP addresses and access points, the immense amount of data transfers, and the high volume of internet traffic, digital infrastructure may have many vulnerabilities that criminals can easily exploit. 

Through continuous trials, hackers have now managed to invent highly efficient cyberattacks such as supply chain attacks. As the supply chain is a critical part of an organization’s infrastructure, any attacks aimed at must be dealt with immediately. To secure your supply chain effectively and deter attacks, it is important to step up your cyber security game with these best practices.

Supply chain attack: How to effectively curb it

A supply chain attack occurs when an enterprise is breached through the vulnerabilities in its supply chain. Most of the time, these vulnerabilities exist due to compromised vendor data. During a supply chain attack, multiple targets are compromised from a single vendor, making it a highly efficient attack with seemingly less effort. So how can you protect your supply chain infrastructure from attacks and improve its cyber security?

  • Focus on securing privileged access

Securing privileged access management minimizes the chances of attackers accessing privileged accounts and sensitive data. As the attacker breaches the system and moves through the ecosystem, their primary target will be the privileged accounts. By disrupting the attacker from breaching these accounts, you can mitigate the severity of the supply chain attack.

Privileged Access Management or PAM framework must be secured with both internal and external defenses. These include employee training, detecting data leaks, encryption of all internal data, etc.

  • Set up a Zero Trust Architecture 

The Zero Trust Architecture of ZTA is designed to assume that all network activities are malicious. As this setup becomes the default, every connection request will have to pass a strict list of policies to gain access to an organization’s intellectual property. Generally, a ZTA is powered by a Policy Engine that decides whether particular network traffic should be permitted to pass depending upon the rules set, a Policy Administrator that communicates the engine’s decision to pass or fail the traffic, and a Policy Enforcement Point that blocks or permits the network request.

  • Implement Honeytokens to step up the security

Honey tokens are fake resources that look attractive and useful to cybercriminals but are useless to them in reality.‍ When an attacker takes hold of the data presented by the honey tokens, they unknowingly reveal information to the IT team, who in turn can get the defenses up in the network. Honey tokens, therefore, act as tripwires, alerting the organization of malicious activity in their network.

  • Identify potential insider threats and eliminate them

Insider threats can be anything that puts the network at risk. Most of the time an insider threat may not be motivated by malicious intents. For instance, an employee may click on a seemingly trustworthy link, which causes malicious agents to gain entry into the network. A hostile employee can also cause a threat to the organization by purposefully helping an attacker breach insider data.

So, apart from regular employee training to identify and avoid risky actions, cultivate an open and supportive work culture that gives no space for resentment and hostility to breed within the organization.

  • Minimize access and secure vulnerable resources

Often, vendor software may require access to sensitive data and resources. To minimize the vulnerability of these data points and resources, it is important to keep privileged access to a minimum. 

Additionally, you must also ensure the security of these resources that are most likely targeted by attackers. Talk to your vendors and encourage the implementation of honeytokens in the network to uncover potential attack surfaces in your supply chain and monitor them carefully.

  • Opt for stricter shadow IT rules

Managed IT experts recommend implementing stricter rules for shadow IT. This includes all IT devices in the organization that is not approved by the organization’s security team.

With remote working models becoming the new norm, employees tend to incorporate their own private IT devices to establish their home offices. In such cases, the IT security team must see to the registration of all such devices and include strict guidelines about what can and cannot be connected to the organization’s network. Monitoring all permitted devices will help to identify DDoS attacks launched from the supply chain.

  • Third-party risk assessments and vendor network monitoring

Many times vendors are unlikely to be strict about cybersecurity as much as your organization is, leaving parts of the supply chain vulnerable. One way to reduce the risk is through third-party risk assessment. Apart from this, vendor network and attack surface monitoring will also help identify all hidden vulnerabilities that expose an organization to supply chain attacks. which helps you understand the vendor’s security measures and identify vulnerabilities that need to be secured.

Improve your cyber security efforts with Managed IT services

By outsourcing the responsibility of improving, anticipating needs, and maintaining your cyber security requirements to experts, you can improve your operations and reduce budgetary expenses in the long run. Connect with the supply chain and cloud security experts at Citrus Consulting to step up your efforts against cybercrimes.

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