The SolarWinds supply chain attack highlighted how vulnerable supply chains are to cyberattacks. Supply chain risk mitigation has since become an essential component of risk management strategies and information security programs. To support the success of this effort, we’ve listed the top 4 supply chain security risks you need to be aware of in 2024.

These security risks should be addressed in incident response plans to prevent security vulnerabilities facilitating third-party data breaches and supply chain attacks.

Top 4 Supply Chain Security Threats in 2024

Security threats include any exposures and cyber threats negatively impacting the integrity of sensitive data and data protection. The most popular security control hazards prompting supply chain security concerns in 2024 are listed below.

Third-Party Vendor Risks

Third-party risks often introduce significant data security risks to your organization. This is often due to poor security practices stemming from a weak security strategy.

The unfortunate reality impacting supply chain cybersecurity is that your third-party vendors likely don’t take cybersecurity as seriously as you do.

Digital Risks

Digital risks are the unavoidable by-product of digital transformation - the more digital solutions you add to your ecosystem, the more potential network gateways cybercriminals have. These exposures could be caused by software vulnerabilities, such as zero-day exploits or overlooked configuration errors.

If left unaddressed, digital risks could develop into the following supply chain threats:

Supplier Fraud

Supplier fraud, or vendor fraud, is when a cybercriminal claiming to be a known retailer requests a change to their payment processes. These events are difficult to identify as fraudsters commonly adopt advanced social engineering techniques, including AI-generated voicemails, phishing attacks, and Deepfake video recordings.

Fraud events impacting global supply chain security aren’t limited to the supplier category. A growing number of data breach events are caused by third-party vendors falling victim to various social engineering and fraud tactics.

Fraud is still on the rise since its sudden prevalence during the pandemic. According to the Federal Trade Commission, Americans lost more than $5.8 billion to fraud in 2021, an increase of $2.4 billion since 2020.

The top 5 fraud categories in 2021 were prizes, sweepstakes, lotteries, internet services, and businesses and job opportunities.

Data Protection

Data integrity throughout the supply chain is a significant area of security concern. Security measures should ensure all data states are secure, including at rest and in motion. Data encryption practices are especially important between third-party integrations because hackers know that a target’s third-party vendor likely has access to their sensitive data.

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Top 5 Best Practices for Supply Chain Risk Management in 2024

By implementing the following best practices, common cybersecurity risks in the supply chain can be addressed.

1. Third-Party Risk Assessments

A regular third-party risk assessment schedule will discover supply chain security risks before cybercriminals exploit them. These assessments should ideally be completely customizable to accommodate each supplier’s unique risk profile.

Besides customizable risk assessments, UpGuard also offers assessments mapping to popular cybersecurity frameworks to ensure suppliers continuously improve their security postures.

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2. Data Encryption

To diminish the value of sensitive data in the event of a third-party breach, encryption practices should be enforced upon all forms of data, especially at the interface of third-party integrations. The Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) should ideally be implemented. It’s considered one of the hardest encryption types to compromise, which is why the government and military commonly use it.

Learn more about data encryption.

3. Attack Surface Monitoring

An attack surface monitoring solution will identify third-party security risks heightening your chances of suffering a supply chain attack.

UpGuard’s attack surface monitoring solution can discover security vulnerabilities across cloud solutions throughout the third and even fourth-party network.

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4. Incident Response Planning

In the event of a supply chain attack, your responses should be planned and coordinated, not sporadic and lacking in strategy. A well-crafted incident response plan should help your security team prepare for every supply chain attack scenario with minimal impact on business continuity.

Learn more about incident response planning.

5. Penetration Testing

A supply chain attack should never be the first time incident response plans are exercised. Response tactics should be routinely evaluated with penetration testing. Pen testing could also uncover advanced supply chain security threats overlooked by security systems.

Learn more about penetration testing.

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