4 security tools and practices that are minimising the surge in supply chain attacks



While your organisation may have a series of cybersecurity protocols already in place, a supply chain attack requires you to prepare for data compromises that occur through the vulnerabilities in your vendor’s security protocols. 

As vendors exist in a vast user network, a single compromised vendor results in multiple corporations suffering a data breach. This makes threats to the supply chain one of the most effective forms of cyberattacks because they access multiple targets from a single entry point. 

These threats, however, can be minimised to a great extent with advanced security tools and practices. 

1. Honeytokens

Honeytokens are a type of active defence mechanism used to outsmart or decelerate the attempt of a cybercriminal on a network. 

Organisations can deploy several types of honeytokens including fake email addresses, fake database data, or fake executable files to act as tripwires that alert you of suspicious activity. 

Honeytokens attract attackers quickly, giving organisations enough warning to prevent attacks against their systems. 

For example, a security experiment supported by the British Broadcasting Corporation in September 2017 planted fake email addresses in their email marketing lists and found that it only took 21 hours for phishing emails containing malicious attachments and links to be sent to these fake addresses. 

Corporations can leverage this tool and be proactive against cyber threats by: 

  • Detecting threats easily and taking necessary actions to respond
  • Understanding how to enhance their current security measures
  • Gathering intelligence on cyberattack attempts and preventing future incidents

If cybercriminals aren’t operating behind a firewall, honeytokens can even reveal the location and identity of the attacker.

2. Zero Trust Architecture (ZTA)

Zero Trust Architecture—based on the concept of never trust, always verify—assumes all network activity is malicious by default. 

Access to any resource within the network is given only after each connection request passes a strict list of parameters and dimensions. 

The ZTA policy creates a hyper-secure infrastructure that blocks unauthorised access to your network before it has the opportunity to damage your operations. 

This framework can also be adapted to suit any ecosystem setup requirements and can even secure remote endpoints—one of the most commonly targeted attack vectors when the world adopted the remote working model.

As cyberattacks keep rising, with numerous corporations becoming targets for cybercriminals looking to access their intellectual property, financial information, and other personal information, a Zero Trust strategy is one of the most effective ways for businesses to protect their sensitive data from threats like supply chain attacks. 

Zero Trust security solutions provide you with the peace of mind you require by limiting the effect of any cyberattacks. The result is less time—and money—spent on repairing cybersecurity breaches. 

3. Assuming a breach mindset 

An assume breach mindset—which prompts cybersecurity professionals to think like an attacker—always expects to encounter a data breach. 

Threat actors are constantly finding innovative ways to penetrate networks, compelling cybersecurity personnel to be on the lookout for the potential ways and means their network could be infiltrated.

In this climate, an assume breach mindset enables your personnel to detect and isolate weak links in the network and eliminate or repair them before they could seriously compromise your IT infrastructure. 

This also prompts organisations to protect the attack surfaces that are at a high risk of compromise.

  1. Protecting people: Cybercrime awareness training can prevent people from being used as gateways for cyberattacks. 
  1. Protecting processes: Implementing information security policies that set the boundaries for all approved internal processes.
  1. Protecting technology: Establishing multiple layers of defences around internal technologies to minimise the chances of a threat’s ability to penetrate critical infrastructures.

Additionally, tools and practices like antivirus software, multifactor authentication, and attack surface monitoring solutions are some of the technology defences that can be implemented parallel to these protocols for maximum security. 

4. Privileged Access Management (PAM)

Privileged accounts are the only accounts that can access sensitive resources, making them the first target of cyber attackers after breaching a defence. 

By disrupting this predictable attack progression—also called cyberattack privileged pathway—you can prevent breaches, and therefore supply chain attacks. 

The most effective way to do this is Privileged Access Management, which needs to be protected by both external and internal defences.

External PAM defences include proactive strategies taken to prevent threats affecting an ecosystem. A PAM framework can be defended with methodologies like staff education and detecting vendor data leaks. 

Internal PAM defences act as a sensitive data protection strategy in case a breach attempt slips past external defences. These include strategies like implementing Identity Access Management (IAM) and encrypting all internal data. 

Being vigilant in your policies helps minimise the risk of supply chain attacks

Supply chain attacks are forecasted to rise in 2022, but their impact on business networks is minimising thanks to advancements in the cybersecurity sector. 

By implementing these advanced tools and practices, you can shield your network from the costs and threats of data breaches.