Supply Chain Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity in the Supply Chain

The global supply chain has been under a historic amount of pressure in the last few years, but not for all of the reasons you may think. The COVID-19 pandemic wreaked havoc on the global economy. Supply and demand issues, delays at major shipping ports, and geopolitical issues are just a few of the problems facing the transportation industry today. 

One aspect that is easily looked over, however, is the rise of cyberattacks. Now more than ever, cybersecurity is essential to keeping supply chains healthy and protecting sensitive data. Supply chain efficiency is simply impossible in this economic climate without proper cybersecurity.

With these concerns surfacing, cyber security in the supply chain has quickly become a trending topic.  

Cybercrime in the Supply Chain

The supply chain is especially vulnerable to cyberattacks. INTERPOL states that an alarming rise in cybercrime occurred in tandem with the COVID-19 pandemic. Some of the highest increases in cybercrime were related to phishing scams, malware, and data harvesting. 2020 provided a bountiful hunting ground for cybercriminals, as most of the population was forced indoors to work or shop online. 

“The increased online dependency for people around the world is also creating new opportunities, with many businesses and individuals not ensuring their cyber defenses are up to date. The report’s findings again underline the need for closer public-private sector cooperation if we are to effectively tackle the threat COVID-19 also poses to our cyber health,” concluded INTERPOL Chief Jurgen Stock.

Uncertainty and fear created a perfect storm for phishing scams to run rampant. A Deloitte study aimed at assessing cybersecurity for employees working at home found that 25% of employees reported seeing more phishing emails. This number only accounts for those who were successfully able to recognize a scam email, so that number could be even higher. 

Source: INTERPOL.int

In late October 2022, Mexico’s trucking industry suffered a massive cyberattack on the country’s transportation servers. The federal government immediately went into damage control to ensure that citizens’ data was not compromised. This included suspending issuing new permits or CDLs until the end of the year. With no new drivers until 2023, Mexico’s trucking industry has slowed dramatically. 

Vulnerabilities in Supply Chain Cybersecurity

Cyberattacks often happen through seemingly small mistakes. Shipping giant Maersk’s systems were infiltrated due to a single compromised computer. Colonial Pipeline was hacked thanks to one password that was shared. SolarWinds blamed a third-party entity for its cyberattack in 2020. Cyberattacks are common, but they are often preventable.

Supply chain disruptions and worldwide unease created a perfect breeding ground for cyberattacks. Organizations must combat this by assessing their security risks. A good place to start is the physical location of your network and systems. Anyone with access to the server rooms or company hardware can install malicious software. It would be wise to be aware of every third-party entity that interacts directly with the network. 

Investing in proper cybersecurity in the supply chain can also strengthen the relationship between suppliers and partners. Cyberattacks can compromise payment data and important organizational information. If that data is leaked, the trust between organizations and their partners is negatively affected.  

Organizations working remotely are at an especially high risk of cybercrime. Employees working on unsecured networks are at risk of exposing themselves to data leaks. Any employee working remotely must be aware of the potential risks. Organizations have begun investing in cybersecurity courses and upgraded software protection, but this is still not enough in some cases. 

How Supply Chains Can Manage Cybersecurity Risks

The first step towards strengthening cybersecurity is a complete risk assessment. This thorough examination should investigate every level of the organization for potential security risks. The risk assessment should also encompass other links in the supply chain, such as outside suppliers or partners. Every link of the supply chain is vulnerable to cyberattacks, so it’s imperative to ensure that each entity involved is doing their part. Consider scheduling a meeting with partners to discuss security risks and solutions. Cooperation and communication are extremely important in ensuring cybersecurity. 

After all risks have been identified, the next step is implementing strong security measures. There are many cybersecurity companies out there, but one thing they all have in common is their use of technology and artificial intelligence (AI) to combat cyberattacks. AI functions like a virtual bouncer, kicking out potential risks before they even get inside. AI utilizes pattern recognition and rapid data collection to constantly evolve for any risk. 

Cybersecurity Software

The consequences of a cyberattack can be devastating to the supply chain, but thankfully there are multiple cybersecurity companies that can help. See below for a list of the best cybersecurity software: 

  • VMware: This software provides cloud services on all apps. They also offer CloudHealth, which has features that help organizations fortify their security and set company regulations.
  • Fortinet: The Fortinet Security Fabric platform offers cybersecurity solutions such as firewalls, antivirus software, and full visibility of any security concerns. Fortinet is used by some of the largest organizations in the world.
  • Crowdstrike: This platform utilizes AI to detect and prevent attacks from every level of cybersecurity. Crowdstrike is used by three of the top ten highest-revenue companies in the world.
  • Cisco: Cisco leverages its patented security platform, SecureX, to integrate with a company’s network to improve its detection speed and provide solutions. Cisco’s main advantages are its improved visibility capabilities and intuitive AI.
  • Darktrace: This software takes advantage of a powerful AI to stop attacks while they’re in progress. Darktrace protects against phishing scams, malware, and other forms of malicious security breaches.
  • McAfee: Perhaps the worldwide leader in cybersecurity, McAfee boasts a staggering 108 million customers across the globe. Their antivirus software provides protection against attacks on all devices and platforms, and can also provide insights to protect against future attacks.

Companies often realize the importance of cybersecurity awareness after it’s too late. 90% of businesses report that they provided cybersecurity awareness programs for their employees after an attack occurred. Cyberattacks can often be the result of human behavior, so it’s important to be proactive instead of reactive. 

Technology elevates the transportation industry to new heights, but cyberattacks leave it in shambles if not addressed properly. Multiple large corporations fell victim to phishing scams and malware during the transition to remote working. Hackers mined the private data of citizens at an alarming rate while everyone was working or shopping from home. 

The supply chain is vulnerable to a number of outside factors, but cybersecurity is one thing it can control. Businesses investing in cybersecurity software increase their chances of staying safe during a cyberattack. Having that extra layer of security can be the difference between supply chains running smoothly or coming to a screeching halt. 

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