How can DoD contractors keep the Defense Supply Chain Secure from Cyberattacks?

July 25, 2022 0 Comments

Every major industry, from electricity to automobile manufacture, is most likely part of a complex supply chain. And, as the term implies, if even a little component of the system malfunctions, the entire system might be weakened or collapse. CMMC for DoD contractors emphasizes on securing data infrastructure.

Today, no institution is immune to the fast surge in cyberattacks, even cybersecurity firms. This is particularly true since the start of the conflict in Ukraine, which has been marked not just by military attacks but also by cyber warfare against anything from the Ukrainian administration to US airports.

Aside from the dynamic cyber landscape, there are increasing chances for hackers to enter the supply chain as company partnership and data sharing expands. Many firms are undertaking digital transformation and releasing the massive amounts of data they have collected to allow information-based decision-making throughout the ecosystem. Malicious actors can abuse their systems and data if they are not secure.

Organizations cannot afford a severe cyberattack due to pandemic-related interruptions and shortages. If one organization is hit, the whole supply chain may suffer financial losses due to supplier delays, or they may become victims themselves via shared systems.

To avert a disastrous cyber assault, supply chain enterprises must comprehend significant security risks, system weaknesses, and ecosystem linkages. Following that, ecosystem leaders must increase insight into supplier security requirements, upgrade their security procedures, and implement a participatory cybersecurity strategy.

Current Security Risks and Vulnerabilities

Lapsus$ recently penetrated Okta, an identity management framework, via a company’s customer assistance third-party suppliers, Sitel, using a technician’s infiltrated account. Questions have previously been raised about Sitel’s security, demonstrating how the “weakest link” might be a hacker’s route into various supply chain processes.

These breaches are often caused by insecure associations such as VPNs and stolen passwords due to spoofing or spraying cyberattacks targeting poorly maintained or unmanaged accounts. When a vendor or outside supplier employee gets access to a company’s infrastructure, this is prevalent in remote access circumstances. Assailants can trade these credentials on dark websites, and businesses must pay to recover them or face the arduous process of rotating passwords on tens of thousands of assets. Once inside, attackers can travel laterally throughout a company’s networks and even farther into the supply chain due to the interrelated nature of these systems. 

Many businesses nowadays follow basic security regulations and practices. When a corporation purchases services or technology from a supply chain partner, it bakes standards into contracts that compel the servicer to adhere to the same security rules as the client.

Even if the host firm has a sophisticated security policy in place, the other organization’s procedures are likely to differ. It either needs time for the servicer to catch up on what is specified in the contract, or the improvements never happen. Typical agreements do not include stringent implementation dates or periodic check-ins to confirm successful changes. Furthermore, a service with various contracts with varied security needs may be forced to implement a piecemeal security approach to fulfill these constraints.

Changes to Guidelines, Practices, and Increased Collaboration

With the recent increase in assaults, new federal government regulations like CMMC DFARS, and various innovative solutions in the marketplace, many supply chain organizations may not know where to begin to handle these concerns. A few easy procedures, however, may be followed to safeguard the supply chain.

To begin, all businesses that seek the assistance of outside vendors or suppliers should boost visibility into whether or not the contract’s security rules are being followed. The setting needed timescales, arranging regular check-ins, and conducting a final security audit and/or test are all part of this process. 

Furthermore, these security criteria for enterprises and their vendors should be maintained to defend them not just from today’s attacks but also from emerging strategies in the future. In particular, companies in the supply chain should examine and comply with National Institute of Requirements and Technology (NIST) guidelines. Close to the end of 2021, the organization concluded the comment period for “SP 800-161,” a draft of improved supply chain cybersecurity policies. This report was revised and finished in 2022. Businesses should ensure that these standards are represented not just in their procedures but also in the security needs of their suppliers.