Supply Chains Risks in the Mist  

OT security concerns

The vigorous expansion of globalization in the 21st century has created a worldwide dependency on foreign supply chains that have now cemented themselves into our daily lives. It was once quite common for companies to produce and acquire products locally. Global sourcing of foreign material has led to new vulnerabilities and challenges that companies must confront when it comes to supply chains. Specifically, supply chain attacks of the cyber variety are now a frequent tool used to disrupt and dismantle existing supply chains and the various entities which rely on them in hopes of either gaining monetary or political advantage. Hence, in today’s world, a secure supply chain is imperative. Supply chain attacks, while typically being “spray and pray” type of attacks, can even help target specific organizations. Global cybercrimes on supply chains are estimated to grow by 15% each year as attackers focus on utilizing emerging technologies to increase the efficacy of their malicious methods. When it comes to the types of supply chain attacks, there are many: Upstream/Downstream attacks, Midstream attacks, CI/CD infrastructure attacks Opensource and more. However, one common and often overlooked method is to use hardware attack tools, which can come pre-installed on devices or get implanted at any point along the supply chain.

What is a Hardware-Based Supply Chain Attack?

A hardware-based attack is not simple to pull off; however, the payoff is tremendous. Such attacks are extremely difficult to detect, and subsequently mitigate, since the method requires the successful tampering of hardware. Existing cybersecurity solutions do not provide the Physical Layer (Layer 1) visibility that detects hardware abnormalities, meaning unwanted hardware implants go unnoticed – as do the associated risks. The lack of Layer 1 visibility enables successful hardware-based attacks that can completely wreak havoc upon your organization, from intrusive data breaches to disruptive ransomware attacks.

Currently, a secure supply chain is not quite there; the majority of organizations do not stipulate any sort of security standards for their suppliers and one-third don’t regularly monitor and risk assess their suppliers. This creates a huge gap that can be taken advantage of simply from the introduction of one malicious hardware attack tool, creating a vulnerability cascade that will spread throughout the entire supply chain or find itself a way into your company.

Hardware-based supply chain threats come in two forms: either the supplier is the victim of a hardware-based attack and, due to supply chain interconnectedness, becomes a liability to the cyber security of your company; or a hardware devices gets manipulated along the supply chain before being forwarded to your company – in other words, you receive a compromised device. Such threats stem from a lack of Layer 1 visibility that minimizes an entity’s understanding of its threat landscape, whereby risks go unaccounted for. While suppliers will always pose a threat to cybersecurity, implementing a solution that offers Layer 1 visibility reduces the risk by assessing the integrity of the devices coming from your suppliers – ensuring that what you ordered is what you received, with no nasty surprises in the mix.  

How to Keep the Supply Chain Train Going! 

It is vital to account for hardware compromises along the supply chain and implement several tools that support a secure supply chain. Using Sepio’s Hardware Access Control (HAC-1) solution you can ensure that only legitimate devices operate in your environment. The HAC-1 provides a panacea to the gap in visibility by covering Layer 1 (the Physical Layer), offering complete asset visibility. By going deeper than any other solution, the HAC-1’s Layer 1 visibility means no device goes unmanaged; the solution identifies, detects, and handles all IT/OT/IoT devices. Such visibility supports the solution’s policy enforcement mechanism and Rogue Device Mitigation feature, in which the HAC-1 instantly detects any unapproved or rogue hardware, blocking such devices through an automated mitigation process carried out by third-party tools. The Zero Trust Hardware Access approach offered by the HAC-1 provides protection at the first line of defense and prevents Zero Trust security protocols from getting bypassed, ensuring that no matter how many suppliers a compromised device gets through, it will not penetrate your environment.

HAC-1 requires no hardware resources and does not monitor any traffic; within 24 hours, we can provide you with complete asset visibility and identify previously undetected rogue or vulnerable devices. With national security at risk, critical infrastructure providers must do all they can to prevent harmful attacks. Don’t wait for the symptoms; get to the root cause of the problem with HAC-1.

  • Previous Post

    Visibility in the Age of Technological Darwinism

    July 12th, 2022

  • Next Post

    Losing Sleep Because of OT Security Concerns?

    August 4th, 2022