In 2020, IT firm SolarWinds was the victim of a cyberattack that impacted up to 18,000 organizations using its software, including the U.S. Treasury and Department of Homeland Security. Cybercriminals penetrated SolarWinds' network management tools and caused widespread damage—a process known as a supply chain attack or supply chain poisoning.
This type of attack is dangerous because it targets businesses like yours that use software services from a third-party supplier or vendor like SolarWinds. Even if you have the best cybersecurity in the world, your data could be at serious risk through no fault of your own. Supply chain attacks can potentially poison every organization in a software supply chain.
In this guide, learn more about supply chain poisoning and businesses and how you can protect your enterprise.
Packagecloud scans for supply chain poisonings and other attacks to ensure your organization's packages stay safe. It compares packages to all well-known cybersecurity threats, guaranteeing nothing inside these packages remains vulnerable to hackers. Use Packagecloud to keep your packages and software supply chain fully secure. Sign up for your free trial here.
Read more: How to Secure Your Software Supply Chain
Supply Chain Poisoning and Businesses, Explained
Supply chain poisoning occurs when someone infiltrates software provided by a third-party partner, vendor, or supplier. The goal of hostile actors who carry out this type of attack isn't to compromise the third party but infiltrate all the organizations that use its software. Say you use a SaaS tool from a third-party software vendor in your enterprise. Other customers will also use that tool and, like you, share data with the vendor. When a hostile actor infiltrates the SaaS tool, all those customers can become the victim of supply chain poisoning. The original vendor might be unaware their customers are the targets of cybercriminals.
This is how supply chain poisoning affects businesses. Typically, hackers penetrate a third-party program, alter the source code, and hide dangerous malware in its build. That malware can spread from one customer to another and, over time, possibly impact all users in the software "supply chain." As you can see, supply chain poisoning can affect hundreds or even thousands of organizations at one time. These types of attacks rose 430% from 2019 to 2020, and the problem is only getting worse.
Packagecloud holds all of your packages in one centralized location, giving you more control over the packages you use in your organization. Instead of using public repos, you can ensure you always pull packages from a highly-controlled environment and prevent the threat of supply chain attacks.
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Why Your Business Should Care About Supply Chain Poisoning
The problem with supply chain poisoning and businesses is that many organizations trust the third-party companies they purchase software from, making them highly vulnerable. Businesses often don't think they are at risk. The truth is, supply chain attacks can cause an enormous amount of damage to your organization and expose your data to the wrong people.
Third-party organizations maintain and verify their software packages in various ways, and some of the products you use in your organization might open to security vulnerabilities. That makes it easy for attackers to upload malware to packages and remain undiscovered for weeks or even months, like in the case of SolarWinds. These attackers use tricks like renaming packages with minor misspellings that mislead software developers. In 66% of supply chain attacks, suppliers didn't know or failed to report how their software became compromised.
Read more: Tactics: Securing Your Software Supply Chain with Scoped Registries
How Can Packagecloud Help With Supply Chain Poisoning and Businesses?
It's your responsibility to take security into your own hands when using any software from a third-party company, regardless of its reputation. That involves detecting and identifying potential attacks and acting swiftly if any of your software packages contain malware or other threats.
Third-party companies must also take a more proactive role in cybersecurity. These organizations should implement code integrity rules that only allow approved applications to execute endpoint detection and automatically identify security risks. Software developers, in particular, need to maintain secure builds and update software in response to the most recent security threats.
One of the best ways your company can protect itself from supply chain poisoning is to store your packages in a centralized location and controlled environment rather than using public repositories. You should also use a tool like Packagecloud that scans for supply chain attacks and other vulnerabilities and ensures the packages you use are safe.
Read more: How to Prevent Package Dependency Confusion Attacks
Final Word About How Supply Chain Poisoning Affects Businesses
The SolarWinds case proves how many businesses can be impacted by a single supply chain poisoning attack. Even if you trust the third-party suppliers and vendors you work with in your organization, checking software packages for security vulnerabilities is critical. Running packages through the right tool can protect your most valuable data from external sources and prevent cybercriminals from infiltrating your business.
You must keep your software supply chain secure. Packagecloud's enterprise-level tools keep your packages free of supply chain poisonings and other vulnerabilities like trojan horse assaults. It also checks packages against the latest cybersecurity risks, providing you with ongoing peace of mind.
Sign up for your Packagecloud free trial here.