How a cyber ecosystem works – your protection against a supply chain attack

Cyber ecosystem - your Supply chain attack protection

A cyber ecosystem is very much like a physical ecosystem. Within a cyber ecosystem, individuals, organisations, and external parties interact with one another to form one digital functioning unit. Your organisation remains at the heart of this ecosystem and will be joined by other entities surrounding it, such as suppliers, vendors, and third or fourth parties. But in case of a supply chain attack, just like in any ecosystem, all of the members will be affected.

An evolution inside your cyber ecosystem 

Similar to an ecosystem in the natural world, how entities interact within your cyber ecosystem will continually evolve. You’ll also notice that they will become more dependent on each other. Therefore, it doesn’t take a genius to work out that all these cyber entities feeding off of each other and operating within the same environment opens up a feeding ground for hackers. A cyber ecosystem that’s not properly protected will allow cybercriminals to exploit vulnerabilities to steal private or company data, or worse. 

The digital landscape of a cyber ecosystem will evolve at a more rapid pace than a natural ecosystem. Cyberattackers are extremely adaptable when it comes to complex supply chains and evolving ecosystems and are quick to prey on weak links within a network. The infamous SolarWinds attack demonstrated how vulnerable third-party risk management (TPRM) can be. Through one shared vendor, cybercriminals were able to access 85% of US Fortune 500 companies, hundreds of colleges and universities, all five branches of the military, and more. There have been hundreds of third-party data breaches since then.  

High profile supply chain attack examples

Accellion attack 

By targeting Accellion’s third-party transfer application, cybercriminals were able to obtain patient health information (PHI), personally identifiable information (PII), customer and stakeholder data, and more from organisations including the University of Miami Health, Qualys, Flagstar Bank and many others. 

SocialArk attack 

By hacking SocialArk, malicious actors compromised the personal records of over 200 million social media users. 

CodeCov attack 

CodeCov, a software auditing company, compromised the confidential data of its customers, which included high profile clients such as The Washington Post,, Atlassian and more. 

Digital supply chain threats 

As digital supply chains evolve so does the threat landscape. Ransomware attacks have become the most problematic for organisations right around the world. Infamous ransomware group Conti conducted more than 10 high profile ransomware attacks within one day and other groups are constantly attacking businesses for financial gain.  

Here are the major concerns for CISOs when it comes to the impact of ransomware attacks: 

  • Exposure of proprietary data or sensitive information: 45% of victims that pay the ransom are still unable to recover stolen data.  
  • Recovery costs: One in five victims had a total financial impact of £3.5 million while one in 20 had an impact greater than £35 million. 
  • Loss of revenue: Victims experience on average about 23 days of downtime following a ransomware attack. 

Protecting your cyber ecosystem 

Ensuring your cybersecurity system is protected with the latest technology is the first step to fending off cyberattacks. However, if any periods of disruption do happen to occur, it’s a prime opportunity for cybersecurity teams to update security measures and adapt to survive. Incorporating the latest cybersecurity best practices within your organisation is key to ensuring your digital community is safe and secure, and hackers are unable to gain entry. 

Let’s take a closer look at some of the best cybersecurity methods to protect your cyber ecosystem: 

  1. Ensure strong cybersecurity standards across your entire supply chain 

Cybersecurity is fast becoming a determining factor when it comes to conducting third-party business and when processing transactions. As supply chains evolve, they become more complex and so must the security measures. Incorporating robust third-party risk management standards creates a stronger foundation to allow tighter security across the entire supply chain attack surface.  

Ensure all third- and fourth-party vendors are held to the same standards as your own organisation. Here are the most important questions to ask:  

  • Is there a formal security framework in place? 
  • Is there a software security policy within the organisation? 
  • Are there controls in place for sharing sensitive information? 
  1. Target your weakest links first 

Modern cyber networks make it extremely difficult to detect and address all vulnerabilities. But to ensure that you’re not on the back foot, your security teams need to be aware of what are the weakest links within your network.  

A bad cybersecurity rating doesn’t necessarily mean an organisation will become a victim of a cyberattack. A clearer indication can be derived from cybersecurity ratings combined with other controls such as level of criticality, ease of access and potential financial impact. 

  1. Encourage a security-first culture companywide 

Internal security teams are key to the success of your company. Not only do they protect your data and digital assets, but they also go a long way toward securing your company’s reputation and financial assets. External cybersecurity firms are also important because they can come in and revamp security measures in next to no time.  

RiskXchange is the only platform that provides a complete 360-degree view of your attack surface, including that of your vendors. It will continuously monitor your complete attack surface, highlight any risk, and enable you to fix any issues before the attacker discovers them. Gain a security rating, understand risk, and continuously monitor the security posture of any company worldwide. 

Get in touch with RiskXchange to find out more. 

How RiskXchange can help  

RiskXchange is one of the firms leading the fight against cybercrime, coming up with novel solutions to everyday problems experienced at the hands of hackers. 

With full visibility over your eco-systems’ entire attack surface in near real-time, you can regularly monitor and mitigate risks to prevent unnecessary exposures. Our passive data collection methods are effective and have no impact on your network performance. Using data-driven insights to prevent breaches is the best way to reduce a supply chain attack surface and prevent cyberattacks.   

About RiskXchange 

RiskXchange provides a powerful AI-assisted, yet simple automated and centralised 360-degree cybersecurity risk rating management approach. We generate objective and quantitative reporting on a company’s cyber security risk and performance, which enables organisations with evolving business requirements to conduct business securely in today’s open and collaborative digital world.  

RiskXchange is an information security technology company, which helps companies of all sizes fight the threat of cyberattack by providing instant risk ratings for any company across the globe. RiskXchange was founded and is led by recognised experts within the security industry, who have held leading roles within companies such as IBM Security.  

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