Supply chain and third-party security risks are growing concerns among enterprises and require considerable attention. Enterprises should consider implementing various security measures to handle the supply chain process using a well-defined cybersecurity program. In a typical enterprise cyber supply chain, risks are related to outsourcing, vendor management, continuity, and logistics.
Common Security Risks of Supply Chain
Third-party software provides numerous benefits with minimal maintenance efforts and ready-to-use features. Security assessment of software along with required updates and patching is mandatory before implementing it on an enterprise-wide scale. The single point of failure is not the only pertinent business dependency issue in this context. Numerous other risks may need to be addressed, such as the ones explained below:
- COTS software’s adoption comes with limited options for customization. This alters customers’ existing workflows and creates out-of-sequence practices that may violate the organization's change management process.
- Sometimes software vendors intentionally keep back doors for maintenance-related requirements or fair license usage, which creates an easy entry point for attackers.
- Interoperability support offered by modern software may result in unintended exposure of your environment.
- Adding users dynamically to the software systems reduces inventory visibility and may require running Discovery scans to identify the software in use, along with pertinent versions and licenses.
- Depending on the license type, dedicated support options will be limited only to specific tiers of subscriptions. For the lower tier, the only option for support may be through a vendor user group or open-source community forum. This results in the exposure of a company’s use of specific software to the outside world.
- Lack of security SDLC practices may lead to scenarios like malware implantation during development, insecure distribution of software, leakage of credentials, and the like.
- The integration of the vendor software is always based on trust, without the visibility of the actual source code and internal functions of the software. In other words, the only option for the clients is to trust the vendor offering with duly signed legal contracts.
- Suboptimal maintenance at end-of-life or changes to cost or license terms can result in downtime.
- Limited options to verify the existence of open-source or other components used in software may result in a compliance violation as the chances of performing Software Composition Analysis are limited.
- Deployment of the third-party software may have dependencies like Compilers, Configuration settings, Network Components, Proprietary languages, Platforms, Databases, etc. Support for only some specific versions may result in scenarios where we have to live with known risks from vulnerabilities.
- There is a higher risk of attacker groups misusing software update delivery channels for malware distribution.
- Software development outsourcing to a third party often results in chances of non-visibility of the actual code being developed and increases the chances of attacks.
Monitor and Manage Effectiveness of Supply Chain Security Controls with CTEM
Supply chain security management is the process by which an organization implements various security controls to offer protection against supply chain risks such as logical and physical access to the information assets, poor information security practices, compromised hardware and software, malware embedded in the software associated with suppliers, inventory theft, data mismanagement in cloud services, device tampering, third-party service providers, and many more.
Most organizations rely on point-in-time risk assessments to ensure the proper security posture of the third-party partners. However, as the name implies, those reports only reflect the point in time state of security posture. New business requirements, agile development practices, the adoption of new technologies, and a ton of other factors like unintended exposure, cloud sprawling, etc., can adversarially affect the security posture of the third-party environment. These changes may bring inherent security risks to the enterprise consumers of those applications or solutions.
External attack surface management (EASM) solutions can detect the new exposures and changes in the attack surface posture of third-party partners. However, an automated asset discovery solution cannot alone validate the security risks involved in the new exposures. To properly manage the security risks from third-party partners, your security assessment program should be continuous and attack surface driven.
How can we help?
NST Cyber pioneers proactive, AI-driven Cyber Threat Exposure Management (CTEM). Our flagship NST Assure CTEM delivers rapid threat assessment, continuous vulnerability prioritization, and automated responses while maintaining compliance. In a dynamic cyber landscape, we're dedicated to safeguarding digital assets and the operational integrity of our customers.
In an era where cyber-attacks are increasingly driven by sophisticated algorithms, more than relying solely on human-centric defense mechanisms is required.NST Assure Continuous Threat Exposure Management (CTEM) platform is uniquely positioned to fill this gap. Built on a cloud-based architecture, it utilizes artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to automate threat detection and response. Unlike traditional security solutions, the NST Assure CTEM platform evolves in real-time by learning from vast data, delivering dynamic insights into potential cyber threats, and enhancing organizational resilience.
With NST Assure, changes in your external attack surface are continuously monitored with an AI/ML-powered discovery process, and observations are validated near real-time and de-duplicated. Against the prioritized most relevant and essential observations from threat surface discovery, penetration testing is auto-triggered to validate the possibility of exploitation.
NST Assure's in-depth and comprehensive discovery process covers all channels like the Internet, Deepweb, and Darkweb. NST Assure also comes with vulnerability risk prioritization support and the ability to convert security assessment observations to Machine Readable Threat Intelligence (MRTI) bundles, which your SOC and network security team can use for proactive monitoring and defense of exploitation attempts.
NST Cyber helps enterprises across the globe actively discover and manage security risks from vendors and supply chain partners in a continuous manner with NST Assure CTEM platform's Vendor Security Management (VSM) services.
Visit www.nstcyber.ai for more information about NST Assure and to contact us for a free demo.