Supply Chain Threats and Vulnerabilities

【Supply Chain Attack】Examples, Impact, and Prevention

Nov 21, 2022

10 min read

Sudip Sengupta

In this article:

Modern software applications are made up of multiple components and services interacting with each other. These components and services collectively support various processes, tools, and libraries to form a software supply chain framework. Software supply chain attacks are emerging cyber exploits that impact an entire supply chain by compromising a single component. In these attacks, hackers rely on third-party software and components vulnerabilities to infiltrate a business network and initiate an attack sequence.

This article discusses supply chain attacks, recent attack examples, the impacts of such attacks, and mitigation strategies.

What is a supply chain attack?

Supply chain attacks are orchestrated by injecting malicious payload into a supply chain system via an integrated component of a third-party vendor or supplier. Due to the loosely coupled nature of modern, cloud-native applications and the lack of public awareness of cyber threats, the recent past saw an increase in highly impactful supply chain attacks. Also known as value chain or third-party attacks,  supply chain attacks target commercial, off-the-shelf solutions and open-source components that contain known vulnerabilities. It can have impacts ranging from harmless exploits to complete compromise of the supply chain.

Supply chain attacks are generally categorized into:

Hardware-based – Insecure hardware configuration is used to host and connect an application

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