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You may have heard of ransomware before, but did you know that it’s increasingly being used to target supply chains? 

Ransomware is a type of malware that encrypts data on a victim’s computer and then demands payment in order to decrypt it. 

In recent months, we’ve seen an uptick in the use of ransomware against businesses, with attackers targeting everything from hospitals to shipping companies. 

Attacks using supply chain ransomware have the ability to cause a corporation significant financial and reputational harm that may last for years. Cybersecurity experts are strengthening their defenses against supply chain ransomware assaults and going after thieves.

So what can you do to protect your business from supply chain ransomware attacks?  In this blog post, we’ll discuss what ransomware is and how to protect your business against it. Stay safe!

What is a Supply Chain Cyber Attack?

Supply Chain Ransomware

A supply chain cyber attack is a type of cyber attack in which an attacker infiltrates a company’s supply chain in order to gain access to the company’s systems and data. 

In many cases, attackers will target a company’s suppliers or other third-party service providers in order to gain access to the company’s systems. 

Once they have gained access, attackers can then wreak havoc by deleting or altering data, launching denial-of-service attacks, or even stealing sensitive information. 

Although supply chain attacks can be difficult to prevent, there are a number of steps that companies can take to reduce their risk, including maintaining tight security controls over their supply chains and conducting regular security audits.

This type of attack can have a devastating impact on businesses, especially if it targets the supply chain. However, there are steps businesses can take to protect themselves from ransomware and minimize the damage it causes. 

Most common stages of Supply chain ransomware:

A ransomware attack can cause a company to lose control of its supply chain, which can have a ripple effect that ultimately leads to ransom payments.

  • The first stage of a ransomware attack is typically infiltration, in which the attacker gains access to the company’s network. This can be done through a variety of means, such as phishing emails or malicious software.
  • Once the attacker is inside the network, they will often spread the ransomware to as many systems as possible. This usually results in the encryption of data, which can make it inaccessible to the company.
  • In some cases, the attacker may also threaten to release sensitive information unless a ransom is paid.
  • The final stage is usually negotiation, in which the company decides whether or not to pay the ransom. If the company does not have a robust backup system in place, it may be forced to pay a ransom in order to regain access to its data. 

Ultimately, a ransomware attack can have a significant impact on a company’s supply chain and may result in ransom payments.

How to detect a Supply Chain Cyber Attack?

In today’s digital age, supply chain attacks are becoming more and more common. These attacks can be difficult to detect, as they often involve compromising legitimate accounts or devices. However, there are some signs that can indicate that a supply chain attack is taking place. 

For example, if there is sudden and unexplained activity on vendor or supplier accounts, or if there is a sudden increase in phishing emails being sent to employees, it may be indicative of a supply chain attack.

How to respond to a supply chain cyber attack?

If you suspect that your company is the victim of a supply chain attack, it is important to take action immediately in order to minimize the damage. 

In the event of a supply chain attack, it is important for companies to take immediate steps to contain the damage. 

This may include disconnecting from the internet, implementing security controls, and alerting employees and customers. 

Contact your IT department or security team and provide them with as much information as possible. They will then be able to investigate and take steps to protect your company’s systems and data.

Taking these steps swiftly can help minimize the damage caused by a supply chain attack.

Identifying gaps in supply chain risk assessments

Many organizations face gaps in their supply chain risk assessments, which can have serious consequences. A sudden interruption in the supply of raw materials or finished goods can disrupt operations and lead to financial losses. 

In today’s global economy, supply chains are often complex and span multiple countries. As a result, assessing risk can be a challenging task. However, there are some basic steps that all companies should take to identify gaps in their risk assessments.

  • First, it is important to have a clear understanding of the company’s supply chain. All stakeholders should be aware of which suppliers provide which components and how they fit into the overall operation.
  • Second, companies should develop contingency plans for disruptions at each stage of the supply chain. These plans should be designed to minimize the impact of an interruption and get operations back on track as quickly as possible.
  • Finally, it is essential to periodically review and update supply chain risk assessments. 

As the world economy changes, so do the risks associated with doing business. By staying up-to-date on these changes, companies can ensure that their risk assessments are comprehensive and accurate.

Effects of Ransomware Threats on Businesses 

Attacks on the supply chain result in extensive harm. Cyberattacks have a financial cost to corporations, but they also harm a company’s relationships with clients and partners at work. 

The multiple risks involved in protecting supply chains from the danger of ransomware attacks are examined by American Global Logistics. 

  • Reputational Damage:

 The assaults may seriously harm a company’s reputation due to the negative news that results from them. Moreover, the shareholders may have cause to doubt the viability of their financial commitment to the company. 

  • Business Loss: 

A ransomware attack on a business can cause significant financial losses due to disruptions to the supply chain. The attackers may encrypt the data of suppliers, distributors, and customers, making it inaccessible. 

This can prevent the victim company from being able to fulfill orders and may cause them to lose business. The company may also incur costs in order to rebuild its systems and improve its security. 

As a result, a ransomware attack on a business can have a significant financial impact.

  • Ransom Payment

Ransom payments are typically made through a cryptocurrency, such as Bitcoin. This is because cryptocurrencies are anonymous and cannot be tracked. This makes it very difficult for law enforcement to identify and apprehend criminals. 

The ransom payment is usually a small percentage of the total value of the encrypted data. For example, if the total value of the encrypted data is $1 million, the ransom payment would typically be between $50,000 and $200,000. 

The criminals will typically give the victim a deadline to make the payment. If the payment is not made by the deadline, the price will increase.

 In some cases, the criminals will threaten to release the encrypted data publicly if their demands are not met. 

This type of threat can be especially effective in businesses, as it can damage their reputation and result in significant financial losses.

8 Best Ways to Prevent Supply Chain Attacks

Now that you know how a supply chain ransomware attack can have devastating effects on your company, how can you protect yourself and your company against such attacks?

Here are some safeguards you can put in place to protect against such attacks. 

  1. Introduce Honeytokens

One way to protect your system against supply chain Ransome is by introducing honeytokens into your system. 

Honeytokens are fake pieces of information that are designed to look like real data.  If someone tries to access the honeytoken, you’ll be alerted that there’s been an attempted breach. 

This helps to protect your system against supply chain attacks, where attackers try to gain access to your information by infiltrating one of your suppliers. By using honeytokens, you can add an extra layer of security to your system and make it more difficult for attackers to succeed.

  1. Implement Secure Privileged Access Management (SPAM)

Secure Privileged Access Management (SPAM) is a comprehensive approach to managing privileged access across an organization. By centrally controlling and monitoring all privileged access, SPAM helps to prevent unauthorized access and potential supply chain attacks. 

In addition, SPAM provides a clear audit trail of all privileged access, making it easy to track and resolve any issues that may arise. By implementing SPAM, organizations can significantly reduce the risk of supply chain attacks and ensure that only authorized users have access to critical data and systems.

  1. Minimize access to sensitive data

One way to protect against such attacks is to minimize the amount of sensitive data that is accessible to the supply chain. 

For example, a company might choose to encrypt its data or limit access to certain systems to only authorized personnel. By doing so, the company can make it much harder for an attacker to gain access to the information they are seeking.

 Additionally, by minimizing the amount of sensitive data that is accessible, the company can reduce the damage that a successful attack could cause.

 In short, minimizing access to sensitive data is an effective way to protect against supply chain attacks.

  1. Spot Vendor Data Breaches 

By compromising a vendor’s systems, attackers can gain access to the sensitive data of the organizations that they supply. Spotting vendor data breaches can help to protect against supply chain attacks in two ways. 

First, it can help to identify vendors who may be vulnerable to attack. By monitoring for vendor data breaches, organizations can proactively assess the security of their suppliers and take steps to address any weaknesses. 

Second, spotting vendor data breaches can also help to limit the damage of a supply chain attack. 

By identifying breached vendors quickly, organizations can minimize the amount of sensitive data that is exposed in an attack. 

In today’s increasingly interconnected world, spotting vendor data breaches is an essential part of protecting against supply chain attacks.

  1. Establish a Zero Trust Architecture 

In a zero-trust architecture (ZTA), every network activity is automatically assumed to be hostile. 

Access to intellectual property is only granted once each connection request has successfully met a stringent set of requirements. 

A Policy Engine (PE), a Policy Administrator (PA), and a Policy Enforcement Point are at the core of a ZTA (PEP). 

By following the guidelines established by the Trust Algorithm, the Policy Engine determines whether network traffic should be allowed. The Policy Administrator notifies the Policy Enforcement Point of the Policy Engine’s result (pass or fail). 

The last gatekeeper, the Policy Enforcement Point, decides whether to approve or deny network requests depending on the judgment of the Policy Engine.

  1. Implement strict Shadow IT rules

Shadow IT refers to the use of unauthorized applications and devices within a company’s network. 

By restricting Shadow IT, companies can reduce the chances that hackers will be able to gain access to their networks via a third-party supplier. 

In addition, Shadow IT can also lead to data loss and compliance issues. 

As a result, it is important for companies to carefully monitor and restrict Shadow IT in order to protect themselves from supply chain attacks.

  1. Implement Multiple layers of Protection 

Implementing multiple layers of protection is the best way to protect against supply chain attacks. 

By segmenting your networks and adding security at each layer, you can make it much more difficult for attackers to gain access to your data or systems. 

Additionally, you can quickly detect and respond to any attempted supply chain attacks by monitoring your network for unusual activity. By taking these steps, you can protect your company from the devastating effects of a supply chain attack.

  1. Create an Incident Response Strategy 

A well-designed incident response strategy can help to protect against these sorts of attacks. 

By identifying potential vulnerabilities and establishing protocols for responding to incidents, businesses can minimize the impact of an attack and reduce the chances of it happening again in the future. 

In addition, a strong incident response strategy can help to build trust with customers and other stakeholders, as they will see that the company is taking steps to protect its data. 

As supply chain attacks become more prevalent, it is essential for businesses to have an effective incident response strategy in place.

Recent examples of ransomware supply chain attacks

  1. Brenntag

In May 2021, the German chemical company Brenntag was the victim of a ransomware attack by the gang DarkSide. DarkSide demanded a ransom of 133.65 Bitcoin, which was valued at approximately $7.5 million at the time. 

However, Brenntag only ended up paying $4.4 million, as they were able to negotiate with the attackers. While this may seem like a victory, it is important to remember that Brenntag still lost 150GB of data during the attack. 

In addition, paying a ransom does not guarantee that the data will be recovered, and it also sends a message to other gangs that Brenntag is willing to pay for their silence. As a result, paying a ransom is not always the best course of action following a ransomware attack.

  1. Colonial Pipeline 

In May of 2021, the Colonial Pipeline was attacked by a ransomware program created by DarkSide; a cyber criminal group believed to operate out of Russia. 

This attack caused gas prices to spike across the United States, as the pipeline is responsible for transporting approximately 45% of gasoline on the East Coast. In response to the attack, Colonial Pipeline paid a $4.4 million ransom to the organisation.

How Jumpstart Security Can Simplify Cybersecurity for Your Business 

In today’s digital age, hackers are constantly finding new ways to exploit vulnerabilities, and the consequences of a data breach can be devastating. 

If you’re not already using a security solution like Jumpstart Security, now is the time to consider it. 

Jumpstart Security simplifies cybersecurity by providing a comprehensive suite of tools to protect your business. 

With Jumpstart Security, you can easily monitor and manage access to your network, protect your data from theft or loss, and keep your employees safe online.

In addition, our 24/7 support team is always available to help you resolve any issues that may arise. 

Cybersecurity doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive – with Jumpstart Security; you can have peace of mind knowing that your business is protected.

To learn more, schedule a demo.


Ransomware attacks can have far-reaching consequences that extend beyond the initial victim. It’s important to be aware of these types of attacks and take steps to protect yourself and your organization. 

Keep your systems up-to-date with the latest security patches, use strong passwords, and back up your data regularly. By taking these precautions, you can help prevent becoming a victim of a ransomware attack.