GUEST ESSAY: The many ways your supply chain exposes your business to a cyberattack

It’s a scenario executives know all too well.

Related: Third-party audits can hold valuable information

You and your cybersecurity team are doing everything right to protect your infrastructure, but the scary alarm still alerts you that you’ve suffered a data breach.

It’s a maddening situation that happens far more often than it should.

One of the main culprits behind these incredibly frustrating attacks has not so much to do with how a team works or the protocols a company uses, but rather a supply issue that results from gaps in the supply chain. supply and hard-to-detect vulnerabilities. layers in a particular device.

“The same technologies that make supply chains faster and more efficient also threaten their cybersecurity,” writes David Lukic, privacy, security and compliance consultant. “Supply chains have vulnerabilities at touchpoints with manufacturers, suppliers and other service providers.”

The inherent complexity of the modern technology supply chain is one of the reasons so many cybercrime attempts have been successful. Before a device reaches the end user, multiple stakeholders have contributed to it or manipulated it. CPUs, GPUs, drives, network controllers, and peripherals can each come from a different vendor.

Then there are the firmware developers, shipping agencies, testing facilities, and safety assessment agencies that handle the device before it’s shipped to the corporate client. From there, likely operations personnel, audit personnel, and IT personnel manipulate the device before it finally reaches the hands of the intended operator.

This complexity can be compounded by the effects of global events like COVID-19 or war, causing manufacturing slowdowns and stalls. Such events have resulted in parts shortages that force the use of older, less reliable spare parts to meet schedules, underscoring the need for innovation and additional suppliers.


As the European Union Agency for Cybersecurity (ENISA) puts it: “The chain reaction triggered by an attack on a single vendor can compromise a network of vendors. ENISA found that 66% of cyberattacks focus on vendor code.

The charged susceptibility along the product’s journey from the device leads to an increased risk. Cybersecurity experts like Lukic and ENISA researchers recommend that organizations limit the number of vendors they contract, develop a minimum standard for those they engage with, and check code and protocols for safety of a supplier before finalizing the conditions. But these tactics only go modestly far in your protection, while the main problem remains.

There is, however, potential for a reliable solution that can provide some peace of mind. The Trusted Computing/Control Unit, or TCU, built by Axiado introduces an improved zero-trust model to the market.

This chip-scale, AI-powered innovation provides multiple, hierarchical trust relationships for complex ownership structures and transitions. It provides an answer to the most common and dangerous forms of cybercrime:

•Security at the root. With its proactive root-of-trust platform design, the TCU eliminates fragmentation and establishes protections for pre-boot, boot, and execution stages of critical device components and functions.

• Anti-counterfeiting, anti-theft and anti-tampering functions. A basic solution, the TCU addresses supply chain management risks through its hierarchical infrastructure that has multiple stakeholders and its use of transition management between these stakeholders. TCU’s capabilities encompass deep and extensive systems analysis and state-of-the-art security management that locates and contains attacks.

• Threat detection. TCU deploys AI-based execution threat detection monitoring and remediation for enhanced tampering

Traceability and responsibility. With the TCU, networks have advanced forensic capabilities to track digital activity and maintain system integrity.

The capabilities of the TCU can go a long way in addressing the four most pressing issues that can impact any company’s cybersecurity initiatives. The first major problem that the TCU solves concerns the loss, modification or exfiltration of data. These measures, enabled by root security and AI, protect users, devices, and network data.

A second problem that the TCU addresses is system failures or loss of availability. The benefit of root-level security is that it protects systems from crippling firmware attacks that can severely compromise or even disable systems.

Third, the TCU solves the problem of reduced component availability. System security control and management can be offloaded from the main CPU and associated processors to a TCU.

This allows the flexibility to use older components in times of supply shortages as we experienced during COVID-19 and other global events. The TCU compensates for the security shortcomings of these alternative devices.

Finally, the TCU protects against reputational risk. A TCU-based solution safeguards a company’s reputation by preventing unauthorized modifications or implants throughout a product’s lifecycle. Maintaining an excellent reputation with vendors and suppliers is essential to the long-term success of individual businesses and the ecosystems in which they operate.

The good news for executives and internal cybersecurity experts is that there is finally a way to confidentially mitigate the relentless supply chain attacks. Axiado’s single-chip solution reduces the complex integration of multiple components while adding new layers of protection. The TCU addresses supply chain risks related to counterfeits, substitutions, tampering, theft, and implants while adding accountability to the ownership process.

About the essayist: Josel Lorenzo, is vice president of products, at Axiado, which provides advanced technologies to secure the hardware root of trust.

*** This is a syndicated Security Bloggers Network blog from The Last Watchdog written by bacohido. Read the original post at:

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