Supply Chain Security: Mapping Out the Key Threats You Face

Sophisticated hackers are tailoring cyber-attacks to target businesses throughout your supply chain. In order to enhance your supply chain security, it’s important to understand their tactics in order to reduce the risk to your business.

Your business has never been more reliant on supply chains to deliver products and services to your end users. Whether it’s sourcing parts from suppliers or working with logistics firms to transport your products around the world, your supply chain is critical to your operational integrity.

Hackers know this, and will actively target organisations in your supply chain in order to disrupt your operations and gain a foothold into your environment.  And even if they don’t target you through your supply chain, any disruptions to your suppliers resulting from a cyber-attack can cause significant collateral damage to you as a result.

Let’s explore the key security threats across each link in the supply chain.

Supply Chain Security: Threats to the Entire Ecosystem

Many hackers will tailor their attack methods according to whereabouts in the supply chain ecosystem they are targeting. But there will always be cyber-attacks that are used throughout. Let’s start by looking at these:

  • Phishing leading to ransomware is a key threat to businesses throughout the supply chain
  • Phishing emails are sent by hackers to trick users into installing malicious software or taking actions that facilitate further compromise
  • Ransomware encrypts files within an infected network, rendering them unusable until a ransom is paid or the victim is able to restore from backups
  • Business email compromise attacks infiltrate or impersonate email accounts in order to issue instructions to send bank transfers to hackers

Note: Phishing, ransomware and business email compromise are three of the most commonly used cyber-attack methods in 2021.  The cyber security landscape is constantly evolving, as hackers adapt their approaches to exploit gaps opened up by new technologies and operating requirements. If we understand who’s attacking us and how, we will stand a better chance of repelling these attacks and maintaining operational integrity. Our cyber security experts have gathered these stats you need to know to help you do just that.


As we explored in a recent blog, manufacturing, where uptime and productivity are everything, has become the most targeted sector for cyber-attacks in 2021. Here are some of the methods hackers use to target manufacturers:

  • Supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems are high value targets for hackers, who can hold manufacturers to ransom by rendering them unusable
  • ERP and CRM systems hold valuable, commercially-sensitive data that – if leaked – can lead to fines and damage to customer confidence
  • Internet of Things (IoT) devices, increasingly an essential component in manufacturing processes, are vulnerable to exploits if they are not patched properly
  • Manufacturers often face espionage attempts from rivals and even nation states, attempting to steal high-value intellectual property
  • Disgruntled employees with knowledge of systems, applications and data pose a threat to manufacturers if not addressed by appropriate role-based access controls


In today’s hybrid working world, we are more reliant than ever on logistics firms to transport goods throughout the supply chain. Hackers know this, and are increasingly targeting logistics firms with ransomware attacks. Learn more about this from our recent Logistics Threat Flash Report.

  • Hackers can use brand impersonation to mimic logistics firms’ online presence and trick employees or customers into exposing their credentials
  • If frontline workers lose their mobile devices, they risk exposing sensitive information held in ERP and CRM systems
  • Hackers have been known to exploit misconfigured code in logistics firms’ web applications to gain access to sensitive internal systems
  • Customers are now used to seeing the progress of their deliveries. Hackers can access the internet-facing applications that provide these progress updates, compromising service delivery and potentially accessing internal systems


Retail is one of the most targeted sectors for cyber-attacks in 2021. The coronavirus pandemic has forced retailers to adapt to survive, regardless of their size. While smaller retailers have begun moving to card payments and online operations, larger retailers have focused on harnessing big data to achieve efficiencies and maximise profit margins.

This has introduced new threat vectors as retailers’ attack surfaces have expanded, and these threat vectors are being exploited by cybercriminals keen to steal money and confidential financial information. Unique cyber-threats to retailers include:

  • Hackers have been known to exploit misconfigured code in retailers’ ecommerce web applications to gain access to sensitive internal systems
  • Distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks target retailers’ ecommerce platforms, flooding servers with requests that prevent customers from placing orders – reducing revenue and damaging consumer confidence

Mapping Out the Key Threats You Face

Now is not the time to rest on your cyber security laurels – supply chain security should be taken seriously by all organisations if they are to minimise the risks they face. Supply chain security doesn’t need to be onerous to implement – by applying diligence and best practices, you can safeguard your operational integrity and build trust with the businesses that sit throughout your supply chain.

In our new infographic, created in collaboration with our cyber security and industry specialists, we map out key security threats across the supply chain. You can download it for free here.

All organisations need to take proactive steps to address the financial, operational and reputational risks they face in today’s increasingly hostile digital landscape. Partnering with an experienced, credible cyber security provider will allow you to establish your organisation’s risk appetite and enhance your cyber security posture. Click here to arrange a call with one of our experts today.

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