Cyber Supply Chain Hackers Target 4/5 UK Businesses

by Melissa Clark

Friday, July 4th, 2014

Smart phoneScottish businesses are being warned about the crippling dangers of cyber supply chain hacking after new figures reveal four out of five businesses have had security breaches in 2014.

Cyber security experts at the Scottish Business Resilience Centre (SBRC) are urging businesses to step up security measures after 81% of large organisations and 60% of small businesses in the UK fell victim to cyber hackers this year.

A single supplier that is temporarily shut down as a result of a cyber-attack can cause major issues for any customers using its services as part of the supply chain.

These disruptions can include anything from outages to services they provide, loss of vital customer details which can then lead to complete loss of customer trust.

But with the increasing use of websites, computer networks and the cloud, companies are still failing to see the dangers to security via the internet when security measurement are not put in place.

Oren Benshabat, Cyber Security Consultant at SBRC, said: “Hackers who get into a companies’ network could bring a business to its knees with just a few clicks of a mouse.

“When people think of the supply chain they often just think about manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers but recently there is another side of the chain which has emerged.

“The cyber supply chain includes operations involving information and communication technologies, software distribution and operations within the cloud which is the backbone of today’s digital economy.

“No supply chain is without its threats but we have to make businesses aware of the increasing attacks from the cyber side of the chain.”

The cyber team at SBRC have now introduced a new footprint assessment alongside an existing cyber security audit for business leaders and companies in a bid to help combat this growing and problem.

During these assessments security experts look at a business from the hacker’s perspective to see what they can find out about a business, report any issues or vulnerabilities and implement guidelines to fix any unsecure networks or assist in removing any sensitive data found online.

SBRC Director Mandy Haeburn-Little said: “Cyber criminals are a major threat in today’s world but we want to try and put up as many defences to ensure that businesses have all the information they need to stay secure.

“Many companies have customers who rely on the online services they provide, so when a security breach happens, the entire cyber supply chain can be adversely affected.

“The issue can arise in a small company where perhaps a supplier has employed a sub contractor or a different supplier to carry out a piece of the work.  While your main supplier may have checked all their security, it would be additional unknown subcontractors or suppliers that would make your systems vulnerable  and so cause the problem .

“One of the best ways to avoid this is to make sure you know if any of your work or projects are subcontracted and what the e security is.

“Businesses need to protect themselves from hackers by increasing their network security and protecting their online information as much as possible. We want to lower these worrying figures as soon as possible and keep businesses safe and protected throughout the country.”

Free guidance and advice on protecting a business and cyber hacking is available on the SBRC website.

For more information on cyber harassment and the footprint assessment service, visit www.sbrcentre.co.uk.

Melissa Clark

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