The Supply Chain Needs Better Cybersecurity and Risk Management

The supply chain is under a historic amount of pressure, but the strain on its cybersecurity and risk management may be in even worse condition. As 2021 draws to a close, the global supply chain is in a state comparable to rush-hour traffic in bad weather. Everything seems to be backed up whether due to supply and demand issues, wait times at shipping ports, or any number of other delays.

If the supply chain is going to have any chance at recovery in the near future, organizations need to address cybersecurity and risk management. This is because cybersecurity and supply chain efficiency are closely intertwined.

Cybercrime and the Supply Chain Crisis

Cybersecurity and risk management have always been vital for the flow of any business. However, the current condition of the global supply chain makes it exceptionally vulnerable to severe damage from an attack more so than usual. When the supply chain is barely getting by, criminals are more likely to assume they have leverage over businesses. A ransomware attacker may be more brazen and exercise higher demands than they might have a few years ago.

The Cyber Pandemic

Most people remember 2020 for the global COVID-19 pandemic. A less noticeable worldwide problem was happening at the same time, affecting every industry and millions of people: the cyber pandemic. When COVID-19 gripped the globe, cybercriminals saw an opportunity to wreak havoc in tandem.

Risk assessments by INTERPOL reported a staggering rise in cyberattacks parallel to the COVID-19 pandemic. The two highest increases in cybercrime were phishing attacks and ransomware. This is no coincidence. These two types of cyberattacks take advantage of the most common circumstances plaguing the global population. People are struggling with fear, uncertainty, and an unprecedented reliance on the internet, creating more opportunities for successful phishing attacks. In fact, the popularity of working from home has been directly linked to a rise in cybercrime.

Similarly, certain industries and businesses have more at risk if their systems were to be compromised such as health care institutions, which accounts for the rise in ransomware attacks. Even after the COVID-19 pandemic subsided somewhat in 2021, cybercrime remained high. This included attacks on critical national infrastructure (CNI) such as the Colonial Pipeline ransomware attack.

Supply Chains Under Surging Demand

At the same time this cyber pandemic took hold in 2020, the global supply chain began experiencing the strain that continues to weigh on it going into 2022. Millions of people started using online shopping as their main, or even only, way of purchasing goods, creating a higher demand for shipping. Additionally, certain industries experienced unprecedented spikes in demand directly in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

A crucial example of this is the computer parts supply chain. Supply and demand for certain components has never been greater for businesses and consumers alike. Computer enthusiasts are signing up for year-long wait lists to get graphics processors, while car manufacturers are reporting millions of dollars in losses due to chip shortages. Some buyers are even taking the risk of using counterfeit products, like power supplies, to make ends meet. Between online work, at-home entertainment, and manufacturing demand, the computer chip shortage is among the worst cases in the current supply chain crisis. Read more:

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