Threats to the supply chains for ICs and other computer components are poised to wreak even more havoc on organizations.
Supply chain attacks are not only increasing in number but also in complexity. In fact, according to the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC), the volume of supply chain attacks increased by 42% in the first quarter of 2021 over the previous quarter. As the “ITRC 2020 Data Breach” report states, “Supply chain attacks are increasingly popular with attackers since they can access the information of larger organizations or multiple organizations through a single, third-party vendor.” This increase has produced an explosion of ransomware attacks, virtualization and Extensible Firmware Interface (EFI) hacks, and secure boot jailbreaks.
As defenses within traditional operating systems have improved over the years, hackers have moved into earlier stages of the boot process and, increasingly, even into the hardware itself.
Arguably the most impactful supply chain attack in history took place last year: It targeted SolarWinds, a manufacturer of IT management solutions. It included multiple attacks that ultimately caused companies and government organizations around the world to execute malicious product updates. The attack showed how adversaries can gain access to a privileged network component, hijack the software build process to inject malicious code into each resulting binary, and then identify customers that use products that they could exploit by leveraging the injected code. While most people in the industry knew such an attack could happen, many are still scrambling to determine how susceptible their companies are to an attack they did not think would happen.