As more workplaces adopt cloud collaboration tools as a result of the Covid pandemic, the data supply chain is becoming increasingly difficult to secure. When employees exchange information through collaboration platforms like Microsoft Teams, Slack, and Google Drive, this data isn’t just sent to the recipient, it’s also exposed to third parties.
For example, when you communicate with a partner through Microsoft Teams, the message content is decrypted at server level, which means Microsoft internal admins can access the content, and cyber criminals can attempt to compromise servers to obtain those login credentials as part of a supply chain attack.
This was most notable last year when threat actor Dark Halo leveraged a vulnerability in the SolarWinds Orion platform to issue a malicious update to organisations and government departments throughout the USA.
Likewise, an attacker can target your partner organisation with phishing attempts and credential stuffing attacks to compromise their user account and gain access to the information. The unfortunate reality of sharing data is that each link in the supply chain increases the risk of a data breach.
The Threat of Supply Chain Attacks
With the growth of cloud computing and collaboration platforms widely publicised, cyber criminals are starting to focus on launching supply chain attacks to compromise these service providers, gain access to downstream customers, and harvest sensitive data.
According to the ENISA Threat Landscape for Supply Chain Attacks report:
- There were 24 supply chain attacks reported from January 2020 to early July 2021
- 50% of those attacks were attributed to well-known APT groups
- 62% of attacks on customers took advantage of their trust in their supplier
- 58% of the supply chain attacks were aimed at gaining access to data (customer data, personal data, and intellectual property), and 16% at gaining access to people
One of the main reasons for the popularity of these attacks is that they are an efficient option for stealing a high volume of data. For instance, instead of targeting one organisation and exfiltrating their protected data, cyber criminals can break into a supplier's internal systems and exfiltrate the data of all its customers.
The increase in supply chain threats means any organisation that has access to your sensitive communications poses a risk to your security, whether they're storing emails on their internal systems or maintaining admin access to your unencrypted communications.
With the average cost of a data breach totaling $4.24 million, organisations need a true enterprise-grade solution for sharing information with external partners, or they run the risk of catastrophic financial liabilities.
How Cloud Collaboration Platforms Exposure Your Data
In many supply chain attacks, the information that attackers are attempting to gain access to is messages and files shared through cloud collaboration and file-sharing platforms such as Microsoft Teams, Slack, and Google Drive.
All these solutions are vulnerable to supply chain disruptions because they don’t have true-end-to-end encryption and are all freely available to access by each provider’s internal admins.
As already mentioned, tools like Microsoft Teams use TLS/SSL encryption and store decryption keys at the server level, which means an attacker can hack the supplier's servers, steal the decryption keys, and then use them to decrypt and steal protected data.
The most effective way to eliminate these vulnerabilities is by using end-to-end encryption, which ensures decryption keys can't be obtained by hacking a third-party server and prevents the service provider's administrators from accessing your information.
HighSide One: Controlled File-Sharing & Collaboration for Your Hybrid-Work Team, Partners and Suppliers.
HighSide One provides a secure environment that employees can use to share files and messages with external partners under the protection of end-to-end encryption. The HighSide decentralized Encryption and Authentication Protocol (HEAP) enables employees to share files with external partners through the cloud while preventing unauthorised users and third-party admins from accessing protected data.
Integrated access controls enable your organisation to determine who has access to information with geolocation and time-based restrictions. When working with providers, these restrictions give you the ability to determine the data that individuals can access, which devices they can access it with, and where they can access from.
Additionally, SecureDrive ShareLinks let you share files with external users who aren't a part of your HighSide team. Simply create an e2e encrypted link, select an expiry timeframe, add a password if desired... and send via email or any other desired means. The links look like regular URLs and can be opened in a web browser, no application needed! Better yet, the share links are tracked in the HighSide compliance manager and event streaming API services.
Our approach ensures that organisations in regulated industries don't have to store sensitive data on third-party systems as they would with inadequately optimised solutions like Microsoft Teams and email and also makes it much easier to communicate with external users without increasing the risk of a data breach.
HighSide is fully-compliant with data protection regulations such as GDPR, ITAR, HIPAA, CMMC, FINRA, FCA, and SEC[KM1] , which enables it to support the needs of enterprises and governments departments that are subject to the strictest data protection requirements.
HighSide One: The Easy Way to Communicate with Suppliers Securely
Sharing files with external partners doesn't have to be difficult. The HighSide Platform provides businesses with everything they need to send encrypted messages and files to external partners without having to rely on the security controls that the partner organisations have in place.
All your conversations with partners can be managed through a single e2e encrypted environment, enabling your team to communicate securely and conveniently. Encrypting your communications in this way has the added advantage of making sure your messages and files are 100% protected from supply chain threats.
Want to find out more about how HighSide can safeguard your data from supply chain attacks? Request a demo to find out more.