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Supply Chain Cybersecurity Trends and Threats in 2024

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You can’t start building a product before you get the tools and the raw materials to the factory. You can’t close a sale without delivering a product to your customer. Wherever you turn, it’s clear that getting products, materials, and supplies from point A to point B is pivotal for your business.

With that in mind, in the era where the entire supply chain is managed online, you have cybersecurity to worry about, as well. The last situation you want is for someone to steal the data or tamper with it.

With that in mind, here are some cybersecurity threats affecting your supply chain in 2024 and how you can solve the issue. 


  1. Trade secrets

As a fleet manager, you’re working extra hard on optimizing routes. Life is not a video game where you check the score behind each route and pick the one with the highest number. Instead, you must look into various options and often experiment (and lose money while experimenting). 

This means that every piece of insight that you get this way is more than hard-earned, and the last thing you want is to let someone else get it for free. Unless you can protect the secrets of your supply chain, hackers could steal them and sell them to your competitors.

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Your competitors don’t even realize they’re  doing anything wrong. Someone just appears and offers to sell them the optimized route for a low fee. These hackers don’t have to invest in time and profit loss due to experimentation, meaning they can sell your secrets at any cost and still make a profit. Nonetheless, these insights are worth their weight in gold, and your competitors know it.

So, your first objective is to keep your supply chain information secure.

To do this, you need to establish several steps. You need to start with the lines of communication. Insist on high encryption when exchanging company files and trading company secrets. This is the way to go, and you should never underestimate it. 

It’s also worth mentioning that, in a modern workplace, many people work remotely or from their own devices. This means that you need to enforce a strong BYOD (bring your own device) policy.

Lastly, you need to make sure that you restrict access to this information on a need-to-know basis

  1. Maintenance and reliability

The next step you need to understand is the importance of your monitoring and maintenance systems. It’s not just about the fact that you have to track and maintain all your vehicles. It’s about the fact that you can’t afford to have the system crash, go down, or get DDoSed.

Your equipment maintenance software needs to stay active and effective at all times. For this, you need the most reliable platform that you can get your hands on.

Messing up maintenance, checkup, or repair orders can cause a serious setback. This means that you’ll face downtime sooner and more often than you originally anticipated, which is already a massive problem that you’ll have to overcome. 

You see, downtime is much more than a temporary setback. It’s a period during which your fleet is inactive, which means that you lose business and, more importantly, you lose the trust of your customers. If your order is late (by a lot), chances are that there won’t be another chance.

Even without security risks, maintenance is one of the biggest bottlenecks of the supply chain industry. After all, you have to deliberately take your vehicles out of work rotation and then bring them back in. You’re making them inactive when you want so that you don’t have to suffer from a random breakdown.

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Even more importantly, when working with vehicles, a malfunction can cause a huge risk. Because of this, you’re often obliged by law to conduct a certain number of inspections and maintenance tasks every year. This means that even if you didn’t have to keep your maintenance efficient (from a financial standpoint), you would still have to do so because the law mandates it

  1. Cybersecurity of electric fleets

With modern advancements in both hardware and battery intelligence software, the use of electric vehicles as a part of the supply chain is becoming an incredible option. 

With range anxiety out of the way and electric fleet management simpler than ever, one of the biggest concerns of electric fleets is cybersecurity. In fact, this is one of the biggest reasons (other than just the cost of acquisition of electric vehicles for the fleet), why fleet managers are so cautious, and some are still reluctant about making a switch. 

So, what are some of the biggest concerns on this front?

  • First, you have the fear of signal interception. Hackers may intercept the signal and steer self-driving vehicles off course.
  • The introduction of malicious software may compromise the safety and functionality of the vehicles. Some even fear that the vulnerability may come from the charging stations.
  • A lot of software regarding electric vehicle supply equipment is susceptible to malware, and this will require extra protection.

While these types of attacks are not particularly common, some argue that this is because the use of electric vehicles for commercial purposes is still in its infancy. In their minds, as soon as this type of transportation becomes more common, so will the attacks. It’s really hard to argue against this logic.

The most important thing, however, is to understand that preventing attacks is fairly easy. What’s difficult is winning the battle of public perception. A lot of people believe that electric vehicles are a far greater liability (in terms of hacker attacks) than they really are. In order for them to live up to their full potential, you’ll first have to convince the public that this is not the case. 

  1. Geo-political manipulation

We live in an age where sabotage is one of the most common forms of expressing adversity. In an age where the international community plays a huge role and so many actors have the capacity to exterminate all of mankind; one question comes to mind – what type of weapon is the most effective? The answer is simple: the one that you’re not afraid to use.

Therefore, state-sponsored hacking attacks are becoming increasingly popular. They’re (relatively) safe and difficult to prove. Even if the whole operation goes bust, the other party can denounce anyone caught in the process as a rogue agent.

In this covert warfare, supply chains are the most logical target. They’re mostly on the cloud, and this is how you can subtly do damage to both the morale and actual logistics of the other party. 

Why morale? 

Well, because when the supply chain fails, the blame gets tossed around like a hot potato. Suddenly, it’s no longer a mistake but either negligence or incompetence. The problem is that when the supply chain fails, no one can do their job. Soldiers at the first line are not getting their food and ammo, factory workers are not getting raw materials to work with, and the whole hell gets let loose.

When done right, no one ever thinks about the supply chain. However, when it goes wrong, now it’s everyone’s problem (all of a sudden). Even those who never thought about the process that gets the products/materials to them now become logistics “experts” with strong opinions on how things should be handled.  

  1. Addressing outsourcing liabilities

One of the biggest concerns in 2024 is that outsourcing (as a trend) is at its all-time high. This is especially noticeable in fields like supply chain. With so many external parties having access the the sensitive data, is it even possible to keep it safe?

Of course, when done right. 

First, you need to make sure that you check who you’re working with. Second, you need to create your own policy that they’ll have to fit in or abide by. Insist on it and spend a decent amount of time on training and onboarding. You might even have to revise your online learning process as a whole. 

Next, start asking some hard questions. Is their process documented, and what are they doing when vulnerabilities are spotted? What are they doing when they notice zero-day vulnerabilities? What kind of controls do you use to manage and monitor these processes, and how do you improve all of them? 

At the end of the day, you need to accept that you’ll never remove all of these liabilities. The best you can hope for is to develop a way of detecting problems early on and a methodology for fixing them at a moment’s notice.

You can’t keep your supply chain effective without keeping it safe

Keeping up with your supply chain is incredibly important, and it won’t run unless it’s safe. Otherwise, a business or an organization is exposed to various hacking threats. So, you need to fix problems, elevate trust in the new system, and educate your staff about the threats they’re facing. 

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