The current geopolitical climate and escalating crisis in Ukraine are amplifying concerns about the increased cyber threat to global supply chains that are already strained by the COVID-19 pandemic. This is perhaps the first time in history that the threat of cyber warfare is potentially just as devastating as the physical battle taking place on the ground. Government officials are cautioning organizations to be prepared for an increase in cyber-attacks on businesses and critical infrastructure.
Last year, cyber threats on global supply chains were in the spotlight following the unprecedented cyber-attacks on Colonial Pipeline, JBS, and SolarWinds, attacks that had far-reaching consequences for downstream businesses, customers, and individual consumers.
In May 2021, Colonial Pipeline was the victim of a ransomware attack that forced the company to abruptly shut down the pipeline and suspend all operations for the first time in its history. This led to an immediate disruption in the nation’s fuel supply along the Eastern Seaboard, causing shortages and spikes in the price of gas. Later that month, a ransomware attack targeted JBS, one of the largest meat producers in the world, and forced the company to temporarily shutter its U.S. facilities, which supply 23 percent of the nation’s beef.
According to various sources, both attacks were perpetrated by cybercriminals (REvil and DarkSide) with ties to Russia, although White House officials stopped short of declaring these attacks to be state-sponsored. In the case of JBS, law enforcement was successful in shutting down the bad actors and recovering $2.3 million of the $4.3 million ransom paid by JBS.
In April 2021, the New York Department of Financial Services (NY DFS) issued a Report on the SolarWinds cyber-attack..1 According to NY DFS, the SolarWinds attack was attributed to a sophisticated cyber espionage campaign by Russian Foreign Intelligence Services actors. SolarWinds saw signs of hackers about eight months earlier than the disclosed timeline and nearly two years before anyone discovered the breach.
SolarWinds is a software company with more than 320,000 customers including government,…