Threat Management, MDR

Battening down the hatches: Navigating third-party cyber threats 

Visualize a cyber-themed compass with icons representing the NIS2 Directive and Cyber Resilience Act at compass points, guiding a ship through digital waves

We recently looked at the changing roles of the CIO, CISO and CSO attempting to safely steering their organizations in perilous waters. No matter who wears the captain’s hat, in the vast expanse of the cyber ocean, a ship’s safety is only as strong as the weakest vessel in its armada. Our partners and suppliers, integral to our voyage, can sometimes carry hidden trojans below decks, posing a threat to the entire fleet. It’s essential to recognize that in the digital deep blue, that well-organized gangs of cyber-brigands lie in wait, ready to pounce on any vulnerability. 

Recent Skirmishes and the Spoils of War:

  • Trellance Attack: A ransomware attack in December disrupted services for about 60 credit unions in the United States, showcasing the domino effect of third-party vulnerabilities. 
  • Dollar Tree Breach: In November, a service provider hack compromised the personal information of nearly 2 million people, a stark reminder of the importance of vetting the security measures of our allies. 
  • Okta’s Third-Party Breach: In October, an unauthorized actor accessed sensitive files maintained by a third-party service provider, underscoring the need for rigorous and ongoing third-party risk assessments. 

These incidents serve as a clarion call to all cyber sailors: the threat is real, and it’s closer than you think. 

The Importance of Vulnerability Scanning and Timely Software Patching:

It’s not always possible to plan for every eventuality – but making sure your defenses are watertight is critical to running a tight ship. Key aspects to consider are vulnerability scanning and patching; misconfigured equipment or software that can be exploited are sure-fire ways to attract attacks, but they can be easily dealt with.  

  • Scanning the Horizon: Regular vulnerability scanning is like having a vigilant lookout in the crow’s nest. It helps in spotting potential threats from afar, allowing us to prepare or steer clear of danger. 
  • Shoring Up the Hull: Timely software patching is like caulking the wooden planks of our ship’s hull. It’s crucial to seal vulnerabilities before they can be exploited by marauding cyber pirates. 
  • Ready the Cannons: When a threat is imminent, having our cannons – security measures – ready to fire is essential. This means not just identifying risks but also having the means to quickly respond and neutralize them. One way to this to use orchestration workflows to automate remediation. Saved workflows can be quickly adapted and customized to deal with new threats.  

In the digital ocean, third-party risks can form an invisible armada, lurking beneath the surface, ready to breach our defenses. It’s imperative that we not only scan the horizon with a spyglass of vulnerability scanning but also be swift to patch our sails and reinforce our hull with timely updates. Let us navigate these waters with caution, keeping our allies close but our cybersecurity closer, ensuring that our voyage through the cyber seas is not only compliant but also secure. To help organizations in better understanding this type of hidden risk, Syxsense offers monthly broadcasts to review the latest threats. Visit to sign up for Patch Tuesday and Third-Party Roundup webinars to ensure your charts are up to date – may fair winds and lie ahead on your journey! 

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