The Top 3 Cyber Threats in Food Manufacturing Supply Chain

In 2021, one-fifth of the United States’ meat processing capacity went offline as JBS was struck with ransomware. JBS joined Molson Coors and Wendy’s on the growing list of Food and Beverage Manufacturers that have been targeted by cyberattacks. Before the digital transformation, cybersecurity was a tech issue. Today each cybersecurity risk is a business risk. 

The Top Three Threats Hiding In Food and Beverage Manufacturing Supply Chains

Food and Beverage manufacturers have precious intellectual property, sensitive Operational Technology (OT) environments, and tight production timelines. These three characteristics make Food and Beverage manufacturers prime targets for third-party data breaches, supply chain attacks, and ransomware attacks caused by the top three risks hiding in your Food and Beverage manufacturing supply chain: Third-party Data Breaches:

  • Teams that are working with external vendors are constantly sharing folders or drives. A single wrong click can leave a cloud drive with thousands of documents exposed. This issue becomes more challenging to manage when data is housed within third parties beyond your organization’s visibility or control. 
  • Marketing and packaging-related firms unknowingly leave customer data and IP vulnerable. This leaves the door open for adversaries, competitors, and copycats to access and replicate sensitive designs or gain market advantage. In rare cases, stolen packaging design has led to food fraud and consumer hospitalization. The result would be a costly PR nightmare.

Supply chain attacks:

  • Often, the biggest risk in your supply chain is supply chain attacks themselves. Verizon estimates that 20% of cyber attacks Of cyber incidents have a “secondary motive”— where the ultimate goal of an incident was to leverage the victim’s access to conduct other incidents. This pattern has been observed multiple times in the case of SolarWinds and Passwordstate.
  • But code is not the only sensitive information third parties can have. Manufacturing process documentation, plant blueprints, HACCP documentation, and more are common findings, unknowingly exposed by third-party product suppliers. Threat actors can use details to target specific vulnerabilities in the buildings. These exposed documents have the potential to enable bad actors to interrupt operations, breach physical security, or spy on sensitive business operations and information.

Shadow assets/Shadow IT:

  • Estimates show cloud-based shadow IT is 10x larger than a company’s known cloud usage. Ransomware gangs are targeting these shadow assets as part of their cyberattacks. Moreover, shadow assets are sometimes chosen for their lack of security controls as 35% of employees say they need to work around their company’s security policy to get their job done. 
  • From physical assets like exposed NAS drives to cloud applications, threat actors are always looking for vulnerable entry points. The explosion in cloud services has given threat actors a gold rush of opportunities to enter systems and directly or laterally access OT systems. 

Taking Care Of Business

The key to defending your supply chain is to ensure each of your third-party vendors is compliant with the strictest of cybersecurity standards, whether or not regulatory requirements are enforced. The issue is that many third-party risk management tools are momentary and provide just a snapshot instead of ongoing proactive protection.  Digital Risk Protection Solutions (DRPS) provide holistic detection and remediation for external digital risks. Our machine learning and best-of-breed detection abilities allow our platform to locate when and where your data is found on the internet. This focus on discovering exposed data expands visibility far beyond perimeters into third, fourth, and fifth parties. No more do teams have to choose which vendors receive ongoing monitoring. This is why Gartner named CybelAngel the “Best of Breed” DRPS solution.  CybelAngel also recognizes the need for speed in dealing with digital threats. Today’s digital risk is not the same as tomorrow’s. As an answer, CybelAngel developed 24/7 monitoring for four different digital risks. Our Account Takeover, Data Breach Prevention, Dark Web Monitoring, and Asset Discovery and Monitoring can locate threats within 24 hours of exposure. This speed enables your team to remediate threats before threat actors exploit a vulnerability, exposed database, or unsecured cloud bucket. 

Learn more 

Learn more: schedule some time with our experts to discuss how CybelAngel can help protect your company from downtime, IP theft, and supply chain attacks. Discover how CybelAngel has already helped another food and beverage manufacturer tackle these challenges and more in our Food and Beverage industry case study.