Insider threats, supply chains, and IoT: Breaking down a modern-day cyber-attack

It’s ten to five on a Friday afternoon. A technician has come in to perform a routine check on an electronic door. She enters the office with no issues – she works for a trusted third-party vendor, employees see her every week. She opens her laptop and connects to the Door Access Control Unit, a small Internet of Things (IoT) device used to operate the smart lock. Minutes later, trojans have been downloaded onto the company network, a crypto-mining operation has begun, and there is evidence of confidential data being exfiltrated. Where did things go wrong?

Written by Brianna Leddy, Director of Analysis

Threats in a business: A new dawn surfaces

As organizations keep pace with the demands of digital transformation, the attack surface has become broader than ever before. There are numerous points of entry for a cyber-criminal – from vulnerabilities in IoT ecosystems, to blind spots in supply chains, to insiders misusing their access to the business. Darktrace sees these threats every day. Sometimes, like in the real-world example above, which will be examined in this blog, they can occur in the very same attack.

Insider threats can use their familiarity and level of access to a system as a critical advantage when evading detection and launching an attack. But insiders don’t necessarily have to be malicious. Every employee or contractor is a potential threat: clicking on a phishing link or accidentally releasing data often leads to wide-scale breaches.

At the same time, connectivity in the workspace – with each IoT device communicating with the corporate network and the Internet on its own IP address – is an urgent security issue. Access control systems, for example, add a layer of physical security by tracking who enters the office and when. However, these same control systems imperil digital security by introducing a cluster of sensors, locks, alarm systems, and keypads, which hold sensitive user information and connect to company infrastructure.

Furthermore, a significant proportion of IoT devices are built without security in mind. Vendors prioritize time-to-market and often don’t have the resources to invest in baked-in security measures. Consider the number of start-ups which manufacture IoT – over 60% of home automation companies have fewer than ten employees.

Insider threat detected by Cyber AI

In January 2021, a medium-sized North American company suffered a supply chain attack when a third-party vendor connected to the control unit for a smart door.

Interesting? Share this item!

Online

0,-

100% discount

  • Limited amount of tickets
  • Watch on demand videos for 30 days
  • Live interactive sessions
  • One-to-one meetings
  • CPE points
  • Certain data will be shared

Online

249,-

Standard price

  • Limited amount of tickets
  • Watch on demand videos for 30 days
  • Live interactive sessions
  • One-to-one meetings
  • CPE points
  • Certain data will be shared

More about Cyber Security?

Register for the online event Cyber Security Belgium. This event is completely online and starts on the 4th of June! From that moment you’ll have 30 days of access to on demand videos and exclusive LIVE sessions. Don’t wait too long to register, as the LIVE sessions have limited places.

Stay informed!

Don't miss a single conference update and sign up for our newsletter!