Thursday, November 18, 2010

Cyber-Theats: Still A Ticking Supply Chain Time Bomb?

I've written before about how cyber-attacks threaten supply chains and how you should be prepared. So, I feel it is part of my duty to pass along to you information about new potential supply chain threats.

Here's the latest. A computer worm called "Stuxnet" has infected tens of thousands of computers worldwide. According to an article on, this worm "can be modified to wreak havoc on industrial control systems around the world, and represents the most dire cyberthreat known to industry."

Experts are saying that the merging of networks and computer systems makes organizations particularly vulnerable to this threat. Indeed, two of the companies that I know that were victim to a cyber-attack had separated their Internet connections from any computer that accesses the main company network.

Why should a procurement professional like you even care about this? After all, aren't these worms something that only the IT geeks should be concerned with?

Well, consider these excerpts from the aforementioned article:
  • "The complex code is not only able to infiltrate and take over systems that control manufacturing and other critical operations, but it has even more sophisticated abilities to silently steal sensitive intellectual property data."
  • "Attackers can use information made public about the Stuxnet worm to develop variations targeting other industries, affecting the production of everything from chemicals to baby formula."
  • "This code can automatically enter a system, steal the formula for the product [a supplier is] manufacturing, alter the ingredients being mixed in [the] product and indicate to the operator and [the supplier's] antivirus software that everything is functioning as expected."
  • "Stuxnet specifically targets businesses that use Windows operating software and a control system designed by Siemens AG. That used in many critical sectors, from automobile assembly to mixing products such as chemicals."

Sound like a supply chain threat yet?

You bet.

To Your Career,
Charles Dominick, SPSM
President & Chief Procurement Officer
Next Level Purchasing, Inc.
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dlockesf said...

especially if your process runs nuclear centrifuges...

Charles Dominick, SPSM said...

Thanks for the link, Dick. This is very much what the book "Cyber War" describes as the future.