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Security warning: Your suppliers are now your weakest link

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Hackers targeting business supply chains and the proliferation of destructive worms are two of the biggest cyber-threats that organisations should prepare to face in the coming year, security experts have warned.

The National Cyber Security Centre[1] (NCSC) -- the cybersecurity arm of GCHQ -- and the National Crime Agency (NCA) have jointly produced a report on the threats cyber-attackers pose to UK business and warn that security risks are continuing to grow.

The Cyber Threat to UK Business Industry 2017-2018 report reflects on what was an extremely busy 2017 in terms of cybersecurity: in addition to needing to fight malware, espionage, and other standard cyber-threats, the UK had to counter the global WannaCry ransomware outbreak[2] after it took some of the National Health Service offline[3].

The report states that between October 2016 and the end of 2017, the NCSC recorded 34 significant cyber-attacks -- those which required a cross-government response -- while a further 762 less serious incidents, typically restricted to one organisation, were also recorded.

See also: Defending against cyberwar: How the cybersecurity elite are working to prevent a digital apocalypse[4]

However, there's one area which the NCSC and NCA have outlined as a threat to organisations, no matter how robust their internal cybersecurity strategy is: the supply chain.

"It is clear that even if an organisation has excellent cybersecurity, there can be no guarantee that the same standards are applied by contractors and third party suppliers in the supply chain. Attackers will target the most vulnerable part of a supply chain to reach their intended victim," warns the report.

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