Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Risk

Financial Firms Scrutinize Third-Party Supplier Risk

But executives aren't confident in the accuracy of cybersecurity assessment data received from their vendors, a new study shows.

Financial services executives and managers responsible for the corporate checkbook would rather forgo business with a partner that is not serious about cybersecurity than run the risk of a breach, a new report found.

Some 97% consider cyber risk to be an important or critical issue, and 78% of those surveyed would refuse a partnership with a company that had poor cybersecurity performance, according to a new survey of 129 financial service professionals by security-rating firms BitSight and the Center for Financial Professionals.

"These results not only talk to the importance of having a strong third-party risk management program in place, but - when you think about the implication that they have for a company doing business with financial firms - now you have to demonstrate strong cybersecurity performance or you might lose business," said Jake Olcott, vice president of government affairs for BitSight.

Suppliers and supply chains have become the latest focus of companies trying to reduce their cyber risk. In 2018, a survey by the Ponemon Institute found that nearly 60% of organization had a data breach caused by a third party, but that only 34% of companies had created an inventory of all their suppliers. 

The most recent high-profile attack on a third-party supplier — the breach of remote work enabler Citrix — underscores the danger. The company announced in early March that the FBI had notified the firm that attackers had downloaded business documents from its internal network.

About half of all attacks involve jumping from one corporate network to another, a technique dubbed "island hopping," according to a recent report.

"Supply chains are easy and lucrative targets," Mike Bittner, digital security and operations manager at The Media Trust, a website security firm, said in a statement. "In today's digital environment, they are extremely complex and dynamic, they lie outside the perimeter of the IT infrastructure, and they are, therefore, hard monitor."

For the most part, company executives believe — whether correctly or not — that they have a handle on the situation. More than 80% of respondents indicate that their executive management is "confident in their approach to measuring and managing third-party risk," according to the BitSight/CeFPro survey. Yet, only 44% of boards had regular reports on their third-party risk.

The Attestation Situation

Among the greatest challenges facing companies are a lack of faith in the accuracy of cybersecurity assessment data received from vendors, as well as the timeliness of that data, the survey found.

Part of the problem is that companies often continue to manually poll their vendors, asking the firms to attest to certain security measures without conducting any sort of assessment. Such attestation requires a great deal of time on the part of both companies, resulting in a great deal of paperwork.

Yet, ask a supplier whether such attestation is effective, and most will say no, BitSight's Olcott says.

"It is definitely inefficient and most people think it is ineffective," he says. "I think what we will see in the real world is that being replaced by real-time, automated and continuous data collection."

Automation and continuous data collection are already growing popular in another area of third-party risk: The management of open-source components used in software development. Companies such as Sonatype, WhiteSource, and Snyk are using a variety of scanning to take stock of the third-party libraries being used by developers.

The adoption of such technologies is a direct result of increasing pressure on software vendors to reduce the number of vulnerabilities in their products and online services. With enterprises increasingly focusing on their third-party cyber risk, software vendors won't be the only suppliers under pressure to up their security game, Olcott says.

"Companies are increasingly trying to compete, not only on price and performance, but also on security," he says. "This issue is becoming much more critical."

Related Content:

 

 

 

Join Dark Reading LIVE for two cybersecurity summits at Interop 2019. Learn from the industry's most knowledgeable IT security experts. Check out the Interop agenda here.

Veteran technology journalist of more than 20 years. Former research engineer. Written for more than two dozen publications, including CNET News.com, Dark Reading, MIT's Technology Review, Popular Science, and Wired News. Five awards for journalism, including Best Deadline ... View Full Bio
 

Recommended Reading:

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Oldest First  |  Newest First  |  Threaded View
COVID-19: Latest Security News & Commentary
Dark Reading Staff 9/25/2020
Hacking Yourself: Marie Moe and Pacemaker Security
Gary McGraw Ph.D., Co-founder Berryville Institute of Machine Learning,  9/21/2020
Startup Aims to Map and Track All the IT and Security Things
Kelly Jackson Higgins, Executive Editor at Dark Reading,  9/22/2020
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
Special Report: Computing's New Normal
This special report examines how IT security organizations have adapted to the "new normal" of computing and what the long-term effects will be. Read it and get a unique set of perspectives on issues ranging from new threats & vulnerabilities as a result of remote working to how enterprise security strategy will be affected long term.
Flash Poll
How IT Security Organizations are Attacking the Cybersecurity Problem
How IT Security Organizations are Attacking the Cybersecurity Problem
The COVID-19 pandemic turned the world -- and enterprise computing -- on end. Here's a look at how cybersecurity teams are retrenching their defense strategies, rebuilding their teams, and selecting new technologies to stop the oncoming rise of online attacks.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2020-15208
PUBLISHED: 2020-09-25
In tensorflow-lite before versions 1.15.4, 2.0.3, 2.1.2, 2.2.1 and 2.3.1, when determining the common dimension size of two tensors, TFLite uses a `DCHECK` which is no-op outside of debug compilation modes. Since the function always returns the dimension of the first tensor, malicious attackers can ...
CVE-2020-15209
PUBLISHED: 2020-09-25
In tensorflow-lite before versions 1.15.4, 2.0.3, 2.1.2, 2.2.1 and 2.3.1, a crafted TFLite model can force a node to have as input a tensor backed by a `nullptr` buffer. This can be achieved by changing a buffer index in the flatbuffer serialization to convert a read-only tensor to a read-write one....
CVE-2020-15210
PUBLISHED: 2020-09-25
In tensorflow-lite before versions 1.15.4, 2.0.3, 2.1.2, 2.2.1 and 2.3.1, if a TFLite saved model uses the same tensor as both input and output of an operator, then, depending on the operator, we can observe a segmentation fault or just memory corruption. We have patched the issue in d58c96946b and ...
CVE-2020-15211
PUBLISHED: 2020-09-25
In TensorFlow Lite before versions 1.15.4, 2.0.3, 2.1.2, 2.2.1 and 2.3.1, saved models in the flatbuffer format use a double indexing scheme: a model has a set of subgraphs, each subgraph has a set of operators and each operator has a set of input/output tensors. The flatbuffer format uses indices f...
CVE-2020-15212
PUBLISHED: 2020-09-25
In TensorFlow Lite before versions 2.2.1 and 2.3.1, models using segment sum can trigger writes outside of bounds of heap allocated buffers by inserting negative elements in the segment ids tensor. Users having access to `segment_ids_data` can alter `output_index` and then write to outside of `outpu...