Third Party Risk Intelligence

What is Third Party Risk Intelligence?

Third party risk intelligence is a threat intelligence service that provides you with real-time insight into cyber threats and other forms of digital risk that could impact third-party organizations within your supply chain and vendor ecosystem (e.g. vendors, customers, subcontractors, service providers, etc.).

Why is Third Party Risk Intelligence Important?

As organizations undergo digital transformation, software vendor ecosystems have become increasingly large and complex, with some enterprises having more than 1,000 vendors in their supplier ecosystem. Organizations build relationships of trust and mutual cooperation with their vendor networks, often interconnecting their IT systems in some ways to facilitate data sharing and application functionality. 

However, these trusting relationships and interconnections can be exploited by digital threat actors.

Once a cyber adversary has successfully penetrated the security perimeter of one organization in a supplier network, they can exploit interconnected IT systems and trust between organizations to more easily penetrate additional targets. 

Because of this, it often makes sense for software vendors and their customers to approach their shared cyber security from a collaborative perspective, sharing information and threat intelligence capabilities to maximize their shared resilience against cyber threats.

Third party risk intelligence gives you the ability to identify and detect cyber risks and digital threats against third-party organizations in your vendor network. In doing so, you’ll be able to deliver advance warning of cyber attacks to your suppliers and shield your entire vendor network from the potential negative consequences of a cyber attack, including financial losses and data theft.

Six Sources of Third Party Cyber Risk

There are many different kinds of third party cyber risks that can impact the security posture of your organization. 

These six sources of third party cyber risk demonstrate the variety of threats that can materialize from your relationships with third party organizations. 

Poor InfoSec Practices

Small-sized or low-tier suppliers are often lacking in cybersecurity awareness and capabilities, with poor information security practices that make their systems vulnerable to cyber attackers. 

Simple oversights like neglecting to run antivirus software can make third party organizations more vulnerable to cyber attacks and enable them to spread through the vendor ecosystem.

Compromised Software

Compromised hardware and software products are a significant source of risk that your business can face from third-party organizations. Cyber adversaries may attempt to gain unauthorized access to the code repository of a software company and inject malware into code that will be delivered to customers. 

Software Security Vulnerabilities

Third-party software sometimes contains security vulnerabilities that may be exploited by cyber adversaries to gain illicit access to your network. Third party risk intelligence can alert enterprise security teams to newly discovered vulnerabilities in third-party software that could be targeted by cyber attackers.

Counterfeit or Infected Hardware

Counterfeit hardware is another potential source of third-party cyber risk. If your organization purchases hardware devices from an external vendor, it’s important to be aware of the risks posed by counterfeit or infected hardware devices. 

Hardware devices can be loaded with malware that spreads to your enterprise IT environment once the device is connected to your network. Counterfeit or modified hardware resembles legitimate products from top manufacturers, but may be configured to bypass authentication measures and provide backdoor access to secure networks and systems.

Physical Access to IT Assets

Any third-party organization with virtual or physical access to secure networks, databases, software code, or other intellectual property is a potential source of risk to those assets. That includes everyone from external consultants and subcontractors to the janitorial company that sweeps the floor in the data center. 

Public Attack Surface

The public attack surface includes all public platforms used by your organization to connect with customers, including the world wide web, social media, email, business collaboration tools, and more. 

These channels act as potential vectors for cyber adversaries targeting your vendor network with many kinds of attacks, including:

With third party risk intelligence, you can monitor the public attack surface to identify, detect, and disrupt the fraudulent digital infrastructure used to perpetrate these attacks.

Three Steps to Elevate Your Third Party Risk Intelligence

Here’s how you can leverage third party risk intelligence to start protecting your supply chain against cyber, regulatory, and reputational risks:

Build a Digital Footprint of the Supply Chain Ecosystem

To start protecting your vendor partners against cyber threats, you’ll need to build a digital footprint of your entire supply chain ecosystem. This process defines the public attack surface for your vendor network and focuses your third party risk intelligence efforts on identifying threats against the most crucial and most vulnerable enterprise assets.

Comprehensively Monitor the Public Attack Surface 

To successfully identify and detect cyber risks to your vendor partners, you will need to monitor the entire public attack surface for threat indicators. A threat intelligence platform like ZeroFOX leverages artificial intelligence to monitor the public attack surface at scale and rapidly uncover text, image, and video-based threat indicators.

Decisively Disrupt Attacker Infrastructure

Effective third party risk intelligence is more than just security monitoring. Once a cyber threat has been detected, you’ll need to move quickly and decisively to disrupt the attacker’s activities and remove the fraudulent infrastructure before cyber criminals can execute a successful attack. 

Threat intelligence platforms like ZeroFOX offer adversary disruption as-a-service, resulting in faster resolution times that mitigate the damage caused by cyber adversaries who engage in fraud.

Enhance Your Third Party Risk Intelligence with ZeroFOX

ZeroFOX provides enterprises with protection, intelligence, and disruption to dismantle external threats to brands, people, assets, and data across the public attack surface in one, comprehensive platform.

The ZeroFOX platform allows you to monitor and assess the cybersecurity posture of third-party organizations for evidence of compromised systems, exposed account credentials, data leakage, or software vulnerabilities. Our approach to third party risk intelligence helps you safeguard your organizations against digital threats that emerge from within your vendor and supplier ecosystem.

Want to learn more?

Check out our Quarterly Threat Landscape Reports to discover the newest emerging sources of digital risk to your vendor ecosystem.