“Hacktivism” grabbed the headlines last week as a group of collaborating hackers, known as Anonymous, disrupted MasterCard’s online payment processing system for several hours.
The action was said to be in response to companies that blocked services to WikiLeaks, the whistle-blowing website that recently released US confidential diplomatic messages. Other companies such as PayPal and Amazon have also come under attack.
The hacktivists use a botnet made up of computers belonging to individuals who have voluntarily downloaded software that can be used remotely, and in a collective way, to bombard target sites.
Hackers often work in a similar way, harnessing the resources of bots downloaded unwittingly as malware through viruses. The target sites tend to be paralysed by the volume of traffic trying to gain access.
So are there concerns here for the supply chain? With supply chains having a far greater dependence on internet based systems to store and deliver data that may be used by multiple parties, should companies be taking a closer look at security?
There can be little doubt that hackers are becoming more sophisticated and IT security has to be a top priority for companies operating in a web enabled world. The web is now a vital tool for supply chains, offering visibility and interconnectivity between buyers and suppliers, large or small, across most parts of the world.
Protecting that information and preventing disruption from activities such as hacking will increasingly rely on the use of sophisticated security that can keep pace with the hackers. It is important for companies to review periodically their IT resources, their security and how those resources are best deployed.
Many may want to “beef up” their in-house capabilities, whereas others may want to consider outsourcing to a managed service where security is dealt with by specialists. Either way, security has to be a primary concern.