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Chasing Shadows in the IT Supply Chain

The U.S. House of Representatives is worried about the security of supply chains, and as Paul Roberts explains in this post, you should be, too. The danger is this: what if what comes from supply chains that touch other countries have already been compromised by dangerous malware or intelligence gathering equipment? That was the concern of our government, as it attempted to find links between the Chinese government and telecommunication firms Huawei and ZTE. Roberts explains that no “smoking gun” was found, but that didn't stop the U.S. government from trying to throw the book at the companies for pandering to the Chinese government. And the government of the United States isn't the only one going after potential supply chain threats: And it's not like the House of Representatives is the only organization ringing the alarm about threats from the supply chain. In a semi-yearly Security Intelligence Report released on the same day as the House Committee's report on Huawei and ZTE, the software giant Microsoft also warned about the danger of malware introduced into the technology supply chain. Citing an investigation by the company's Digital Crimes Unit of the Nitol Trojan horse program, Microsoft warned that malware was making its way onto newly manufactured and configured PCs that were then sold to buyers in China, North- and South America. Microsoft recommended that companies developed disciplined internal procurement teams with consistent processes for cleaning and reformatting newly purchased systems, and installing anti malware and intrusion detection software. So what can we do to protect the US and our own supply chain security? It comes down to properly vetting suppliers, “cleaning” newly purchased systems as Microsoft suggests, and perhaps even not going into business with companies that have shown they aren't just concerned with business. While this last option is the least likely (the cost savings is just too high to not do business with China), the matter comes down to your supply chain's security or profit savings.

About Matthew Kabik

Matthew Kabik is the former Editor of Computer Aid's Accelerating IT Success. He worked at Computer Aid, Inc. from 2008 to 2014 in the Harrisburg offices, where he was a copywriter, swordsman, social media consultant, and trainer before moving into editorial.

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