Recent events have the digital security community shaken to its core—from the SolarWinds digital espionage to the Colonial Pipeline attack, bringing into focus the state and vulnerabilities of Australian cybersecurity.

The speculation that SolarWinds spyware attacks are state-sponsored was intense, especially since the victims of the attack are primarily political figures and government departments. However, the incident had the community wondering if the hackers honed their skills in preparation for bigger targets, such as companies relying on Microsoft’s security infrastructure to protect themselves and their users.

This inquiry was, unfortunately, answered later on with a ransomware attack against Colonial Pipeline. It resulted in a $4.4million pay-out in cryptocurrency and an unforgettable lesson in information, cyber, and network security.


Point of Attack: Software Providers

Most movies depict a hack as computer-specific, and the end goal is to gain total control of a single computer or other electronic devices. However, the recent attacks have shown that hackers use a compromised computer or network as a gangplank because they have set their eyes on bigger targets; the software providers.

SolarWinds and Microsoft are trusted companies worldwide that develop and distribute software to governments, companies, and individuals. Once hackers gain access to these software companies’ networks, they technically obtain entry to all their clients’ networks through updates with malicious code.

As the workforce becomes more remote or a hybrid thereof, it’s crucial to understand how companies unknowingly make themselves vulnerable to attacks. It is a great start towards making a sound cybersecurity plan.

Relying on a Single Vendor

Having a single vendor to address all IT and security needs is convenient. It minimises compatibility issues and reduces potential interoperability issues. In addition, once the workforce is used to the system, any update or newly deployed application from the vendor would require less user training.

The price for convenience is high. Using a single vendor for security and IT also makes it easier for cybercriminals to perform an end-to-end cyber breach.

Compartmentalising environments is required to circumvent this risk. It means having third-party security products to supplement network security and thwarting attacks from gaining unrestricted access to the distributed enterprise.


Patchy Network Security

Companies can separate their applications from their security tools. However, if they do not distribute these measures evenly to the entire network, there will always be holes that malicious actors can exploit.

As more employees work from home, businesses need to consider the entire work environment. It includes the devices, applications, and networks their workers use to access their network outside their organisation’s premises.

A multi-layered tech stack approach can address this issue. If issuing work-only devices is impossible, companies can utilise firewalls, domain name system (DNS) filters, and hardware-based security (HBS) tools to complement existing security infrastructure. Cloud-based secure access service edge (SASE) solutions can also streamline comprehensive security controls delivery to every infrastructure segment.


The importance of cybersecurity in this increasingly digital world cannot be stressed enough. As the SolarWinds and Colonial Pipeline incidents demonstrate how vulnerable everyone can be, the consequences of a successful cyber attack can be catastrophic.

Realising the weaknesses in a company’s information, cyber, and IT infrastructure is crucial. It allows them to address these security gaps early on to keep a firm safe from cybercriminals.

FraudWatch is a respected digital brand protection company that offers top-of-the-line cybersecurity solutions for the digital age. We dedicate ourselves to defending our clients against brand abuse, impersonation, phishing, malware attacks, and more. Team up with us today and give your company the security it needs and more.