Supply Chain Attack Simulation Playbook

December 16, 20234 min read

Playbook Objectives:

  • To understand and identify vulnerabilities in the supply chain process
  • To enhance detection and response mechanisms against supply chain attacks
  • To assess the robustness of the incident response plan in the event of a supply chain breach
  • To train cybersecurity personnel in handling and mitigating a real-world supply chain attack
  • To improve communication and coordination among different organizational teams during a cyber incident

Difficulty Level:

  • Advanced


  • Company Name: OmniConsumer Products (OCP) Industry Sector: Consumer Electronics Manufacturing Network Infrastructure: Includes R&D, production, HR, sales, and third-party vendor management systems. Systems: Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software, Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) tool, Email servers, Active Directory, and Endpoint Security systems.
  • Story: OmniConsumer Products (OCP) is a leading consumer electronics manufacturing company that relies heavily on a complex network of suppliers for its components. Each supplier has varying levels of cybersecurity postures, making OCP susceptible to supply chain attacks. In one of the incidents, a compromised firmware update from a supplier introduced malware into the manufacturing process. OCP’s Chief Information Security Officer (CISO), Rebecca Smith, has been warned by intelligence reports that another, more sophisticated attack might be in the pipeline.
  • Recognizing that their global supply chain is a significant risk vector, the company leadership has approved a comprehensive cyber range exercise. The exercise is designed to emulate an advanced persistent threat actor targeting OCP’s supply chain network. The goal is to uncover gaps, enhance the security team’s abilities to identify and mitigate such threats, and strengthen the company’s cybersecurity posture.


  • Cybersecurity Simulation; Supply Chain Security

Exercise Attack Steps:

  • Initial Reconnaissance:
    • The cyber range team sets up a simulated environment mirroring OCP’s network and supplier interactions.
    • Introduce social engineering tactics to glean information about supplier relationships and network architecture.
    • Perform passive scanning of public-facing systems to avoid detection.
  • Compromise the Supplier:
    • Attackers focus on a small supplier with less sophisticated security measures.
    • Utilize phishing or directly exploit vulnerabilities to gain initial access to the supplier’s network.
    • Establish persistent access for later stages of the attack.
  • Lateral Movement:
    • Explore the supplier’s network, seeking connections to OCP’s system.
    • Use credential harvesting or pass-the-hash techniques to gain higher privileges.
    • Identify and access the system responsible for pushing firmware or software updates to OCP.
  • Introduce Malware into the Supply Chain:
    • Develop a custom piece of malware designed to evade OCP’s endpoint security.
    • Embed the malware into an upcoming legitimate update package for OCP.
    • Ensure that the malware remains dormant to bypass any immediate detection mechanisms.
  • Activation and Exfiltration:
    • The malware activates once inside OCP’s network, exploiting a zero-day vulnerability.
    • Attempts to gain access to sensitive design files in the PLM system.
    • Set up a covert channel to exfiltrate the stolen data back to the attackers.
  • Detection and Response:
    • OCP’s security team begins to notice anomalies in network traffic and system behavior.
    • They must identify the breach source, contain the infection, and eradicate the malware.
    • Recovery protocols are employed, and the supplier is notified.
  • Lessons Learned and Remediation:
    • After the exercise, conduct a thorough debriefing to discuss what was learned.
    • Analyze the effectiveness of incident response activities.
    • Update and fortify OCP’s security policies, focusing on supplier risk management and continuous monitoring.