Leading managed IT service provider Cognizant announced a Maze ransomware attack on Friday.
Per Cognizant: “Cognizant can confirm that a security incident involving our internal systems, and causing service disruptions for some of our clients, is the result of a Maze ransomware attack. Our internal security teams, supplemented by leading cyber defense firms, are actively taking steps to contain this incident. Cognizant has also engaged with the appropriate law enforcement authorities.”
Cognizant is one of the world’s largest managed service providers, making it part of the critical infrastructure for many global companies. It is a key part of many companies’ digital transformation and outsourcing strategies for everything from cloud management to application services for employees and customers.
As we have written before, events impacting some of the world’s largest managed service providers like WiPro and the theft of sensitive documents stolen from many major automobile companies (Tesla, VW, Toyota, Ford, Chrysler, GM) via a third-party robotics vendor in 2018 demonstrate that growing digital interconnectedness is making it increasingly difficult to distinguish a corporate network’s threat surface from that of a supplier, partner, in this case Cognizant, or customer.
This hits at what Cyberhedge calls the third-party paradox—the corporate drive for greater efficiency and cost savings has created additional cyber-related supply chain vulnerabilities most companies haven’t considered when making strategy decisions about outsourcing.
This attack comes at a time when all companies are relying more heavily on providers like Cognizant to keep operations running while working remotely. With corporate networks already strained, attacks on key IT suppliers like Cognizant shine a light on the potential for not only valuable data loss for customers, but operational disruptions as well.