Companies must be increasingly watchful of security failings at their smaller-sized vendors, a point of particular focus for cyberattacks, senior executives at the Fortune Most Powerful Women conference said Tuesday.
"More and more as the large companies put their defenses in place, the adversaries are going toward their suppliers," said Sondra Barbour, Lockheed Martin's head of information systems. "We really need to pay attention to this."
After a spate of high-profile cybersecurity breaches at major companies like Target and, more recently, Home Depot and JPMorgan Chase, the biggest players for the most part have strong protections to wall off their proprietary information, Barbour and others said. But smaller vendors who can't afford expensive security measures—and yet have links to some of their larger client's sensitive data—are now in the crosshairs of sophisticated hackers.
"They're scanning thousands of businesses every single hour," said Denise Wood, chief information officer for FedEx. "They get into Fazio Bros. Air Conditioner Repair," she said, "and then they're in your network."