The Senate will hold a hearing on Tuesday investigating the SolarWinds hacks. SolarWinds is a huge IT company that has signed a contract with the federal government. Because of its ubiquity, hackers were able to break into at least nine federal agencies, including the Defense, Homeland Security, and Treasury departments, to pick just three of the scariest options.

The breach is a so-called supply chain hack. They are becoming more common because it is difficult for companies and governments to audit the security of every company they work with. However, experts say it is time to create some negative incentives for not doing this homework. I spoke to Camille Stewart, a cyber fellow at the Harvard Belfer Center. The following is an edited transcript of our conversation.

Camille Stewart (photo courtesy Stewart)

Camille Stewart: When more things like this happen and people ask their vendors to understand how to better protect the user, it will make companies better …

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