The Value of Securing the Software Supply Chain

The majority of software produced today is a blend of Open Source software artifacts. These software artifacts are vulnerable, though, and developers have limited control over modifications made to software artifacts over time or in third-party source code. 

Furthermore, software that does not receive updates is more vulnerable to security issues. The supply chain security intelligence must be a top priority because the software is crucial to regular business operations.

Hackers utilized a platform used by big businesses and government organizations, Orion IT monitoring and management software, to run malicious malware on solarwinds' servers in 2020, resulting in a breach. 

Hackers were able to compromise not only solarwinds but also its clients by targeting the supply chain. 

Another illustration: A lot of individuals and businesses have been made subject to data breaches and attacks because of Log4j, a widely used but extremely weak open-source software. By signing two executive orders in 2021 one on supply chains and one on cybersecurity the President of the United States highlighted the significance of both software security and supply chains.

The software supply chain faces security vulnerabilities.

Each software artifact that depends on a potentially susceptible link in the software supply chain is at risk. 

It gives criminals the chance to inject malware, a backdoor, or other harmful code with the intention of undermining parts and the supply chains that support them. 

Attacks on the software supply chain are becoming more frequent, and they're typically conducted for financial or political gain, which can have serious physical and digital repercussions. Risk can be divided into four main categories:

  • Vulnerabilities: Coding errors in software that could be used to break security. To reduce this risk, apply fixes and update your software components.

  • Licensing: Legal risk that might force you to renounce ownership rights and declare any relevant software assets open source. Consult with relevant legal professionals.

  • Dependencies on third parties: Any reliance inside the software supply chain on an external business, the existence of which is difficult to ascertain. Examine all third-party code, and talk with your vendors about their protection strategies.

  • Processes and policies are crucial for preventing security issues. Create policies and procedures (or playbooks) for your developers so that you can respond to vulnerabilities.

  • Cracking updates, compromising open source code, and weakening code signing are the key attack vectors.

Security for software and devsecops

Security is integrated as a shared responsibility across the IT lifecycle via the devsecops model, an approach to software culture, automation, and design. 

The devsecops approach entails considering application and infrastructure security from the beginning and automating specific security gates to prevent devops activities from being slowed down. 

The first step in achieving these objectives is choosing the right tools, including a shared integrated development environment with security capabilities, that can provide continuous security integration.

Application Security and Software Supply Chain Security

Application security guards the code itself against assaults and vulnerabilities, whereas the software supply chain includes all the components and parties engaged at the code level. Application security must be included at every level of development, just like supply chain security for software.

The software development cycle and the entire application life cycle involve application security. It tries to guard confidential information and stop illegal access to the system. You can improve the security of your applications while preserving the integrity of your supply chain. 

You can stop hackers from compromising your apps by hardening setups, lowering attack surfaces, limiting rights, signing software, and distributing versions to various portions of your system.

Threat Reduction in the Software Supply Chain

Security in the software supply chain is crucial for your company, your clients, and any structure that depends on contributions from the open-source community. No business wants its security compromised or to be held accountable for a similar incident at a rival business. Setting up safeguards for your software supply chain is essential.

Following are some top recommendations for security teams:

  • Use strong passwords, multi-factor authentication, and the least privilege principle for granting access to supply chain resources (such as developer tools, source code repositories, and other software systems).

  • Provide ongoing safety training for all employees.

  • Ensure that all of your linked devices and critical data are more securely protected.

  • Learn as much as you can about your vendors and other business partners, starting with the most crucial ones. Conduct risk analyses to understand about the cybersecurity posture and open policies of each vendor on vulnerabilities.

  • Scan and fix susceptible systems on a regular basis.

Developers can also follow secure coding techniques, such as using lock files and other security-conscious measures:

  • Verifying checksums

  • Source control integration of provider dependencies

  • Distribution and use of the program BOM

  • Adoption of software chain levels for software artifacts, which include: using automation for your procedures and regulations; being able to digitally sign your software artifacts to establish provenance.

  • SCA, SAST, and DAST tools are used in automated security testing during software analysis.

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