Software supply chain security solutions help mitigate risks and protect your systems from dangerous attacks.
In the past few years, security has become crucial for companies and individuals, given the increasing level of cyberattacks. These attacks can happen to any organization, department, system, IT infrastructure, and software supply chain.
Modern software supply chains include pre-existing libraries, CI/CD systems, open-source repositories, version controllers, deployment systems, monitoring and testing tools, and so on.
There are so many parts included in building a software solution and the code is even used in multiple projects. This increases the attack surface for hackers who are always on the lookout for vulnerabilities in any of the systems you use.
And when they find it, they will leverage it and hack your systems. As a result, it can lead to data leaks, malware, ransomware, and whatnot.
This is why it’s important for organizations, developers, and software vendors to enhance their software supply chain security.
In this article, we will discuss what exactly a software supply chain attack looks like, why you must secure your supply chain, and the best security solutions to help mitigate risks.
What Is Sofware Supply Chain Security?
A software supply chain includes all the systems, processes, tools, and things (basically everything) that helps develop an application in its software development lifecycle (SDLC).
And software supply chain security means securing all those systems, components, and practices. It may include protocols, interfaces, proprietary or third-party code, external tools, infrastructure systems, deployment systems, and the list goes on.
Your supply chain is vulnerable to attacks just like other systems in your organization. In a supply chain attack, the hacker finds and leverages vulnerabilities in any of your systems and processes in the supply chain and infiltrates it. It could lead to data breaches and other security risks.
Some common software supply chain attacks are:
- A breached CI/CD pipeline involving build servers, deployment tools, testing frameworks, code repositories, etc.
- Malicious code inside an open-source tool. This can happen by submitting malicious commits to the code repo, for instance.
- CI/CD misconfigurations in deployment and testing processes
Some famous software supply chain attacks:
- SolarWinds hack: Hackers found a vulnerability in their Orion platform and compromised 30k+ organizations worldwide.
- CodeCov Breach: In April 2021, attackers breached the auditing tool, CodeCov, affecting its widespread users.
- Mimecast attack: Attackers gained access to one of their digital certificates for authentication.
Why Is Software Supply Chain Security Important?
In the above examples of attacks, just one vulnerability in code, in general, led to a widespread breach affecting individuals and organizations.
When a development team deploys software for commercial or internal use, the product’s security is vital, including the code they haven’t written and the third-party tools they use. Because if you trust external resources blindly, they may convert into threats and attacks due to vulnerabilities in them.
To this, the software supply chain makes sure that your entire code, tools, and resources are in their best security forms and are untampered with, up-to-date, and have no vulnerabilities or malicious code.
And to implement this, you must check each software component across the SDLC, including your in-house code, open-source deployments, protocols, interfaces, dev tools, outsourced services, and other things associated with the software build.
In addition, you can use a comprehensive, reliable, and efficient software supply chain security solution to mitigate issues and protect each software component. It does so by scanning the software for known exploits and dependencies and implementing network protection mechanisms.
This way, these tools help prevent unapproved modifications and unauthorized access to deter threats and attacks.
Let’s talk about some of the best software supply chain security tools to mitigate attacks and protect your software supply chain.
Slim.ai allows you to build containers with security and speed to protect your software supply chain without writing any new code.
It will help you automatically find and remove vulnerabilities in software systems from containerized applications before they ship to the production phase. This will also secure your workloads for software production.
Slim.ai will strengthen and optimize your containers while managing them effectively. You will also get insights into the contents of your containers by deeply analyzing their packages, metadata, and layers.
You can seamlessly integrate Slim.ai into your CI/CD pipelines and enable automation to save time and effort in mitigating security risks without any manual work.
You will get to use Slim Starter Kits, which are templates that you can use to create your app in any language or framework. With container intelligence, you can view image construction, package details, and vulnerabilities. This will help you understand your security posture and create image friendliness.
Wasm is a light, fast, and new alternative to Windows or Linux containers you use in Docker. Docker + Wasm will help you build, run, and share modern applications with greater security.
There are many benefits of using Docker in securing the software supply chain. It will make your software development more predictable and efficient by automating the tasks and removing the need for repetitive configuration tasks. Your entire software development lifecycle will become faster, easier, and more portable.
Docker offers a comprehensive end-to-end platform that will provide you with APIs, CLIs, and UIs with security engineered to work out of the box across your SDLC, making the process more efficient.
- Docker images are excellent for letting you efficiently create your application on Mac and Windows.
- Use Docker Compose to build multi-container software.
- Package software as container images that are portable and run consistently in different environments, such as AWS ECS, Google GKE, Aure ACI, Kubernetes, and more.
- Integrate with different tools across the software development pipeline, including CicleCI, GitHub, VS Code, etc.
- Personalize image access for developers with role-based access controls (RBAC) and gain deeper insights into activity history using Docker Hub Audit Logs.
- Boost innovation by increasing collaboration with developers and team members and publishing your images easily to Docker Hub.
- Successfully deploy applications independently on different containers and languages. This will reduce possible conflicts between libraries, frameworks, and languages.
- Use Docker Compose CLI and leverage its simplicity in building applications faster. You can launch them quickly on the cloud with Azure ACI or AWS ECS or do it locally.
CycloneDX is actually a modern full-stack BOM standard offering advanced capabilities for securing supply chains from online risks and attacks.
- Hardware Bill of Materials (HBOM): It’s for inventory hardware constituents for ICS, IoT, and other connected and embedded devices.
- Software Bill of Materials (SBOM): It’s for inventory software services and components and their dependencies then.
- Operations Bill of Materials (OBOM): Full-stack runtime inventory configurations, environments, and additional dependencies.
- Software-as-a-Service (SaaSBOM): It’s for inventory endpoints, services, classifications, and data flows that fuel cloud-native applications.
- Vulnerability Exploitability eXchange (VEX): It’s to convey how vulnerable components can be exploited in products.
- Vulnerability Disclosure Reports (VDR): It’s to communicate unknown and known vulnerabilities that affect services and components.
- BOV: It’s to share vulnerable data between vulnerable intelligence sources and systems.
The OWASP Foundation backs CycloneDX, while the CycloneDX Core Working Group manages it. It’s also supported by the information security community from across the world.
Aqua provides full-lifecycle supply chain security for software. It can protect all your links within your software supply chain to minimize attack surfaces and maintain code integrity.
With the help of Aqua, you can spot risks and vulnerabilities in all the phases of your software lifecycle by scanning images and code. It will also allow finding exposed secrets, IaC misconfigurations, and malware so that no issue can go to the production phase.
You can secure your processes and systems throughout the supply chain in order to develop and deliver your software to production. Aqua will help you monitor your DevOps tools’ security posture, ensuring security controls are in place.
Features and Benefits:
- Universal code scanning: Aqua can scan your entire source code in just a few minutes and detect vulnerabilities, security loopholes, open-source license problems, and more. By scanning codes periodically, you will be alerted of new risks with changing codes. You will get code scanning by Aqua Trivy Premium and get consistent outputs throughout the SDLC.
- In-workflow alerts: Scan code and get notifications no matter where you are working from. You can receive notifications directly in the IDE when you code, Source Code Management (SCM) system as comments on the pull requests, cloud repository, and the CI pipeline even before the software release.
- Open-source dependency monitoring: Aqua will grade each of your open-source packages based on their popularity, risks, maintainability, and quality. Next, it notifies your developers of the critically dangerous packages when they are introduced. This will enable you to establish and enforce an organization-wide quality level that you must meet before adding any new code to the codebase.
- Pipeline security: Gain complete visibility across your CI pipelines and navigate through thousands of software release tracks leading to the production environment. You can easily implement Static Pipeline Analysis for each pipeline (like GitLab CI, Bitbucket Pipeline, Jenkins, GitHub Actions, CircleCI, etc.) and understand each instruction.
- Next-gen SBOM: Don’t be restricted by basic SBOM creation; instead go beyond and record each action and step from when the developer commits code to the complete build process until the generation of your final artefact. Code signing will also help users verify your code history and ascertain that the generated code is the same one ending up in your development toolchain.
- Managing CI/CD posture: Aqua will let you spot and resolve critical misconfigurations in your DevOps platform (like Jenkins, GitHub, etc.) and implement Zero-Trust security in it. It can enforce the policy of Least Privilege Access to help you audit privileges throughout the SDLC. It can also implement Separation of Duties (SoD) to lower security risks while ensuring compliance.
Moreover, you can establish and uphold trust by creating SBOMs signed digitally and applying integrity gates to verify artefacts across the CI/CD pipeline. It will help ensure that only your code goes to the production phase and not anything else with it.
Get advanced software supply chain security (SSCS) for your CI/CD workflows, release packages, and containers by ReversingLabs, which enables your DevSecOps team to deploy the application with better confidence.
The tool with allow you to rapidly analyze larger release packages, open-source libraries, third-party software, and containers for threats. You can also detect, remediate, and prioritize high-risk threats hidden within software dependency layers.
Aqua offers custom approval policies so that you can confirm your software’s security quality confidently before releasing it to production. This tool takes care of security in your entire SDLC from source code control to managing software component dependencies, the CI/CD process, and release images.
Thus, you can easily detect and fix CI/CD workflow risks, compromises, malicious open-source packages, secret exposures, and other kinds of threats at every point in your organization’s software development lifecycle.
Furthermore, you can go beyond and protect your customers from unwanted tampering which can inject unauthorized behavioral changes, backdoors, and malware into the software.
You will get to perform trouble-free integrations at every stage of the delivery pipeline. These integrations will help you resolve high-risk threats faster and at an early stage. ReversingLabs is a great investment not only for development teams but also for SOC teams.
Increase your software supply chain security with Synk, which can help you protect the software’s critical components, such as container images, open-source libraries, developer tools, and cloud infrastructure.
Snyk will help you comprehend and manage your supply chain security by tracking dependencies, ensuring secure design, and fixing vulnerabilities. It makes sure you design software with security in mind, right from the beginning.
Using Snyk, you can track the popularity, maintenance, and security of 1M+ open-source packages in different ecosystems.
You can scan your software to generate a bill of materials in order to identify the components used and the interaction between them. Snyk will help you fix more security-related issues in less time.
- Snyk Vulnerability Database and Synk Advisor are two of the tools that provide useful and up-to-date information about critical issues and the ways to prevent them so that managing security threats becomes easier before the project even begins.
- Snyk’s audit services, Snyk Container and Snyk Open Source, are tools to analyze projects and create SBOM with a list of known vulnerabilities, open-source packages, and fixation advice.
- Snyk allows you to integrate with multiple tools, workflows, and pipelines to enable security in your software supply chain. Integrations include PHP, Java, JS, Python, AWS, GCP, RedHat, Jenkins, Docker, Kubernetes, GitHub, GitLab, Slack, and many more.
Furthermore, Snyk is backed by leading security intelligence systems in the industry, offering you tools to secure your open-source dependencies, custom code, cloud infrastructure, and containers from just a single platform.
Online risks are expanding, posing threats to businesses, assets, and people. So, if you are a software developer or a business dealing with software development, you must enhance your software supply chain security by leveraging methods and tools like the above. These tools will help secure your entire software supply chain by mitigating threats efficiently.
You may also explore DevSecOps tools.