Supply chains still vulnerable to cyber attacks

A global study of 1,000 CIOs has found that more than 82 percent of them are vulnerable to cyberattacks targeting software supply chains.

According to a report from security outfit Venafi, found the shift to cloud-native development, along with the increased speed in development brought about by the adoption of DevOps processes, has made the challenges connected with securing software supply chains infinitely more complex.

Meanwhile, adversaries, motivated by the success of high-profile software supply chain attacks on companies like SolarWinds and Kaseya, are stepping up attacks against software build and distribution environments.

The sharp increase in the number and sophistication of these attacks over the last 12 months has brought this issue into sharp focus, gaining the attention of CEOs and Boards. As a result, CIOs are becoming increasingly concerned about the serious business disruptions, revenue loss, data theft and customer damage that can result from successful software supply chain attacks.

The study found that  87 percent of CIOs believe software engineers and developers compromise on security policies and controls in order to get new products and services to market faster.

More than 85 percent of CIOs have been specifically instructed by the board or CEO to improve the security of software build and distribution environments and another  84 said that the budget dedicated to the security of software development environments has increased over the past year.

Venafi vice president of threat intelligence and business development Kevin Bocek said: “Digital transformation has made every business a software developer. And as a result, software development environments have become a huge target for attackers. Hackers have discovered that successful supply chain attacks, especially those that target machine identities, are extremely efficient and more profitable.”

Bocek has seen literally dozens of ways to compromise development environments in these types of attacks, including attacks that use open-source software components like Log4j. “The reality is that developers are focused on innovation and speed rather than security,” Bocek explained. “Unfortunately, security teams rarely have the knowledge or the resources to help developers solve these problems and CIOs are just waking up to these challenges.”

“CIOs realise they need to improve software supply chain security but it’s extremely difficult to determine exactly where the risks are, which improvements provide the greatest increase in security, and how these changes reduce risk over time,” continued Bocek. “We can’t solve this problem using existing methodologies. Instead, we need to think differently about the identity and integrity of the code we are building and using—and we need to protect and secure it at every step of the development process at machine speed.”