As businesses increasingly rely on software to operate, the security of the software supply chain becomes more critical. A software supply chain is the process of creating and delivering software, from development to deployment. Insecure software can lead to significant data breaches, financial loss, and reputational damage. Therefore, securing the software supply chain is essential for businesses to protect their data and their customers’ data. Below, we will share five crucial tips for securing your software supply chain.
Perform a risk assessment
Before securing your software supply chain, you must understand the risks involved. A risk assessment will help you identify potential vulnerabilities in your software supply chain. Understanding the risks allows you to prioritise your security efforts and allocate your resources effectively. A risk assessment should start with the identification of the software you use and the data it processes. You should also identify third-party components, such as libraries or APIs, used in your software supply chain. Automated tools such as Xygeni can support you in this approach.
Once you have identified the assets and components of your software supply chain, you need to identify potential threats and vulnerabilities. Threats can come from external sources, such as hackers or malware, or internal sources, such as disgruntled employees. Vulnerabilities can include flaws in your software, hardware, or processes that attackers can exploit.
After identifying the threats and vulnerabilities, you need to assess the likelihood and impact of each risk to develop risk mitigation strategies. Mitigation strategies should address the highest priority risks first. They can include implementing security controls, improving software development processes, or changing vendor relationships.
Remember to monitor and review your risk assessment regularly to ensure it remains up-to-date. You should also check your mitigation strategies to ensure they are effective and make changes as needed.
Manage your vendors
Vendors play a significant role in your software supply chain. When choosing a vendor, you should consider their security practices, reputation, and track record. You should also have a contract with the security requirements and expectations. Finally, you should regularly monitor the vendor’s performance to ensure they meet the agreed-upon security standards.
An SBOM is a detailed list of the components used in a software application, including the version numbers, dependencies, and known vulnerabilities. By using an SBOM, you can track the components your vendor uses in their software and evaluate the quality of those components. This can help you assess the vendor’s software’s security and identify potential vulnerabilities.
You can also use an SBOM to track the vendor’s performance over time. By comparing the SBOMs from different versions of the vendor’s software, you can track components’ changes and identify any new vulnerabilities or security issues.
In addition, an SBOM can help you track compliance with regulatory requirements. For example, some regulations require companies to maintain an inventory of their software components and track changes over time.
Implement secure coding practices
Secure coding practices help reduce the risk of vulnerabilities in your software. For example, they are crucial to avoid secrets in your software development process. Some steps you can take for it are:
- Use a secret management system to store and manage secrets securely, ensuring that all secrets are encrypted and protected.
- Follow the principle of least privilege to ensure access to secrets only to those who need it to perform their job responsibilities.
- Avoid hard-coding secrets using environment variables, configuration files, or secret management systems to store them.
- Use secure coding practices, such as input validation, error handling, and security testing, to protect your code and secrets.
- Last but not least, provide training and resources to your developers to help them understand the importance of secure coding practices and the risks associated with secrets.
You should also use tools like Xygeni to help identify security vulnerabilities in your code. Remember, giving criminals the keys to your house is not the best idea. But that is what often occurs in most organisations developing modern software.
Use software signing
Software signing is a process that allows users to verify the authenticity of the software they are using. When software is signed, a digital signature is added to the code, which can be used to verify its authenticity. Using software signing, you can prevent attackers from modifying and distributing your software as a legitimate version.
SSC tools should implement certificate validation to ensure the authenticity of the digital signature. Certificate validation involves verifying that the vendor’s digital certificate is issued by a trusted Certificate Authority (CA) and has not been revoked.
Thanks to PKI systems, you can verify the authenticity and integrity of the software being distributed in the supply chain. It prevents tampering and ensures the software is legitimate and safe.
Unlike other solutions, Xygeni’s monitoring tools constantly scan code for modifications and send instant alerts in case of potential code tampering incidents. Xygeni’s ability to detect and prevent code tampering in real time minimises the risk of harm to businesses.
Moreover, our code obfuscation tools scramble the code, making it challenging for attackers to understand and modify it. At the same time, tamper-proofing techniques help ensure that code executes in its intended form, even if tampering has occurred.
Monitor your software supply chain
Regularly monitoring your software supply chain is essential to detect security issues early. You should track the software flow from development to deployment and monitor, at least, for:
- File Integrity Monitoring to detect changes in critical files, such as configuration files, source code, and binaries. When a change is detected, the tool generates an alert, allowing the DevSecOps team to investigate further.
- Anomaly Detection to identify unusual behaviour in the software supply chain, such as failed login attempts, changes in system files, processes running at unusual times, unexpected commits in ‘frozen’ repositories, etc. They may indicate a security breach.
Securing your software supply chain is critical in protecting your business and customer data. With the increasing prevalence of cyber-attacks and data breaches, it’s more important than ever to take a proactive approach to security.
You can significantly reduce the risk of security incidents by performing a risk assessment, managing your vendors, implementing secure coding practices, using software signing, and monitoring your software supply chain.
Taking a proactive approach to security with the support of a tool such as Xygeni to automate these five essential steps will reduce the risk of security incidents and protect your business from the potentially devastating consequences of a cyber attack or data breach.
Contact us today or request a demo to learn more about our solutions and how we can help you improve your software supply chain protection.