Government agencies, businesses, and individuals worldwide rely on the cloud supply chain’s cybersecurity and business continuity. Many businesses, however, are unable to defend themselves against today’s sophisticated cybercriminals. It’s a form of risk that can harm private and public companies of all sizes and industries.
Organizations benefit from the cloud in various ways, but it is a fundamentally different world than on-premises. As a result, new types of vulnerabilities and attack vectors have emerged in cloud environments. Supply chain attacks are one that has gained in popularity in recent years.
Despite recent breaches raising awareness, Cloud supply chain threats are not going away. In fact, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, cloud usage has accelerated, and the threats may have increased. So, what’s the source of the problem? The main sources of risk in the cloud supply chain include siloed processes, ecosystem complexity, and a lack of visibility into software assets, all of which result from poor risk management.
However, there is some good news: by better understanding the supply chain and implementing a uniform risk management strategy for the complete cloud software development life cycle, the risks and obstacles can be mitigated.
Understanding the Different Types of Threats and Attacks
A vast number of typical SaaS applications are motivated by multiple providers and services, each of which poses a different level of risk. Because of the complexity of this expanded operating environment, spotting insecure configurations and vulnerabilities is particularly difficult.
So, what happens if the cloud supply chain is breached? Some attacks may compromise source code. An attacker hacked a self-hosted Git server in last year’s PHP attack and inserted two malicious commits that code maintainers did not discover. The malicious code was unknowingly downloaded and used by companies employing the software language in the operating environment. Meanwhile, dependency attacks occur when attackers target vulnerable dependencies and introduce malware into them.
Because compromised code is converted into an executable format, build pipeline threats are among the most dangerous kinds of threats. A cybercriminal used the SolarWinds attack to hijack the build process and inject corrupt Sunspot malware into update packages. The malware was not detected by SolarWinds until much later. Though the nature of these cyberattacks may vary, an overarching approach can help prevent them: gaining a better awareness of what’s going on behind the scenes in the cloud.
Stages of Protection
By understanding every component of their cloud ecosystem, businesses can mitigate their cloud supply chain risks. However, only a few companies evaluate their cloud supply chain in real-time and on a weekly basis. This opens the door for bad actors to infiltrate.
To protect themselves, organizations of all sizes must build a Software Bill of Materials (SBOM), an inventory of all parts in the tech stack. Companies can better understand their environment and lower their vulnerability to cloud supply chain attacks by doing so.
Once the assessment has been completed, and users are satisfied with the security of their cloud supply chains, the next stage is to devise a strategy for maintaining that degree of security.
The right partner can also help with risk management, which is essential for small enterprises. While major cloud vendors offer a solid framework for developers to build secure solutions, alternative cloud providers can provide something extra: a concierge-style collaboration that assures businesses aren’t on their own in terms of security.
Building a Culture of Security
At the moment, the industry is in reaction mode. Attacks are increasing, and businesses aren’t taking enough preventative measures to keep themselves safe. However, as cloud dependency grows, no company, big or small, can continue to take this risk.
Understanding the stack, identifying the risks involved with each part, and resolving to follow established best practices are the first steps toward security. Software engineering, purchasing, IT, release, development, operations, and change management are all part of the software supply chain. It is absolutely everyone’s responsibility to get it right.
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