Technology is advancing at a rapid rate. It seems that the next new development is just around the corner, and as we head into the new year, we can expect to see all kinds of new and exciting technological advancements.
However, despite our best efforts, criminals are still able to exploit the technological systems we have in place. Like any area of crime, as our methods for dissuading these cyber criminals evolve, so do their methods to evade our systems. And, as our lives become ever more intertwined with digital devices and systems, compromise by cybercriminals can have severe and far-reaching consequences. Software today is more secure than ever, but cybercriminals have found a new way to infiltrate software systems; by attacking the supply chain and development process itself. Supply chain security is an emerging practice designed to counter this new threat. Take a look at our guide to keeping these cyber criminals at bay and your software supply chain secure.
Software development today
Our modern everyday lives are inextricably linked with software.From the apps in our phone, to our emails at work, to the streaming services we use to relax, all of these are built upon and rely on software to function. These highly complex systems are expensive and time-consuming to create. Software design and development is a drawn-out, multi-faceted process that requires the expertise of people from a range of different industries and fields. Developing software also requires the use of external software tools to construct, test, and run the code and user interface systems.
Even something as simple as a mobile game can have a surprisingly large team behind it. Complex software platforms such as a banking system or video editing platform have a development process akin to that of a Hollywood film production.
This means that businesses with gaps in its security is dangerously exposed. Not only are business operations dependant on software that can be corrupted, but it could expose user, customer, and client data. This data can then be use for a number of criminal reasons, like blackmail or activism, making the company fall to risk.
A new kind of threat
Cybercriminals employ a host of measures to target victims and defraud unsuspecting internet users. Over the years, systems have been developed and put in place to deter these scammers and prevent them from committing their crimes. A lot of these systems focus on how hackers access from the users’ end. Systems like end-to-end encryption protecting the user from public wi-fis, firewalls protecting users from malware found while browsing, and even simple education protecting from phishing scams are all useful in keeping your data secure. However, these criminals are now targeting the software supply chain process and exploiting any vulnerabilities or weaknesses that they find.
Modern software development is full of variables that can be difficult to keep track of. Cybercriminals are well aware of this and can insert compromised libraries and packages into open-source tools, where they will eventually find their way into the software’s native code. This malware can lay dormant until the software is delivered to the end user, when it can then be used to access sensitive customer information.
What action can be taken?
In the wake of these emerging cybersecurity threats, many developers are choosing to turn to a software supply chain security company to protect themselves. These companies can offer comprehensive solution packages to help mitigate the risks involved with the modern-day software supply chain process. They do this by ensuring that your staff are prepared and equipped to handle secure software development, protecting your software from any unauthorised access and identifying any vulnerabilities that might exploited in your software.
What’s more, regulatory bodies have begun issuing frameworks and standards that all developers must adhere to. Software supply chain security solutions can work to regularly review your practices to ensure you are not in breach of any regulations.
One of these frameworks is the SSDF (NIST 800-218), while another is the Supply-Chain Levels for Software Artifacts (SLSA), which was compiled by Google. While the SSDF (NIST 800-218) acts as a form of guidance, the SLSA offers four levels of security compliance, with one being the lowest and four being the highest. Developers can achieve a higher compliance rating by demonstrating that their practice is adhering to a list of specific rules and requirements.
Globally, cybercrime cost a staggering $8.44 trillion in 2022. This figure is expected to rise considerably even by the end of 2023. For this reason, it is absolutely crucial that software companies and developers take steps to protect the software supply chain process. The consequences of hackers gaining access to your business data and programs goes far beyond a few annoying pop-ups. The security of your business and staffs’ access to it is considered a public issue.