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Supply chain attacks demand a 3rd party risk re-think

Title: Supply Chain Attacks: Understanding the Implications and Seeking Effective Solutions

Introduction:
The recent attack on JumpCloud, a cloud-based identity and access management provider, by the North Korean state-sponsored Lazarus Group highlights a growing trend of supply chain attacks targeting third-party software providers. This article examines the implications of such attacks and the challenges faced by organizations in managing cyber risks from their software supply chains. Additionally, it explores the need for improved tools and practices to mitigate these threats and discusses the efforts being made by industry regulators and government agencies to address the issue.

JumpCloud: Part of a Pattern:
The attack on JumpCloud in June 2023 is not an isolated incident but rather part of a larger pattern of supply chain compromises. Similar attacks have targeted companies like CircleCI, 3CX, Solar Winds, and CodeCov. The European Union Agency for Cybersecurity predicts that supply chain compromises targeting software dependencies will be the biggest emerging threat by 2030.

Tool Talk: Supply Chain Hacks Escape Notice:
The increasing success of supply chain attacks highlights the limitations of traditional application security technologies in identifying vulnerabilities in software supply chains. Established tools like static- and dynamic application security testing (S/DAST) and software composition analysis (SCA) are effective for analyzing raw application code and identifying vulnerable software dependencies. However, they often fail to detect software tampering or the inadvertent use of malicious open-source or proprietary software modules. This gap in tooling and processes necessitates the development of more comprehensive solutions.

Government and Industry Efforts:
Recognizing the risks posed by vulnerable software supply chains, government agencies and industry regulators are taking steps to enhance software supply chain security. The Biden Administration’s Executive Order #14028 calls for companies selling software and services to the federal government to ensure the security of their software and components. The federal PATCH Act and guidance from CISA and the NSA further emphasize the need for secure software development practices and the use of software bill of materials (SBOMs) to document software components.

Wanted: A Final Exam for Developed Code:
To navigate the growing risk of damaging supply chain compromises, organizations must adopt new processes and methods. This includes the deployment of SBOMs and the development of tools that can assess the security of developed code before and after deployment. An approach that presents developed code with a “final exam” can help detect sophisticated attacks that may evade traditional security technologies. This involves conducting integrity checks on compiled software packages to identify suspicious behaviors or dependencies.

Key Points:
1. Supply chain attacks on third-party software providers pose a significant threat to organizations, government agencies, and customers.
2. Traditional application security technologies have limitations in detecting vulnerabilities in software supply chains.
3. Government agencies and industry regulators are implementing measures to enhance software supply chain security.
4. Organizations need to adopt new processes and tools, such as SBOMs and integrity checks, to mitigate supply chain risks.
5. The objective is to ensure reproducible software builds that provide confidence in the absence of malicious code or functionality.

In conclusion, the recent attack on JumpCloud highlights the urgent need for organizations to prioritize software supply chain security. By implementing effective tools, processes, and industry-wide regulations, organizations can better protect themselves and their customers from the devastating consequences of supply chain compromises.

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