What is Supply Chain Security?

Most companies have a supply chain in which third-party organizations develop components that are used in the development of their products. The same is true of software. Companies rely on applications developed by third parties, and even software developed internally uses third-party libraries and code.

However, this dependency on third-party code creates opportunities for attackers. Supply chain security prevents attackers from attacking an organization via the third-party applications and code that it uses.

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What is Supply Chain Security?

Why Supply Chain Security Is Important

Supply chain attacks have become a growing threat in recent years. High-profile cyberattacks, such as the ones on SolarWinds and Kaseya, demonstrate that attackers can dramatically increase the impact of an attack by compromising a single organization and exploiting trust relationships to gain access to customer networks.

Cybercriminals also commonly target open-source libraries and code repositories in their attacks. If they successfully infect these libraries, then all applications using the compromised libraries will be impacted as well. Most applications rely on several different libraries, and dependencies can be many layers deep. Supply chain security solutions help organizations maintain visibility into their software supply chain dependencies, enabling them to effectively identify and remediate exploitable vulnerabilities or backdoors inserted by attackers.

Supply Chain Security Threats

Supply chain attacks exploit an organization’s trust relationships, including trust in external organizations and third-party software. Some of the main supply chain threats that organizations face include the following:

  • Compromised Partners: Many organizations allow third-party organizations to have access to their networks and systems. If an attacker compromised this vendor or partner, they can exploit this trust relationship to gain access to the organization’s environment.
  • Vulnerable Code: Applications commonly have numerous third-party dependencies, and developers often lack full visibility into the code they include in their applications. If a third-party library contains exploitable vulnerabilities, then an attacker can exploit these vulnerabilities to harm the organization or its customers.
  • Implanted Backdoors: Cybercriminals are increasingly attempting to compromise commonly-used libraries or create malicious lookalikes. These compromised libraries may include vulnerabilities or backdoors designed to give the attacker access to corporate data or systems.

Supply Chain Security Best Practices

Supply chain attacks pose a significant risk to an organization and can have dramatic impacts. Companies can take a variety of steps to prevent supply chain attacks or to minimize their impact. Some supply chain security best practices include the following:

  • Least Privilege: The principle of least privilege states that users, applications, systems, etc. should only have the access and permissions necessary for their role. Minimizing access limits the damage that a compromised application or supplier can cause.
  • Network Segmentation: Network segmentation divides a network into multiple pieces based on purpose and trust level. Network segmentation makes it more difficult for an attacker to move through the corporate network without detection.
  • DevSecOps: DevSecOps advocates integrating security into the development lifecycle. By considering potential security concerns earlier in the development process, organizations can potentially identify and remediate supply chain vulnerabilities before applications reach production.
  • Vulnerability Scanning: Vulnerability scanners have the potential to identify both known and unknown vulnerabilities in an application. Regular vulnerability scans enable an organization to identify and rapidly respond to new vulnerabilities in third-party code.
  • Software Composition Analysis (SCA): SCA automatically identifies the dependencies within an application. Performing SCA enables an organization to maintain visibility into its use of third-party code and monitor that code for vulnerabilities or potential backdoors.
  • Automated Security: Proactive defense is essential to minimizing the risk and impact of attacks on an organization. SOC analysts should use prevention-focused defenses to secure web applications.
  • Threat Hunting: Threat hunting is the practice of proactively searching for unknown threats within an organization’s environment. Threat hunting can help to identify attackers that have gained access to corporate systems via supply chain attacks.

Supply Chain Security with Check Point

Supply chain attacks are a major threat to corporate cybersecurity. Supply chain attackers can perform a variety of malicious actions, including data theft and ransomware infections. Learn about the current state of the cyber threat landscape in Check Point’s 2022 Security Report.

An effective defense against supply chain attacks starts during the software development lifecycle. Scanning code for vulnerabilities during the development process and maintaining visibility through deployment and beyond maximizes an organization’s chances of finding and fixing issues before they become costly data security incidents.

Check Point CloudGuard provides development and security teams with the tools that they need to secure software development and deployment in the cloud. CloudGuard integrates a wide range of security functions, and a recent acquisition of Spectral has further enhanced its capabilities.

Learn more about how Spectral can help your organization to improve its application security by signing up for a free scan today. For more information on CloudGuard’s full capabilities, register for a free demo.

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