Five Blind Spots That Leave You Open to Supply Chain Vulnerabilities

Software provide chain assaults have obtained elevated consideration over the previous 12 months with high-profile examples such because the SolarWinds SUNBURST attack, the Kaseya VSA (REvil) attack, or the Log4j vulnerability making headlines and impacting hundreds of enterprises. It is not {that a} handful of examples occur to make the information: Supply chain assaults are rising extra widespread. Gartner predicts that by 2025, 45% of organizations worldwide may have skilled assaults on their software program provide chain.

Furthermore, the sheer selection in how software program supply chain attacks could be executed provides complexity to the method of threat mitigation, detection, response, and resilience towards them. From deliberately launched malware in enterprise software program to unintended vulnerabilities in ubiquitous open-source code, the software program provide chain is darkish and filled with terrors.

We’ll discover 5 real-world examples of provide chain assaults and third-party threat launched by the software program provide chain. We’ll present recommendation on how to enhance your safety posture towards these assaults. You’ll find out how to:

  • Improve your readiness and safety hygiene to scale back the chance of a provide chain assault working towards you
  • Increase your capacity to detect early indicators of a provide chain assault in progress
  • Accelerate your response capabilities towards each subtle and primary provide chain assaults
  • Boost your total capacity to monitor and handle third-party threat from software program distributors

How to Monitor Third-Party Supply Chain Risk

What is a Software Supply Chain Attack and Why Are Businesses Uniquely Vulnerable?

According to the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), “a software program provide chain assault happens when a cyber menace actor infiltrates a software program vendor’s community and employs malicious code to compromise the software program earlier than the seller sends it to their clients. The compromised software program then compromises the client’s information or system.”

Your group’s software program provide chain consists of all the businesses you purchase software program from, all the open-source repositories their builders pull code from, all of the service organizations you enable into your setting, and extra. All of those sources characterize an infinite and difficult-to-secure cyber assault floor.

Even in instances the place an attacker exploits a vulnerability in a supply-chain dependency, fairly than introducing their very own malicious code, the software program provide chain serves as an amplifier. This allows attackers to keep stealthy whereas breaking right into a wider vary of targets, making third-party threat launched by the software program provide chain above and past subtle assaults akin to SUNBURST. The overlapping blind spots contained in the enterprise contribute to the enormity of this problem for defenders.

CISA says that organizations are uniquely weak to software program provide chain assaults for 2 main causes:

  1. Many third-party software program merchandise require privileged entry.
  2. Third-party software program merchandise require frequent communication between the seller’s community and the seller’s software program product positioned on buyer networks.

Supply chain assaults exploit this privileged entry and open communication channels between vendor and buyer as an preliminary intrusion path. Some provide chain assaults concurrently goal many units or workloads inside goal organizations directly.

As a safety measure, most organizations conduct due-diligence safety assessments of software program they plan to use. This is essential for hunting down primary safety holes however is inadequate for catching and stopping extra superior adversaries. By monitoring community conduct, significantly within your setting, organizations can catch the superior attackers that sneak by.

Enterprise Software Supply Chain Attacks: The SUNBURST Model

The Attack: The SolarWinds SUNBURST assault is the most important provide chain assault in latest reminiscence to exploit a serious, well-established software program supplier. The attackers first compromised SolarWinds, then inserted malicious code into the construct server for the SolarWinds Orion infrastructure monitoring and administration software program. From that second, SolarWinds clients who up to date their software program obtained the malicious code. All instructed, 18,000 clients have been doubtlessly impacted.

Far past SolarWinds, the software program provide chain assault floor is getting greater. There was a 24% improve within the variety of functions utilized by enterprises from 2016 to 2022, in accordance to Okta, an id and entry administration supplier. On common, Okta reviews that their giant clients (over 2,000 workers) use a mean of 187 functions, every of which represents a possible intrusion pathway for provide chain attackers. It have to be famous right here that Okta itself was the sufferer of a software program provide chain assault that was disclosed in March 2022.

The Blind Spot: Application Servers and Software Update Pathways

Enterprise software-based provide chain assaults are very probably to use the replace mechanism as a supply pathway. This was the case in SUNBURST in addition to within the legendary NotPetya assault which abused the replace servers of Ukrainian productiveness software program MeDocs to ship ransomware that just about destroyed world delivery large Maersk.

The Solution: Behavioral Analysis of Application Servers

After a tool downloads a malicious software program replace, it’s probably to begin behaving in another way than regular. Sophisticated attackers might construct in a interval of dormancy in order that defenders have a tougher time attributing the brand new malicious conduct to the software program replace. If the primary compromised system is a devoted server for enterprise software program akin to SolarWinds Orion, then it probably has a reasonably slender vary of anticipated behaviors, a minimum of in contrast to a workstation. Any aberration would stick out like a sore thumb to a sufficiently subtle behavioral evaluation system.

Unfortunately, devoted servers are additionally much less probably to be monitored successfully by endpoint detection and response brokers or exercise logging processes. Even units which are being monitored might yield menace alerts which are troublesome to interpret with out the suitable context. Security groups and safety device builders want to develop higher understanding of the forms of observable conduct which are almost certainly to point out a menace.

Furthermore, expecting behavioral modifications in units that obtain software program updates from exterior your group can reveal different dangers that will not be associated to intentional provide chain assaults. Since third-party software program typically requires frequent communication again to the seller and common updates, it’s important to monitor these communications and different conduct of the app servers to detect the early indicators of malicious conduct indicating a provide chain assault.

Software makers generally publish a software program invoice of supplies (SBOM) to disclose elements and open supply packages which are current in industrial software program. It can be helpful for safety groups to additionally request disclosure of any industrial software program’s anticipated community conduct.

Open Source Software Vulnerability: The Log4Shell Model

The Vulnerability: Log4Shell (CVE-2021-44228) is a vulnerability in a extensively used piece of open-source software program known as Log4j. The vulnerability permits attackers to acquire distant code execution capabilities on any system the place the Log4j library is being utilized by an internet-accessible server in a manner that permits an attacker to transmit values to the Log4j library. For instance, Minecraft used Log4j in such a manner that chat messages inside Minecraft servers is perhaps ingested by Log4j, leaving a pathway open for attackers.

This open-source library could also be current on any of the three billion or extra units that run Java. When the vulnerability was first disclosed, low-sophistication attackers instantly began exploiting it to set up cryptocurrency miners. As time went on, extra subtle assaults started utilizing Log4Shell for every thing from ransomware to distribution of DDOS malware.

Open-source software program can be a typical goal for attackers to deliberately introduce malicious code. Attackers might merely submit code to open supply initiatives and hope that it’s not caught by code reviewers. They may use a way known as “dependency confusion” to publish open-source software program.

Learn More: Detect Log4Shell in Encrypted Traffic

The Blind Spot: Unknown, Unmanaged Hardware and Software Components

If you could have unmanaged units or shadow IT in your setting that runs Java with the Log4j bundle, you could be weak. Unless you could have a complete inventory of all networked devices in your setting, you could be uncovered. Because Log4j is such a extensively used open-source part, it could be current in innumerable units and functions. To successfully safe your group, you want a mechanism for locating each system in your setting, and for detecting Log4Shell exercise to and from that system, indicating that it’s actively underneath assault or already compromised.

The Solution: Real-time Inventory of All Software Running in Your Environment

Most organizations conduct some stage of due diligence earlier than bringing new third-party software program into their setting. Often, this entails getting a SBOM from the software program vendor. In principle, this permits defenders to maintain a list of all software program working within the setting, together with doubtlessly weak open supply elements akin to Log4j.

In follow, an SBOM can go outdated rapidly, or will not be provided by the seller in any respect. A constantly up to date asset stock pushed by real-time visibility into the units and workloads working in your community offers you a greater likelihood of discovering weak or compromised units in your community, so you may cease the assault from efficiently exfiltrating or encrypting your information for ransom.

Managed Services and Software Ransomware Attack: The Kaseya VSA Model

The Attack: In the extremely publicized Kaseya VSA attack of 2021, performed by the REvil ransomware group, a distant monitoring and administration software program was hijacked with the intent of attacking downstream targets. Kaseya VSA software program is utilized by managed service suppliers (MSPs) who remotely preserve and monitor IT methods for their very own clients. By exploiting a vulnerability in Kaseya VSA, the REvil ransomware group was ready to distribute ransomware two steps downstream within the IT environments of consumers of MSPs utilizing Kaseya’s VSA software program. The assault is assumed to have impacted up to 1,500 corporations.

The Blind Spot: Internet-Facing Devices, Devices Under Remote Management, and Communication Pathways with Remote Managed Service Providers

In order to make use of MSPs for providers akin to distant IT monitoring, companies want to give the MSP entry to inner IT methods. This requires a sure stage of belief and threat acceptance. No matter how a lot vendor evaluation due diligence you do forward of time, it’s not possible to confirm with 100% certainty that an MSP is not going to expose you to a cyberattack.

The Solution: Monitor Network Behavior of Devices and Data Flows Accessed by MSPs

Beyond the due diligence, you also needs to actively monitor any channels that the MSP can use to talk out and in of your setting. Devices that an MSP has entry to ought to have their conduct noticed and analyzed, significantly if the units have privileged entry to delicate information. This could also be a problem, as the explanation that many corporations onboard MSPs is that they do not have the staffing or assets to handle their very own methods in home.

Organizations that can’t carefully monitor the entry paths of an MSP want to concentrate on the danger that they’re accepting by giving a 3rd occasion privileged entry to the community. This threat represented by MSP connections grows quickly as superior attackers get higher at accessing and misusing these connections, and as MSP utilization will increase. These shifts have to be taken under consideration in threat calculations by safety groups at corporations of all sizes.

Cloud Infrastructure and Malicious Insiders (IaaS, PaaS, SaaS): The Capital One Model

The Attack: An Amazon worker used insider data of Amazon Web Services (AWS) vulnerabilities in particular AWS merchandise being utilized by Capital One. The Amazon worker stole an estimated 100 million bank card functions containing non-public, personally identifiable info from the financial institution.

The Blind Spots: Cloud Infrastructure & User Behavior

Any enterprise that makes use of a public cloud supplier akin to AWS, Google Cloud Platform, or Microsoft Azure is inserting a substantial amount of belief of their cloud supplier and accepting the danger that, ought to their cloud supplier be compromised, their very own information could also be as properly. In the case of the Capital One hack, an insider from Amazon understood each the holes in AWS, and the way they might be exploited towards AWS clients.

The Solution: Monitor Network Behavior in IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS Solutions

Whether a malicious insider is utilizing professional credentials to steal information, or an outsider has gained entry to credentials, the very fact stays that behavioral evaluation is the very best, and infrequently the one manner to catch them.

When a professional service in a dynamic, rising enterprise begins doing one thing malicious, it may be troublesome to catch—it is not as if an intruder has loudly damaged in and began smashing issues. The behaviors in such an assault could also be rather more delicate, however can nonetheless lead to monumental injury.

Related Posts