Security Market Segment LS
Friday, 03 June 2022 07:57

Most software supply chains are vulnerable: CIO study Featured

Venafi vice president of threat intelligence and business development Kevin Bocek Venafi vice president of threat intelligence and business development Kevin Bocek

Machine identity management provider Venafi's survey of 1,000 CIOs found that 82% think their organisations are vulnerable to software supply chain attacks.

Increasing incidence and sophistication of such attacks over the last 12 months has brought them to the attention of CEOs and boards, according to Venafi.

Consequently, 85% of CIOs have been specifically instructed by the board or CEO to improve the security of software build and distribution environments, with 84% saying the budget for securing software development environments has increased over the past year.

Of concern is that 87% of CIOs believe software engineers and developers compromise on security policies and controls in order to get new products and services to market faster.

More than 90% of software applications use open source components, with complex dependencies.

CI/CD and DevOps pipelines are typically organised for speed rather than additional security, and the complexity of open source and the speed of development limit the efficacy of software supply chain security controls, according to Venafi.

To improve the situation, 68% of responding CIOs are implementing more security controls, 57% are updating their review processes, 56% are expanding their use of code signing, and 47% are looking at the provenance of their open source libraries.

"Digital transformation has made every business a software developer. And as a result, software development environments have become huge target for attackers," said Venafi vice president of threat intelligence and business development Kevin Bocek.

"Hackers have discovered that successful supply chain attacks, especially those that target machine identities, are extremely efficient and more profitable.

"The reality is that developers are focused on innovation and speed rather than security," Bocek explained. "Unfortunately, security teams rarely have the knowledge or the resources to help developers solve these problems and CIOs are just waking up to these challenges."

He added "CIOs realise they need to improve software supply chain security but it's extremely difficult to determine exactly where the risks are, which improvements provide the greatest increase in security, and how these changes reduce risk over time.

"We can't solve this problem using existing methodologies. Instead, we need to think differently about the identity and integrity of the code we are building and using – and we need to protect and secure it at every step of the development process at machine speed."

Venafi's whitepaper Software Supply Chain Attack Surfaces Expanding is available here, and assessments of the security of a software supply chain plus recommendations on industry best practices are available here.

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Stephen Withers

Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.

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