7 Software Supply Chain Security Risks and How to Mitigate Them

Software supply chain security involves ensuring that the software you develop is free from vulnerabilities. For instance, it consists of scanning malicious code or bugs in the source code so they aren’t present in the final product. This guarantees that users are protected against any potential threats. 

As such, learning about different software supply chain security risks can help you prevent them. This article will discuss some of these risks and how to mitigate them.

1. Source Code Vulnerabilities

Source code vulnerability refers to a flaw in the programming language used to create the software. It could be a bug or even a coding error. These flaws allow hackers to exploit the system by injecting malware into the program. 

When you have poor-quality source code, your software may contain errors that could lead to serious problems. If you don’t fix these issues, hackers could easily find ways to hack your application. 

To mitigate insecure code, ensure all developers follow best practices when writing code. Also, ensure that you have an automated testing process for every change made to the source code. Having developers review each other’s code can also help improve your software supply chain security.

2. Malware Infection

Malware infection occurs when an attacker injects malicious code into the software. The most common type of malware is called viruses. They infect computers through email attachments, websites, hard drives, etc. Once infected, the virus spreads itself to other files on the computer. It could also encrypt user data or steal sensitive information.

Other examples of malware include spyware, ransomware, adware, trojans, worms, and backdoors. You should always update your antivirus because it helps detect new types of malware. New versions of your antivirus have the latest updates that allow you to protect your device.

3. Compromised Remote Developer Systems

Remote developers work on projects from home or other locations. They often use a laptop computer to access the project files and communicate with their colleagues. 

This makes them more susceptible to attacks than local developers who work directly on the project. Hackers can compromise remote developer systems by exploiting weaknesses in the network infrastructure. 

If you want to minimize the risk of having your remote developer systems compromised, make sure that you have good firewall settings. Ensure that only trusted IP addresses can connect to your server. Use strong passwords and limit the number of connections per hour.

4. Exploit Chains 

An exploit chain is a sequence of exploits that are chained together. For example, hackers will continuously try different attack methods until they succeed. An exploit chain might start with a vulnerability that leads to another method of attack.

Hackers often create exploit chains to target specific vulnerabilities. For example, if you have a vulnerable version of Java installed on your system, hackers may exploit it first. Then, they would move on to another vulnerable component. This makes it harder for you to patch the problem since you must fix multiple issues simultaneously.

To mitigate an exploit chain attack, you should ensure that all components of your operating system are up-to-date. If possible, remove any outdated software from your system. Exploit chain attacks also require coordinated efforts among developers.

5. Inadequate Risk Assessment

Risk assessment is when you evaluate the potential impact of an event. It involves identifying threats and determining how likely each threat is to occur. The likelihood of a threat occurring depends on several factors. These factors include the attacker’s skill level, motivation, resources available, and attack type.

When it comes to software supply chain security, risk assessment is important because it helps you identify the most critical risks. You should perform risk assessments regularly to determine which risks pose the greatest threats to your business.

As such, your team must perform risk assessments regularly. You can even ask the following questions:

  • What types of attackers could potentially gain unauthorized access?
  • How easy or difficult would it be for these attackers to get into the company?
  • Which assets are most valuable to the organization?
  • What information is stored on the organization’s servers?

Answering these questions will help you develop effective countermeasures against cyberattacks.

6. Lack of Updated Tools

Software tools are essential for keeping your organization secure. Without them, you cannot effectively protect yourself from cyberattacks. As such, you should update your toolkit frequently.

You should use the latest versions of your tools whenever possible. Software products like microchips, motherboards, and cables and power cords, can become obsolete quickly. Therefore, you should replace them every few years. Replacing your tools also allows you to work more efficiently.

The Bottom Line

The software supply chain is one of the most complex areas in cybersecurity. Hackers constantly evolve new techniques to infiltrate organizations. As a result, you must stay vigilant and take steps to keep your systems safe. Learning about the different attacks and how to mitigate them is key to protecting your organization.


Meta Description:  This article discusses some of the software supply chain security risks that you should know. It also provides some of the best practices you can use to mitigate these risks.

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