How Do You Defend Against Software Supply Chain Attacks?

A supply chain attack occurs when an outsider gains access to your system through an external entity or source. Organizations’ vulnerability can happen through several sources. Two primary factors make organizations vulnerable to software supply chain attacks.

The first factor is that many software products require access for optimal performance. As numerous software products continue to operate across your organization, even the most vital systems may be susceptible to unauthorized access errors.

The second reason is regular communication. Vendors and customers leave room for hackers to exploit this established communication channel. Vendors deliver fake updates or prevent consumers from receiving legitimate security updates, leaving them vulnerable to threats. This attack has been on the high side recently and this marked 2021 as a year of software vulnerability according to a research. In this article, we’ll look at how supply chain breaches operate.

How Do Supply Chain Breaches Operate?

In opposition to the software supply chain security definition, a software supply chain attack requires only one hacked application or piece of software to spread malware throughout the entire network. Attackers frequently target an application’s source code to inject malicious code into a trustworthy program or computer system.

Attackers frequently use software or application updates as entry points. Tracking software supply chain attacks is difficult because hackers frequently “sign” code with stolen certificates to make it appear authentic.

Hardware attacks, like the USB keylogger, rely on actual physical objects. Attackers will target a device that travels through the entire supply chain to maximize their impact and harm.

Firmware attacks are quick, often go unnoticed if you’re not looking for them, and are highly destructive. Firmware attacks initiate a second-long attack by inserting malware into the startup code of a computer. The malware begins to run as soon as a computer boots up, putting the entire system at risk.

SolarWinds was the victim of a supply-chain malware attack delivered through the company’s servers during a software update, potentially resulting in one of the most significant data breaches in history. This attack impacted the US Department of Defense, the US Treasury Department, and numerous other agencies.

How Do You Defend Against Software Supply Chain Attacks

1.    Apply access controls for vendors. Limiting the vendor’s access to your system is a beautiful idea to reduce potential risks. In other words, restrict vendor access to only what is required for the job.

2.    When developing your application, only use secure and dependencies.

Choosing the dependencies and modules to include in your application requires you to use software that is kept up to date and has a solid track record of maintenance; this ensures that any vulnerabilities found will be investigated and patches updated. It also lessens the injection of malicious code.

3.    Checking for known vulnerabilities in open-source software

The supply chain can be safeguarded using OSS programs like Snyk, WhiteSource or Open Source Scanning. This software will examine your package’s dependencies and compare them to their vast databases of vulnerable packages and versions to determine whether your application has any known vulnerabilities.

These packages often can automatically update a dependency to the most recent safe version if it has a known vulnerability, especially one rated as critical. However, if an update is unavailable, you must use a different module or package because that means the software is no longer being supported.

4.     Invest in analysts for the security operation center.

These IT experts will carefully examine the cybersecurity architecture of your company to find any issues or gaps in security. Additionally, they’ll respond to threats, assess the impact of any attacks, and work to enhance your system.

5.    Careful patching (regularly, not instantly)

You will often see a note advising you to update or patch your systems regularly if you have ever read security publications. While this is true, it does not require you to upgrade immediately. It is reasonable that you would want the most recent version to ensure that any vulnerabilities were patched and no longer posed a concern.

Although it may seem paradoxical, if we look at all the cases in this post, they are all connected because, had the users not upgraded right away, they wouldn’t have been affected. Before you start screaming at your screen, let me clarify that I’m not suggesting we stop patching or patching infrequently; instead, we should give this some thought.

6. Employ a platform for enterprise password management (EPM). EPM technologies give IT administrators complete access to staff password usage and the power to enforce password security policies throughout the whole organization, which help avoid supply chain assaults.

7. Use least-privilege security and advanced authentication

The term “Zero Trust” refers to a security idea. It implies that we do not automatically trust someone because they have login credentials. In a supply chain assault, we want to lower the overall level of trust the attacker has and build strong authentication based on zero trust principles that can thwart an attacker in their tracks. Examples include limiting the IP addresses that can access systems and employing multi-factor authentication.

The principle of least access, which states that users and services should only have the barest access to additional data and services, must also be followed. This principle should be a key part of your software supply chain security definition. Because an attacker can begin an attack from a trusted system, we cannot identify and prohibit them; nevertheless, we can restrict the amount of information they have access to.


Software supply chain attacks won’t stop anytime soon, but software vendors can reduce the risk of supply chain attacks with effective security procedures and awareness training. Implement the best approach and stay consistent with adequate monitoring system.

The world is advancing and digitalization is taking over. Therefore, software production and management increases daily. Likewise, attackers are implementing sophisticated tools to infiltrate and inject malicious codes into vulnerable software. We’ve highlighted several ways to defend against software supply chain attacks.

Choose the best method to mitigate software supply chain attacks.

Work done by a Team Of Security Experts from Cyber Writes ( - World’s First Dedicated Content-as-a-Service (CaaS) Platform for Cybersecurity. For Exclusive Cyber Security Contents, Reach at: [email protected]