Securing Your Software Development Pipelines
Last Updated on November 15, 2022 by hassan abbas
Suppose there’s one thing recent cyberattacks on businesses like SolarWinds, Codecov, and Kaseya have shown us. In that case, it’s because pipelines for software development are targeted for attack more than they have ever been. Hackers aren’t just attacking bits, and bits from source code are incorporated into our products; however, they also target the testing, development, and tools to build infrastructure used to create these products.
However, if you think your company doesn’t have a chance of being targeted, you should consider your customers. Companies with prominent customers such as government agencies or multinational companies that make use of your products could have attackers targeting them through attacking your business or, in particular, the software that you offer them.
The events of Solarwinds, Codecov, and Kaseya demonstrate that the traditional security methods are frequently not enough to stop attacks. Instead of focusing on the software these companies utilised, hackers focused on the software created by these organisations. Hackers might be looking at the source code you write, the open-source code that your team uses, and even the tools for development that you depend on. This is why companies such as Venafi and GitLab have joined forces to assist developers in protecting themselves from attacks and helping make Software supply chains safe.
At Venafi, We believe in the need for a fresh approach to protecting the supply chain, particularly in the stage of development. We also think it’s vital that developers implement additional security controls into the build, development tests, delivery, and development pipelines.
A single security measure cannot protect against any future attacks. Instead, engineers should implement multiple software development strategies, which include a shift in attitude regarding developing infrastructure security and who holds the responsibility. Any last solution requires collaboration between the top industry experts in software development, software security, and application provisioning. However, any successful partnership must be managed by engineers first.
One method that software developers can employ is to “sign early, frequently on all the artefacts utilised during building software. Digital signatures are electronic signatures used to verify the authenticity of a person or company that has signed a document (for instance, a record, program or another document). Digital signatures verify that the original information in the file is not modified. While most people think of signing digitally (code signing) executable programs (because operating systems typically require it), Digital signatures can be applied to any intermediate work such as source code recipe scripts, build scripts deployment containers, third-party tools utilised for development by developers.
Code signing employs cryptographic hashing, which can verify the legitimacy of the software and guarantee the authenticity of the code by ensuring that no one has altered it since it was published. Code signing plays an essential function in ensuring the authenticity of software utilised or distributed by organisations and individuals.
Why do you need to sign early and frequently?
Even if you’ve uploaded the source code into your repository, someone else might alter the source code later on – maybe even a fake you. If your source code is digitally signed, it is possible that a malicious person cannot make a change without first having access to the digital code signing key.
Another possible scenario to consider is when a development staff member is downloading the newest version of a third-party application but fails to run it through the security protocols of your team first. If the application contains malware, your build system has been affected. By making sure that only versions that are authorised for software, libraries, and sources of code (which have passed security tests) can be digitally signed by the company you work for, The risk of malware is likely to be reduced.
It would help if you now thought about the possibility of an automated build system like GitLab. Suppose your pipeline doesn’t need digital signatures for all the materials used to create those products. In that case, anyone can sneak in a malicious alteration that is automatically integrated and makes an executable with malware that can be distributed to your customers.
It’s convenient for developers.
It’s not difficult to tell people to sign early and frequently’. Why aren’t there more developers taking this approach? It’s pretty simple to run the command-line tool for code signing, such as ‘jarsigner the sign tool.’
The Devil is in the small details.
The management of PKI and managing certificates that sign code and configuring encryption keys can be complex. If code signing is done improperly, it’s ineffective. Additionally, most code signing software requires easy access to private encryption keys, that is, in the end, either on the server that builds the software or laptop of a developer. This is where hackers have easy access to steal these keys.
The process of signing code should be a breeze for developers. One method to make it easier for developers is to incorporate code signing tools into the technologies they use every day, such as GitLab. We’ve observed that developers will steer clear of it if the code signing process is complex, unwieldy, or hinders the build pipeline.
In the end, if code signing is going to be employed to protect your company, Your security department must be aware of the process and also the ability to establish security policies.
Venafi and GitLab joined forces to make it easier for users to verify source code and other artefacts from inside GitLab. GitLab environment.
About Venafi CodeSign Secure
Venafi CodeSign Protect is a different solution that is geared towards the needs of teams of software developers and security teams. Venafi is integrated into the GitLab environment, allowing developers to quickly authenticate their code and other build-related artefacts without learning anything about PKI or code signing certificates or keys for signing code.
It’s time to move to the left.
“Shift-left” type attacks are the latest kind of cyberattacks. Nowadays, hackers are skilled software developers who can target infrastructure, and this is why engineers must adopt security measures, such as code signing.