Investigating Novel Approaches to Defend Software Supply Chain Attacks

Md. Jobair Hossain Faruk, M. Tasnim, Hossain Shahriar, Maria Valero, Akond Rahman and Fan Wu in 2022 IEEE International Symposium on Software Reliability Engineering Workshops (ISSREW), 2022 Pre-print

Software supply chain attacks occur during the processes of producing software is compromised, resulting in vulnerabilities that target downstream customers. While the number of successful exploits is limited, the impact of these attacks is significant. Despite increased awareness and research into software supply chain attacks, there is limited information available on mitigating or architecting for these risks, and existing information is focused on singular and independent elements of the supply chain. In this paper, we extensively review software supply chain security using software development tools and infrastructure. We investigate the path that attackers find is least resistant followed by adapting and finding the next best way to complete an attack. We also provide a thorough discussion on how common software supply chain attacks can be prevented, preventing malicious hackers from gaining access to an organization’s development tools and infrastructure including the development environment. We considered various SSC attacks on stolen code-sign certificates by malicious attackers and prevented unnoticed malware from passing by security scanners. We are aiming to extend our research to contribute to preventing software supply chain attacks by proposing novel techniques and frameworks.