Is your supply chain your achille’s heel?

DevSecCon London 2018 Speaker
19 Oct 2018
12:00 - 12:40

Is your supply chain your achille’s heel?

The advent of DevOps and large scale automation of software construction and delivery has elevated the software supply chain – and its underpinning delivery pipeline – to mission critical status in any modern enterprise. The increased velocity of modern pipelines and the removal of manual checks and balances has meant that modern pipelines are potential single points of failure in the delivery of secure software.

Automotive and consumer electronics industries have long understood the need for both provenance (understanding the origin of materials) and veracity (ensuring the integrity of their manufacturing processes) in their supply chains; this presentation will address threats to software supply chains and practical approaches to reducing the fragility of your supply chain. Several examples of software supply chain failures will be presented and deconstructed to understand the typical failure modes.

At the most elementary level many pipelines are poorly constructed with low levels of repeatability and poor test coverage, in other organisations there is a lack of governance over the supply chain allowing careless or willingly negligent actors to subvert or bypass controls or testing within the pipeline. There is also no standard mechanism to ensure a ‘chain of custody’ within a pipeline due to a lack common interchange format between tools, or a standard manner to represent the steps within a pipeline build process.

This presentation will cover approaches (using ‘people and process’) in enforcing governance within a supply chain by describing best practices used in large-scale AppSec programmes. Several emerging technology initiatives will be presented: Google’s Grafeas is a means to ensure vulnerability information is represented in a uniform manner across all steps of a pipeline process, while In-Toto is a project to formally enforce the integrity of a pipeline process. A reference secure pipeline will be presented demonstrating both tools working in symphony, along with standard open source and commercial AppSec tools.

Finally the pipeline itself may become the Achille’s Heel in an organisation – many pipelines are not sufficiently hardened and are themselves open to attack by use of vulnerable components and their extensible nature, often along with very wide open permissions. Guidance will be given on hardening of typical pipelines, and a fully secured ephemeral Jenkins pipeline will be demonstrated.

Benefits of this Session: The attendee will gain an increased awareness of the pivotal importance of the software supply chain, and gain an understanding of some common failure modes and weaknesses. Most importantly the attendee will come away with practical guidance on enforcing higher levels of governance on their supply chain without reducing delivery velocity, as well as how to harden the pipeline infrastructure itself.

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