Risk
11/5/2009
01:45 PM
Connect Directly
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Securing The Cyber Supply Chain

Many parties touch your organization's systems and software, potentially exposing them to malware, breaches, or worse. A new end-to-end approach is required to minimize the risks.

Security pros draw a line at the firewall--what happens "out there" might be beyond their control, but a secure perimeter is intended to protect the data and systems within. That view, however, fails to take into account the role of developers, vendors, customers, users, and others along the supply chain of IT systems, hardware, and software coming into the enterprise. A new school of practice advocates a more encompassing approach to security that leaves none of those touch points unchecked.

It's called the cybersecurity supply chain, and, as it sounds, it applies the principles of supply chain management--product assembly and acquisition, data sharing among partners, governance, and more--to the security of IT systems and software. "Organizations need to realize that their borders are porous," says Jim Lewis, director and senior fellow of the Center for Strategic and International Studies' technology and public policy program. "We're no longer living behind a moat. It's not just how secure you are, but how secure the people you connect with are as well."

What comprises a cyber supply chain? Researchers at the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business and the IT services firm SAIC, in a white paper published in June, define it as "the mass of IT systems--hardware, software, public, and classified networks--that together enable the uninterrupted operations" of government agencies, public companies, and their major suppliers. "The cyber supply chain includes the entire set of key actors and their organizational and process-level interactions that plan, build, manage, maintain, and defend this infrastructure."

Foreign nations already are carrying out supply chain attacks on IT systems belonging to the U.S. government, according to a presentation by Mitch Komaroff, director of the Department of Defense CIO's globalization task force. A simple example is hardware being delivered with malware installed. In the private sector, financial firms have become regular targets. These two sectors are also the most aggressive in looking at ways to fight the problem.

Two government efforts--the Bush administration's Comprehensive National Cyber Initiative and the Obama administration's Cybersecurity Policy Review--direct federal agencies to shore up their cyber supply chains. "The growing sophistication and diversity of cyberattacks makes this a threat," says Nicole Dean, deputy director of the Department of Homeland Security's National Cybersecurity Division, which oversees the Comprehensive National Cyber Initiative.

DIG DEEPER
Government IT On The Leading Edge
Learn more about how government agencies are helping to drive what's next in the technology industry, including software that learns your schedule and networks resilient enough for the rigors of outer space.
Avenues of attack include malware inserted into software or hardware, vulnerabilities found by hackers poking and prodding software, and compromised systems that are unwittingly brought in house. In recent years, Apple, Hewlett-Packard, Sony, and others have shipped pre-owned laptops, hard drives, and other devices with viruses, worms, and Trojans on them, according to a 2007 presentation to the Internet Security Alliance by Verizon executive Marcus Sachs, who's also director of the SANS Internet Storm Center.

In most companies, tackling this problem will require new levels of collaboration among security, IT, and supply chain managers. "From a defensive standpoint, few supply chain managers or supply chain risk managers have aligned their mission with their computer security center, and they're not commissioned to conduct joint operations," says Hart Rossman, CTO of cybersecurity solutions with SAIC and co-author of the cyber supply chain white paper. "If you think hardware or software has been compromised out of the box and you call your cybersecurity team, they're probably not prepared to deal with it because they're looking for viruses."

Counterfeiting is another risk. The Department of Justice recently arrested three California residents on counterfeiting charges. According to the indictment, the three imported counterfeit microprocessors from China. They also obtained legitimate chips, removed their original markings, then resold them to government agencies as "military grade" components.

Previous
1 of 5
Next
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
Partner Perspectives
What's This?
In a digital world inundated with advanced security threats, Intel Security seeks to transform how we live and work to keep our information secure. Through hardware and software development, Intel Security delivers robust solutions that integrate security into every layer of every digital device. In combining the security expertise of McAfee with the innovation, performance, and trust of Intel, this vision becomes a reality.

As we rely on technology to enhance our everyday and business life, we must too consider the security of the intellectual property and confidential data that is housed on these devices. As we increase the number of devices we use, we increase the number of gateways and opportunity for security threats. Intel Security takes the “security connected” approach to ensure that every device is secure, and that all security solutions are seamlessly integrated.
Featured Writers
White Papers
Cartoon
Current Issue
Dark Reading's October Tech Digest
Fast data analysis can stymie attacks and strengthen enterprise security. Does your team have the data smarts?
Flash Poll
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2014-3409
Published: 2014-10-25
The Ethernet Connectivity Fault Management (CFM) handling feature in Cisco IOS 12.2(33)SRE9a and earlier and IOS XE 3.13S and earlier allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service (device reload) via malformed CFM packets, aka Bug ID CSCuq93406.

CVE-2014-4620
Published: 2014-10-25
The EMC NetWorker Module for MEDITECH (aka NMMEDI) 3.0 build 87 through 90, when EMC RecoverPoint and Plink are used, stores cleartext RecoverPoint Appliance credentials in nsrmedisv.raw log files, which allows local users to obtain sensitive information by reading these files.

CVE-2014-4623
Published: 2014-10-25
EMC Avamar 6.0.x, 6.1.x, and 7.0.x in Avamar Data Store (ADS) GEN4(S) and Avamar Virtual Edition (AVE), when Password Hardening before 2.0.0.4 is enabled, uses UNIX DES crypt for password hashing, which makes it easier for context-dependent attackers to obtain cleartext passwords via a brute-force a...

CVE-2014-4624
Published: 2014-10-25
EMC Avamar Data Store (ADS) and Avamar Virtual Edition (AVE) 6.x and 7.0.x through 7.0.2-43 do not require authentication for Java API calls, which allows remote attackers to discover grid MCUser and GSAN passwords via a crafted call.

CVE-2014-6151
Published: 2014-10-25
CRLF injection vulnerability in IBM Tivoli Integrated Portal (TIP) 2.2.x allows remote authenticated users to inject arbitrary HTTP headers and conduct HTTP response splitting attacks via unspecified vectors.

Best of the Web
Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
Follow Dark Reading editors into the field as they talk with noted experts from the security world.