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.

Target: Financial Systems

In the private sector, financial systems are being targeted, says Paul Kocher, president and chief scientist of Cryptography Research, which advises companies on cybersecurity, designs tamper-resistant chips, and licenses technology to protect against "differential power analysis," an advanced technique where an attacker analyzes power consumption of, say, smart cards to determine cryptographic keys.

"Someone will target an individual or organization and invest a nontrivial effort to get that data," he says. For example, cybercriminals have surreptitiously inserted their own router into a company's network and "started pulling out information for fraudulent purposes," Kocher says.

The Financial Sector Information Sharing and Analysis Center, an industry organization, recently created a working group to address IT supply chain integrity. Its members include Goldman Sachs, Depository Trust and Clearing Corp., Citigroup, Morgan Stanley, the Bank of New York Mellon, J.P. Morgan, Bank of America, and NYSE/Euronext.

"We face organized cyberenemies who are hell-bent on positioning themselves to bring down the entire U.S. financial services system," said Donald Donahue, CEO of Depository Trust and Clearing Corp., a holding company that processes many of the nation's capital market transactions, at a financial services industry conference in May. "Their intent to penetrate the supply chain exploiting whatever vulnerabilities that may exist is very clear."

Point-of-sale systems and ATMs are among the most commonly attacked financial systems, says Cryptography Research's Kocher. Among the techniques that have been employed: ATMs have been delivered with malicious code pre-installed, hackers have created fake endpoints on ATM networks, and the people servicing machines have turned out to be fraudsters, says Kocher.

Security and IT managers need to develop strategies for dealing with the IT supply chain threat in a comprehensive way. Measures for minimizing the risks include buying only from trusted vendors, disconnecting critical machines from outside networks, and educating users on the threat and protective measures they can take.

Depository Trust and Clearing Corp. has implemented governance for vulnerability management throughout its supply chain and looks at IT security along "the entire life cycle," Donahue said. That includes where software was coded and hardware manufactured, access controls throughout software development and delivery, and security within DTCC itself.

The first step in any cyber supply chain action plan should be to categorize and catalog the risks, says Lewis from the Center for Strategic and International Studies. For the most critical functions at the highest security levels--systems used for nuclear weapons testing, for instance--an organization might need to use a "100% reliable" supply chain, though that gets prohibitively expensive very quickly. That level of reliability would require fully documented software development and hardware by trusted partners in controlled environments.

SAIC and the University of Maryland's School of Business have developed a cyber supply chain "assurance model" to help organizations tackle the issue in a methodical way. The model is the result of an 8-month study that included an assessment of the state of the art in supply chain management and cybersecurity, interviews, and focus groups. "Everybody viewed themselves as the terminus in the supply chain, even though when people procure IT these days it's often for their customer or their customer's customer," says SAIC's Rossman. "Most organizations don't have good visibility into their tier 1 supply chain providers, much less their lower-tier suppliers."

The cyber supply chain assurance model is comprised, visually, of nested circles (see chart, p. 46). At the center is governance, managed by a supply chain orchestrator. Beyond that are systems integration and shared services; it's here that the model introduces the concept of an "enforcer" of supply chain custody. The outside circle, or "field layer," addresses cybersecurity in software code, IT hardware, enterprise applications, networks, and people.

The report authors cite the need for a "chain of custody," including real-time documentation of systems development practices, among participants in the supply chain. They point to the quality-control measures used in the pharmaceuticals industry, with extensive online documentation and product tracking, as a model for cyber supply chains.

chart: Cyber Supply Chain Assurance Model

Previous
2 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-2013-4594
Published: 2014-10-25
The Payment for Webform module 7.x-1.x before 7.x-1.5 for Drupal does not restrict access by anonymous users, which allows remote anonymous users to use the payment of other anonymous users when submitting a form that requires payment.

CVE-2014-0476
Published: 2014-10-25
The slapper function in chkrootkit before 0.50 does not properly quote file paths, which allows local users to execute arbitrary code via a Trojan horse executable. NOTE: this is only a vulnerability when /tmp is not mounted with the noexec option.

CVE-2014-1927
Published: 2014-10-25
The shell_quote function in python-gnupg 0.3.5 does not properly quote strings, which allows context-dependent attackers to execute arbitrary code via shell metacharacters in unspecified vectors, as demonstrated using "$(" command-substitution sequences, a different vulnerability than CVE-2014-1928....

CVE-2014-1928
Published: 2014-10-25
The shell_quote function in python-gnupg 0.3.5 does not properly escape characters, which allows context-dependent attackers to execute arbitrary code via shell metacharacters in unspecified vectors, as demonstrated using "\" (backslash) characters to form multi-command sequences, a different vulner...

CVE-2014-1929
Published: 2014-10-25
python-gnupg 0.3.5 and 0.3.6 allows context-dependent attackers to have an unspecified impact via vectors related to "option injection through positional arguments." NOTE: this vulnerability exists because of an incomplete fix for CVE-2013-7323.

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.