Why Are ‘Supply Chain Attacks’ on Open Source Libraries Getting Worse?

Open Source


Why Are ‘Supply Chain Attacks’ on Open Source Libraries Getting Worse? (arstechnica.com)



from the suppy-chain-attacks dept.

“A rash of supply chain attacks hitting open source software over the past year shows few signs of abating, following the discovery this week of two separate backdoors slipped into a dozen libraries downloaded by hundreds of thousands of server administrators,” reports Ars Technica:

The compromises of Webmin and the RubyGems libraries are only the latest supply chain attacks to hit open source software. Most people don’t think twice about installing software or updates from the official site of a known developer. As developers continue to make software and websites harder to exploit, black hats over the past few years have increasingly exploited this trust to spread malicious wares by poisoning code at its source…

To be fair, closed-source software also falls prey to supply-side attacks — as evidenced by those that hit computer maker ASUS on two occasions, the malicious update to tax-accounting software M.E.Doc that seeded the NotPetya outbreak of 2017, and another backdoor that infected users of the CCleaner hard drive utility that same year. But the low-hanging fruit for supply chain attacks seems to be open source projects, in part because many don’t make multi-factor authentication and code signing mandatory among its large base of contributors.

“The recent discoveries make it clear that these issues are becoming more frequent and that the security ecosystem around package publication and management isn’t improving fast enough,” Atredis Partners Vice President of Research and Development HD Moore told Ars. “The scary part is that each of these instances likely resulted in even more developer accounts being compromised (through captured passwords, authorization tokens, API keys, and SSH keys). The attackers likely have enough credentials at hand to do this again, repeatedly, until all credentials are reset and appropriate MFA and signing is put in place.”

There is nothing so easy but that it becomes difficult when you do it
— Publius Terentius Afer (Terence)


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