Recently, the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) have published a 64 long pages document in which the institutions gave tips on securing the software supply chain.
The guidelines are framed by the Enduring Security Framework (ESF)—a public-private partnership that works on intelligence-driven, shared cybersecurity challenges and addresses threats to U.S. critical infrastructure and national security systems—to serve as a collection of suggested practices for software developers.
“Securing the Software Supply Chain for Developers was created to help developers achieve security through industry and government-evaluated recommendations,” the Department of Defense’s intelligence agency said.
State-sponsored cyberattacks like the SolarWinds supply-chain attack and FireEye which led to exploitation of several US federal agencies, and took advantage of software vulnerabilities like Log4j brought the Enduring Security Framework into the course.
Following the cyber threats, US President Biden signed an executive order in May 2021 to advance the country’s mechanism against cyberattacks.
Additionally, the Biden cabinet released a new Federal strategy against cyber threats in January, pushing its government to adopt a “zero trust” security model. Later, NSA and Microsoft recommended this approach in February 2021 for large enterprises and critical networks.
“The developer holds a critical responsibility to the security of our software. As ESF examined the events that led up to the SolarWinds attack, it was clear that investment was needed in creating a set of best practices that focused on the needs of the software developer,” reads NSA’s statement.
Following are some of the mitigation tips that have been recommended in the report:
• Generate architecture and design documents
• Create threat models of the software product
• Gather a trained, qualified, and trustworthy development team
• Define and implement security test plans
• Establish product support and vulnerability handling policies and procedures
• Define release criteria and evaluate the product against it
• Document and publish the security procedures and processes for each software release
• Assess the developers’ capabilities and understanding of the secure development process and assign training
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