Containers and cloud-native technologies rapidly accelerate innovation but can also complicate identifying security vulnerabilities, threats, and compliance violations. For example, running container images often requires third-party software and libraries. Modern cloud-native applications rely more on these dependencies than traditional on-premises applications. Consequently, attackers can compromise the container and potentially the entire software supply chain if they exploit a vulnerability in one of these dependencies.
Dynamic container and Kubernetes environments are challenging to observe, and abnormal behavior is easy to miss because containers are usually short-lived, and monitoring them, especially during runtime, can be extremely difficult. Therefore, containerized and cloud-native environments pose unique security challenges and expose new threat vectors.
Maintaining a comprehensive record of all the external components and dependencies in a container image is crucial to combat the exploits. It is also important to track assets not part of the core application, such as libraries, frameworks, software packages, and other assets.
In addition to maintaining inventory, keeping track of the versions of libraries and images used in container images is essential. Organizations can quickly identify when updates or patches are available and ensure their containers are secure. In the event of a security breach or other incident, swiftly identifying all the components included in a container image can help identify the root cause of the issue and take corrective action to prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future.
In software supply chain security, the focus is ensuring the security and integrity of the software components and dependencies used in the software development and deployment process. It includes verifying the authenticity and trustworthiness of the software components and dependencies, ensuring that they have not been tampered with or modified by unauthorized parties, and monitoring for any security threats or vulnerabilities that may arise.
Even though it may seem daunting, securing a cloud-native software supply chain is achievable with the right tools and techniques. Lean into this new blog series to learn more about these tools and techniques. The blog series consists of two parts that cover foundational topics on the software supply chain security, followed by a detailed how-to series that describes how to use open-source tools such as KubeClarity to tackle the challenges related to the overview series.
KubeClarity is a tool for detecting and managing Software Bill of Materials (SBOM) and vulnerabilities of container images and filesystems. Additionally, it scans runtime Kubernetes clusters and CI/CD pipelines for comprehensive software supply chain security.
As a part of the series, we will examine the changing landscape of software supply chain security, who the key players are, what commercial and open-source options are available, and how KubeClarity compares to other open-source alternatives in processing SBOMs (software bills of materials) and vulnerability scans. This information can help you choose the best tool to solve your supply chain security challenges.
Here is a sneak peek at some of the foundational and deep-dive content you can expect to see in this series.
Pallavi Kalapatapu is a Principal Engineer and open-source advocate in Cisco’s Emerging Technology & Incubation organization.