Software supply chain attacks are seeing an unprecedented surge. According to the Sonatype State of the Software Supply Chain Report, twice as many incidents were recorded in 2023 as compared to the cumulative total from 2019-2022. The numbers are stark indicators of the fact that the software supply chain, rich with native code, open-source packages, and numerous dependencies is a lucrative target for attackers.
As security concerns continue to mount, DevSecOps, a transformative approach that focuses on integrating security into the software development cycle, end-to-end, is gaining a lot of importance. DevSecOps envisions a cohesive environment where the development, security, and operations teams collaborate, communicate, share responsibility, and ensure security and compliance to deliver reliable and secure software at speed and at scale.
The growing need to shift from a reactive to a proactive security approach as part of DevSecOps is propelling organizations to explore security measures that can support DevOps needs and work in tandem with DevOps tools and processes. One such security practice that lends itself effectively to DevSecOps is code signing.
Code signing is the process of digitally signing software, updates, firmware, mobile applications, and more to assure authenticity and integrity to end users. The digital signature embedded in the software serves as proof that the code originates from a verified source and has not been tampered with since it was signed.
Given the critical role it plays, code signing is considered a security imperative in DevSecOps. Here’s how code signing supports the key principles of DevSecOps and fosters a secure, collaborative, and efficient DevOps environment.
- Shift-Left Security:
One of the primary objectives of DevSecOps is to treat security as an intrinsic part of software development from the onset and not as an afterthought. Code signing enables this idea by helping verify software authenticity and integrity very early on, right from the build phase. Signing code in the build phase helps identify and address potential issues quickly, minimizing the likelihood of vulnerabilities and post-release patches.
- Continuous Integration and Continuous Deployment (CI/CD):
Code signing can be seamlessly integrated into CI/CD pipelines, automating the signing process as part of the build and deployment stages. This ensures that all released artifacts are signed consistently, reducing the chance of human errors in the signing process and enhancing security. Also, integrating code signing into the CI/CD pipeline makes security part of the code itself, significantly reducing the risk of vulnerabilities.
- Code Integrity and Authenticity:
Code signing serves as a powerful mechanism to ensure the integrity and authenticity of software throughout its lifecycle. By affixing a digital signature to the code, developers can verify that the code has not been tampered with and originates from a trusted source. This level of assurance aligns with the DevSecOps principle of building security into every stage of development, mitigating the risk of deploying compromised or malicious code.
- Automated Security Testing:
One of the key trends shaping DevSecOps adoption is automation. DevSecOps encourages using automated tools and processes to streamline practices, such as security testing, threat detection and remediation for enhanced speed and agility. Code signing aligns with these requirements by integrating seamlessly into automated build and deployment pipelines, allowing for continuous security checks. Automated checks help scan code for vulnerabilities or threats to ensure that only authorized and unaltered code progresses through the development pipeline. This promotes a proactive security posture, preventing vulnerabilities from proliferating through the CI/CD pipeline.
- Visibility and Traceability:
DevSecOps emphasizes transparency and traceability to identify and address security issues promptly. Code signing provides a clear audit trail, allowing development and security teams to trace the origin of each code component. This visibility facilitates rapid response to security incidents and helps identify the root cause of vulnerabilities, supporting the principles of collaboration and shared responsibility within DevSecOps.
- Compliance and Regulatory Requirements:
As more developers turn to cloud services for data storage and accessibility, adherence to security and compliance standards has become more important than ever. Given the abundance of sensitive data on the cloud, data privacy governing bodies are growing stringent about how organizations maintain data privacy. Regulations, such as PCI-DSS (card payments), GDPR (consumer data privacy), eIDAS (electronic transactions), and HIPAA (patient health data privacy), closely monitor for any irregularities and levy exorbitant fines for compliance failures. Secure code signing helps ensure continuous compliance by providing a mechanism to prove that the software has undergone necessary security checks and has been approved for deployment. This alignment ensures that the development process complies with industry regulations and standards, reinforcing the commitment to security within the DevSecOps framework.
- Effective Collaboration:
DevSecOps promotes effective collaboration between development, operations, and security teams. Code signing facilitates this collaboration by establishing trust in the code shared between teams. It encourages continuous feedback about the security aspects of software distribution and ensures that all parties are aware of the signed artifacts, so developers can confidently share the signed code knowing that it has been verified and approved.
As organizations race to master DevSecOps in 2024, code signing becomes increasingly pivotal in achieving a harmonious balance between speed and security. By practicing secure code signing, organizations can protect intellectual property, secure the software supply chain by design, uphold regulatory compliance, and preserve end-user trust.
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AppViewX SIGN+ is a fast, reliable, and secure code signing solution built to protect the integrity of code, containers, firmware, and software. With a centralized and integrated approach, AppViewX SIGN+ simplifies code signing for DevOps and streamlines security.
AppViewX SIGN+ seamlessly integrates with native signing tools, CI/CD pipeline and workflows to empower DevOps teams to securely sign code faster and more freely. Security teams can rest assured with full visibility and policy-driven control over private key storage, code signing certificate management, and access and usage.