The Atlantic Council has a released a report that looks at the history of computer supply chain attacks.
Key trends from their summary:
- Deep Impact from State Actors: There were at least 27 different state attacks against the software supply chain including from Russia, China, North Korea, and Iran as well as India, Egypt, the United States, and Vietnam.States have targeted software supply chains with great effect as the majority of cases surveyed here did, or could have, resulted in remote code execution. Examples: CCleaner, NotPetya, Kingslayer, SimDisk, and ShadowPad.
- Abusing Trust in Code Signing: These attacks undermine public key cryptography and certificates used to ensure the integrity of code. Overcoming these protections is a critical step to enabling everything from simple alterations of open-source code to complex nation-state espionage campaigns. Examples: ShadowHammer, Naid/McRAT, and BlackEnergy 3.
- Hijacking Software Updates: 27% of these attacks targeted software updates to insert malicious code against sometimes millions of targets. These attacks are generally carried out by extremely capable actors and poison updates from legitimate vendors. Examples: Flame, CCleaner 1 & 2, NotPetya, and Adobe pwdum7v71.
- Targeting App Stores: 22% of these attacks targeted app stores like the Google Play Store, Apple’s App Store, and other third-party app hubs to spread malware to mobile devices. Some attacks even targeted developer tools meaning every app later built using that tool was potentially compromised. Examples: ExpensiveWall, BankBot, Gooligan, Sandworm’s Android attack, and XcodeGhost.
Recommendations included in the report. The entirely open and freely available dataset is here.