Legit Security, a cyber security company with an enterprise platform that protects an organization's software supply chain from attack and ensures secure application delivery, today announced that it discovered a new class of software supply chain vulnerabilities that leverage artifact poisoning to attack underlying software development pipelines. The vulnerability was found in GitHub Actions, a platform for orchestrating and automating software development pipelines, and the vulnerability was identified in the highly popular programming language Rust. Many other GitHub Action projects remain potentially vulnerable and a technical disclosure blog including information to protect organizations from attack is available on Legit Security’s website.
The discovered pipeline vulnerability could allow any GitHub user to replace legitimate development artifacts with malicious ones, enabling attackers to modify source code, steal secrets and create CodeCov-like wide-reaching software supply chain attacks. Rust, an extremely popular programming language used by millions of developers, acknowledged and fixed the vulnerability after initial disclosure by the Legit Security Research Team.
GitHub Actions is part of the extremely popular GitHub source code management system at the heart of many organization’s software supply chains and used by software developers globally. The vulnerability affects the GitHub Actions artifacts storage mechanism, which is used to store and transfer build artifacts between software development build jobs. Due to a limitation in the cross-workflow artifact communication mechanism, vulnerable workflows cannot distinguish between legitimate project artifacts and artifacts that were created by the project’s forks or copies, allowing any user to create a fork, and then craft a malicious artifact that will be treated as a legitimate one.
“This is a different class of vulnerability that can lead to attacks and modification of the development pipeline itself, not just modification of the code. “A simple analogy could be made to a car assembly line. This is an attack on the assembly line itself that could include stealing sensitive parts, turning off certain steps, or substituting any valid part for a malicious one. It’s a powerful attack vector that gives cyber criminals a lot of options to inflict damage. In this case, the vulnerable targets are software supply chains that use GitHub Action.”
Liav Caspi, co-founder and CTO, Legit Security
The Legit Security Research Team also disclosed the security issue to the GitHub security team. GitHub responded by simply updating their API to include information that could help prevent this vulnerability. It should be noted that GitHub didn’t address the root cause of the issue, thus leaving many other GitHub Action projects vulnerable to the aforementioned software supply chain attacks. Legit Security’s technical disclosure blog includes important information on how to protect organizations from this type of attack. More information about general GitHub security best practices can also be found here.
Legit Security protects an organization's software supply chain from attack and ensures secure application delivery, governance and risk management from code to cloud. The platform’s unified application security control plane and automated SDLC discovery and analysis capabilities provide visibility and security control over rapidly changing environments, and allow security issues to be prioritized based on context and business criticality to improve security team efficiency and effectiveness.