CI/CD Breaches Analyzed: Why you Should Update Your Software Security Approach

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Given the pervasive role of CI/CD technologies in modern software development, it is crucial that the whole build process, from source code to final deployment, be protected from any potential vulnerabilities.

The most typical CI/CD blunders that result in security incidents like data theft or network infiltration

Hardcoded credentials

To create and deploy code onto production servers, CI and CD systems require the same, if not greater, degrees of access that a person would.

Credentials maintained in CI/CD systems range from simple mail transfer protocol (SMTP) servers used to notify team members of build success or failure to more risky SSH/root access to server systems where the code will be deployed.

A misconfigured container

With containers, businesses can guarantee that all instances of software are identical. Production, development, and build environments are now using Linux containers.

Similarly, containers are used by CI/CD systems to mimic the production environment during software development. An intruder might potentially compromise CI/CD-generated containers and insert malicious code into the program if the containers were improperly configured.

Poorly set or abused environment variables

As an alternative to utilizing hard-coded variables, environment variables have become popular. However, it has been observed that environment variables are global to the build process and can be abused or leaked due to their lack of access scope.

Misused environment variables can also arise through improper use of Git, as public repositories frequently get accidental changes that include.env files typically used to store environment variables. Even if these files are erased from Git, attackers can easily get the credentials by retracing the repository’s history and retrieving previously deleted items.

Teams often rely on messaging technologies like Slack to announce development statuses due to the distributed nature of their members’ employment locations.

Pipelines in Jenkins provide the functionality to your CI/CD processes, such as publishing the build’s status on Slack while or after it has been completed.

Incorrectly setup CI/CD tools

CI/CD technologies provide several functions that enable the mechanization of formerly labor-intensive, manual operations in the software development life cycle. Many CI/CD tools provide testing features that may be used to determine whether or not a build was successful.

The build process can be compromised if an attacker gains access to the CI/CD tool due to a misconfiguration of these features.

GitLab is a widely adopted self-hosted open-source Git and CI/CD platform.

Tools like CircleCI are also accessible and used by many people because of their seamless interaction with GitHub. CircleCI users must create a YAML-formatted configuration file named config.yml that contains numerous “instructions” that CircleCI uses to carry out the construction process.

However, the configuration file might include more than just the instructions to construct the software; it can also include sensitive information like passwords.

What is the role of Attack Surface Intelligence in identifying serious vulnerabilities in continuous integration and delivery systems?

With the help of Attack Surface Intelligence, your company’s security view may be automated, with automatic scanning for the most recent CVEs and other potential security risks (such as software misconfigurations). This provides the entire safety and security of your company’s construction procedures.


Due to the crucial role that CI CD tools play in end-to-end automation, it is essential to automate the scanning for and warning of security vulnerabilities within the tools, whether through improper setup or inherent flaws. While it’s true that adopting a hosted/SaaS model might help reduce your company’s security needs, recent events have shown that some of these products can introduce new security risks. The security of your organization’s build processes, no matter what, relies heavily on incorporating continuous scanning, detection, and alerting of potential vulnerabilities.