See Terminology for an explanation of supply chain model.
A source integrity threat is a potential for an adversary to introduce a change to the source code that does not reflect the intent of the software producer. This includes the threat of an authorized individual introducing an unauthorized change—in other words, an insider threat.
SLSA v1.0 does not address source threats, but we anticipate doing so in a future version. In the meantime, the threats and potential mitigations listed here show how SLSA v1.0 can fit into a broader supply chain security program.
(A) Submit unauthorized change
An adversary introduces a change through the official source control management interface without any special administrator privileges.
SLSA v1.0 does not address this threat, but it may be addressed in a future version.
(B) Compromise source repo
An adversary introduces a change to the source control repository through an administrative interface, or through a compromise of the underlying infrastructure.
SLSA v1.0 does not address this threat, but it may be addressed in a future version.
(C) Build from modified source
An adversary builds from a version of the source code that does not match the official source control repository.
The mitigation here is to compare the provenance against expectations for the package, which depends on SLSA Build L1 for provenance. (Threats against the provenance itself are covered by (E) and (F).)
Build from unofficial fork of code (expectations)
Threat: Build using the expected CI/CD process but from an unofficial fork of the code that may contain unauthorized changes.
Mitigation: Verifier requires the provenance’s source location to match an expected value.
Example: MyPackage is supposed to be built from GitHub repo
Instead, it is built from
evilfork/my-package. Solution: Verifier rejects
because the source location does not match.
Build from unofficial branch or tag (expectations)
Threat: Build using the expected CI/CD process and source location, but checking out an “experimental” branch or similar that may contain code not intended for release.
Mitigation: Verifier requires that the provenance’s source branch/tag matches an expected value, or that the source revision is reachable from an expected branch.
Example: MyPackage’s releases are tagged from the
main branch, which has
branch protections. Adversary builds from the unprotected
containing unofficial changes. Solution: Verifier rejects because the source
revision is not reachable from
Build from unofficial build steps (expectations)
Threat: Build the package using the proper CI/CD platform but with unofficial build steps.
Mitigation: Verifier requires that the provenance’s build configuration source matches an expected value.
Example: MyPackage is expected to be built by Google Cloud Build using the
build steps defined in the source’s
cloudbuild.yaml file. Adversary builds
with Google Cloud Build, but using custom build steps provided over RPC.
Solution: Verifier rejects because the build steps did not come from the
Build from unofficial parameters (expectations)
Threat: Build using the expected CI/CD process, source location, and branch/tag, but using a parameter that injects unofficial behavior.
Mitigation: Verifier requires that the provenance’s external parameters all match expected values.
Example 1: MyPackage is supposed to be built from the
Adversary builds from the
debug.yml workflow. Solution: Verifier rejects
because the workflow parameter does not match the expected value.
Example 2: MyPackage’s GitHub Actions Workflow uses
allow users to specify custom compiler flags per invocation. Adversary sets a
compiler flag that overrides a macro to inject malicious behavior into the
output binary. Solution: Verifier rejects because the
inputs parameter was not
Build from modified version of code modified after checkout (expectations)
Threat: Build from a version of the code that includes modifications after checkout.
Mitigation: Build platform pulls directly from the source repository and accurately records the source location in provenance.
Example: Adversary fetches from MyPackage’s source repo, makes a local commit, then requests a build from that local commit. Builder records the fact that it did not pull from the official source repo. Solution: Verifier rejects because the source repo does not match the expected value.
A dependency threat is a vector for an adversary to introduce behavior to an artifact through external software that the artifact requires to function.
SLSA mitigates dependency threats when you verify your dependencies’ SLSA provenance.
(D) Use compromised dependency
Use a compromised build dependency
Threat: The adversary injects malicious code into software required to build the artifact.
Mitigation: N/A - This threat is out of scope of SLSA v1.0, though the build provenance may list build dependencies on a best-effort basis for forensic analysis. You may be able to mitigate this threat by pinning your build dependencies, preferably by digest rather than version number. Alternatively, you can apply SLSA recursively, but we have not yet standardized how to do so.
Example: The artifact uses
libFoo and requires its source code to compile.
The adversary compromises
libFoo‘s source repository and inserts malicious
code. When your artifact builds, it contains the adversary’s malicious code.
Use a compromised runtime dependency
Threat: The adversary injects malicious code into software required to run the artifact.
Mitigation: N/A - This threat is out of scope of SLSA v1.0. However, you can mitigate this threat by verifying SLSA provenance for all of your runtime dependencies that provide provenance.
Example: The artifact dynamically links
libBar and requires a binary version
to run. The adversary compromises
libBar‘s build process and inserts malicious
code. When your artifact runs, it contains the adversary’s malicious code.
A build integrity threat is a potential for an adversary to introduce behavior to an artifact without changing its source code, or to build from a source, dependency, and/or process that is not intended by the software producer.
The SLSA Build track mitigates these threats when the consumer verifies artifacts against expectations, confirming that the artifact they recieved was built in the expected manner.
(E) Compromise build process
An adversary introduces an unauthorized change to a build output through tampering of the build process; or introduces false information into the provenance.
These threats are directly addressed by the SLSA Build track.
Forge values of the provenance (other than output digest) (Build L2+)
Threat: Generate false provenance and get the trusted control plane to sign it.
Mitigation: At Build L2+, the trusted control plane generates all information that goes in the provenance, except (optionally) the output artifact hash. At Build L3+, this is hardened to prevent compromise even by determined adversaries.
Example 1 (Build L2): Provenance is generated on the build worker, which the
adversary has control over. Adversary uses a malicious process to get the build
platform to claim that it was built from source repo
good/my-package when it
was really built from
evil/my-package. Solution: Builder generates and signs
the provenance in the trusted control plane; the worker reports the output
artifacts but otherwise has no influence over the provenance.
Example 2 (Build L3): Provenance is generated in the trusted control plane, but workers can break out of the container to access the signing material. Solution: Builder is hardened to provide strong isolation against tenant projects.
Forge output digest of the provenance (n/a)
Threat: The tenant-controlled build process sets output artifact digest
subject in SLSA Provenance) without the trusted control plane verifying that
such an artifact was actually produced.
Mitigation: None; this is not a problem. Any build claiming to produce a given artifact could have actually produced it by copying it verbatim from input to output.1 (Reminder: Provenance is only a claim that a particular artifact was built, not that it was published to a particular registry.)
Example: A legitimate MyPackage artifact has digest
abcdef and is built
from source repo
good/my-package. A malicious build from source repo
evil/my-package claims that it built artifact
abcdef when it did not.
Solution: Verifier rejects because the source location does not match; the
forged digest is irrelevant.
Compromise project owner (Build L2+)
Threat: An adversary gains owner permissions for the artifact’s build project.
Mitigation: The build project owner must not have the ability to influence the build process or provenance generation.
Example: MyPackage is built on Awesome Builder under the project “mypackage”. Adversary is an administrator of the “mypackage” project. Awesome Builder allows administrators to debug build machines via SSH. An adversary uses this feature to alter a build in progress.
Compromise other build (Build L3)
Threat: Perform a malicious build that alters the behavior of a benign build running in parallel or subsequent environments.
Mitigation: Builds are isolated from one another, with no way for one to affect the other or persist changes.
Example 1: A build platform runs all builds for project MyPackage on the same machine as the same Linux user. An adversary starts a malicious build that listens for another build and swaps out source files, then starts a benign build. The benign build uses the malicious build’s source files, but its provenance says it used benign source files. Solution: The build platform changes architecture to isolate each build in a separate VM or similar.
Example 2: A build platform uses the same machine for subsequent
builds. An adversary first runs a build that replaces the
make binary with a
malicious version, then subsequently runs an otherwise benign build. Solution:
The builder changes architecture to start each build with a clean machine image.
Steal cryptographic secrets (Build L3)
Threat: Use or exfiltrate the provenance signing key or some other cryptographic secret that should only be available to the build platform.
Mitigation: Builds are isolated from the trusted build platform control plane, and only the control plane has access to cryptographic secrets.
Example: Provence is signed on the build worker, which the adversary has control over. Adversary uses a malicious process that generates false provenance and signs it using the provenance signing key. Solution: Builder generates and signs provenance in the trusted control plane; the worker has no access to the key.
Poison the build cache (Build L3)
Threat: Add a malicious artifact to a build cache that is later picked up by a benign build process.
Mitigation: Build caches must be isolate between builds to prevent such cache poisoning attacks.
Example: Build platform uses a build cache across builds, keyed by the hash of the source file. Adversary runs a malicious build that creates a “poisoned” cache entry with a falsified key, meaning that the value wasn’t really produced from that source. A subsequent build then picks up that poisoned cache entry.
Compromise build platform admin (verification)
Threat: An adversary gains admin permissions for the artifact’s build platform.
Mitigation: The build platform must have controls in place to prevent and detect abusive behavior from administrators (e.g. two-person approvals, audit logging).
Example: MyPackage is built on Awesome Builder. Awesome Builder allows engineers on-call to SSH into build machines to debug production issues. An adversary uses this access to modify a build in progress. Solution: Consumers do not accept provenance from the build platform unless they trust sufficient controls are in place to prevent abusing admin privileges.
(F) Upload modified package
An adversary uploads a package not built from the proper build process.
Build with untrusted CI/CD (expectations)
Threat: Build using an unofficial CI/CD pipeline that does not build in the correct way.
Mitigation: Verifier requires provenance showing that the builder matched an expected value.
Example: MyPackage is expected to be built on Google Cloud Build, which is trusted up to Build L3. Adversary builds on SomeOtherBuildPlatform, which is only trusted up to Build L2, and then exploits SomeOtherBuildPlatform to inject malicious behavior. Solution: Verifier rejects because builder is not as expected.
Upload package without provenance (Build L1)
Threat: Upload a package without provenance.
Mitigation: Verifier requires provenance before accepting the package.
Example: Adversary uploads a malicious version of MyPackage to the package repository without provenance. Solution: Verifier rejects because provenance is missing.
Tamper with artifact after CI/CD (Build L1)
Threat: Take a benign version of the package, modify it in some way, then re-upload it using the original provenance.
Mitigation: Verifier checks that the provenance’s
subject matches the hash
of the package.
Example: Adversary performs a proper build, modifies the artifact, then
uploads the modified version of the package to the repository along with the
provenance. Solution: Verifier rejects because the hash of the artifact does not
subject found within the provenance.
Tamper with provenance (Build L2)
Threat: Perform a build that would not meet expectations, then modify the provenance to make the expectations checks pass.
Mitigation: Verifier only accepts provenance with a valid cryptographic signature or equivalent proving that the provenance came from an acceptable builder.
Example: MyPackage is expected to be built by GitHub Actions from the
good/my-package repo. Adversary builds with GitHub Actions from the
evil/my-package repo and then modifies the provenance so that the source looks
like it came from
good/my-package. Solution: Verifier rejects because the
cryptographic signature is no longer valid.
(G) Compromise package repo
An adversary modifies the package on the package repository using an administrative interface or through a compromise of the infrastructure.
Threat: The package repository stops serving the artifact.
Mitigation: N/A - This threat is out of scope of SLSA v1.0.
Threat: The package repository stops serving the provenance.
Mitigation: N/A - This threat is out of scope of SLSA v1.0.
(H) Use compromised package
An adversary modifies the package after it has left the package repository, or tricks the user into using an unintended package.
Threat: Register a package name that is similar looking to a popular package and get users to use your malicious package instead of the benign one.
Mitigation: Mostly outside the scope of SLSA. That said, the requirement to make the source available can be a mild deterrent, can aid investigation or ad-hoc analysis, and can complement source-based typosquatting solutions.
An availability threat is a potential for an adversary to deny someone from reading a source and its associated change history, or from building a package.
SLSA v1.0 does not address availability threats, though future versions might.
(A)(B) Delete the code
Threat: Perform a build from a particular source revision and then delete that revision or cause it to get garbage collected, preventing anyone from inspecting the code.
Mitigation: Some system retains the revision and its version control history, making it available for inspection indefinitely. Users cannot delete the revision except as part of a transparent legal or privacy process.
Example: An adversary submits malicious code to the MyPackage GitHub repo, builds from that revision, then does a force push to erase that revision from history (or requests that GitHub delete the repo.) This would make the revision unavailable for inspection. Solution: Verifier rejects the package because it lacks a positive attestation showing that some system, such as GitHub, ensured retention and availability of the source code.
(D) A dependency becomes temporarily or permanently unavailable to the build process
Threat: Unable to perform a build with the intended dependencies.
Mitigation: Outside the scope of SLSA. That said, some solutions to support hermetic and reproducible builds may also reduce the impact of this threat.
Threats that can compromise the ability to prevent or detect the supply chain security threats above.
Tamper with recorded expectations
Threat: Modify the verifier’s recorded expectations, causing the verifier to accept an unofficial package artifact.
Mitigation: Changes to recorded expectations requires some form of authorization, such as two-party review.
Example: The package ecosystem records its expectations for a given package
name in a configuration file that is modifiable by that package’s producer. The
configuration for MyPackage expects the source repository to be
good/my-package. The adversary modifies the configuration to also accept
evil/my-package, and then builds from that repository and uploads a malicious
version of the package. Solution: Changes to the recorded expectations require
Forge change metadata
Threat: Forge the change metadata to alter attribution, timestamp, or discoverability of a change.
Mitigation: Source control platform strongly authenticates actor identity, timestamp, and parent revisions.
Example: Adversary submits a git commit with a falsified author and timestamp, and then rewrites history with a non-fast-forward update to make it appear to have been made long ago. Solution: Consumer detects this by seeing that such changes are not strongly authenticated and thus not trustworthy.
Exploit cryptographic hash collisions
Threat: Exploit a cryptographic hash collision weakness to bypass one of the other controls.
Mitigation: Require cryptographically secure hash functions for commit checksums and provenance subjects, such as SHA-256.
Examples: Construct a benign file and a malicious file with the same SHA-1 hash. Get the benign file reviewed and then submit the malicious file. Alternatively, get the benign file reviewed and submitted and then build from the malicious file. Solution: Only accept cryptographic hashes with strong collision resistance.