Security Assessment of Continuous Deployment Pipelines
Abstract: Continuous deployment pipelines assist in achieving the goal of rapid, repeatable, and reliable software releases. A deployment pipeline automatically builds, deploys, tests and releases software. Since the pipeline is a significant part of an organisations end-to-end software delivery process, the security of the pipeline is essential. This study investigates potential threats and vulnerabilities in a continuous deployment pipeline and evaluates the severity of them in a quantitative way. Threats and vulnerabilities were identified by assessing previous literature on the subject and by having risk identification sessions with experts. 25 different threats and vulnerabilities were identified. The severity estimation was based on the Common Vulnerability Scoring System (CVSS). We show that several threats and vulnerabilities exist in essential components or interactions of the continuous deployment pipeline. Most of the vulnerabilities are related to either improper access control or having unencrypted transfer of information. The severity ratings indicates that most of the identified threats can have a substantial impact on the security properties of the pipeline. However, there is room for improvement in the risk analysis methodology, and several suggestions for this are given.
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