Supply Chain Compromise: Compromise Software Supply Chain

Adversaries may manipulate application software prior to receipt by a final consumer for the purpose of data or system compromise. Supply chain compromise of software can take place in a number of ways, including manipulation of the application source code, manipulation of the update/distribution mechanism for that software, or replacing compiled releases with a modified version.

Targeting may be specific to a desired victim set or may be distributed to a broad set of consumers but only move on to additional tactics on specific victims.[1][2]

ID: T1195.002
Sub-technique of:  T1195
Tactic: Initial Access
Platforms: Linux, Windows, macOS
Version: 1.0
Created: 11 March 2020
Last Modified: 19 April 2022

Procedure Examples

ID Name Description
G0016 APT29

APT29 gained initial network access to some victims via a trojanized update of SolarWinds Orion software.[3][4][5][6]

G0096 APT41

APT41 gained access to production environments where they could inject malicious code into legitimate, signed files and widely distribute them to end users.[7]

S0222 CCBkdr

CCBkdr was added to a legitimate, signed version 5.33 of the CCleaner software and distributed on CCleaner's distribution site.[8][9][1]

G0080 Cobalt Group

Cobalt Group has compromised legitimate web browser updates to deliver a backdoor. [10]

G0035 Dragonfly

Dragonfly has placed trojanized installers for control system software on legitimate vendor app stores.[11][12]

G0141 Gelsemium

Gelsemium has compromised software supply chains to gain access to victims.[13]


GOLD SOUTHFIELD has distributed ransomware by backdooring software installers via a strategic web compromise of the site hosting Italian WinRAR.[14][15][16]

S0493 GoldenSpy

GoldenSpy has been packaged with a legitimate tax preparation software.[17]

G0034 Sandworm Team

Sandworm Team has distributed NotPetya by compromising the legitimate Ukrainian accounting software M.E.Doc and replacing a legitimate software update with a malicious one.[18][19][20]


SUNSPOT malware was designed and used to insert SUNBURST into software builds of the SolarWinds Orion IT management product.[21]

G0027 Threat Group-3390

Threat Group-3390 has compromised the Able Desktop installer to gain access to victim's environments.[22]


ID Mitigation Description
M1051 Update Software

A patch management process should be implemented to check unused applications, unmaintained and/or previously vulnerable software, unnecessary features, components, files, and documentation.

M1016 Vulnerability Scanning

Continuous monitoring of vulnerability sources and the use of automatic and manual code review tools should also be implemented as well.[23]


Use verification of distributed binaries through hash checking or other integrity checking mechanisms. Scan downloads for malicious signatures and attempt to test software and updates prior to deployment while taking note of potential suspicious activity.


  1. Avast Threat Intelligence Team. (2018, March 8). New investigations into the CCleaner incident point to a possible third stage that had keylogger capacities. Retrieved March 15, 2018.
  2. Command Five Pty Ltd. (2011, September). SK Hack by an Advanced Persistent Threat. Retrieved April 6, 2018.
  3. FireEye. (2020, December 13). Highly Evasive Attacker Leverages SolarWinds Supply Chain to Compromise Multiple Global Victims With SUNBURST Backdoor. Retrieved January 4, 2021.
  4. NCSC, CISA, FBI, NSA. (2021, May 7). Further TTPs associated with SVR cyber actors. Retrieved July 29, 2021.
  5. Secureworks CTU. (n.d.). IRON RITUAL. Retrieved February 24, 2022.
  6. Microsoft Threat Intelligence Center. (2021, October 25). NOBELIUM targeting delegated administrative privileges to facilitate broader attacks. Retrieved March 25, 2022.
  7. Fraser, N., et al. (2019, August 7). Double DragonAPT41, a dual espionage and cyber crime operation APT41. Retrieved September 23, 2019.
  8. Brumaghin, E. et al. (2017, September 18). CCleanup: A Vast Number of Machines at Risk. Retrieved March 9, 2018.
  9. Rosenberg, J. (2017, September 20). Evidence Aurora Operation Still Active: Supply Chain Attack Through CCleaner. Retrieved February 13, 2018.
  10. Crowdstrike. (2020, March 2). 2020 Global Threat Report. Retrieved December 11, 2020.
  11. Secureworks. (2019, July 24). Resurgent Iron Liberty Targeting Energy Sector. Retrieved August 12, 2020.