Rising cyber threats, increasing vulnerabilities in connected devices, and stringent regulatory demands - they all mean a growing urgency to adopt a Secure By Design (SBD) approach. According to Forescout's latest report, "The Riskiest Connected Devices in 2024," IoT vulnerabilities surged 136% last year.

This alarming trend underscores the need for integrating security at every stage of the software development lifecycle.

Why We Need Secure by Design

Security by design is a proactive strategy that embeds security measures throughout the software development process. This approach ensures that security is not an afterthought but a foundational element of development. However, the complexity of modern software and interconnected device ecosystems presents unique challenges.

According to the latest report from Gartner® on software supply chain risks, the quantity, complexity, and severity of software supply chain attacks have seen dramatic increases. Nearly two-thirds (61%) of U.S. businesses experienced a software supply chain attack in the 12 months ending in April 2023. This stark reality highlights the urgent need for robust, integrated security strategies.

The US Government, through CISA, has stepped up. CISA's Secure by Design (SBD) pledge is a commitment from a number of organizations, including Finite State, to embed security principles throughout the entire software development lifecycle. This pledge involves integrating security measures from the initial stages of design and development to deployment and maintenance.

By taking the SBD pledge, organizations aim to ensure that security is not an afterthought but a foundational aspect of their development process. The pledge promotes practices such as continuous monitoring, risk assessment, and the use of tools like Software Bill of Materials (SBOM) and binary analysis to enhance transparency, vulnerability management, and supply chain security. Ultimately, the Secure by Design Pledge helps organizations build more resilient and secure software systems, protecting against the growing landscape of cyber threats.

By taking the significant step of signing CISA's Secure by Design pledge, Finite State embraces our commitment to leading by example, aligning our own software security operations with those of our customers, demonstrating industry and thought leadership, and experiencing the evolution of Secure by Design in tandem with our customers, as they too work toward meeting the requirements and spirit of the pledge. 

Key Components of a Secure-by-Design Strategy

Software Bill of Materials (SBOM)

An SBOM is a comprehensive inventory of all components, libraries, and packages within a software application. This detailed inventory is crucial for:

  • Transparency: Providing complete visibility into software components, essential for assessing risk and ensuring compliance.
  • Vulnerability Management: Allowing organizations to quickly detect known vulnerabilities within components by cross-referencing with vulnerability databases.
  • Supply Chain Security: Tracking the origin and integrity of components, crucial for managing third-party software and open-source libraries.

Binary Analysis

Binary analysis examines the compiled or executable version of software, identifying security flaws that might not be detectable through source code analysis alone. It is essential for:

  • Security Verification: Identifying issues such as buffer overflows that may not be apparent in the source code.
  • Compliance and Risk Assessment: Ensuring binary files comply with security policies and assessing their risk levels.
  • Integrity Checks: Verifying that binaries have not been tampered with and match the documented and approved versions listed in the SBOM.

Integrating SBOM and Binary Analysis into Secure-by-Design

Integrating SBOM generation and binary analysis into the CI/CD pipeline ensures continuous transparency and security from the earliest stages of development. This integration supports:

  • Early and Continuous Integration: Ensuring every release is secure and transparent from the start, detecting and mitigating risks as they arise.
  • Cross-Functional Collaboration: Facilitating communication between developers, security teams, and operations to enforce security standards.
  • Automated Security Practices: Scaling security efforts without significant manual overhead, maintaining security standards as project complexity increases.

Addressing the IoT Security Challenge

Forescout's report highlights the most vulnerable device categories and types, emphasizing the need for secure-by-design principles:

  • Most Vulnerable Device Categories: IT, IoT, OT.
  • Most Vulnerable Device Types: Wireless access points, routers, printers, VoIP, IP cameras.
  • Riskiest Verticals: Technology, education, and manufacturing.
  • Emerging Risky Device Area: Industrial robots in electronics and automotive manufacturing.
  • Healthcare: Notably, healthcare has reduced its overall risk from a year ago, indicating successful investment in security measures.

The Impact of Software Supply Chain Attacks

A recent survey by BlackBerry reveals that over 75% of software supply chains were attacked in the past 12 months, causing significant financial, operational, and reputational damage. The survey underscores the importance of visibility and proactive monitoring, with many attacks exploiting previously unknown vulnerabilities in the supply chain.

  • Financial Impact: 64% of companies experienced financial losses due to supply chain attacks.
  • Data Loss: 59% reported data breaches.
  • Reputational Damage: 58% suffered reputational harm.
  • Operational Impact: 55% faced operational disruptions.

Beyond Security by Design

While security by design is essential, comprehensive software supply chain security must extend beyond initial development phases. It involves securing every link in the supply chain—from initial code to final product delivery—addressing third-party component integrity, regulatory compliance, and ongoing threat management.

This broader scope ensures that the entire software lifecycle is protected against tampering, unauthorized access, and unintended code dependencies that could introduce vulnerabilities. Continuous monitoring and updating of software components are vital to protect against newly discovered vulnerabilities and exploits, ensuring resilience and trust throughout the software product lifecycle.


The integration of secure-by-design principles, SBOM, and binary analysis into development processes is critical in addressing the increasing vulnerabilities in IoT and software supply chains. By embedding security measures from the outset and maintaining continuous vigilance, organizations can enhance their security posture and mitigate the risks posed by evolving cyber threats.

For more insights on securing your software supply chain, explore Gartner's latest report . Stay proactive in safeguarding your digital ecosystem against the rising tide of cyber vulnerabilities.