• tl;dr sec
  • Posts
  • [tl;dr sec] #178 - DevOps Threat Matrix, LLMs in Security, Supply Chain Security

[tl;dr sec] #178 - DevOps Threat Matrix, LLMs in Security, Supply Chain Security

Microsoft techniques and attack vectors for DevOps environments, applications of LLMs in security, the deps.dev API and Golang supply chain security.

Hey there,

I hope you’ve been doing well!

BSidesSF and RSA

If you’re visiting San Francisco over the next week, welcome! We’re excited you’re coming 🙌

I hope you’ve been getting extra sleep, hydrating, and taking your vitamins, because soon it’s going to be a montage of conferences, socializing, and evening festivities.

Here are a few things on my agenda:



Come say hi, I’d love to meet you 😀 I’ll have stickers.

Have fun out there, make some new friends, and stay safe.


 📢 How do we fix developer access?

Access policies are static but the access needs of growing teams are dynamic. Have you ever tried to avoid annoying access requests with policies that are more permissive than you’d like? Have you ever noticed risky permissions someone forgot to revoke?

Sym is automated just-in-time access + approvals to help reduce standing access without slowing your developers down. Use our SDK to define checks in code (e.g. pagerduty.on_call, okta.is_user_in_group) to dynamically route requests or fast-track access.

Code your way out of the critical path and fix developer access for good with Sym.

Minimize permissions, just-in-time access, improve security and developer experience- I’m about it 👍

📜 In this newsletter...

  • AppSec: Exploiting and Securing Jenkins Instances at Scale, Semgrep raises Series C, CISA on secure defaults

  • Supply Chain: pip audit GitHub Action, Hijacking Arch Linux Packages, DevOps threat matrix, Announcing the deps.dev API, Supply chain security for Go

  • Cloud Security: Zero Trust Access to Private Webapps on AWS ECS with Cloudflare Tunnel, Containing Compromised EC2 Credentials Without Breaking Things

  • Container Security: Container security fundamentals: Capabilities, Two Ways to Access EKS, Managing Kubernetes secrets like a Pro, NCC Group's Kubernetes audit

  • Blue Team: Harvesting Logs for Fun and Profit, Data Driven Detection Engineering, How to Yubikey: a configuration cheatsheet, How we rolled out security keys at Twitter

  • Misc: Love at First Line, Huberman on Sleep, your body as keyboard

  • Machine Learning: Add structure and type guarantees to LLM output, how OpenAI was assessing the security of plugins, LiveOverflow and Simon Willison on Prompt Injection, AI Security is Probabilistic Security, Building LLM applications for production

  • VCs on Machine Learning: Large language models in security, A Foundation Model Primer, Every Company Needs an AI Strategy, Developer Tools 2.0


Exploiting and Securing Jenkins Instances at Scale with GroovyWaiter
Nvidia’s Dylan Makowski introduces GroovyWaiter, a Python script that can scan at scale for Jenkins instances that allow unauthenticated access to their Script Console. The Script Console, if configured insecurely, can be used to access secrets, execute system commands, and potentially pivot into an organization’s infrastructure.

Semgrep (formerly r2c) lands $53M investment to grow code security platform
I now drive a ‘lambo, slick back my hair, and give people finger guns at least 3 times a day. And by that I mean I can afford to live in a small closet in the Bay Area. If the company does well, I hope to upgrade to a closet with a window 🤞 

Shifting the Balance of Cybersecurity Risk: Principles and Approaches for Security-by-Design and -Default
15 page whitepaper by CISA on security-by-design, security-by-default, tactics, and more. Nothing that surprising or revolutionary, but it’s nice to see official endorsement of the approach forward-thinking tech companies have been promoting for 5-10 years. Jack Cable has a nice overview Twitter thread.


 📢 Attacks can happen anywhere. So, Cloudflare is everywhere.

Your workers, applications, and data are now everywhere. Your security should be too. That's why Cloudflare has taken a fundamentally different approach – a unified platform, powered by an intelligent global network that sees and stops 136 billion threats per day. With over 25 security services delivered on a single control plane, you can strengthen and simplify security everywhere you do business.

Supply Chain

A GitHub Action that uses pip-audit to scan Python dependencies for known vulnerabilities. Maintained in part by Trail of Bits with support from Google.

Hijacking Arch Linux Packages by Repo Jacking GitHub Repositories
Joren Vrancken examines how many Arch User Repository packages could be taken over via GitHub repo jacking (re-registering a username that has been deleted or changed).

DevOps threat matrix
Using the MITRE ATT&CK framework as a base, Microsoft’s Ariel Brukman et al collected techniques and attack vectors associated with DevOps environments and created a matrix dedicated to DevOps attack methods, from initial access phase to exfiltration.

Announcing the deps.dev API: critical dependency data for secure supply chains
Google announces the deps.dev API, which provides free access to the deps.dev dataset of security metadata, including dependencies, licenses, advisories, and other critical health and security signals for more than 50 million open source package versions from the Go, Maven, PyPI, npm, and Cargo ecosystems.

Supply chain security for Go, Part 1: Vulnerability management
Google’s Julie Qiu and Oliver Chang describes how Go helps you manage vulnerabilities in open source packages: the Go package discovery site includes info from deps.dev (includes vulnerability info, security score form OpenSSF Scorecard, etc.), the Go vulnerability database includes detailed information (e.g. affected functions) so you can prioritize what’s actually a risk, and more.

Cloud Security

Zero Trust Access to Private Webapps on AWS ECS with Cloudflare Tunnel
Marco Lancini explains how to use Cloudflare Tunnel to securely access a Flask web app running in a private subnet in ECS on Fargate, without exposing the app to the public Internet or requiring a VPN.

Containing Compromised EC2 Credentials Without (Hopefully) Breaking Things
FireMon’s Rich Mogull shares 4 alternatives for containing compromised instance credentials and preventing attackers from pivoting into our AWS infrastructure:

  • Add a Deny All Policy to the Role

  • Revoke the session

  • Change the IAM Role and Deny the old role

  • Insert a VPC endpoint

Container Security

Container security fundamentals part 3: Capabilities
Datadog’s Rory McCune explains what Linux capabilities are, how to examine them using tools like pscap and filecap, and how they’re used in containers. Relatedly, I believe unprivileged containers are what the kids mean when they talk about #NoCap on the social medias.

Two Ways to Access EKS: Kubernetes RBAC and AWS
IAMMike Levan describes two methods to manage access with Elastic Kubernetes Service (EKS): Kubernetes RBAC and configuring an IAM OIDC identity provider using AWS IAM.

Managing Kubernetes secrets like a Pro
Tanat Paul Lokejaroenlarb from Adevinta writes about how the native approach used by Kubernetes to store secrets does not work in all scenarios, especially when dealing with account credentials. He shares two alternative approaches, sealed-secrets and external-secrets, which aim to provide a secure and scalable way to manage secrets across multiple clusters and teams.

New Kubernetes security audit complete and open sourced
The CNCF has published an audit of the project architecture and code base of Kubernetes 1.24, performed by NCC Group. Report here. The Security Architecture Review section is worth a read.

Blue Team

Harvesting Logs for Fun and Profit
Gerald Benischke describes how application logs, while helpful in debugging issues, can also expose sensitive info, such as personally identifiable information (PII) and credentials. Gerald provides recommendations for preventing this and useful Kibana queries for identifying PII.

Data Driven Detection Engineering
Julien Vehent reflects on the changes that have occurred in the detection and response industry and how it has shifted to focus on data-driven detection engineering and Detection as Code. This approach leverages complex data models that use pipelines to detect threats through anomalous behaviors. Julien discusses how modern threat detection systems will require solid software engineering skills, and he shares some stories about the engineering challenges he has encountered throughout his career.

The next generation of threat detection engineers will be software engineers, who happen to specialize in cybersecurity.


Building Better Detection Systems: Introducing KRANG at Carta 
Carta’s John Sonnenschein announces KRANG (Knowledge, Reports, Alerts, & Normalization Generator), an automated framework for applying CI/CD practices to field normalization and detection engineering in a Splunk environment. Detection as Code ftw 🤘 

How to Yubikey: a configuration cheatsheet
A comprehensive guide that demonstrates various use cases for a Yubikey, providing command-line examples in a cheatsheet format. Learn how to use your Yubikey to secure a Keepass database, as a second factor for full disk encryption, as a smartcard, and more.

How we rolled out security keys at Twitter
2021 post by Nick Fohs and Nupur Gholap on how Twitter migrated to using security keys as their only supported 2FA method on internal systems, lessons learned, and where the security key ecosystem still needs to improve.

We made it clear that employees would be allowed to keep their security keys even after they leave the company. This allowed us to encourage employees to use their security keys to protect their personal accounts where supported. Better protection for employee personal accounts helps stop attackers from using those accounts to attack Twitter and wider usage of security keys promotes a more secure web for everyone.


Love at First Line
Gives you the first line of a number of books so you can choose based on what sounds the most interesting.

Toolkit for Sleep
Andrew Huberman’s list for how to get better at sleepinp.

Use your whole body as a keyboard. Semaphore uses OpenCV and MediaPipe’s Pose detection to let you type via flag semaphore (that thing people do on boats with flags). I guarantee you will smile or laugh if you watch the ~5 second demo video. Delightful.

Machine Learning


A Python package that lets a user add structure, type and quality guarantees to the outputs of large language models (LLMs). If you’ve ever tried to get LLMs to output a specific format (like JSON), you know why this is useful.

The ChatGPT plugin OpenAI was using to assess the security of other plugins
rez0 shares the prompt, which was broken down into instructions, facts, and OpenAI’s policy.

Attacking LLM - Prompt Injection
Intro and overview of LLMs and prompt injection by LiveOverflow.

Prompt injection: What’s the worst that can happen?Simon Willison gives a nice overview of the impact of prompt injection and challenges in preventing it.

Threat Prompt #13 - AI Security is Probabilistic Security
Threat Prompt is a newsletter by Craig Balding on the intersection of AI and cybersecurity. In this issue, he discusses the challenges of dealing with prompt injection as well as useful links and resources.

  1. The key challenges of productionizing LLM applications and solutions she’s seen.

  2. How to compose multiple tasks with control flows (e.g. if statement, for loop) and incorporate tools (e.g. SQL executor, bash, web browsers, third-party APIs) for more complex and powerful applications.

  3. Some of the promising use cases she’s seen companies building on top of LLMs and how to construct them from smaller tasks.

VCs on Machine Learning

Large language models in security
Innovation Endeavors’s Davis Treybig discusses a number of areas where he believes LLMs can be applied or integrated within security: SIEM, SAST, email security and phishing, SOAR, data loss prevention and data security, remediation, translating between security and everyone else, and vendor security questionnaires and compliance.

A Foundation Model Primer - March 2023
Very detailed deck by Innovation Endeavors’s Davis Treybig.

AI is the single largest value creation opportunity of our lifetimes

GitHub’s Copilot has been immediately vastly popular, but Sequoia argues that there’s still massive opportunity for AI to transform software engineering and for new founders to build a generational company.

✉️ Wrapping Up 

Have questions, comments, or feedback? Just reply directly, I'd love to hear from you.

If you find this newsletter useful and know other people who would too, I'd really appreciate if you'd forward it to them 🙏

Thanks for reading!