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Attacks caused by Dependency Confusion

New technologies pose new challenges for businesses. Every software is built using many distinct packages, which when collected together help in building the applications. Most of these packages are sourced in-house, downloaded from public sources, and purchased from third-party suppliers. 

Modern applications are built upon isolated components, which are known as dependency packages. While installing these dependencies, programming languages like Python, search the internet to find these packages. If an attacker registers a dependency package that aligns with your package, then the programming language will use the attacker’s package, which has malicious code. 

This is referred to as a dependency confusion attack, one of the supply chain vulnerabilities. 

How does a Dependency Confusion Attack work?

The typical workflow of a dependency confusion attack is similar to the one stated below:

  • The hacker identifies the target organization
  • He then discovers the private package names used within the organization
  • Hacker works to curate a malicious version of the target package
  • This malicious package is then added to a public code repository
  • When the package installer requests the dependency package from the repository, a malicious code file gets downloaded

In modern software development, dependency packages are becoming a common thing. However, these automated package updates and installation might lead to malicious codes corrupting the software. Indeed, today hackers adopt multiple approaches to trick programming languages into downloading corrupt files. Some of these methods are Namespacing, Scripting, and DNS Spoofing. 

How can I prevent Dependency Confusion Attacks?

Dependency confusion attacks can affect the development process of an organization, which negatively affects the security of the organization. Companies that resist providing updated cyber security testing training to their employees often fall into the trap of dependency confusion attacks. 

One of the clear signs of these attacks is strange user behavior by your employees, which indicates that they are visiting sites that do not directly relate to their work. As a business owner, it is your responsibility to look out for protection against dependency confusion in your entire organization. 

Corporate training in the field of cyber security is the best option to remain informed about security issues that might exist in the organization. This helps the company address various cybersecurity issues on time. Moreover, implement policies that prohibit employees from browsing irrelevant content while at work. 

Cyber security testing is one of the highly effective ways to defend against dependency confusion attacks. This can wave the possibility of your confidential projects getting exposed to vulnerability. 


Organizations need to be vigilant and well-informed about cyber attacks. Detecting dependency confusion attacks on time is very important to save your organization from falling into the trap of a downturn. 

As a business leader creates an environment where enough training is provided to the employees in the field of cybersecurity. Unique corporate training strategies in the field of cyber security training can help you monitor potential attacks and attempt to prevent them. 

Learn more about how to prevent dependency confusion attacks via Techworks corporate training programs!

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