Secure DevOps Pipeline Creation Playbook

December 16, 20235 min read

Playbook Objectives

  • To understand and identify potential security vulnerabilities within a DevOps pipeline
  • To implement security measures and tools to safeguard the pipeline from initial coding to production deployment
  • To enhance the skills of developers, operations staff, and security professionals in incorporating security best practices throughout the DevOps lifecycle
  • To ensure compliance with regulatory standards and industry security frameworks

Difficulty Level

Advanced – This exercise is designed for teams with a good understanding of both DevOps practices and cybersecurity.


Company Profile:
  • Name: FinSecure Inc., a leading financial technology company specialized in secure online transactions
  • Size: Around 1,000 employees
  • CTO: Emily Robertson, keen on adopting cutting-edge technologies
  • DevOps Team Lead: Mark Liu, champion of efficient and robust development pipelines
  • Security Team Lead: Sara Ahmed, proactive in folding security into every layer of technology
  • Developers, Operations Staff, and Security Professionals: A mix of junior, mid-level, and senior employees
Network and Systems:
  • Git repositories hosting source code for payment processing applications
  • Continuous Integration (CI) servers running automated build tests
  • Continuous Deployment (CD) tools enabling automatic deployment to staging and production environments
  • Cloud Services (AWS, Azure) hosting the core infrastructure
  • Monitoring and alerting systems tracking the health and security metrics of the systems
Background Story: FinSecure Inc. has been growing rapidly due to its reputation for secure and user-friendly online transaction services. Recently, they have noticed an increase in the number of cyberthreats targeting companies in their industry. To maintain their standard of trust and security, FinSecure is looking to ensure their DevOps practices include robust security measures. As part of a proactive approach, they have decided to conduct a Cyber Range exercise to simulate a realistic attack on their DevOps pipeline to identify and close any security gaps. The exercise will bring together their development, operations, and security teams to collaboratively secure the pipeline. FinSecure aims to enable rapid feature deployment without compromising on security. The exercise scenario will involve the discovery of vulnerabilities within their current DevOps pipeline, including misconfigurations, exposed secrets, and potential injection points for malicious code. Objective: The overall objective for FinSecure is to secure their pipeline and, by extension, their product offerings, by running this Cyber Range lab exercise. It is expected that by the end of this simulation, FinSecure will have a fortified Secure DevOps pipeline resistant to common and sophisticated cyber threats.


  • DevSecOps Security Practices
  • Cybersecurity Metrics and Measures
  • Application Security in a DevOps Environment

Exercise Attack Steps

  • Initial Reconnaissance:
    • Enumerate the DevOps pipeline components.
    • Identify visible network assets and their purpose (e.g., source code repositories, CI/CD servers).
    • Gather information on technology stacks used (e.g., programming languages, deployment tools).
  • Pre-Attack Setup:
    • Assemble a red team to simulate the attacker(s).
    • Define blue team members responsible for defending the pipeline.
    • Set up logging and monitoring to capture all events during the exercise.
  • Attack Execution:
    • Attempt to exploit common vulnerabilities in each step of the pipeline:
      • Source Code Repository: Simulate a Repository compromise or an insider threat uploading malicious code.
      • CI Server: Try to manipulate build scripts or insert backdoors during the build process.
      • CD Tool: Aim to modify the automated deployment process to introduce unauthorized changes.
    • Include social engineering simulations to test the team’s readiness against phishing and credential theft.
  • Security Implementation:
    • Blue team begins by conducting thorough code reviews and implementing automated static and dynamic analysis tools.
    • Implement role-based access control and evaluate the effectiveness during the scenario.
    • Enforce mandatory security checks at each step; this includes mandatory peer reviews, automated tests for known vulnerabilities, and manual security audits for critical deployments.
  • Response and Mitigation:
    • Upon attack detection, enforce incident response protocols.
    • Isolate compromised resources, conduct forensic analysis to understand the breach, and deploy fixes.
    • Post-attack, review and update incident response strategies and perform a risk assessment.
  • Feedback and Improvement:
    • Hold a debriefing session with all stakeholders to review the exercise’s outcomes.
    • Identify areas for improvement in security practices, tools, and team readiness.
    • Update the Secure DevOps pipeline strategy based on the lessons learned during the exercise.