Category Archives: Endpoint security

How Deepfakes Can Ruin Your Business

Worldwide concern is increasing over the adverse effects that deepfakes could have on society, and for good reason. Recently, the employee of an energy company based in the UK was tricked into thinking he was talking on the phone with his boss, the CEO of the German parent company, who asked him to transfer $243,000 to a Hungarian supplier. Of course, the employee was not speaking with the actual CEO, but with a scammer who was impersonating the real CEO through voice-altering AI.

This kind of social engineering attack is not new. In fact, merely two months ago, cybersecurity researchers identified three successful deepfake audio attacks on companies. Their “CEO” called a financial officer to ask for an urgent money transfer. The voices of the real CEO had been taken from earnings calls, YouTube videos, TED talks, and other recordings, and inserted into an AI program which enabled fraudsters to imitate the voices.

These types of incidents are the audio version of what are known as deepfake videos, which have been causing global panic for the past couple of years. As we become accustomed to the existence of deepfakes, this may affect our trust in any videos we see or audio footage we hear, including the real ones. Videos, which once used to be the ultimate form of truth that transcended edited pictures that can be easily altered, can now deceive us as well.

And this brings us to the question:

How safe is your business in the face of the deepfake threat?

What are Deepfakes?

Deepfakes are fake video and audio footage of individuals, that are meant to make them look like they have said and done things which, in fact, they haven’t. “Deep” relates to the “deep learning” technology used to produce the media and “fake” to its artificial nature. Most of the time, the faces of people are superimposed on the bodies of others, or their actual figure is altered in such a way that it appears to be saying and doing something that they never did.

The term was born in 2017 when a Reddit user posted a fake adult video showing the faces of some Hollywood celebrities. Later, the user also published the machine learning code used to create the video.

Can we detect and stop Deepfakes?

Right now, researchers and companies are investigating how they can utilize AI to distinguish and wipe out deepfakes. New advancements have started to rise that are meant to help us identify which pictures and recordings are real and which are fake.

For example, Facebook, Microsoft, the Partnership on AI coalition, and academics from several universities are launching a contest to help improve the detection of deepfakes. They aim to encourage people to produce a technology that can be used by anyone to detect when deepfake material has been created. The Deepfake Detection Challenge will feature a data set and leaderboard, alongside grants and awards, to motivate participants to design new methods of identifying and stopping fake footage meant to deceive others.

Yet, this won’t prevent the fake media from being created, shared, seen and heard by millions of people before it is removed. And without doubt, it can be extremely difficult to face the consequences and repair the damage once malicious materials get distributed.

How can you spot Deepfake videos?

Until some highly reliable technical solutions are designed, we should learn to identify the tell-tale signs of deepfakes. So, here are the flaws you should be looking for:

  • Blinking – According to research, the eye blinking in videos seems to be not that well presented in deepfake videos.
  • Head position – Watch out for blurry face borders that subtly blend into the background.
  • Artificially-looking skin – If the face looks extra smooth like it’s been edited, this may be another warning sign. Also, watch out for the skin tone that can be slightly different than the rest of the body.
  • Slow speech and different intonation – Sometimes, you will notice the one who is being impersonated talks rather slowly or there isn’t quite a match between the real person’s voice and the fake one.
  • An overall strange look and feel – In the end, you should trust your instinct. Sometimes, you can simply tell something’s not right.

At the moment, one can easily spot deepfakes. But in the future, as this technology progresses, it will gradually become more difficult.

Deepfakes could destroy everything

Here is what deepfakes could have a highly negative impact on:

#1. Politics

Deepfakes could influence elections since they can put words into politicians’ mouths and make them look like they’ve done or said certain things which, in fact, they haven’t. Deepfake producers could target popular social media channels, where the content shared can instantly become viral.

#2. Justice

Fake evidence for criminal trials could be used against people in court and this way, they could become accused of crimes they did not commit. Thus, the wrong people could go to jail. And on the other hand, people who are guilty could be set free based on false proof.

#3. Stock market

Deepfakes could be used to manipulate stock prices when altered footage of influential people making certain statements gets distributed. Imagine what would happen if a fake video of the CEOs of companies such as Apple, Amazon, or Google declaring they’ve done something illegal. For instance, back in 2008, Apple’s stock dropped 10 points based on a false rumor that Steve Jobs had suffered a major heart attack emerged.

#4. Online bullying

The deepfake technology could also be used to amplify cyberbullying, especially since it’s now becoming widely available. People can easily turn into victims when manipulated media of them is posted online. Or they can get blackmailed by cybercriminals who are threatening leak the footage if, for instance, they don’t pay a certain amount of money.

#5. Companies

Someone could be making false statements about your business to destabilize and degrade it. Malicious actors could make it look like you or someone within your organization admitting to having been involved in consumer fraud, bribery, sexual abuse, and any other wrongdoings you can think of. Obviously, these kinds of false statements can destroy your company’s reputation and make it difficult for you to prove otherwise.

What can be done?

Due to the current gaps in the law, producers of deepfakes are not incriminated. However, the Deepfakes Accountability Act (known as “Defending Each and Every Person from False Appearances by Keeping Exploitation Subject to Accountability Act – yes, you’ve correctly identified an acronym right there) aims to take measures to criminalize this type of fake media.

In short, anyone who creates deepfakes would be required to reveal that the footage is altered. And if they fail to do so, it will be considered a crime. The existence of these kinds of regulations is mandatory to protect deepfake victims and also the general public from distorted information.

How can you protect your business from Deepfakes?

Your competitors could resort to deepfake blackmail in order to try to eliminate you from the industry.

No matter how good technological deepfake detection solutions will become, they won’t prevent manipulated media from being shared and reach large numbers of people. So, the best way is to teach your employees how to identify fake footage and question everything that seems suspicions inside the organization.

#1. Train your employees

The topic of deepfakes can be looked at during your cybersecurity training. For instance, if they receive an unexpected call from the CEO who is asking them to transfer $1 million to a bank account, they could, first of all, question if the person on the other line is who they say they are. Maybe, a good countermeasure would be to have a few security questions in place that need to be asked to verify a caller’s identity.

#2. Monitor your brand’s online presence

Your brand’s presence is probably already being monitored online. So, make sure your designated people keep an eye on fake content involving your organization and if anything suspicious is brought to light, they do their best to take it down as soon as possible and mitigate the damage.

This brings us to the next point.

#3. Be transparent

If you become a victim of deepfakes, ensure that your audience is aware of the targeted attack. Trying to ignore what happened or assume that people didn’t believe what they’ve seen or heard won’t make the issue disappear. Therefore, your PR efforts should be centered around communicating that someone from your company has been impersonated and highlighting the artificial nature of the distributed footage.

Never let misinformation erode your public’s confidence!

Wrapping it all up

The dangers of deefakes are real and should not be underestimated. A single ill-intended rumor could destroy your business. So, you, both as an individual and an organization, should be prepared to stand against these threats.

 

The post How Deepfakes Can Ruin Your Business appeared first on Heimdal Security Blog.

Sandboxie becomes freeware, soon-to-be open source

Sophos plans to open source Sandboxie, a relatively popular Windows utility that allows users to run applications in a sandbox. Until that happens, they’ve made the utility free. About Sandboxie Sandboxie creates a virtual container in which untrusted programs can be run or installed so that they can’t maliciously modify the underlying OS or data on the host machine. If can make the use of apps such as browsers, email programs, IM clients, Office suites, … More

The post Sandboxie becomes freeware, soon-to-be open source appeared first on Help Net Security.

Maintaining Effective Endpoint Security 201

Today’s enterprises are faced with unique, modern-day issues. Many are focused on adopting more cloud-based services and reducing infrastructure footprint, all while the number of devices accessing the environment grows. This, in turn, requires security teams to create different levels of access, policies, and controls for users. Plus, as these businesses expand some unexpected security issues may arise, such as alert volume, lack of visibility, complicated management, and longer threat dwell times. To strike a balance between business objectives and a healthy security posture, IT teams can implement some of the tactics we recommended in our Effective Endpoint Security Strategy 101 blog, such as virtual private networks (VPNs), proper employee security training, and machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) technology for predictive analysis. But with the threat landscape evolving every day, is there more these organizations can do to sustain an effective endpoint strategy while supporting enterprise expansion? Let’s take a look at how teams can bolster endpoint security strategy.

Managing the Many Vulnerabilities

As enterprises try to keep pace with the number of endpoints, as well as the threats and vulnerabilities that come with these devices, multiple levels of security need to be implemented to maintain and expand a sustainable security posture. One way for enterprise security teams to keep track of these vulnerabilities and threats is through the use of vulnerability management. This process involves the identification, classification, and prioritization of vulnerabilities when flaws arise within a system.

For vulnerability management to be successful, security teams must have full visibility into an endpoint environment. This awareness will help teams proactively mitigate and prevent the future exploitation of vulnerabilities. Plus, with endpoints always evolving and being added, a vulnerability management system is a necessity for expanding effective endpoint security.

Beware of Privilege Escalation

Due to the sheer number of endpoints being introduced to the enterprise environment, the possibility of a vulnerable endpoint increases. And with vulnerable endpoints creating gateways to important enterprise data, cybercriminals often attempt to exploit a bug or flaw in an endpoint system to gain elevated access to sensitive resources. This tactic is known as privilege escalation.

To thwart cybercriminals in their tracks and subvert privilege escalation attacks, security teams can employ the practice of least privilege. In other words, users are granted the least amount of privilege required to complete their job. That way, if hackers manage to get their hands on an exposed endpoint, they won’t be able to gain access to troves of corporate data. The threat of privilege escalation can also be solved through patches and added layers of security solutions at different stages of the endpoint.

Administering Enterprise Access

Who can access specific assets and resources within an enterprise is an important discussion to be had for any endpoint security strategy. Not all users should have access to all resources across the network and if some users are given too much access it can lead to increased exposure. This is where access management comes into play.

Maintaining a secure endpoint environment requires security teams to identify, track, and manage specific, authorized users’ access to a network or application. By creating differentiated levels of access across the board, teams can ensure they are prioritizing key stakeholders while still controlling the number of potential exposure points. Beyond monitoring accessibility, its critical security teams know where data is headed and are able to control the flow of information. The good news? Teams can rely on a solution such as McAfee Data Loss Prevention (DLP) to assist with this, as it can help security staff protect sensitive data on-premises, in the cloud, or at the endpoints.

Coaching Users on Passwords and Identity Management

Passwords are the first defense against cybercriminals. If a cybercriminal guesses a password, they have access to everything on that device – so the more complex and personalized a password is the better. Beyond encouraging complex password creation, it’s crucial security teams make single sign-on (SSO) or multifactor authentication a standard aspect of the user login process. These are easy-to-use tools that users can take advantage of, which help add more protective layers to a device.

Assessing the Risks

 As a security team, assessing the overall risk present in your organization’s current environment is a top priority. From checking for potential cyberthreats to monitoring and evaluating endpoints to ensure there are no exposures – its important teams do their due diligence and conduct a comprehensive risk assessment. Teams need to make risk assessments a routine aspect of their overall security strategy, as new risks are always popping up. To do so in a proper and timely manner, better visibility is required, and teams should get into a habit of red teaming and leveraging automation for response and remediation. McAfee MVISION Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) can also help teams get ahead of modern threats with AI-guided investigations that surface relevant risks, as well as automate and remove the manual labor of gathering and analyzing evidence.

Once a risk assessment has been done, security teams must take immediate action on the results. After potential threats are identified and analyzed with the help of McAfee MVISION EDR, teams must work to correct any potential negative impact these risks may have on an enterprise, resources, individuals, or the endpoint environment. By leveraging a centralized management tool, enterprise teams can do just that — reducing alert noise, elevating critical events, and speeding up the ability to respond and harden endpoints when risks or areas of exposure are identified.

Utilizing Advanced Security Solutions

To cover all the bases, it is vital teams leverage multiple endpoint security solutions that have proactive technology built-in and are collaborative and integrative. Take McAfee MVISION Endpoint and MVISION Mobile for example, which both have machine learning algorithms and analysis built into their architecture to help monitor and identify malicious behavior. Additionally, McAfee Endpoint Security delivers centrally managed defenses, like machine learning analysis and endpoint detection, to protect systems with multiple, collaborative defense and automated responses.

Advanced security solutions bring an endpoint security strategy full circle. Take the time to research and then invest in technology that is suitable for your enterprise’s needs. Growth does not have to be hindered by security, in fact having the two work in tandem will ensure longevity and stability.

To learn more about effective endpoint security strategy, be sure to follow us @McAfee and @McAfee_Business.

The post Maintaining Effective Endpoint Security 201 appeared first on McAfee Blogs.

Easier Management with Integrated Endpoint Security

Integration matters. We at McAfee have been advocating the administrative benefits of integrated, centrally managed endpoint security for decades, but you don’t just have to take our word for it. A recent independently written article in BizTech Magazine concurs.

BizTech explores technology and business issues that IT leaders and business managers face when they’re evaluating and implementing solutions. In “Businesses Find Endpoint Security Easier to Manage with Integrated Solutions,” journalist Kym Gilhooly references a number of independent security surveys as well as interviews a CISO, an IT manager, and a network administrator at three different companies. Each of these cybersecurity professionals and their respective small and medium-sized companies came to the conclusion that, to defend against today’s breadth of threats—from signature-based to zero-day, known and unknown— an integrated security approach combining endpoint detection and response (EDR), next-generation antivirus, and application control makes more sense than deploying discrete solutions.

Uniting these technologies in one integrated solution has allowed them to take action across the threat defense lifecycle—from detecting and blocking threats and whitelisting critical applications to tracking down malicious exploits during or before execution and helping incident response teams respond and remediate faster. As CISO Tony Taylor of dairy company Land O’Lakes points out in the article, “There are lots of security tools out there, but if you don’t integrate the stack, you’ve got to associate all that information and make the connections yourself.”

EDR Becoming an Integral Component of Endpoint Security

All the companies interviewed by Gilhooly affirm the importance of EDR in their security defense. As an IT manager at a 500-employee retail company states in the article, “The days when IT took a set-it-and-forget-it approach to endpoint security are over.” The ability to quickly investigate threats—whether reactively seeking to understand where a threat originated, how it spread and what damage it caused, or proactively hunting for anomalous behavior and dormant threats—is becoming a must-have tool to shrink the response and remediation gap.

What’s more, the article recognizes that an integrated EDR-EPP (endpoint protection software) solution makes much more sense than bolting on an EDR point solution. That’s because EDR and EPP can enhance each other’s effectiveness. For instance, if a company uses McAfee Endpoint Security or SaaS-based McAfee MVISION Endpoint alongside McAfee MVISION EDR, when the EPP part of the integrated solution detects anomalous behavior on an endpoint—but not enough to convict it—an analyst can use EDR to enrich the data, subsequently raising or lowering the incident’s severity ranking. On the flip side, when the EDR part detects an unknown threat in the environment, the analyst can query the threat reputation database and share new threat information instantly across endpoints via the EPP.

The more cyberdefense tools can collaborate and be managed as a unified solution, the more actions can be automated, IT staff burdens reduced, and time freed up for more proactive forensics and other activities.

In short, the BizTech article reiterates what we’ve been saying: Integration is more than just a buzzword. It’s time to stop thinking about EDR as an add-on, or EPP and EDR as separate entities. It’s also time to start moving endpoint security to the cloud. The article touches on that, too.

To learn more about effective endpoint security strategy, be sure to follow us @McAfee and @McAfee_Business.

 

“There are lots of security tools out there, but if you don’t integrate the stack, you’ve got to associate all that information and make the connections yourself.”

— Land O’Lakes CISO Tony Taylor (as quoted in BizTech)

 

 

The post Easier Management with Integrated Endpoint Security appeared first on McAfee Blogs.

Deep learning rises: New methods for detecting malicious PowerShell

Scientific and technological advancements in deep learning, a category of algorithms within the larger framework of machine learning, provide new opportunities for development of state-of-the art protection technologies. Deep learning methods are impressively outperforming traditional methods on such tasks as image and text classification. With these developments, there’s great potential for building novel threat detection methods using deep learning.

Machine learning algorithms work with numbers, so objects like images, documents, or emails are converted into numerical form through a step called feature engineering, which, in traditional machine learning methods, requires a significant amount of human effort. With deep learning, algorithms can operate on relatively raw data and extract features without human intervention.

At Microsoft, we make significant investments in pioneering machine learning that inform our security solutions with actionable knowledge through data, helping deliver intelligent, accurate, and real-time protection against a wide range of threats. In this blog, we present an example of a deep learning technique that was initially developed for natural language processing (NLP) and now adopted and applied to expand our coverage of detecting malicious PowerShell scripts, which continue to be a critical attack vector. These deep learning-based detections add to the industry-leading endpoint detection and response capabilities in Microsoft Defender Advanced Threat Protection (Microsoft Defender ATP).

Word embedding in natural language processing

Keeping in mind that our goal is to classify PowerShell scripts, we briefly look at how text classification is approached in the domain of natural language processing. An important step is to convert words to vectors (tuples of numbers) that can be consumed by machine learning algorithms. A basic approach, known as one-hot encoding, first assigns a unique integer to each word in the vocabulary, then represents each word as a vector of 0s, with 1 at the integer index corresponding to that word. Although useful in many cases, the one-hot encoding has significant flaws. A major issue is that all words are equidistant from each other, and semantic relations between words are not reflected in geometric relations between the corresponding vectors.

Contextual embedding is a more recent approach that overcomes these limitations by learning compact representations of words from data under the assumption that words that frequently appear in similar context tend to bear similar meaning. The embedding is trained on large textual datasets like Wikipedia. The Word2vec algorithm, an implementation of this technique, is famous not only for translating semantic similarity of words to geometric similarity of vectors, but also for preserving polarity relations between words. For example, in Word2vec representation:

Madrid – Spain + Italy ≈ Rome

Embedding of PowerShell scripts

Since training a good embedding requires a significant amount of data, we used a large and diverse corpus of 386K distinct unlabeled PowerShell scripts. The Word2vec algorithm, which is typically used with human languages, provides similarly meaningful results when applied to PowerShell language. To accomplish this, we split the PowerShell scripts into tokens, which then allowed us to use the Word2vec algorithm to assign a vectorial representation to each token .

Figure 1 shows a 2-dimensional visualization of the vector representations of 5,000 randomly selected tokens, with some tokens of interest highlighted. Note how semantically similar tokens are placed near each other. For example, the vectors representing -eq, -ne and -gt, which in PowerShell are aliases for “equal”, “not-equal” and “greater-than”, respectively, are clustered together. Similarly, the vectors representing the allSigned, remoteSigned, bypass, and unrestricted tokens, all of which are valid values for the execution policy setting in PowerShell, are clustered together.

Figure 1. 2D visualization of 5,000 tokens using Word2vec

Examining the vector representations of the tokens, we found a few additional interesting relationships.

Token similarity: Using the Word2vec representation of tokens, we can identify commands in PowerShell that have an alias. In many cases, the token closest to a given command is its alias. For example, the representations of the token Invoke-Expression and its alias IEX are closest to each other. Two additional examples of this phenomenon are the Invoke-WebRequest and its alias IWR, and the Get-ChildItem command and its alias GCI.

We also measured distances within sets of several tokens. Consider, for example, the four tokens $i, $j, $k and $true (see the right side of Figure 2). The first three are usually used to represent a numeric variable and the last naturally represents a Boolean constant. As expected, the $true token mismatched the others – it was the farthest (using the Euclidean distance) from the center of mass of the group.

More specific to the semantics of PowerShell in cybersecurity, we checked the representations of the tokens: bypass, normal, minimized, maximized, and hidden (see the left side of Figure 2). While the first token is a legal value for the ExecutionPolicy flag in PowerShell, the rest are legal values for the WindowStyle flag. As expected, the vector representation of bypass was the farthest from the center of mass of the vectors representing all other four tokens.

Figure 2. 3D visualization of selected tokens

Linear Relationships: Since Word2vec preserves linear relationships, computing linear combinations of the vectorial representations results in semantically meaningful results. Below are a few interesting relationships we found:

high – $false + $true ≈’ low
‘-eq’ – $false + $true ‘≈ ‘-neq’
DownloadFile – $destfile + $str ≈’ DownloadString ‘
Export-CSV’ – $csv + $html ‘≈ ‘ConvertTo-html’
‘Get-Process’-$processes+$services ‘≈ ‘Get-Service’

In each of the above expressions, the sign ≈ signifies that the vector on the right side is the closest (among all the vectors representing tokens in the vocabulary) to the vector that is the result of the computation on the left side.

Detection of malicious PowerShell scripts with deep learning

We used the Word2vec embedding of the PowerShell language presented in the previous section to train deep learning models capable of detecting malicious PowerShell scripts. The classification model is trained and validated using a large dataset of PowerShell scripts that are labeled “clean” or “malicious,” while the embeddings are trained on unlabeled data. The flow is presented in Figure 3.

Figure 3 High-level overview of our model generation process

Using GPU computing in Microsoft Azure, we experimented with a variety of deep learning and traditional ML models. The best performing deep learning model increases the coverage (for a fixed low FP rate of 0.1%) by 22 percentage points compared to traditional ML models. This model, presented in Figure 4, combines several deep learning building blocks such as Convolutional Neural Networks (CNNs) and Long Short-Term Memory Recurrent Neural Networks (LSTM-RNN). Neural networks are ML algorithms inspired by biological neural systems like the human brain. In addition to the pretrained embedding described here, the model is provided with character-level embedding of the script.

Figure 4 Network architecture of the best performing model

Real-world application of deep learning to detecting malicious PowerShell

The best performing deep learning model is applied at scale using Microsoft ML.Net technology and ONNX format for deep neural networks to the PowerShell scripts observed by Microsoft Defender ATP through the AMSI interface. This model augments the suite of ML models and heuristics used by Microsoft Defender ATP to protect against malicious usage of scripting languages.

Since its first deployment, this deep learning model detected with high precision many cases of malicious and red team PowerShell activities, some undiscovered by other methods. The signal obtained through PowerShell is combined with a wide range of ML models and signals of Microsoft Defender ATP to detect cyberattacks.

The following are examples of malicious PowerShell scripts that deep learning can confidently detect but can be challenging for other detection methods:

Figure 5. Heavily obfuscated malicious script

Figure 6. Obfuscated script that downloads and runs payload

Figure 7. Script that decrypts and executes malicious code

Enhancing Microsoft Defender ATP with deep learning

Deep learning methods significantly improve detection of threats. In this blog, we discussed a concrete application of deep learning to a particularly evasive class of threats: malicious PowerShell scripts. We have and will continue to develop deep learning-based protections across multiple capabilities in Microsoft Defender ATP.

Development and productization of deep learning systems for cyber defense require large volumes of data, computations, resources, and engineering effort. Microsoft Defender ATP combines data collected from millions of endpoints with Microsoft computational resources and algorithms to provide industry-leading protection against attacks.

Stronger detection of malicious PowerShell scripts and other threats on endpoints using deep learning mean richer and better-informed security through Microsoft Threat Protection, which provides comprehensive security for identities, endpoints, email and data, apps, and infrastructure.

 

Shay Kels and Amir Rubin
Microsoft Defender ATP team

 

Additional references:

The post Deep learning rises: New methods for detecting malicious PowerShell appeared first on Microsoft Security.

5G Dangers: What are the Cybersecurity Implications?

5G is no longer technology of the future, but a current reality. Entire markets have already started to switch to 5G, which marks the beginning of a new era. This is the only technology created so far with a huge potential to elevate the use of the Internet of Things (IoT), foster an environment of interconnectivity, and sustain economic growth. 5G will bring along a plethora of benefits, such as increased data speed, lower latency on network response time, and higher reliability. However, at the same time, new cybersecurity threats are likely to arise. This is why your business must be ready to face the 5G dangers.

Your company’s and customers’ sensitive data could be compromised due to cyber-attacks in a 5G world. What’s more, your connected IoT devices could be affected too, each and every one of them being likely to pose security risks for your entire network. And once IoT devices are overridden by cybercriminals, they can wreak havoc in your organization and even cause physical damage.

What is 5G?

First of all, let’s try to understand more about the 5G technology and why it can be so dangerous for your business from a cybersecurity standpoint.

The “G” stands for “Generation”. In the simplest terms, the higher the number close to the letter “G”, the higher the speed and the lower the latency. Here is a quick comparison between the 5 Generations:

1G 2G 3G 4G 5G comparison

Source: Adaptation after “A Review of Wireless Mobile Technology”, published in the International Journal of Science and Research (IJSR).

At some point, 5G will most probably replace the existing 4G networks. According to Ericsson’s Mobility Report released in June 2019, 5G subscriptions will reach 1.9 billion by the end of 2024, making up over 20% of all mobile subscriptions at that time. So while we’re still quite early in the game, it is not too soon to start thinking about the 5G implications for your business, both positive and negative.

How will your business benefit from 5G?

Let’s start off with evaluating the potential benefits. As we transition to the 5G technology, your business can expect better use of resources and improvement of your daily operations and communication. More specifically, here are the main areas your business will benefit from once you’ll start using 5G:

#1. Increased network speed

As I’ve pointed out above, the first benefit that comes to mind is the high speed supported by the network, which will increase your employees’ productivity once they will be able to complete tasks much faster.

#2. Better communication

The virtual communication and collaboration will certainly be improved as well. Also, cutting-edge communication methods that involve VR and AR will be successfully sustained by the powerful 5G network.

#3. The IoT network will be taken to the next level

5G will seamlessly connect all the devices that make up your IoT network. This aspect will enable tremendous opportunities for IoT uses, ranging from drones, self-driving cars, VR and AR equipment, and other emerging technologies.

#4. More innovation

The 5G technology will most likely become a catalyst for innovation. In major industry verticals such as healthcare, automotive, and manufacturing we will witness technology advancements that have never been seen before.

#5. Reduced costs and energy consumption

The 5G technology will supposedly reduce the core network consumption by 90% and extend the battery life of your devices aims to extend device battery life ten times.

Organizations are impatient to use 5G

According to a survey recently released by Gartner, two-thirds of organizations are planning to deploy 5G by 2020. Yet apparently, businesses want to embark on the 5G journey faster than communication vendors can provide it. Furthermore, they are planning to use 5G networks mainly for IoT communications, with operational efficiency as key driver.

Gartner has also stated that, by 2022, half of the communication vendors which have completed commercial 5G deployments will not be able to monetize their back-end technology infrastructure investments. This will not be possible due to the fact that systems will not completely meet the 5G use case requirements.

“Most CSPs will only achieve a complete end-to-end 5G infrastructure on their public networks during the 2025-to-2030 time frame — as they focus on 5G radio first, then core slicing and edge computing,” said Sylvain Fabre, senior research director at Gartner.

Initially, communication service providers will focus on consumer broadband services, which may delay investments in edge computing and core slicing. And the latter are much more valuable and relevant to the 5G technology.

Security flaws in 5G enable various types of attacks

As pointed out by security researchers during Black Hat 2019, a security flaw in 5G allows Man-in-the-Middle (MiTM) attacks. It seems that security protocols and algorithms for 5G are now being ported from 4G standard and experts have discovered that this can allow device fingerprinting for targeted attacks and MiTM assaults.

How can this happen exactly? The 5G network is comprised of base stations, or cells, that cover a certain area. They connect to the cloud, and the latter connects to the base network. In order for the connection to be possible, 5G devices send information to the base station. The station then sends it to the chain for authentication to the core network. The information delivered includes details such as “whether or not voice calling is enabled, SMS ability, vehicle to vehicle communication (V2V) support, what frequency bands are being used, the device category, […] radio requirements”.

During the same Black Hat conference, researchers revealed that in 5G, as with 4G, the device capability information is sent to the base station before any security measures are applied to the connection. Basically, the traffic is encrypted from the endpoint to the base station, but since the device capabilities are sent before the encryption is applied, they can still be read in plain text. And this enables multiple types of attack, like Mobile network mapping (MNmap), bidding down, and battery drain on the narrowband Internet of Things (NB IoT) devices.

The research team that unveiled this threat was capable of creating a map of devices connected to a certain network and list very specific details like device manufacturer, operating system, version, model, allowing them to precisely categorize a device as an Android or iOS, IoT or a phone, car modem, router, etc. And this flaw opens the gate to targeted attacks against specific devices.

Attackers can intercept calls and track phone locations

Researchers have also discovered three security flaws in both 4G and 5G, which can be exploited to intercept phone calls and track the locations of cell phone users. And the scary part is that academics are saying that anyone with a little knowledge of cellular paging protocols will be able to conduct this kind of attack.

the torpedo attack 5G

Image source: TechCrunch – The Torpedo attack — or “TRacking via Paging mEssage DistributiOn.

The 5G Dangers for Your Company

Now, imagine what a negative impact 5G could have on your business. First of all, it will certainly enable more entry points for cyberattacks. And while the level of connectivity and speed between your interconnected IoT devices will increase, multiple opportunities for malicious actors to break into your systems will unfold. Thus, you might witness attacks at a scale never seen before.

What’s more, the 5G technology could also lead to botnet attacks, which will spread at a much higher speed than the current networks allow it. Attackers could also use botnets to initiate Distributed-Denial-of-Service attacks.

How can you avoid 5G threats?

With the rapid development of IoT and 5G, It’s crucial for you to evaluate your overall security strategy before your organization starts adopting the 5G technology. As with any emerging technology, 5G will generate new use cases that will need appropriate cybersecurity measures. Thus, it’s mandatory for you to deploy 5G networks with security measures in mind.

Conclusion

Extreme outcomes of security breaches are likely to happen due to 5G security flaws. And they can prove to be both expensive and disastrous. This brings us to the most critical aspect that security experts should begin with, namely the fact that 5G networks must have, first of all, built-in security measures in place. But the first important step will remain to identify the security regulations that the 5G technology truly needs, coupled with strict cybersecurity rules and regulations imposed to 5G network providers.

The post 5G Dangers: What are the Cybersecurity Implications? appeared first on Heimdal Security Blog.

7 Questions to Ask Your Child’s School About Cybersecurity Protocols

Just a few weeks into the new school year and, already, reports of malicious cyberattacks in schools have hit the headlines. While you’ve made digital security strides in your home, what concerns if any should you have about your child’s data being compromised at school?

There’s a long and short answer to that question. The short answer is don’t lose sleep (it’s out of your control) but get clarity and peace of mind by asking your school officials the right questions. 

The long answer is that cybercriminals have schools in their digital crosshairs. According to a recent report in The Hill, school districts are becoming top targets of malicious attacks, and government entities are scrambling to fight back. These attacks are costing school districts (taxpayers) serious dollars and costing kids (and parents) their privacy.


Prime Targets

According to one report, a U.S. school district becomes the victim of cyberattack as often as every three days. The reason for this is that cybercriminals want clean data to exploit for dozens of nefarious purposes. The best place to harvest pure data is schools where social security numbers are usually unblemished and go unchecked for years. At the same time, student data can be collected and sold on the dark web. Data at risk include vaccination records, birthdates, addresses, phone numbers, and contacts used for identity theft. 

Top three cyberthreats

The top three threats against schools are data breaches, phishing scams, and ransomware. Data breaches can happen through phishing scams and malware attacks that could include malicious email links or fake accounts posing as acquaintances. In a ransomware attack, a hacker locks down a school’s digital network and holds data for a ransom. 

Over the past month, hackers have hit K-12 schools in New Jersey, New York, Wisconsin, Virginia, Oklahoma, Connecticut, and Louisiana. Universities are also targeted.

In the schools impacted, criminals were able to find loopholes in their security protocols. A loophole can be an unprotected device, a printer, or a malicious email link opened by a new employee. It can even be a calculated scam like the Virginia school duped into paying a fraudulent vendor $600,000 for a football field. The cybercrime scenarios are endless. 

7 key questions to ask

  1. Does the school have a data security and privacy policy in place as well as cyberattack response plan?
  2. Does the school have a system to educate staff, parents, and students about potential risks and safety protocols? 
  3. Does the school have a data protection officer on staff responsible for implementing security and privacy policies?
  4. Does the school have reputable third-party vendors to ensure the proper technology is in place to secure staff and student data?
  5. Are data security and student privacy a fundamental part of onboarding new school employees?
  6. Does the school create backups of valuable information and store them separately from the central server to protect against ransomware attacks?
  7. Does the school have any new technology initiatives planned? If so, how will it address student data protection?

The majority of schools are far from negligent. Leaders know the risks, and many have put recognized cybersecurity frameworks in place. Also, schools have the pressing challenge of 1) providing a technology-driven education to students while at the same time, 2) protecting student/staff privacy and 3) finding funds to address the escalating risk.

Families can add a layer of protection to a child’s data while at school by making sure devices are protected in a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) setting. Cybersecurity is a shared responsibility. While schools work hard to implement safeguards, be sure you are taking responsibility in your digital life and equipping your kids to do the same. 

 

The post 7 Questions to Ask Your Child’s School About Cybersecurity Protocols appeared first on McAfee Blogs.

Improve security and simplify operations with Windows Defender Antivirus + Morphisec

My team at Morphisec (a Microsoft Intelligent Security Association (MISA) partner) often talks with security professionals who are well-informed about the latest cyberthreats and have a longterm security strategy. The problem many of them face is how to create a stronger endpoint stack with limited resources. Towne Properties is a great example. We recently helped them simplify operations and increase endpoint security with Windows Defender Antivirus and Morphisec for advanced threat prevention.

The challenge: increase endpoint security and simplify operations

Towne Properties is a leading commercial and residential property management company in the Midwest. Our customer, Bill Salyers, the IT Director at Towne Properties, recently migrated the company to Windows 10 to adopt its embedded security features, including Windows Defender Antivirus. Yet he remained concerned about advanced zero-day attacks that bypass antivirus solutions and cause damage to the firm and its clients.

When we met Bill, Towne Properties used a commercial third-party antivirus. The product protects against known attacks, but it didn’t prevent zero-day, evasive memory attacks, which are increasing at a rapid rate. Bill needed to address this gap in his endpoint protection but couldn’t deploy another security detection tool given the lean composition of his security team. They just didn’t have the resources and bandwidth to manage another tool. Bill required better endpoint protection and simplified operations.

“At Towne, our goal is to make our endpoints as secure as possible from advanced threats, while simplifying our environment and maintaining fixed budgets.”
—Bill Salyers, IT Director, Towne Properties

Windows Defender Antivirus provides built-in endpoint protection

When we learned that Towne Properties needed a lightweight solution that would improve endpoint protection, we reintroduced Bill to Windows Defender Antivirus. Built into Windows 10, Windows Defender Antivirus protects endpoints against known software threats like viruses, malware, and spyware across email, apps, the cloud, and the web.

Bill performed a thorough evaluation of Windows Defender Antivirus and was thrilled to find that it compared favorably in terms of efficacy and capabilities to their incumbent third-party antivirus. With no installation required or new interface to learn, his team was able to quickly eliminate a third-party tool and reduce their total cost of ownership (TCO).

“Windows Defender Antivirus met all our requirements at no incremental cost. We replaced our third-party antivirus without sacrifice.”
—Bill Salyers, IT Director, Towne Properties

Screenshot of the Morphisec Moving Target Defense dashboard.

Morphisec adds a new layer of prevention

The money Bill saved dropping the third-party antivirus gave him more flexibility to address zero-days and memory-based attacks. He invested in Morphisec, which is based on their highly innovative Moving Target Defense technology. Morphisec Moving Target Defense stops unknown attacks by morphing critical assets to make them inaccessible to the adversary and killing the attack pre-execution. Morphisec is integrated with Windows Defender Antivirus and extends Towne Properties’ endpoint protection to include zero-days, advanced memory-based threats, malicious documents, and browser-based attacks. It’s lightweight and easy to manage, which is important to Bill. The integration with Windows Defender Antivirus allowed Towne to achieve both better protection and simpler operational management with visibility through a single pane of glass.

Infographic which reads: Endpoint Application; Keyless, one-way randomization each time an application loads; application memory (both original and morphed).

Figure 1: As an application loads to the memory space, Morphisec morphs the process structures, making the memory constantly unpredictable to attackers (Source: Morphisec website).

Infographic which reads: Endpoint Application; Malicious code injection; legitimate code runs seamlessly with the morphed application structure; call to original resources exposes and traps the attack; Skeleton/Trap; and Application memory (morphed).

Figure 2: Legitimate application code memory is dynamically updated to use the morphed resources; applications load and run as usual while a skeleton of the original structure is left as a trap. Attacks target the original structure, fail to execute, and are trapped.

“We chose Morphisec because Moving Target Defense’s highly innovative approach prevents the most dangerous unknown memory-based attacks.”
—Bill Salyers, IT Director, Towne Properties

The Morphisec and Microsoft partnership supports Towne Properties’ cybersecurity roadmap

One reason Bill and his management team were so enthusiastic about Morphisec and Windows Defender Antivirus is because it supports their overall security plan. Towne Properties is a Microsoft shop aligned with the Microsoft cybersecurity strategy. Morphisec also integrates with Microsoft Defender Advanced Threat Protection (ATP), which allows Towne Properties to seamlessly chart their Microsoft and Morphisec journey.

“It was also important to learn how Microsoft has partnered closely with Morphisec. Morphisec integrates with Microsoft Defender ATP, giving us high confidence to continue down the Microsoft and Morphisec journey.”
—Justin Hall, Security Specialist, Towne Properties

Windows Defender Antivirus and Morphisec Moving Target Defense are better together

Windows Defender Antivirus and Morphisec Moving Target Defense offer the following features:

Windows Defender Antivirus:

  • Delivers leading machine learning and behavior-based antimalware and threat protection.
  • Is built into Windows 10 at no additional cost.
  • Requires no installation—just turn on features in Windows 10.

Morphisec Moving Target Defense:

  • Delivers an entirely new layer of deterministic prevention against the most advanced and most damaging threats to the enterprise, including unknown attacks, zero-days, ransomware, evasive fileless attacks, and web-borne attacks.
  • Simple to manage and extremely lightweight with zero impact on operations.
  • Virtually patches vulnerabilities.
  • Integrates with Microsoft Defender ATP to visualize attacks prevented by Morphisec and incorporate threats identified by Morphisec in the Microsoft Defender ATP dashboard.

Morphisec + Microsoft:

  • Provides superior endpoint protection at an affordable cost.
  • Is simple to deploy, manage, and maintain.

“Morphisec with Windows Defender Antivirus offers a truly set it and forget it solution. Morphisec’s lightweight design coupled with Windows Defender Antivirus provides strong endpoint security, the best value, and a simpler operational environment.”
—Bill Salyers, IT Director, Towne Properties

Learn more

The post Improve security and simplify operations with Windows Defender Antivirus + Morphisec appeared first on Microsoft Security.

Analyst Fatigue: The Best Never Rest

They may not be saying so, but your senior analysts are exhausted.

Each day, more and more devices connect to their enterprise networks, creating an ever-growing avenue for OS exploits and phishing attacks. Meanwhile, the number of threats—some of which are powerful enough to hobble entire cities—is rising even faster.

While most companies have a capable cadre of junior analysts, most of today’s EDR (Endpoint Detection and Response) systems leave them hamstrung. The startlingly complex nature of typical EDR software necessitates years of experience to successfully operate—meaning that no matter how willing the more “green” analysts are to help, they just don’t yet have the necessary skillset to effectively triage threats.

What’s worse, while these “solutions” require your top performers, they don’t always offer top performance in return. While your most experienced analysts should be addressing major threats, a lot of times they’re stuck wading through a panoply of false positives—issues that either aren’t threats, or aren’t worth investigating. And while they’re tied up with that, they must also confront the instances of false negatives: threats that slip through the cracks, potentially avoiding detection while those best suited to address them are busy attempting to work through the noise. This problem has gotten so bad that some IT departments are deploying MDR systems on top of their EDR packages—increasing the complexity of your company’s endpoint protection and further increasing employee stress levels.

Hoping to both measure the true impact of “analyst fatigue” on SOCs and to identify possible solutions, a commissioned study was conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of McAfee in March 2019 to see what effects current EDRs were having on businesses, and try to recognize the potential for solutions. Forrester surveyed security technology decision-makers, from the managers facing threats head-on to those in the C-suite viewing security solutions at the macro level in relation to his or her firm’s financial needs and level of risk tolerance. Respondents were from the US, UK, Germany or France, and worked in a variety of industries at companies ranging in size from 1,000 to over 50,000 employees.

When asked about their endpoint security goals, respondents’ top three answers—to improve security detection capabilities (87%), increase efficiency in the SOC (76%) and close the skills gap in the SecOps team (72%)—all pointed to limitations in many current EDRs.  Further inquiry revealed that while 43% of security decision makers consider automated detection a critical requirement, only 30% feel their current solution(s) completely meet their needs in this area.

While the issues uncovered were myriad, the results also suggested that a single solution could ameliorate a variety of these problems.  The introduction of EDR programs incorporating Guided Investigation could increase efficiency by allowing junior analysts to assist in threat identification, thereby freeing up more seasoned analysts to address detected threats and focus on only the most complex issues, leading to an increase in detection capabilities. Meanwhile, the hands-on experience that junior analysts would get addressing real-life EDR threats would increase both their personal efficiency and their skill level, helping to eliminate the skills gaps present in some departments.

To learn more about the problems and possibilities in the current EDR landscape, you can read the full “Empower Security Analysts Through Guided EDR Investigation” study by clicking here.

The post Analyst Fatigue: The Best Never Rest appeared first on McAfee Blogs.

Don’t Silo Your Endpoint Security Roadmap

If there’s a gap you bridge it, if there’s a hole you plug it. These are simple musts that businesses have to follow – they need to right wrongs and adjust processes to create better outcomes. The same thing goes for the security teams tasked with safeguarding these organizations, who know they must always bridge the gap between exposed and secure. These security teams know that in order to plug any holes they must at minimum apply standard endpoint security to their infrastructure. While most teams know one solution can’t be the be-all and end-all for their strategy, many are still slow to adopt new technologies to their defense strategy. Here’s why.

Outdated Adoption Mindsets

I meet a lot of security professionals that are aware a better mousetrap exists, but feel as though the pains of making a change outweigh the advantages of better detection or threat detail. I get it, I’m up against my own list of critical projects and nice-to-have things that are difficult to move to the top of the list. Maybe that’s why so many businesses are stating they intend to adopt next-gen technologies but are struggling with the expertise to move ahead with a product or deploy it.

When it comes to getting more tactical against the latest generation of threats that are designed to evade detection, the natural next step for these teams is to add a product like McAfee MVISION EDR. This type of product is top of mind for many right now, as 82% of IT leaders say they don’t have the visibility they need. As a threat hunting tool, EDR tells security teams how exactly threats entered an environment, what these threats did while inside, and how teams can pivot to action against them now and prevent similar attacks from happening again. The value of the EDR might be understood, but adopting it is usually hindered by pre-existing mindsets.

Many security professionals out there think of products, such as McAfee ENS and McAfee MVISION EDR as two separate entities. The same thing goes for solutions such as DLP and CASB. These teams often adopt one solution at a time, with the hope of eventually being able to collect them all one day. Compounding this issue, many fear they’re going to overwhelm existing staff with all the new training and education required for proper adoption. But therein lies the problem – these solutions shouldn’t be viewed as a burden or mutually exclusive, given accurate threat protection in today’s modern threat landscape is reliant on multiple success factors working together at the same time. Adoption should be holistic and simultaneous.

The Importance of Integration

Just like one size typically doesn’t fit all, one solution cannot address all threats. That means your defense strategy shouldn’t rely on just one defense or detection method to protect every user from every kind of threat. Therefore, security teams need to clear out old notions and start looking at solution adoption with the idea of integration and a platform that is sustainable for the long term, not just a product. Meaning, by achieving the right convergence of solutions, teams will establish a holistic security posture for their organization, ultimately positioning it for success.
So, what does this blend of solutions look like? To cover all the bases, organizations should look toward adopting solutions designed with collaboration and integration in mind. Take McAfee’s EPP for example, which is built with the future in mind. Our cloud-first MVISION products are designed to help you transform your IT environment. Specifically, our EDR solution is designed to meet you where you are with AI-guided investigations, detecting and remediating both the opportunistic and targeted attacks.

The more defense solutions can work together, the more actions can be automated and burdens can be reduced for the IT staff. So, instead of making your buying decision in order to fill a gap in today’s environment, make sure you buy with tomorrow’s gaps in mind. Focus on how the product you buy today will work or not work with the purchases you make in the future. From there, security will move beyond a simple must, becoming second nature.

 

To learn more about effective endpoint security strategy, be sure to follow us @McAfee and @McAfee_Business.

The post Don’t Silo Your Endpoint Security Roadmap appeared first on McAfee Blogs.

FaceApp: The App That Ages Your Employees and Your CIO

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) is one of the defining characteristics of the modern mobile workforce but it’s also a weakness many businesses aren’t paying enough attention to. It’s likely many corporate BYOD users  have downloaded a hot new app named FaceApp. An AI face editor, this app is rising in popularity all thanks to the FaceApp Challenge — where people leverage the app’s old age filter to appear elderly in photos and post the results on social media. However, the application has also drummed up some discussions around its current privacy permissions,

Sharing More Than Just a Laugh

Though the company has stated no malicious intent, it’s still questionable if access to other data has been given without permission from these users. In any event, the scenario is one that keeps security practitioners up at night. Unsecured mobile devices are an easy entry point to spread malware, obtain credentials and gain access to corporate systems that contain even more sensitive data.

From FaceApp to Fending Off Threats

With apps creating gateways to corporate data, employees need to ensure all their devices have an extra layer of security added. To safeguard an organization’s network, lock down any corporate data, and ensure your CIO can get a decent night’s rest, teams should adopt an agile and intelligent security solution which treats mobile devices like any other endpoint. McAfee MVISION Mobile provides an always-on defense for iOS and Android devices and analyzes deviations surrounding device behavior to make determinations about indicators of compromise to accurately identify advanced threats. For those who are transitioning to a more tactical threat hunting role and exploring Endpoint Detection and Response tools (EDR) ignoring mobile security or using an approach that doesn’t integrate with endpoint platforms and EDR tools will pose another problem – a window of opportunity for threat actors. Mobile security is more than just a checkbox for an elevated approach to security. Like a good soldier on the frontlines that notifies his commander of the enemy’s approach, mobile security needs to elevate alerts to the SecurityOperations team. EDR that relies on manual correlation of mobile defense alerts or observations will extend the opportunity for an attacker to move from the mobile device to more critical systems.

Before the next FaceApp challenge emerges, I encourage you to evaluate your mobile device coverage. Is it automating actions and moving quickly when malicious apps or connections attempt to reach your corporate network through a mobile device? Does your current approach to mobile security elevate critical events to your security team? If not, it might be time to consider a more integrated approach that elevates your security posture with the insights to identify the next potential threat before it becomes a headline.

To learn more about effective endpoint security strategy, be sure to follow us @McAfee and @McAfee_Business.

The post FaceApp: The App That Ages Your Employees and Your CIO appeared first on McAfee Blogs.

Endpoint’s Role in Enterprise Data Protection

Data is a big deal. As the foundation of a modern-day business, data drives organizations’ everyday operations. It provides insights, indicates trends, and informs business decisions. This means securing an organization’s data is of the utmost importance, especially when it comes to defending against attacks emerging out of today’s threat landscape. And though there are standards that have been published to protect customer data and data context, these rules are still incomplete and imperfect, given any published best practice that works for organizations may also create immediate targets for an attacker to bypass. Let’s examine some key threats that compromise enterprise data, and the role endpoint security plays in safeguarding that information.

Means to an End

For many cybercriminals, data is the end goal and endpoint devices are the avenue for getting there. Whether it’s through a compromised app, credential theft, malware, ransomware, or a phishing attack – cyberattacks are consistently testing enterprises in an attempt to find a weakness. That’s because the endpoint acts as the ultimate gateway to critical enterprise data. If compromised, it could cause ripple effects on an organization’s day-to-day functions, causing downtime or a longer attack dwell time, permitting cybercriminals to harvest more sensitive data.

The good news? Doors work both ways. Just as endpoints can create gateways to important data, they can also stop cybercrime in its tracks, if properly secured.

Keeping the Door Locked

The best option for safeguarding your data is securing it at the start – the endpoint. By implementing agile and adaptive endpoint security on every device in your organization, enterprises can ensure data stays locked down. The key is leveraging endpoint solutions that go beyond the more traditional deterministic security feature like anti-malware and include predictive technology like artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML). This type of technology can quickly sift through security incidents in order to identify the real threats posed to endpoint devices, which helps security teams automatically reduce the time required to address threats. Security teams should also ensure they leverage endpoint security solutions that provide increased, centralized visibility into all of their organization’s devices. This kind of visibility is crucial for not only rapid detection, but also to ensure user behavior is being tracked and policies are being enforced.

For security teams aiming to stop modern-day cyberthreats at the start, adopt security solutions such as McAfee MVISION Mobile and McAfee MVISION Endpoint, which have machine learning algorithms and analysis built into their architecture to help identify malicious behavior and attack patterns affecting endpoint devices. To add to that, teams should also leverage solutions such as McAfee DLP Endpoint, which empowers IT staff with increased visibility, giving them knowledge of what all their users are doing at all times.  With this kind of technology in play, enterprise data won’t be anyone else’s business other than the organization it belongs to.

To learn more about effective endpoint security strategy, be sure to follow us @McAfee and @McAfee_Business.

The post Endpoint’s Role in Enterprise Data Protection appeared first on McAfee Blogs.

Endpoint’s Relevance in the World of Cloud

Businesses everywhere are looking to cloud solutions to help expedite processes and improve their data storage strategy. All anyone is talking about these days is the cloud, seemingly dwindling the conversation around individual devices and their security. However, many don’t realize these endpoint devices act as gateways to the cloud, which makes their security more pressing than ever. In fact, there is a unique relationship between endpoint security and cloud security, making it crucial for businesses to understand how this dynamic affects information security overall. Let’s explore exactly how these two are intertwined and how exactly endpoint security can move the needle when it comes to securing the cloud.

Cloudier Skies

Between public cloud, private cloud, hybrid cloud, and now multi-cloud, the cloud technology industry is massive and showing zero signs of slowing down. Adoption is rampant, with the cloud market expected to achieve a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 22.5%, with public cloud services spending reaching $370 billion in 2022. With cloud adoption drawing so much attention from businesses, it’s as important as ever that enterprises keep security top of mind.

This need for security is only magnified by the latest trend in cloud tech – the multi-cloud strategy. With modern-day businesses having such a diverse set of needs, many have adopted either a hybrid or multi-cloud strategy in order to effectively organize and store a plethora of data – 74 percent of enterprises, as a matter of fact. This has many security vendors and personnel scrambling to adjust security architecture to meet the needs of the modern cloud strategy. And though all businesses must have an effective security plan in place that compliments their cloud architecture, these security plans should always still consider how these clouds can become compromised through individual gateways, or, endpoint devices.

The Relationship Between Endpoint and Cloud

The cloud may be a virtual warehouse for your data, but every warehouse has a door or two. Endpoint devices act as doors to the cloud, as these mobile phones, computers, and more all connect to whichever cloud architecture an organization has implemented. That means that one endpoint device, if misused or mishandled, could create a vulnerable gateway to the cloud and therefore cause it to become compromised. Mind you – endpoint devices are not only gateways to the cloud, but also the last line of defense protecting an organization’s network in general.

Endpoint is not only relevant in the world of cloud – it has a direct impact on an organization’s cloud – and overall – security. A compromised endpoint can lead to an exposed cloud, which could make for major data loss. Businesses need to therefore put processes into place that outline what assets users put where and state any need-to-knows they should have top of mind when using the cloud. Additionally, it’s equally important every business ensures they make the correct investment in cloud and endpoint security solutions that perfectly complement these processes.

Ensuring Security Strategy Is Holistic

As the device-to-cloud cybersecurity company, we at McAfee understand how important the connection is between endpoint and cloud and how vital it is businesses ensure both are secured. That’s why we’ve built out a holistic security strategy, offering both cloud security solutions and advanced endpoint products that help an organization cover all its bases.

If your business follows a holistic approach to security – covering every endpoint through to every cloud – you’ll be able to prevent data exposures from happening. From there, you can have peace of mind about endpoint threats and focus on reaping the benefits of a smart cloud strategy.

To learn more about our approach to endpoint security strategy, be sure to follow us @McAfee and @McAfee_Business, and read more in our latest paper:

 

The post Endpoint’s Relevance in the World of Cloud appeared first on McAfee Blogs.

How to Get the Best Layered and Integrated Endpoint Protection

Security teams have historically been challenged by the choice of separate next-gen endpoint security technologies or a more integrated solution with a unified management console that can automate key capabilities. At this point it’s not really a choice at all – the threat landscape requires you to have both. The best layered and integrated defenses now include a broad portfolio of advanced prevention technologies, endpoint security controls, and advanced detection/response tools – all within an integrated system that goes beyond alerts and into insights that even a junior analyst can act on.

More Endpoints = More Vulnerabilities

Endpoints are long beyond on-premises servers, PCs, and traditional operating systems. Internet of things devices such as printers, scanners, point-of-sale handhelds, and even wearables are vulnerable and can provide entry points for organized attacks seeking access to corporate networks. Mobile devices—both BYOD and corporate issued—are among the easiest targets for app-based attacks. Per the 2019 McAfee Mobile Threat Report, the number one threat category was hidden apps, which accounted for almost one-third of all mobile attacks.

Many enterprises are unaware of their target-rich endpoint environments, resulting in security teams struggling to maintain complete vigilance. A 2018 SANS Survey on Endpoint Protection and Response revealed some sobering statistics:

  • 42% of respondents report having had their endpoints exploited
  • 84% of endpoint breaches include more than one endpoint
  • 20% didn’t know whether they’d been breached

Endpoint attacks are designed to exploit the hapless user, including web drive-by, social engineering/phishing, and ransomware. Because these attacks rely on human actions, there’s a need for increased monitoring and containment, along with user education.

The latest attacks have the ability to move laterally across your entire environment, challenging every endpoint until a vulnerability is found. Once inside your walls, all endpoints become vulnerable. Modern endpoint security must extend protection across the entire digital terrain with visibility to spot all potential risks.

Less Consoles = Better Efficiency

A 2018 MSA Research report on security management commissioned by McAfee revealed that 55% of organizations struggle to rationalize data when three or more consoles are present. Too many security products, devices, and separate consoles call for a large budget and additional employees who might struggle to maintain a secure environment.

In contrast, single management consoles can efficiently coordinate the defenses built into modern devices while extending their overall posture with advanced capabilities—leaving nothing exposed. With everchanging industry requirements, an integrated endpoint security approach ensures that basic standards and processes are included and up to date.

Why McAfee Endpoint Security

McAfee offers a broad portfolio of security solutions that combine established capabilities (firewall, reputation, and heuristics) with cutting-edge machine learning and containment, along with endpoint detection and response (EDR) into a single-agent all-inclusive management console.

Is it time you took a fresh look at your strategy? Learn more in this white paper: Five ways to rethink your endpoint protection strategy.

The post How to Get the Best Layered and Integrated Endpoint Protection appeared first on McAfee Blogs.

How MVISION Mobile can combat the WhatsApp Buffer Overflow Vulnerability

A new WhatsApp vulnerability has attracted the attention of the press and security professionals around the world. We wanted to provide some information and a quick summary.

This post will cover vulnerability analysis and how McAfee MVISION Mobile can help.

Background

On May 13th, Facebook announced a vulnerability associated with all of its WhatsApp products. This vulnerability was reportedly exploited in the wild, and it was designated as CVE-2019-3568.

WhatsApp told the BBC its security team was the first to identify the flaw. It shared that information with human rights groups, selected security vendors and the US Department of Justice earlier this month.

The CVE-2019-3568 Vulnerability Explained

WhatsApp suffers from a buffer overflow weakness, meaning an attacker can leverage it to run malicious code on the device. Data packets can be manipulated during the start of a voice call, leading to the overflow being triggered and the attacker commandeering the application. Attackers can then deploy surveillance tools to the device to use against the target.

A buffer overflow vulnerability in WhatsApp VOIP (voice over internet protocol) stack allows remote code execution via a specially-crafted series of SRTP (secure real-time transport protocol) packets sent to a target phone number.

Affected Versions:

  • WhatsApp for Android prior to v2.19.134
  • WhatsApp Business for Android prior to v2.19.44
  • WhatsApp for iOS prior to v2.19.51
  • WhatsApp Business for iOS prior to v2.19.51
  • WhatsApp for Windows Phone prior to v2.18.348
  • WhatsApp for Tizen prior to v2.18.15.

The Alleged Exploit

An exploit of the vulnerability was used in an attempted attack on the phone of a UK-based attorney on 12 May, the  Financial Times reported. The reported attack involved using WhatsApp’s voice calling function to ring a target’s device. Even if the call was not picked up, the surveillance software could be installed.

How MVISION Mobile can combat CVE-2019-3568 Attacks

To date, the detection technology inside MVISION Mobile has detected 100 percent of zero-day device exploits without requiring an update.

MVISION Mobile helps protect customers by identifying at-risk iOS and Android devices and active threats trying to leverage the vulnerability. It leverages Advanced App Analysis capabilities to help administrators find all devices that are exposed to the WhatsApp vulnerability by identifying all devices that have the vulnerable versions of WhatsApp on them and establish custom policies to address the risk. If the exploit attempts to elevate privileges and compromise the device, MVISION Mobile would detect the attack on the device.

For more information about MVISION Mobile, download our datasheet or visit our web site.

The post How MVISION Mobile can combat the WhatsApp Buffer Overflow Vulnerability appeared first on McAfee Blogs.

Shut Down Unlikely Attack Vectors in Your Organization

As a security professional, I probably take security more seriously than most. But when we start talking about the Internet of Things (IoT), the science fiction buff in me comes to the forefront a little bit. While we don’t want any kind of attacks to happen to our organizations, it can be a little fun to imagine the crazy ways hackers can use mundane appliances to hack into a network.

For example, earlier this year, a North American casino was hacked through a smart fish tank. Since the equipment in the tank was connected to the Internet, attackers were able to use that as their vector for network access. Fortunately, the breach was discovered quickly afterward—and you never want to hear about security breaches like this, but it certainly does make for a unique story.

That highlights the risks that are out there today. If you’re connected to the Internet, you are vulnerable to attacks. With IoT and the proliferation of smart devices, we’re starting to see some creativity from hackers that is not necessarily being counteracted with the appropriate level of security controls. That fancy fish tank certainly didn’t have the appropriate level of security controls. Having “regular” devices connect to the Internet can bring flexibility and manageability, but it also opens up more vulnerabilities.

That risk is something that everybody needs to understand. Basically, like any good risk owner, you need to think about what device you have, how it’s connecting, where it’s connecting to, and whether or not that connection has a level of security that meets your policy and control expectations. Honestly, what I’ve seen is that because of the easy and seamless connectivity of these smart devices, a lot of organizations are not thinking about necessary security measures. They aren’t quite seeing that a fish tank or a biomedical device or even an HVAC system can be just as vulnerable to attack as a server or application.

So how do you keep your network and data safe and still take advantage of the benefits of the IoT? Employ the same techniques I spoke of last week: protect, detect, and react. Assess, document, and validate risks. Make sure that you have a complete and total information security risk management or risk governance program. Apply these techniques and programs to every single device on your network, no matter how low-level it may seem. Something as normal as a thermostat or refrigerator could be a gateway for a hacker.

Our experts can help you assess your environment for risks and vulnerable points in your network, and help you put together a comprehensive security program that doesn’t leave out anything—even your lobby fish tank or break room fridge.

The post Shut Down Unlikely Attack Vectors in Your Organization appeared first on Connected.