Category Archives: security

9 Alternative Search Engines Only Advanced Users Know

It is said by many regular folks in the Internet, “If you are not in Google, you don’t exist.” Though this may have resemblance of being factual, as the majority of the world’s netizens are using a form of Chromium browser than anything else. As the browser is our window to the online world, whatever company that has the monopoly of the web browser market dictates the direction of the Internet and its future innovations. However, there is a world outside of Google, searching the contents of the web is not rocket science, only becoming security and privacy conscious as time goes by. The more we use alternatives to the Google search engine, the better the web will evolve towards a secure future and privacy-respecting tool not only for us current users, but for new users in the coming years as well.

Here in Hackercombat.com, we provide you a quick list of alternative browsers. Useful to you, to me, and to all users of various levels of IT technical knowledge:

1. Yandex

Russia’s largest search engine with a market share of nearly 65% ​​Russian. Yandex has parallel search capabilities that display the main web index results and specialized information resources such as blogs, news, image and video webpages, and e-commerce sites. In addition, search engines provide supplemental information and include spell checkers, auto-completion features, and virus protection to detect malicious content on web pages.

2. The Wayback Machine (AKA Internet Archive)

This is a non-profit digital library that aims to provide universal access to all knowledge. The Internet Archive consists of approximately 3 million books that apply to websites, music, images, videos, software applications and games, and the public domain. From 2016, there were 15 petabytes of data in the internet archive and advocated a free and open internet. Its web archive, known as the wayback machine, allows users to search for iterations of websites in the past. It contains over 308 billion web captures and is one of the largest digitization projects in the world.

3. Dogpile

Get results from multiple search engines in additional meta search engines and directories, and present them combined to the user. The Advanced Search option allows you to refine your search by specifying words, dates, languages, and adult content. You can also set your own preferences and customize the default search settings. In addition, Dogpile recommends related content based on the original search terms, tracks the 15 most recent searches, and displays recent popular searches from other users.

4. Libraries.io

This is an open source search engine for finding software development projects including new frameworks, libraries and tools. Monitor over 2.5 million open source libraries across 34 different package managers. To collect library information, the website uses a dominant package manager for each supported programming language. Then, organize them by package manager, programming language, license (MIT or GPL), and keywords.

5. Kiddle

Is search engines for children. The Kiddle interface features hand-painted crayon and colored marker designs and is written in a distinctive, colorful Google style. Also, the search results may have changed slightly. The search engine returns web pages from sites like famousbirthdays.com and britannica.com. The aim is to provide simple, easy-to-read content that kids can understand without much effort.

6. SearchCode

SearchCode is a free source code and document search engine that finds code snippets from open source repositories. More than 20 billion lines of code are indexed from projects such as Google Code, Github, Sourceforge, GitLab, Bitbucket, and Codeplex. Most web crawlers have problems searching for special characters used in code. SearchCode overcomes this problem and allows you to search for codes by method names, variable names, operations, usage, security flaws, and special characters much faster than other code search engines.

7. Yippy

Founded in 2009, Yippy is a meta search engine that provides result clusters. Search technology is used by IBM Watson Explorer, a cognitive search and content analysis platform. With Yippy, you can search for different types of content, such as news, images, blogs, government data, etc., and filter result categories wisely or flag inappropriate content. Like Google, you can view cached web pages and filter results by source or tag cloud. Also, each result has a preview link that shows how the content looks on the same page.

8. IxQuick

Is a meta search engine that provides the top 10 results for various search engines. To rank the results, we use a “star system” which awards one star to each result returned from the search engine. Thus, the results returned by most search engines are at the top. IxQuick does not save your personal information – no history, no queries collected. However, it will automatically be deleted if you do not use the 90-day visit IxQuick. The network is growing very fast, with about 5.7 million searches per day, and currently supports 17 languages.

9. Creative Commons Search

This search engine is very useful for bloggers and authors who need content that can be reused in blog posts and commercial applications. It allows users to search for images and content released under a Creative Commons license. The website provides social features, allowing users to create and share lists, add tags to objects in Commons, and save searches. In addition, we provide useful filters such as search for images that can be used for commercial purposes, images that can be changed or reused, and search within tags, titles, and creators.

Also Read,

Why Limetorrents Is A Popular Search Engine For Media Pirates

Smart Google Search Queries and 4500+ GOOGLE DORKS LIST

TalkTalk’s Databreach Made Secret, Exposed In A Google Search

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Israel surveillance firm NSO group can mine data from major social media

The Israeli surveillance firm NSO Group informed its clients that it is able to scoop user data by mining from major social media.

The Financial Times reported that the Israeli surveillance firm NSO Group informed its clients that it is able to mine user data from major social media. NSO is based in Herzliya, near Tel Aviv, and employs 600 people worldwide. The private equity firm Novalpina Capital has the majority of the shares in NSO Group.

“[NSO Group] told buyers its technology can surreptitiously scrape all of an individual’s data from the servers of Apple, Google, Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft, according to people familiar with its sales pitch” reported the FT.

According to the AFP, an NSO spokesperson denied the allegation.

“There is a fundamental misunderstanding of NSO, its services and technology,” the spokesman said

“NSO’s products do not provide the type of collection capabilities and access to cloud applications, services, or infrastructure as listed and suggested in today’s FT article.”

The FT report cites documents it had viewed and descriptions of a product demonstration. According to the report, the surveillance capabilities of the company had “evolved to capture the much greater trove of information stored beyond the phone in the cloud, such as a full history of a target’s location data, archived messages or photos”.

NSO pointed out that it does not operate its solutions, including the Pegasus spyware, instead, it only licenses them law enforcement and government agencies “for the sole purpose of preventing or investigating serious crime including terrorism”.

NSO Group Pegasus spyware

Pegasus is a perfect tool for surveillance, it is able to steal any kind of data from smartphones and use them to spy on the surrounding environment through their camera and microphone.

The NSO Group operated in the dark for several years, until the researchers from the Citizenlab organization and the Lookout firm spotted its software in targeted attacks against UAE human rights defender, Ahmed Mansoor.

The researchers also spotted other attacks against a Mexican journalist who reported to the public a story of the corruption in the Mexican government.

NSO replied that its surveillance solution was “intended to be used exclusively for the investigation and prevention of crime and terrorism.” 

Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – NSO Group, surveillance)

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This Week in Security News: Spam Campaigns and Mobile Malware

Welcome to our weekly roundup, where we share what you need to know about the cybersecurity news and events that happened over the past few days. This week, learn about a mobile malware that infects Android devices by exploiting the vulnerabilities found within the operating system. Also, read about a recent spam campaign that targets entities using a disposable email address service for its command and control server.

Read on:

iOS URL Scheme Susceptible to Hijacking

Abuse of Apple’s URL Scheme, a feature that allows developers to launch apps on an iOS device through URLs, can potentially result in the loss of privacy, bill fraud, exposure to pop-up ads and more.

Spam Campaign Targets Colombian Entities with Custom-made ‘Proyecto RAT,’ Uses Email Service YOPmail for C&C

Trend Micro observed a recent spam campaign that targets Colombian entities using YOPmail, a disposable email address service, for its command and control server (C&C). The payload, written in Visual Basic 6, is a customized version of a remote access tool called “Proyecto RAT.”

 Trend Micro’s Deep Security as a Service Now Available on the Microsoft Azure Marketplace

Trend Micro announced the availability of its cloud solution Deep Security as a Service on the Microsoft Azure Marketplace, enabling organizations to combine the benefits of security software-as-a-service with the convenience of consolidated cloud billing and usage-based, metered pricing.

SLUB Gets Rid of GitHub, Intensifies Slack Use

Trend Micro discovered a new version of the SLUB malware that has stopped using GitHub to communicate, heavily using Slack instead via two free workspaces that Slack has since shut down.

Jenkins Admins: Relying on Default Settings Could Put Master at Risk of Remote Code Execution Attacks

Trend Micro observed that a Jenkins user account with less privilege can gain administrator rights over the automation server if jobs are built on the master machine (i.e. the main Jenkins server), a setup enabled by default.

 FTC Approves Roughly $5 Billion Facebook Settlement

The Federal Trade Commission has endorsed a roughly $5 billion settlement with Facebook over a long-running probe into the tech giant’s privacy violations such as the Cambridge Analytica scandal, causing immediate concern from some politicians.

 GandCrab Threat Actors Possibly Behind Sodinokibi Ransomware

Various security researchers reported that the ransomware-as-a-service (RaaS) threat actors behind GandCrab might be responsible for releasing a more advanced ransomware variant called Sodinokibi.

Agent Smith Malware Infecting Android Apps, Devices for Adware

Agent Smith, a new kind of mobile malware, has been found infecting Android devices by exploiting the vulnerabilities found within the operating system (OS) to replace installed apps with malicious versions without the user knowing.

 Sprint Says Hackers Breached Customer Accounts Via Samsung Website

US mobile network operator Sprint said hackers broke into an unknown number of customer accounts via the Samsung.com “add a line” website, giving them access to personal information such as phone numbers, account numbers, billing addresses and more.

Report: Average BEC Attacks Per Month Increased by 120% from 2016 to 2018

According to the U.S. Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), the total amount that cybercriminals attempted to steal via business email compromise (BEC) scams rose to an average of $301 million per month — a substantial increase from the $110 million monthly average in 2016.

U.S. Mayors Take Stand Against Ransomware Payments

As ransomware becomes an increasing problem for local governments with 22 attacks in 2019 alone, U.S. mayors took a firm stand against paying ransom to hackers in their resolutions at the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

 Another 2.2 Million Patients Affected by AMCA Data Breach

Clinical Pathology Laboratories (CPL) says 2.2 million patients may have had their names, addresses, phone numbers, and other personal information stolen because of the AMCA data breach.

Fake Invoices Used by BEC Scammers to Defraud Griffin City, Georgia of Over US$800,000

The government of the City of Griffin, Georgia lost over $800,000 to a business email compromise (BEC) scam when BEC operators posed as its vendor P.F. Moon to reroute funds in two separate transactions to a fraudulent bank account.

Cloud-Based IoT Solutions: Responding to Traditional Limits and Security Concerns

In the face of challenges brought about by the expansion of the Internet of Things (IoT) – a trend that is expected to be amplified in the 5G era – many organizations have turned to cloud-based IoT solutions that can respond to organizations’ needs when it comes to integration, processing, scalability and security.

Were you surprised by the increase in business email compromise attempts from 2016 to 2018? Share your thoughts in the comments below or follow me on Twitter to continue the conversation: @JonLClay.

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The Problem With the Small Business Cybersecurity Assistance Act

The Small Business Cybersecurity Assistance Act may provide business owners with access to government-level tools to secure small business against attacks.

Perhaps the best approach to rampant malware, ransomware and cybercrime is stronger cooperation between the public and private sectors.

The American Congress took a stab at that kind of ecumenical solution to the looming $6 trillion problem of cybersecurity in the form of the Small Business Cybersecurity Assistance Act (SBCAA). It’s as bipartisan a bill as the U.S. can hope for at present and an encouraging sign that the problem is on the government’s radar.

Regrettably, the Small Business Cybersecurity Assistance Act has already gathered criticism and detractors, with some saying it falls short of the mark. Let’s look at why this might be the case and what the Act actually contains that might, or might not, be of value to worried business owners.

What Does the SBCAA Seek to Accomplish?

The two main co-sponsors of the Act — Senators Gary Peters and Marco Rubio — frame the SBCAA’s mission as primarily an educational effort to bring small business owners up to speed on cybercrime-related issues such as:

  • The variety of cyber threats in the world today
  • The potential risk that small business owners face
  • The tools available to help them protect themselves

The small business community must understand that they represent a larger — not a smaller — portion of the threat surface where cybercrime is concerned. Small business owners are less likely to have taken adequate measures to protect their digital systems and are consequently at an even higher risk of sustaining a data breach or a ransomware attack than a major corporation.

Under the Small Business Cybersecurity Assistance Act, business owners could visit U.S. Small Business Development Center (SBDC) locations to secure educational materials, enroll in programs, and work with representatives from the Department of Homeland Security to better understand and confront cyber threats and risks. Clearly, the intentions and the desired outcome are heading in the right direction.

The question is: What on earth is a Small Business Development Center?

A Good Idea With Limited Infrastructure Behind It

Like many public services in the United States, Small Business Development Centers are wonderful in theory but consistently go underfunded — despite their value — and remain mostly unknown to the communities most in need of their assistance. Among other things, SBDCs provide services like business counseling and information on local, state and federal government compliance and assistance programs.

But because this service goes underfunded and unheralded, the U.S. has only 63 such centers — barely one for every U.S. state and territory. In contrast, the U.S. had almost 140,000 Starbucks locations in 2018, despite the company employing under 200,000 people that year.

The SBDC’s 63 locations, meanwhile, are meant to support the entire American small business community. In 2016, companies with fewer than 100 employees made up 33.4% of the U.S. workforce, and companies with 500 or fewer made up nearly half.

Many of the criticisms leveled against the SBCAA have latched onto this lack of infrastructure and public awareness. Earmarking additional funding could possibly help raise the SBDC’s public profile and make more people aware of their existence. But this isn’t certain, and it doesn’t look like the SBCAA has addressed the existing funding shortfall.

The Act reportedly permits Small Business Development Centers to use their current funding to make cybersecurity resources available after they’re prepared by other government agencies. But the key phrase is “current funding.” SBDCs, like the one at Wharton School, already face shuttering their doors because of a lack of funding. Adding to the demands placed on their staff without a commensurate rise in funding could be fruitless.

The other problem, apart from a lack of funding and awareness, is that significant numbers of small business owners do business in the cloud. As a result, they outsource most of their IT and digital systems architecture work, including data hosting services, to third parties.

It could be fairly useful to educate small business owners on the security best practices these third parties should follow in their operations — either by law or according to common sense. What’s not useful is doing all of this without backing it up with appropriately harsh fines for the larger companies which mishandle or misplace client data, either by mistake or because they have nefarious intent.

The European Union is off to a slow start levying fines for abusing data privacy and security, but the now-year-old General Data Protection Regulation gives the government the power to do so. Until the U.S. implements a similar measure, U.S. states are left on their own to fine companies which don’t take cybersecurity or client privacy seriously. Any measure undertaken to educate the small business community about cybersecurity won’t do much good if the U.S. government doesn’t stand ready to have their backs.

Another potentially fruitful avenue to explore is providing grants or subsidies to help small business owners purchase cyber liability insurance. Not all small business owners know such products exist, but these services can go a long way toward keeping small businesses in operation after they fall victim to a cybercrime.

Safety on the Internet Isn’t a Luxury

Some seem content to let cybersecurity remain a competitive advantage or a luxury commodity. Others believe the buy-in should be the same for both small entrepreneurships and major corporations when it comes to keeping digital properties safe. Everybody has a right to stay safe online — it shouldn’t be something that only moneyed interests get to enjoy.

The SBCAA is a well-intentioned measure styled after the American tradition of empowering people to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps and know-how.

 But without a more robust support system in place, it risks confirming what many people already believe — that the government throws money at problems instead of solving them. It’s best to think of the SBCAA as a first step toward something better.

A better, second draft would back up its proposals for DHS-SBDC collaboration with additional funding as well as adequate punitive measures for data handlers that get cybersecurity wrong.

About the author

Kayla Matthews is a technology and cybersecurity writer, and the owner of ProductivityBytes.com. To learn more about Kayla and her recent projects, visit her About Me page.

Pierluigi Paganini

(Security Affairs – Small Business Cybersecurity Assistance Act)

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How Will Companies Deploy Industrial IoT Security Solutions?

Industrial IoT (IIoT) devices will comprise the majority of the billions of IoT devices deployed over the next decade. How will the information security market meet this onslaught of technology?

The consumer market is not a useful guide for this analysis. Consumers buy in small quantities and choose to deploy information security tools piecemeal. Few consumers buy smart phone security products, usually after experiencing an incident. The industrial market is more sensitive to risk.

Industrial-scale IoT devices must have low price points. Once an enterprise decides to deploy a fleet of IIoT technology, they seek out the lowest price product that will meet their needs. This puts pressure on manufacturers to keep costs low. IIoT device manufacturers will not spend extra resources designing, installing, testing, and configuring effective security measures voluntarily. Government regulation will change this reluctance, but until forced to do so buyers will have to secure their devices after installation.

What will the IIoT security market look like? Given the low purchase price and vast scale of deployments, there will be a negligible aftermarket for individual IIoT device security software or hardware. The market will focus on aggregation points, concentrators, gateways, and network access devices.

Consider a solar panel farm. The largest solar farm now under construction, the Egyptian Benban solar park near Aswan, will cost about $4 billion, and should come on-line in 2020. Ten times larger than New York City’s Central Park, it will generate 1.8 gigawatts using 5 million panels. Each panel has an inverter and a sensor, and every 16 panels has a PLC (programmable logic controller). This farm will have 10 million edge IIoT devices and 312,500 PLCs.

How would you secure over 10 million IIoT devices? Assume the control systems are centralized. By protecting the external gateway only, you spend the least, but if any problem gets in, the plant could be disabled or destroyed. Segmentation costs more, but reduces the attack surface and impedes the spread of malware.

What is the optimum number of cells? There is no hard and fast rule. The cost of a device increases with its capacity, so having a few large cells would require powerful security appliances. More cells will reduce the impact of a breach, and lessen the load per appliance, allowing a lower price point. With one appliance for every thousand PLCs (covering 16,000 panels, meaning 32,000 IIoT devices) the configuration would need over three hundred appliances, with monitoring and control through an appropriately configured automation and management hub. The appliance cost would be miniscule compared with the total cost of the overall configuration.

The full security configuration would include the engineering and architecture skill to design and site the appliances, the architecture and deployment of the management hubs (dual for high availability), and the training for ongoing operations and maintenance. IIoT security vendors will work through channel partners with expertise in the specific vertical industries they serve.

Project managers for large industrial IoT deployments should work with their IT channel and OT engineering teams to identify the most cost-effective sourcing and deployment options for comprehensive, effective IT/OT security.

What do you think? Let me know, either in the comments below or @WilliamMalikTM.

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Multi-Cloud Security Best Practices Guide

A multi-cloud network is a cloud network that consists of more than one cloud services provider. A straightforward type of multi-cloud network involves multiple infrastructure as a service (IaaS) vendors. Can you use AWS and Azure together? For example, you could have some of your cloud network’s servers and physical network provided by Amazon Web […]… Read More

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New Azure Marketplace Pay-As-You-Go Billing for Trend Micro Deep Security as a Service

Cloud adoption continues to rise as organizations reduce their data center footprint, look to cloud native technologies to improve their application design and output, and strive to improve scalability and management of resources and systems.

In a recent survey conducted by analyst firm ESG, 87% of respondents indicated that they currently run production applications and workloads on a public cloud infrastructure-as-a-service platform. However only 10% of respondents run more than half of their workloads in the cloud.  This means that while cloud adoption is on the rise, businesses are still heavily vested in on-premises and hybrid-cloud environments.

With all this change comes the task of understanding how best to secure new cloud technologies and environments, while maintaining protection for traditional server platforms against threats and risks which present both technical and cost challenges.

So, what options does your business have to tackle this?

Trend Micro is excited to announce pay-as-you-go billing with its leading cloud solution, Deep Security as a Service (DSaaS) on the Microsoft Azure Marketplace. As a launch partner for pay-as-you-go billing at Microsoft’s Inspire 2019 conference, Trend Micro’s offering enables organizations to combine the benefits of security software-as-a-service (SaaS) with the convenience of usage-based metered pricing and consolidated cloud billing.

“Providing Trend Micro’s Deep Security as a Service offering through Azure Marketplace gives customers more ways to enable, automate, and orchestrate cloud security,” said Jeana Jorgensen, GM, Cloud and AI for Microsoft. “Customers can pay for only what they use with Trend Micro’s flexible, metered pricing or negotiate more a more traditional enterprise agreement using private offers while enjoying a consolidated bill for software and cloud infrastructure.”

Trend Micro Deep Security as a Service is purpose built to deliver a multi-layered automated approach to protect hybrid cloud workloads and container environments against known and unknown threats. Deep Security’s capabilities include network controls such as a host firewall and Intrusion Prevention/Detection (IPS) to shield servers and web applications from vulnerabilities and exploits. Deep Security also has system security capabilities such as log inspection, application control to detect and lockdown unauthorized executables, and real-time integrity monitoring to alert the security team of any suspicious or unexpected changes to registry values, registry keys, services, processes, installed software, ports, or files.

Additionally, Deep Security provides this same complete protection for your containers, with real-time malware protection, container vulnerability shielding, full traffic inspection for both North-South and East-West traffic between containers, as well as network and system controls, extending protection to the container and Kubernetes platforms. This also helps to meet compliance obligations across major regulations and industry guidelines, like PCI DSS, HIPAA, NIST, GDPR and more from within one trusted security solution.

Microsoft’s new Azure Marketplace offerings and billing methods allow IT and developers a means to quickly identify what software-as-a-service offerings they need and pay only for what is consumed with no additional costs. This makes purchasing easy for customers, with one transaction and a single invoice helping to remove friction across budget planning, capacity, and scaling.

“Our priority is to make cloud security as effortless as possible, which starts by meeting IT users and developers where they are and then offering comfortable usage and pricing options,” said Sanjay Mehta, SVP, Business Development & Strategic Alliances at Trend Micro. “Trend Micro is proud to continue our close relationship with Microsoft Azure as one of its top global security partners. Being part of their consumption-based billing launch for SaaS offerings helps customers looking to secure workloads and containers through their Azure instances.”

Trend Micro’s Deep Security as a Service will provide Microsoft Azure customers a fully hosted security management experience, starting at only $0.01 per workload per hour.

Learn more visit https://www.trendmicro.com/azure/

 

 

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Is Network Security Complexity Holding You Back?

At its most fundamental level, the objective of network security is a simple one. Organizations need to protect their people, assets, and the data that travels across and resides within their networks. They do this by setting security policies that detail parameters like who or what is allowed to access which resources.

Over time, even small organizations can accumulate large libraries of security policies across a variety of different security products. The old processes used to create, update and audit these policies become a burden for the IT team and cause a number of problems for the organization.

Research firm Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG) recently surveyed 200 IT and cybersecurity decision-makers to understand their views on network security complexity and its consequences. They examine some of the top challenges facing these organizations today in their new report “Navigating Network Security Complexity.”

It’s not just your imagination. Security is getting more complex.

Unsurprisingly, a majority (83%) of respondents felt that network security has gotten more complicated in the last two years. There are many reasons for this, but the top responses included:

  1. More devices deployed on the network
  2. More traffic on the network
  3. The operations team managing more networking and security technologies

Taken together, these responses paint the picture of a growing attack surface and increasing workload for teams responsible for protecting organizations’ critical assets.

Challenges on the horizon

What are the biggest network security challenges facing organizations in the next few years? According to the survey, they are:

  1. Business initiatives being adopted without the proper security involvement
  2. A lack of dedicated network security staff
  3. It takes too long to manage network security policies

Businesses are innovating at a record pace, and they aren’t waiting for the security team. Hiring staff continues to be challenging, and outdated processes are compounding the issue.

Brace for impact: outages, disruption and data breaches

Nearly a third (29%) of organizations said they experienced a security event resulting from network security complexity. The most common incidents included network outages, application or network availability, loss of sensitive data, and lost productivity. Given the critical nature of these risks, it’s clear that network security management needs to be addressed when assessing an organization’s risk management strategy.

Recommendations: technology integration, automation, simplification

ESG offers three headline recommendations for CISOs dealing with network security complexity today. First, look for solutions that are integrated and centrally managed when possible. Next, seek out solutions that emphasize ease-of-use and time-to-value. Finally, organizations should strive for process automation and use technology to accomplish this.

Whether you’re directly involved in managing your organization’s security policies or not, you’re likely experiencing negative effects of the drain that these manual tasks can have on an IT department. It’s time to prioritize making security policy management more efficient, consistent and effective. Reading the full research report is a great place to get started.

Simplify network security management with Cisco Defense Orchestrator

At Cisco, we’re working hard to help our customers streamline their security operations. Cisco Defense Orchestrator is a cloud-based security policy and device manager that uses automation to eliminate complexity. Manage consistent security policies across Cisco ASA, FTD and Meraki MX devices, and reduce time spent on security management tasks by up to 90%. Visit the Cisco Defense Orchestrator webpage to learn more and sign up for a free trial.

SAP Patch Day – July 2019 addresses a critical flaw in Diagnostics Agent

SAP released 11 Security Notes as part of the Patch Day – July 2019, one of which was a Hot News Note addressing a critical flaw in Diagnostics Agent.

This month SAP released 11 Security Notes as part of the Patch Day – July 2019. One of them is a Hot News Note that addresses a critical vulnerability in Diagnostics Agent tracked as CVE-2019-0330.

The vulnerability is an OS command injection issue that could be exploited to fully compromise the SAP system, it received a CVSS score of 9.1.

The Diagnostics Agent is a central component of the SAP Solution Manager system landscape. It allows to manage monitoring and diagnostics events communications between every SAP system and Solution Manager that allows administrators to execute OS commands through a GAP_ADMIN transaction.

Each command is validated using a whitelist file that is present in the Diagnostic Agent installation directory. The CVE-2019-0330 flaw could be exploited by an attacker to bypass the validation process by sending a specially crafted payload.

“Using its basic functionality, a SolMan admin can execute OS commands through a GAP_ADMIN transaction, in order to perform analysis into an SAP system. Once executed, those commands are validated using a whitelist file located in the SMDAgent installation directory.” reads the analysis published by Onapsis. “This vulnerability may allow an attacker to bypass this validation by sending a custom-crafted payload. Using this technique the attacker could obtain full control over an SAP system compromising the SMDAgent user, allowing access sensitive information (such as credentials and critical business information), changing application configurations or even stopping SAP services.”

Experts pointed out that the SDMAgent must be installed in every SAP system for diagnostic purposes, this means that the extent of the attack is broad and could affect the entire landscape.

SAP also released a High priority Security Note that addresses a code injection flaw, tracked as CVE-2019-0328, that affects the ABAP Tests Modules of NetWeaver Process Integration.

The CVE-2019-0328 vulnerability received a CVSS score of 8.7. 

The flaw resides in the Extended Computer Aided Test Tool (eCATT), a tool used to cover automatic testing in SAP business processes.

July 2019 Patch Day updates also address other 9 Medium severity flaws: Denial of service in Commerce Cloud (CVE-2019-0322), XSS in OpenUI5 (CVE-2019-0281), XSS in Information Steward (CVE-2019-0329), XSS in ABAP (CVE-2019-0321), XSS in SAP BusinessObjects (CVE-2019-0326), Unrestricted File Upload in NetWeaver (CVE-2019-0327), Missing Authorization check in ERP HCM (CVE-2019-0325), Information disclosure in NetWeaver (CVE-2019-0318), and Content Injection in Gateway (CVE-2019-0319).

sap security notes july

Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – SAP security, hacking)

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NCSC report warns of DNS Hijacking Attacks

The UK’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) issued a security advisory to warn organizations of DNS hijacking attacks and provided recommendations this type of attack.

In response to the numerous DNS hijacking attacks the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) issued an alert to warn organizations of this type of attack.

“In January 2019 the NCSC published an alert to highlight a large-scale global campaign to hijack Domain Name Systems (DNS).” reads the security advisory.

“Since that alert was published we have observed further activity, with victims of DNS hijacking identified across multiple regions and sectors. This Advisory covers some of the risks for organisations around DNS hijacking activity and gives advice on ways the risks can be mitigated.”

DNS hijacking is the practice of subverting the resolution of Domain Name System (DNS) queries to carry out several malicious activities. It can be achieved using a malicious code that modifies the computer’s TCP/IP configuration to point at a rogue DNS server under the control of an attacker, or through modifying the behaviour of a trusted DNS server so that it does not comply with internet standards.

The Domain Name System (DNS) is the service responsible for pointing the web browser to the right IP address when we navigate to a web domain.

According to a report recently published by Avast, for nearly a year, Brazilian users have been targeted with router attacks. In the first half of 2019, hackers have modified the DNS settings of over 180,000 Brazilian routers with even more complex attacks.

router attacks brazil

This year, security experts at Avast have blocked more than 4.6 million cross-site request forgery (CSRF) attempts carried out by crooks to modify DNS settings of targeted routers.

Recently, experts at Cisco Talos published a detailed analysis of the DNS hijacking campaign conducted by Sea Turtle threat actor for espionage purposes.

UK’s NCSC explains the variety of motivations and objectives behind DNS hijacking attacks ranging from taking down or defacing a website, to intercepting data.

The main risks enumerated in the report are:

  • Creating malicious DNS records;
  • Obtaining SSL certificates;
  • Transparent Proxying for traffic interception;

To prevent phishing attacks, NCSC recommends using unique, strong passwords, and enabling multi-factor authentication when the option is available.

To prevent registrar accounts from being compromised using familiar Account Take Over (ATO) techniques (i.e. Phishing, Credential stuffing, Social engineering) the agency suggests regularly checking the details linked to the account. It is important that they are up to date and point to the organization rather than an individual.

Restricting access to these accounts only to personnel charged with the management of the registrar accounts.

“Registry and Registrar Lock – many registries offer a “registrar lock” service. This lock prevents the domain being transferred to a new owner, without the lock being removed.” continues the report. “A “registry lock” (which sometimes involves a fee) is considered an additional level of protection whereby changes cannot be made until additional authentication has taken place which usually involves a call to the owner.”

In case an organization runs its own DNS infrastructure, the NCSC recommends implementing access and change control systems that can provide backup and restore function for DNS records. It also recommends enforcing strict access to the systems hosting DNS services.

NCSC also recommends implementing SSL monitoring and Domain Name System Security Extensions (DNSSEC) specifications.

Early 2019, DHS issued a notice of a CISA emergency directive urging federal agencies of improving the security of government-managed domains (i.e. .gov) to prevent DNS hijacking attacks.

Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – DNS hijacking, hacking)

The post NCSC report warns of DNS Hijacking Attacks appeared first on Security Affairs.

This Week in Security News: Banking Malware and Phishing Campaigns

Welcome to our weekly roundup, where we share what you need to know about the cybersecurity news and events that happened over the past few days. This week, learn about the banking malware Anubis that has been retooled for use in fresh attack waves. Also, read about a new phishing campaign that uses OneNote audio recordings to fool email recipients.

Read on:

New Miori Variant Uses Unique Protocol to Communicate with C&C

A Mirai variant called Miori recently reappeared, though it has departed from the usual binary-based protocol and instead uses a text-based protocol to communicate with its command-and-control (C&C) server.

Anubis Android Malware Returns with Over 17,000 Samples

The attacker behind the malware Anubis has retooled it, changing its use from cyberespionage to banking malware, combining information theft and ransomware-like routines. Trend Micro recently discovered 17,490 new samples of Anubis on two related servers.  

DevOps Will Fail Unless Security and Developer Teams Communicate Better

According to a Trend Micro survey of IT leaders, DevOps initiatives have become important for 74 percent of organizations over the past year, but communication must improve for DevOps to be successful.

July’s Patch Tuesday Fixes Critical Flaws in Microsoft Edge and Internet Explorer, Including 2 Exploited Vulnerabilities

Microsoft’s July Patch Tuesday release includes updates for almost 80 vulnerabilities, along with two advisories. Other flaws in Azure Automation, Docker, DirectWrite, DirectX, SymCrypt, Windows DNS Server, and Windows GDI have also been resolved.

Nexus Repository Manager Vulnerabilities CVE-2019-9629 and CVE-2019-9630 Could Expose Private Artifacts

Two vulnerabilities were uncovered in Sonatype’s Nexus Repository Manager (NXRM), an open-source governance platform used by DevOps professionals for component management. The vulnerabilities result from the poor configuration of the repository manager’s default settings.

British Airways Faces Record £183m Fine for Data Breach

British Airways is facing a record fine of £183m for last year’s breach of its security systems when details of about 500,000 customers were harvested by attackers through a fraudulent site.

Powload Loads Up on Evasion Techniques

By sifting through six months’ worth of data covering over 50,000 samples from the Trend Micro Smart Protection Network infrastructure, Trend Micro gained insight into how Powload, a cybercrime staple, has incorporated new techniques to increase its effectiveness, especially in its ability to hide from detection.

Microsoft Discovers Fileless Malware Campaign Dropping Astaroth Info Stealer

The Microsoft Defender ATP Research Team released a report covering a malware campaign that dropped the Astaroth trojan into the memory of infected computers by using fileless distribution techniques to hide its activities from security solutions.

New Phishing Campaign Uses OneNote Audio to Lure Users to Fake Microsoft Login Page

In a new phishing campaign reported by Bleeping Computer, audio recordings purportedly shared via OneNote were used as a lure to lead email recipients to a fake Microsoft login page that steals user account credentials.

Zoom Flaw Turns Mac Cam into Spy Cam

A security researcher has found a flaw in the popular video conferencing app Zoom that allows any website to forcibly join a user to a Zoom call, with their video camera activated, without a user’s permission.

New Godlua Backdoor Found Abusing DNS Over HTTPS (DoH) Protocol

A newly discovered backdoor malware dubbed Godlua was discovered conducting DDoS attacks on outdated Linux systems through a vulnerability in the Atlassian Confluence Server.

Where Will Ransomware Go in The Second Half Of 2019?

Based on the latest trends, Trend Micro predicts the threat of ransomware will grow in the second half of 2019 and will continue to shift and change over the coming years.

Migrating Network Protection to the Cloud with Confidence

Trend Micro’s Cloud Network Protection is the first transparent, in-line network security offering for AWS customers: simple to deploy and manage, cloud-ready and leveraging industry leading expertise in network threat protection.

Marriott Faces $123 Million GDPR Fine in the UK for Last Year’s Data Breach

The UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) intends to impose a fine of £99,200,396 ($123,705,870) on international hotel chain Marriott for last year’s data breach that impacted 383 million people.

eCh0raix Ransomware Found Targeting QNAP Network-Attached Storage Devices

A newly uncovered ransomware family called eCh0raix, designed for targeted ransomware attacks similar to how Ryuk or LockerGoga were used, is now targeting QNAP network-attached storage (NAS) devices.

Which newly discovered ransomware did you find most interesting this week? Share your thoughts in the comments below or follow me on Twitter to continue the conversation: @JonLClay.

 

The post This Week in Security News: Banking Malware and Phishing Campaigns appeared first on .

Cisco Threat Response Plugin: Defeat Threats With Just a Few Clicks

One of the best tools in your SOC’s arsenal is something you might already have access to and didn’t even have to pay for. If you already deploy Cisco Umbrella, AMP for Endpoints, Firepower devices, next-generation intrusion prevention system (NGIPS), Email Security, or Threat Grid, then you can immediately access Cisco Threat Response for FREE. As in no charge. Zero extra dollars. No strings attached.

With Cisco Threat Response, customers receive a powerful solution that can streamline and simplify detection, investigation, and remediation of threats. In addition, Threat Response offers a very easy, powerful tool in the new browser plugin (for Chrome and Firefox). By adding the plugin, security professionals now have instant access to threat intelligence and response capabilities directly from their browser. To prove the simplicity of this, let’s use a straightforward example.

For information on configuring the plugin, watch the tutorial here.

For the threat, we will use the Karkoff malware, used in the DNSpionage campaign. For background on the malware, let’s see what Talos has to say about it.

Karkoff Malware

Ah, it seems that Talos has a full spotlight of Karkoff. Towards the bottom of the blog, Talos gives a full report on Indicators of Compromise for Karkoff.

Karkoff Indicators of Compromise

Traditionally, you’d have to manually copy and paste  each file, IP address, etc. from the blog, editing them to remove the defanging “safety brackets”, searching for each one in turn, in each of your telemetry sources – a laborious, manual activity. Cisco Threat Response simplifies this entire process by bringing all of these capabilities to one central source. So, let’s open the Cisco Threat Response browser plugin.

 

Cisco Threat Response Casebook

Immediately, Cisco Threat Response identifies 16 observables from this threat intelligence blog. 1 clean. 9 malicious. 6 unknown.

Identify Malicious Domains

By clicking the malicious and unknown observables, we can tailor our investigation. We will not worry at all about snort.org, because we know Snorty is never up to anything bad!

Select a specific Domain

As an example of how quickly we can take response actions, even before pivoting into Threat Response to do a more complete investigation, let’s look at kuternull.com. It is listed as “unknown.” By clicking the dropdown menu next to it, and pivoting out to other trusted intelligence sources like the Talos database or Threat Grid, we could quickly gather more information to determine a course of action.

Block The Domain With Umbrella

For the purposes of simply showing the ease of the plugin, let’s assume we investigated this domain and there is no legitimate business need for our organization to be contacting it. In order to prevent potential malware activity, we will proactively block it now as a first level stopgap while we continue our investigation. Threat Response directly integrates with Umbrella, so we can immediately block the domain across our entire network with one click within the plugin.

Umbrella Blocked Domain Notification in Cisco Threat Response

Within a few seconds, Threat Response will flash a green banner confirming the blocking of the domain with Umbrella.

Investigate With Cisco Threat Response Browser Plugin

Now, after blocking a few domains quickly, our network is certainly better protected from Karkoff, but there is more investigation to be done. A quick click of the “Investigate” button will launch Cisco Threat Response’s cloud-based dashboard.

Cisco Threat Response - Karkoff Malware

Cisco Threat Response will automatically load the list of the observables and provide insights with relation graphs, file hashes, and others.

Previously, Security Operations Centers (SOCs) would hear about trending threats and wonder, “Is my network affected by this threat?” To answer that question, it would require a series of manual processes that required investigating observables hundreds of times across the network, and then, writing sufficient policy to defend against these threats. To make life even more difficult, these solutions were often from different vendors and require manual processes to implement across different parts of the next work.

With Cisco Threat Response, within minutes, your SOC can:

  1. Identify a trending threat from your SIEM, Talos, other threat intel sources, or virtually any third party product that has a web based interface
  2. Identify a list of observables with one click
  3. Quickly block domains across the network
  4. Launch Cisco Threat Response for further investigation

It is important to note that Cisco Threat Response is a FREE add-on to existing Cisco Security solutions. In the example above, the user has Threat Response integrated with their AMP For Endpoints, Cisco Threat Grid, and Umbrella solutions. In addition, every user of Threat Response automatically gets access to the Talos Intelligence and AMP File Reputation databases for use in Threat Response. While Cisco Threat Response provides significant value when integrated with only one product, it becomes even more useful with each additional Cisco Security solution integration. It offers unparalleled central-management for detection, investigation, and remediation – and the browser plugins bring all those capabilities into any type of web content. Whether it is a blog entry like in this example, any other intelligence source, or the browser-based management console of any Cisco or third-party security or networking product.

For more information on Cisco Threat Response, visit our webpage or create an account in the U.S.or EMEAR to get started right away. You can also download plugins for Chrome and Firefox to make investigations easier today.

 

BONUS: Make sure to catch our upcoming #CiscoChat LIVE, featuring Cisco Threat Response, on Tuesday, July 16 at 10am PT/1pm ET.

To participate in this #CiscoChat LIVE:

  • Join our #CiscoChat Live on Tuesday, July 16th, at 10am PT for a live demo from Cisco Technical Engineer, and Threat Response expert, Ben Greenbaum. Ben will answer questions about Threat Response and do a quick demo of our browser plugin and our latest integration with Firepower devices. He’ll also take your question live on air.
  • Join on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, or Cisco.com and use the comments or the #CiscoChat hashtag on Twitter to submit your questions!

Migrating Network Protection to the Cloud with Confidence

For modern organizations, speed and agility is the key to success – built on enhanced IT efficiency and performance driven by the cloud. Anything less could see your business outpaced by the competition. As always, security must be a priority when migrating to the cloud, but network teams are being let down by existing tools. Overwhelmed by this challenge, our TippingPoint customers came to us asking for an equivalent product for their AWS environments. So we went away and built one.

Cloud Network Protection is the first transparent, in-line network security offering for AWS customers: simple to deploy and manage, cloud-ready and leveraging our industry leading expertise in network threat protection.

Let down by legacy

According to the cloud’s shared responsibility model, network security teams are increasingly being tasked with extending security into the cloud. But current offerings in the market simply aren’t capable of supporting their requirements. They’re complex, expensive and introduce extra friction.

Our TippingPoint customers came to us with a range of gripes. They felt existing network security solutions are simply not engineered with cloud environments in mind. In fact, some need to be rearchitected to function at all in the cloud. Often, these incompatibilities lead to business disruption: by causing app and network downtime while network security is deployed and/or slowing down the speed of DevOps on an ongoing basis. In many cases, customers complained of having to use multiple tools to manage security for different networks in the hybrid cloud – adding extra cost and complexity and creating potential security gaps through misconfigured solutions.

These challenges impair their ability to meet key compliance requirements like HIPAA and GDPR. Responding to internal and external audit requests also became more difficult. At the same time as these strategic challenges, network security teams wanted to meet day-to-day requirements such as blocking requests to specific domains.

A new approach

Taking all this on board, we set about designing a network-based solution to handle the scale and performance demands of the cloud, without introducing extra friction to operations. We did this by tapping the power of the AWS Transit Gateway, a service that enables customers to connect all their Virtual Private Clouds (VPCs) and on-premises networks via a single, centralized gateway.

The resulting Cloud Network Protection solution is deployed transparently into the network fabric, providing visibility and control where network security teams need it most whilst avoiding application disruption and the need to rearchitect. By extending our TippingPoint capabilities into the cloud, we offer organizations multiple benefits including:

Consistent network security: Allowing teams to use existing TippingPoint security profiles in the cloud and on-premises.

Centralized SMS management: Complete visibility and control using the familiar Security Management System (SMS).

Simplified deployment: Minimizes friction by sliding seamlessly into the cloud network fabric.

Industry leading security: Including network-based virtual patching, and zero-day protection backed by the Zero Day Initiative bug bounty program. All whilst avoiding business disruption.

Nearly three-quarters (73%) of organizations had at least one application in the cloud as of last year – with a further 17% planning to do so within the next 12 months, according to IDG. As they migrate these business-critical apps, network security teams are demanding effective, cloud-ready tools that offer maximum protection without impacting performance. Fortunately, now they have one.

The post Migrating Network Protection to the Cloud with Confidence appeared first on .

Where Will Ransomware Go In The Second Half Of 2019?

Ransomware has been an evolutionary malware family that continues to shift and change over the years. From the first fakeAV, to police ransomware, to the now oft-used crypto-ransomware, this threat just will not go away. Based on the latest trends, we predict this threat will grow in the second half of this year.

At Trend Micro, we’ve been following and tracking the data around ransomware for years. Here are some of the changes we’ve been seeing:

 

Year-Over-Year Ransomware Detections from Trend Micro™ Smart Protection Network™

2016 1,078,091,703
2017 631,128,278
2018 55,470,005
2019 (Jan to May) 43,854,210

Year-Over-Year Number of New Ransomware Families

2016 247
2017 327
2018 222
2019 (Jan to May) 44

You can see that ransomware actors were very busy in 2016 and 2017 both in launching attacks and in the development of new families and variants of ransomware. In 2018, we had a drop in both figures, which could be due to a number of factors:

  1. Improved practices within organizations to recover from attacks (i.e. backup and recovery)
  2. Improved detection technologies within the security industry (i.e. machine learning can proactively detect new families and variants)

However, in the first half of 2019 we have seen in the news some very high profile attacks against organizations with successful ransomware causing some victims to pay high ransom amounts or taking weeks to months to recover from the attacks. These attacks have shown that we still need to be very vigilant in protecting networks against this threat.

Trend Micro publishes a predictions report each year to help organizations understand what might occur, and while we did this for 2019, I would like to give you some ideas on where ransomware might go in the second half of 2019 as this threat seems to change very often. Let’s look at the different areas of the ransomware attack lifecycle and what we may see for the rest of the year.

Identifying a Victim

Ransomware actors are being much more targeted in their selection of victims they want to attack. This is due to the above 2 reasons behind why we saw ransomware drop in 2018. In response, actors are looking to target those organizations that are more likely to fall for an attack, but also those who are more likely to pay a higher ransomware. In the first half of 2019, you can see the industries we saw targeted most:

Government, manufacturing, and healthcare are the top 3 industries actors seem to be targeting more than any other. Ransomware actors will also do open source intelligence (OSINT) about each targeted victim to build a profile of them to identify the best way to successfully attack them. There are a number of reasons for this selection and OSINT process:

  • Understand the organization’s business model and how affecting their critical systems could cause them public reputational damage
  • If they have critical systems that can be isolated by ransomware then they are more likely to pay the ransom
  • Whether their security posture and processes are adequate or can be taken advantage of

In the second half of 2019, actors will look to diversify into more industries that have critical business systems that could be compromised. This might include the legal, energy and critical infrastructure, transportation, and distribution industries.

Once they decide on a victim, they will then identify the ways to initially infect the organizations. This is the area that most changes based on the actors behind this threat.

Initial Infection

A number of shifts have occurred in this area over time, and this will likely continue to change. Recently we’ve seen the actors using phishing, malvertising, malicious webpages, exploits and exploit kits to infect an organization. We will continue to see them look to initially infect and organization through their employees, as this still appears to be their best option. But, in the second half of 2019 I see the following scenario occurring:

  1. Ransomware actors will improve their ability to craft socially engineered attacks against employees through their OSINT gathering.
  2. We will see increased use of stolen credentials (i.e. RDP account credentials) that are sold in the underground.
  3. Manual lateral movement and the use of hacking tools will allow the actors to find the critical systems they need to compromise to make attacks successful.

Obfuscation Techniques

As mentioned above, ransomware has been detected more effectively recently due to advances in machine learning and behavior monitoring technologies deployed across the network. As such, the actors have to improve their obfuscation of the malware to ensure it cannot be detected by today’s security applications.

We’ve been seeing improved anti-sandbox, anti-machine learning, fileless, and other techniques used in the past, and moving forward we will see advances in all of these areas. The use of compromised legitimate software, including those from security vendors themselves, will also continue as a method to circumvent security measures. As we saw recently with a compromised MSP, one company’s direct access to multiple organization’s networks can also be leveraged for attacks. Stolen certificates will also be used to sign malware to make it look legitimate.

I expect ransomware actors will continue to target high value, high quality victims in 2H’19, and as such, all organizations need to be vigilant in protecting against this threat. Unless we can ensure no ransoms are paid, we will see this threat persist. Improving your organization’s ability to detect, respond, and recover from any ransomware will help us minimize this threat moving forward.  For more information on the latest trends in ransomware, you can watch my June 2019 Threat Webinar Series that covers the recent trends in ransomware.

Trend Micro will publish our 2020 predictions report later this year, but until then, stay rigorous in your defense against ransomware.

The post Where Will Ransomware Go In The Second Half Of 2019? appeared first on .

Trend Micro Named Best Company To Work For In Taiwan

Trend Micro prides itself on caring first about people – both in our external mission and internally with our employees. As this issue is close to the hearts of our executives, we are always very proud to be recognized by related awards.

The HR Asia Awards Taiwan recently named Trend Micro as one of their Best Companies to Work for in Asia in 2019.

Throughout nine countries, including Taiwan, China, Hong Kong, Philippines, Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia, HR Asia invited employees anonymously to assess their company based on corporate culture, personal experience and feelings to get a sense of corporate culture and identity.

As the results came in, Trend Micro averaged a higher score than any company and is awarded the Best Company to Work for in Taiwan. Winning this respectful award helps demonstrate Trend Micro as an open and adaptive corporate culture that works continuously to keep employees satisfied.

Stephy Ko, Director of Trend Micro Human Resources, reflects on the award saying, “establishing a cultural fit with new candidates is key to Trend Micro’s talent management.” When making the right selection for a new hire to come onboard, in addition to technical capabilities for the respective job, we focus heavily on their potential development within our corporate vision.

Winning Model

At Trend Micro, we focus on a formula for hiring and maintaining great people. The Performance = Potential – Interference Index is effectively carried out as Trend Micro believes that each individual has unlimited growth potential and self-governance.

To reflect this, it is important that management policies allow employees to “Be The Best Part of Yourself” by minimizing any obstacles that may be in the way of their development.

To ensure everyone’s voice is heard, Trend Micro has a check-in system that allows employees to share their own thoughts, called the World Café discussion model. The World Café discussion model generates various ideas and allows acceptance of the different opinions.

In addition, a separate Time Machine exercise lets employees reflect on difficult situations or doubts around the team’s direction directly to their management. This not only lets concerns be heard and discussed, but forces the management team to react immediately.

These exercises not only take place within the Taipei office management team, but stems from the very top with our CEO, Eva Chen. She is always passionate about new technical advancements and paying attention to customers’ feedback, but she also attends internal meetings to personally explain the company’s future and goals to increase understanding, cross department cooperation and resource integration.

What Employees Are Saying

Here are some statements about Trend Micro Taiwan based on employee feedback:

Open, diverse, and inclusive team spirit: Trend Micro encourages cross-department cooperation, along with supporting employees who desire to gain new skills or certifications. Questions from the survey related to hearing and responding to employee feedback also received higher than average scores.

Autonomous, active, and high recognition from employees: Trend Micro employees believe that they are working in a healthy corporate environment in which the company will lead them to achieve a greater future. Employees are confident that the company will provide any support they need for them to reach corporate goals, therefore they are willing to recommend Trend Micro as the Best Enterprise to others.

Mutual trust, assistance, and respect among teams: Trend Micro received high scores in each of the following sections, which lead to higher than the average scores, including encouraging employees to voice their opinions, trusting peers will provide assistance, fulfilling responsibilities, understanding teamwork, and respecting that everyone has their strengths and weaknesses.

We are proud to receive this award as it reflects how our employees talk about our company and how they feel about being a Trender.

Interested in joining the team? A full list of our global job postings can be found here: https://www.trendmicro.com/en_us/about/careers.html.

The post Trend Micro Named Best Company To Work For In Taiwan appeared first on .

How to Leverage DevOps and Automation to Bolster Security

Speed and security. Old-fashioned thinking contended that the two were incompatible; that high-velocity development and deployment of apps and software services invariably introduced higher levels of risk. However, it has become increasingly apparent that speed is a necessary aspect of security. The stakes are sky-high, with some estimates projecting that the annual cost of cybercrime […]… Read More

The post How to Leverage DevOps and Automation to Bolster Security appeared first on The State of Security.

SOX – Not Just for Foxes and Baseball; A Sarbanes-Oxley IT Compliance Primer

There are Red Sox, White Sox, and Fox in Socks. At the turn of the century, a new SOX entered our lexicon: The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002. This financial regulation was a response to large corporate misdeeds at the time, most notably Enron misleading its board through poor accounting practices and insufficient financial oversight. The […]… Read More

The post SOX – Not Just for Foxes and Baseball; A Sarbanes-Oxley IT Compliance Primer appeared first on The State of Security.

Ransomware As A Tool – LockerGoga

Ransomware authors keep experimenting with the development of payload in various dimensions. In the timeline of ransomware implementations, we have seen its evolution from a simple screen locker to multi-component model for file encryption, from novice approach to a sophisticated one. The Ransomware as a Tool has evolved in wild…

Why someone needs VPN?

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

What is VPN?

A VPN, or virtual private network, is a secure tunnel between your device and the internet. It is an encrypted connection which is used to protect your online traffic from snooping, interference, and censorship. It allows you to open secure communication channel from one network to another network over the internet. It extends a private network across a public network and enables users to send and receive data across shared or public networks as if their computing devices were directly connected to the private network.

Why someone needs VPN.

  • You have a remote workforce: You have a workforce or freelancer that works for you from remote location and wants to access your network regularly.

 

  • You encourage BYOD policy: BYOD (Bring your own device) policy reduces your infrastructure cost but it will increase the security risks.

 

  • Your employee travel to customer location: Your employee may travel to client location to close the deal or for business essentials. They need to access your private network from the client location and they may also have to work while traveling. Using public WiFi at such times on Airport or Hotels increases security risk.

 

  • You want to secure communication and browsing: Your employees may use unsecure web pages while browsing, potentially exposing sensitive data such as passwords and business details.

 

  • You have multiple branches: You may have multiple branches which you want to connect with each other without compromising on security. Also, you may want to share/access your private network resources over public network.

Benefits of VPN for your Business.

  • Enhanced data security for remote users: VPN provides a secure communication tunnel for your remote workforce. Your employees use this secure tunnel to access your private network resources as well as public network without compromising the security. It also secures your BYOD policies.

 

  • Encourage productivity: If your employees are aware about internet vulnerability, then they may be cautious about accessing the confidential private data from public network. VPN provides a secure means to access your private network while ensuring peace of mind for your employees.

 

  • Make your clients feel more secure: If you are collecting your customer’s data as business offering, then VPN helps to mitigate their worries by providing one more layer of security to build their confidence.

 

  • Geo Independence: Some countries restrict what you can access. And if you and your employees travel a lot, to complete your work your employees need to stay connected with your office and that time you need VPN.

Challenges with Remote Access

Even though VPN provides secure communication channel to your remote employees, they can misuse your organizational resources. They may use your internet bandwidth for their personal benefits. You need to restrict this kind of unwanted usage.

Seqrite UTM offering

 

Seqrite UTM has a provision to create Virtual Private Network in two scenarios.

  • Site to Site: A site-to-site VPN allows offices in multiple fixed locations to establish secure connections with each other over a public network such as the internet.
  • Remote access: Allows you to securely access your organization’s network over the Internet.

Seqrite UTM provides the following three types of VPN:

  • IPSec VPN: This VPN uses layer 3 IP security standard to create secure tunnels between the client and the server.
  • PPTP VPN: Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP) is a network protocol that enables the secure transfer of data from a remote client to a private enterprise server by creating a VPN across TCP/IP-based data networks. This VPN uses MPPE authentication for connection between client and server.
  • SSL VPN: This VPN uses SSL certificates and Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) for authentication and encryption of the tunnel between client and server.

Seqrite UTM also offers to enforce multiple policies over your remote VPN users, so that you can control their access. i.e.

  • Web policies
    • URL Categorization
    • Keyword control
    • File size policy
    • Black/White list URLs
  • Mail policies
    • Attachment control
    • Keyword blocking

Seqrite UTM also offers multiple security features over VPN traffic to secure your private network.

  • Antivirus
  • Antispam
  • Internet Quota Management

Seqrite UTM offers unrestricted VPN access to the customers….

 

The post Why someone needs VPN? appeared first on Seqrite Blog.

From the BH Consulting archives: fake invoicing scams are a constant security risk

Trawling through archives can quickly turn bittersweet when it hits home how little has changed between past and present. Looking back through the posts on BHconsulting.ie, invoice redirect scams have featured regularly since 2015. Fast forward to 2019: An Garda Siochana warned that this fraud cost Irish businesses almost €4.5 million this year. The global costs are even more sobering – but more of that later.

Back in 2015, we reported the Irish Central Bank was fleeced to the tune of €32,000. This fraud was a growing trend even then. Our blog quoted Brian Honan’s Twitter account: “Looks like a fake invoice scam we’ve seen with other clients”. The same post also referred to Ryanair, which was duped around the same time and reportedly lost around €4.5 million.

The impersonation game

Scams like this have many names, like CEO fraud, invoice redirection fraud, or business email compromise. Preventing them from being successful is about knowing how they work and spotting potential red flags. Brian blogged about this in December 2015, detailing scammers’ steps when executing CEO fraud and fake invoicing tricks.

“The premise of the attack is the criminals impersonate the CEO, or other senior manager, in an organisation (note some attacks impersonate a supplier to the targeted company). The criminals may do this by either hijacking the email account of the CEO or setting up fake email accounts to impersonate the CEO.”

Next, criminals send an email seeming to come from the CEO to a staff member with access to the company’s financial systems. The email will request that payment be made to a new supplier into a bank account under the criminals’ control. Alternatively, the email may claim the banking details for an existing supplier have changed and will request payments into a new bank account under the criminals’ control.

Video to beat the scam

In February 2017, we blogged about an educational video that Barclays Bank developed to raise awareness of fake invoicing and similar online scams.

 

Later that same year, we covered the issue again, twice in quick succession. The first of these posts, in August 2017, noted how legitimate email senders do themselves no favours by composing messages that “practically begged to be treated” as fakes. A genuine email from a large insurer was so poorly composed that it would have raised suspicion with anyone who’d been paying attention during security awareness training.

The process problem

Now we’re getting to the heart of the problem. Call it what you want, but this scam is a people and process failure. That was our conclusion from another post in August 2017, after news emerged of yet another victim in Ireland. “The effectiveness of an email scam like CEO fraud relies on one person in the target organisation having the means and the opportunity to make payments. It’s not a security problem that technology alone can fix.”

In the same blog, we noted how the FBI has been tracking this scam since 2013. The agency put collective losses between then and August 2017 at an eye-watering $5 billion. As we blogged then, ways to fix this issue don’t necessarily need to involve technical controls. For example, companies could make it compulsory to have a second signatory whenever they need to make payments over the value of a certain amount.

The risk of these frauds goes beyond just commercial businesses. As we noted in a blog from October 2017, local public sector authorities are also potential victims. The post referred to Meath County Council, which had €4.3 million stolen from it in a dummy invoicefraud.

Staying ahead of the fraudsters

Our August blog included FBI special agent Martin Licciardo’s very practical advice: “The best way to avoid being exploited is to verify the authenticity of requests to send money by walking into the CEO’s office or speaking to him or her directly on the phone. Don’t rely on e-mail alone.”

This brings us neatly back to 2015, where we provided similar advice to avoid falling victim to fake invoice scams. The steps include:

  • Ensure staff use secure and unique passwords for accessing their email
  • Ensure staff regularly change their passwords for their email accounts
  • Where possible, implement two factor authentication to access email accounts, particularly when accessing web-based email accounts
  • Have agreed procedures on how requests for payments can be made and how those requests are authorised. Consider using alternative means of communication, such as a phone call to trusted numbers, to confirm any requests received via email
  • Be suspicious of any emails requesting payments urgently or requiring secrecy
  • Implement technical controls to detect and block email phishing, spam, or spoofed emails
  • Update computers, smartphones, and tablets with the latest software and install up-to-date and effective anti-virus software. Criminals will look to compromise devices with malicious software in order to steal the login credentials for accounts such as email accounts
  • Provide effective security awareness training for staff.

The post From the BH Consulting archives: fake invoicing scams are a constant security risk appeared first on BH Consulting.

Get a Security System, not a Security Smorgasbord

If you’re still juggling a lot of cyber security tools, you’re not alone. Even as businesses make headway on trimming point-solutions, the recently released Cisco CISO Benchmark Report found that 14% of security leaders are managing more than 20 vendors. And 3% are dealing with over 50.

It’s easy for this to get out of hand. Customers tell us they acquired product A to solve problem A, product B to solve problem B, and so on. Before long, they’re overloaded with point-products that work independently and create tons of siloed data points. The products don’t draw connections between the data to help network administrators understand event context.

It’s almost like having alarm sensors from different security companies on every door to your home. It’s not better, simpler, or easier to manage.

Cisco is helping customers simplify their security ecosystems with powerful tools that work together to automatically thwart cyber attacks. The Cisco Integrated Security Portfolio includes Cisco Next-Generation Firewalls (NGFW) and Cisco Advanced Malware Protection (AMP) for Endpoints. These two tools automatically work together to provide comprehensive threat protection from the network edge to the endpoint. And using the Cisco Threat Response management console, you can take corrective action directly from a single interface.

The power of coordination

This powerful partnership starts with breach prevention. Stopping cyberattacks before they can embed themselves in your extended network is crucial. The Cisco NGFW and AMP for Endpoints both draw threat intelligence from the Cisco Talos Security Intelligence and Research Group to actively block threats in real time. Cisco NGFW monitors and blocks malicious traffic and files at the network perimeter, while Cisco AMP for Endpoints blocks malicious files at the endpoint point-of-inspection.

But what if an attacker or extremely sophisticated malware manages to creep inside? It can happen—cybercriminals are persistent, and malware gets smarter every day. This is where the coordination of Cisco NGFW and AMP can really make a difference. If NGFW sees a threat on the network, it’s contained there and blocked access to the endpoint. If AMP for Endpoints sees trouble on the endpoint, it is automatically quarantined there and blocked from traversing the network. Threat information and event data is shared amongst all Cisco security tools. The system works together so that if a threat is seen once, it is stopped everywhere. This provides continuous visibility across multiple attack vectors for rapid, automatic detection and response.

And the best part? This network and endpoint information is all aggregated in one place – the Cisco Threat Response management console. You can see all of this information in intuitive, configurable graphs for better situational awareness and quick conclusions. You can take corrective action and make decisions across your entire network from one management plane. You can block suspicious files, domains, and more—without having to log in to another product first. Want to see even more network or endpoint detail? One click and you’re inside Cisco AMP for Endpoints or the Cisco NGFW native console.

One proven, efficient system

We work with businesses every day to help them defend their networks and keep security management simple so their teams can be as efficient as possible. Cisco Next-Generation Firewalls and Cisco AMP for Endpoints, along with the Cisco Threat Response management console, offer breach prevention, continuous visibility, rapid detection, automated response, and efficient management from one console.


To learn more about Cisco NGFW and Cisco AMP for Endpoints, click here.

Using Amazon Web Services? Cisco Stealthwatch Cloud has all your security needs covered

Like many consumers of public cloud infrastructure services, organizations that run workloads in Amazon Web Services (AWS) face an array of security challenges that span from traditional threat vectors to the exploitation of more abstract workloads and entry points into the infrastructure.

This week at AWS re:Inforce, a new feature for AWS workload visibility was announced – AWS Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) Traffic Mirroring.  This feature allows for a full 1:1 packet capture of the traffic flowing within and in/out of a customer’s VPC environment.  This allows for vendors to provide visibility into the entire AWS traffic, and the ability to perform network and security analytics.  Cisco Steathwatch Cloud is able to fully leverage VPC Traffic Mirroring for transactional network conversation visibility, threat detection and compliance risk alerting.

Stealthwatch Cloud is actually unique in that we have had this level of traffic visibility and security analytics deep within an AWS infrastructure for a number of years now with our ability to ingest AWS VPC Flow Logs. VPC Flow Logs allow for a parallel level of visibility in AWS without having to deploy any sensors or collectors. This method of infrastructure visibility allows for incredibly easy deployment within many AWS VPCs and accounts at scale in a quick-to-operationalize manner with Stealthwatch Cloud’s SaaS visibility and threat detection solution. In fact, you can deploy Stealthwatch Cloud within your AWS environment in as little as 10 minutes!

Additionally, we are seeing that the majority of customer traffic in, out and within a VPC is encrypted. Stealthwatch Cloud is designed from the ground up to assume that the traffic is encrypted and to model every entity and look for threats leveraging a multitude of data points regardless of payload.

Stealthwatch Cloud takes the AWS visibility and protection capability even deeper by leveraging the AWS API to retrieve a wide array of telemetry from the AWS backend to tell a richer story of what’s actually going on throughout the AWS environment, far beyond just monitoring the network traffic itself. We illuminate API keys, user accounts, CloudTrail audit log events, instance tags, abstract services such as Redshift, RDS, Inspector, ELBs, Lambdas, S3 buckets, Nat Gateways and many other services many of our customers are using beyond just VPCs and EC2 instances.

Here is a screenshot from the customer portal with just a sample of the additional value Stealthwatch Cloud offers AWS customers in addition to our network traffic analytics:

The following screenshot shows how we are able to extend our behavioral anomaly detection and modeling far beyond just EC2 instances and are able to learn “known good” for API keys, user accounts and other entry points into the environment that customers need to be concerned about:

Combine this unique set of rich AWS backend telemetry with the traffic analytics that we can perform with either VPC Flow Logs or VPC Traffic Mirroring, and we are able to ensure that customers are protected regardless of where the threat vector into their AWS deployment may exist – at the VPC ingress/egress, at the AWS web login screen or leveraging API keys.  Cisco is well aware that our customers are using a broad set of services in AWS that stretch from virtual machines to serverless and Kubernetes.  Stealthwatch Cloud is able to provide the visibility, accountability and threat detection across the Kill Chain in any of these environments today.

Try today!

Interested in Cisco Stealthwatch Cloud? You can try it today with our no-risk, 60-day free trial. To sign up, click here or visit us on the AWS Marketplace.

 

 

This Week in Security News: Malvertising and Internet of Things Malware

Welcome to our weekly roundup, where we share what you need to know about the cybersecurity news and events that happened over the past few days. This week, learn about a new Internet of Things malware that’s bricked thousands of devices. Also, read about a ransomware family that’s using malvertising to direct victims to a RIG exploit kit.

Read on:

 

Shadowgate Returns to Worldwide Operations with Evolved Greenflash Sundown Exploit Kit

After almost two years of sporadic restricted activity, the ShadowGate campaign has started delivering cryptocurrency miners with a newly upgraded version of the Greenflash Sundown exploit kit, which has been spotted targeting global victims after primarily operating in Asia. 

Silex Malware Bricks IoT Devices with Weak Passwords

A new Internet of Things malware called Silex only operated for about a day, though it has already managed to quickly spread and wipe devices’ firmware, bricking thousands of IoT devices. 

Top Takeaways from AWS Security Chief Stephen Schmidt at re:Inforce 2019

Steven Schmidt’s keynote address at AWS re:Inforce touched on the current state of cloud security, building a security culture, tactical security tips and a road map of where the industry and technology are headed. 

AWS re:Inforce Warm-Up Episode

Mark Nunnikhoven gives key predictions and insights into trends at AWS re:Inforce, security in the top three major public cloud providers and the evolution of the cloud industry as a whole. 

Dell Urges Millions of Users to Patch Vulnerability in SupportAssist Tool

Dell released a security advisory that implored customers to update the vulnerable SupportAssist application in both business and home machines. The privilege escalation vulnerability can give hackers access to sensitive information and control over millions of Dell computers running Windows.

HTTPS Protocol Now Used in 58% of Phishing Websites

According to the Q1 2019 report from the Anti-Phishing Working Group (APWG), the Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) protocol tactic has been on the rise in phishing attacks, now used in 58% of phishing websites.  

Federal Cybersecurity Defenses are Critical Failures, Senate Report Warns

A 10-month review of 10 years of inspector general reports revealed that several Federal agencies responsible for safeguarding millions of Americans’ security, public safety and personal data have failed to apply even basic defenses to cyberattacks.

Kubernetes Vulnerability CVE-2019-11246 Discovered Due to Incomplete Updates from a Previous Flaw

Kubernetes announced the discovery of a high-severity vulnerability that, if exploited, could lead to a directory traversal that allows an attacker to use a malicious container to create or replace files in a user’s workstation. 

The IIoT Attack Surface: Threats and Security Solutions

Many manufacturing factories and energy plants have hundreds of IIoT devices that help streamline operations, but those facilities now also have to defend against new threats that take advantage of attack vectors and weaknesses in the technology. 

Facebook’s Bid to Quash Data Breach Lawsuit Dismissed by Judge

Facebook has failed in its attempt to prevent a lawsuit over a data breach impacting close to 30 million users from going to trial. A federal appeals court in San Francisco rejected the social media giant’s request to dismiss the court case out of hand.

Sodinokibi Ransomware Group Adds Malvertising as Delivery Technique

Attackers behind a ransomware family called Sodinokibi have used a variety of delivery vectors since April: malicious spam, vulnerable servers, managed server providers (MSPs) and now malvertising. The malicious advertisements were on the PopCash ad network, and certain conditions would redirect users to the RIG exploit kit. 

CVE-2019-8635: Double Free Vulnerability in Apple macOS Lets Attackers Escalate System Privileges and Execute Arbitrary Code

Trend Micro discovered and disclosed a double free vulnerability in macOS that, if successfully exploited, can allow an attacker to implement privilege escalation and execute malicious code on the system with root privileges.

Using Whitelisting to Remediate an RCE Vulnerability (CVE-2019-2729) in Oracle WebLogic

Trend Micro took a closer look at Oracle’s recent vulnerability CVE-2019-2729 to see how this class of vulnerability has been remediated — particularly via blacklisting or whitelisting — and why it has become a recurring security issue.

95,000 Delawareans Impacted in Data Breach that Lasted Nearly Nine Years

The personal data of roughly 95,000 Delawareans may have been compromised in a nine-year security breach at Dominion National, a large vision and dental insurer, according to Delaware’s Department of Insurance.

Do you feel that the IoT devices in your home are well-protected against cyberattacks? Share your thoughts in the comments below or follow me on Twitter to continue the conversation: @JonLClay. 

The post This Week in Security News: Malvertising and Internet of Things Malware appeared first on .

Three Network Security Questions with CEITEC’s CIO

Ireneo Demanarig is the Chief Information Officer at CEITEC S.A. located in Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. CEITEC is a microelectronics manufacturer that specializes in solutions such as automatic identification (RFID and smartcards), application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs) aimed at identifying animals, and much more.

Recently, I jumped on the phone with Ireneo and asked him three questions about his deployment of Trend Micro Network Defense products. And here is what he had to say.

Can you briefly describe your network protection?

We are using a Palo Alto Networks Next Gen Firewall and an F5 DNS at the perimeter with a TippingPoint IPS sitting in-line behind both of them. Off our core switch we are running Deep Discovery Inspector to protect us from advanced threats.  Some people consider using a Next Gen Firewall along with an IPS is redundant but that is not the case. They both protect my network in different ways.  The firewall protects my applications while my IPS helps keep the threats at bay.  A great example was WannaCry.  My next gen firewall missed it but my IPS was able to block every attempt.  I also know that if threats get past both of them I can rely on Deep Discovery Inspector to detect the threat as it moves in, out or across my network.

Toward the end of 2018 Trend Micro released Deep Discovery Network Analytics add-on module, which will correlate Deep Discovery Inspector events and display the entire attack lifecycle graphically for quicker response to threats.  CEITEC was one of the first customers to do a proof of concept on the new module.   

When you did the proof of concept with Deep Discovery Network Analytics what were you able to see?

The proof of concept was a real eye opener for us.  Deep Discovery Inspector generates a lot of events and we have a limited staff.  So we can only focus on the highest level detections.  We don’t have time to look at all events, much less try to connect the dots between multiple events.  The Deep Discovery Network Analytics showed us a number of detected attacks that were buried in the events.  Specifically it found a coin miner that had been hiding in our network.  Network Analytics showed us all the users that were being used in this attack and where they were calling out to.  Correlating all this info would have taken my team 3-4 months.

After purchasing Deep Discovery Network Analytics how long did it take to start seeing the value?

It was immediate.  We looked at our correlated events in the management console and could see quickly that we had a major breach impacting a large number of our users and servers.  Network Analytics showed us on a single chart where the breach started, how it spread, and all the users impacted.  With one click of a mouse we were able to see hundreds of Deep Discovery Inspector events pulled into a single graph.  This helped us understand not only the threat, but also how to respond appropriately to the attack.

Find out why CEITEC relies on Trend Micro to not only protect his network but also provide visibility and automation.

See the customer use case.

For more information on Deep Discovery Network Analytics checkout the data sheet or watch the video.

The post Three Network Security Questions with CEITEC’s CIO appeared first on .

Email technology and its security in nutshell

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

Email has become a necessity of day-to-day communication. We can realize the importance of email with the fact that the down-time of organization email server directly affects the organization’s productivity. Email has become most prominent and integral part of network system, hence one must know how to manage it and keep it secure. Let’s understand the email technology and its basic flow in nutshell.

1.1 How email works

                                             1.1 Diagram to illustrate basic email flow

 

MUA, also referred to as an email client, is a computer application that allows you to compose and send emails or fetch and read emails intended for you. MUA can be a web-based client which means that you can send and receive  emails  via  browser   (i.e. Gmail, Yahoo on Firefox, Chrome etc.) or it can be application- based client (i.e. Thunderbird, Outlook etc.). In order to send an email, the sender needs to compose an email, add recipient name, and click on Send button.

 

Once sender has composed an email and sent it, an email server is ready to receive and process it. Email server is a computer application that is listening on port 25 (Non-encrypted), 465(SSL/TLS), 587(STARTTLS). The email server receives email from the sender and forwards it for delivery. All outgoing emails are placed in a mail queue and in parallel the SMTP server does a query with the DNS server for its MX record in order to find out where the receiver’s email server is located. Once it finds the IP address of recipient email server, it will send the composed message to that IP. E.g. MX record for xyz.com is like mail1.xyz.com.

In an email queue, SMTP server will lookout for MX record and recipient validation. If server is not able to process that email it will place that email in deferred queue which is not going to deliver immediately and re-tries after some time for a few attempts before sending the failed acknowledgment to client. If it is validated and intended for local delivery, it will handover that email to local delivery agent or if it is intended for remote delivery it contacts other mail servers for relaying.

 

If that email is intended for remote delivery, it will relay that email to MTA. MTA is a software application that relays email from one node to another node using SMTP protocol. MTA receives the email from another MTA or a MUA. After receiving that email, it will add the “received” tag at the top of message header file and relay it to another MTA for further delivery. It is also known as relaying agent of email. For each mail, MTA processes it and keeps track of each and every activity and analyzes the list of recipients for the routing actions. It sends responses of non-delivery when a message does not reach its intended destination. A few open source MTAs are Exim, Postfix etc.

 

MDA is a software application that takes mail from MTA and is responsible for delivery of that email to the receiver’s mailbox. Upon final delivery, the Return- Path field is added to the envelope to keep record of return path. Some popular open source MDAs are Dovecot, Fetchmail etc.

 

MUA is a software application that fetches the email from POP3 server or IMAP server and loads that email from the user’s mail box to email client (i.e. Thunderbird, Outlook).

POP3 server listens on following ports:

  • Port 110 – Post Office Protocol for non-encrypted mail.
  • Port 995 – Post Office Protocol over SSL/TLS.

IMAP server listens on following ports:

  • Port 143 – Internet Message Access Protocol for non-encrypted mail.
  • Port 993 – Internet Message Access Protocol over SSL/TLS.

In nutshell,  The Mail Transport Agent (MTA), such as Postfix, Exim is responsible for sending email to the correct destination and handing over the mail to MDA.

The Mail Delivery Agent (MDA) such as Dovecot, Fetchmail receives mail from MTA and sends it into user’s mailbox.(Dovecot supports POP3 and IMAP protocols along with MDA functionality.)

The Mail User Agent (MUA) such as Thunderbird, Outlook is the email client that fetches the email from the user’s mailboxes and presents it to the user.

 

1.2 Security/Protection of Email server:

1.2.1 Scanning from threats

Scanning of emails before they reach the organization’s email server makes organization secure from the malicious activity. Proper scanning for Viruses, Spam, Spy-ware, Trojan horses, Phishing, Worms, Ransomware must be carried out. Email security/protection devices provide the facility to scan email file from the above threats.

1.2.2 Blacklisting of domain/email address

Blacklisting of email domains/ email addresses helps organization prevent receiving email from these malicious addresses or domain names.

1.2.3 Data leak prevention (DLP)

DLP helps organization prevent the leakage of sensitive or confidential information. Security devices check as per administrator’s customized policies at the gateway and accept or reject mail accordingly. Notifying such an activity to administrators would be an added advantage.

1.2.4 Content based blocking

Sometimes inappropriate content may flow through emails. Applying policies for inbound and outbound mail for file types, extension matching, keyword matching, and expression matching in both email body and email attachments reduces the flow of such an information.

1.2.5 Encrypted communication over SSL/TLS

Transport layer security (TLS) for encrypting/decryption can be provided for an email. Sending email in plain text can be intercepted and read by interceptor.

1.2.6 Verification of sender

To maintain the integrity in email communication, the sender should be a verified/legitimate entity. Pretty good privacy (PGP) let you digitally sign an encrypted document. This ensures that email coming to mailbox is not compromised.

Last but not the least, employee training also helps to reduce threats coming to or from the organization. A few points can be included in training.

  •  Never open the links from unknown senders and report to your manager/admin.
  • Do not open attachment if it is from unknown sender and report to manager/admin. If mail is from a known sender but looking suspicious, it is good to confirm before opening the mail.
  • Avoid connecting and accessing your email from public non-secure Wi-Fi connections.

The post Email technology and its security in nutshell appeared first on Seqrite Blog.

Catch a Ride Via Wearable

More often than not, commuters and travelers alike want to get to their destination quickly and easily. The advent of wearable payments helps make this a reality, as passengers don’t have to pull out a wallet or phone to pay for entry. Adding to that, users are quickly adopting wearable technology that has this payment technology embedded, causing transportation systems to take notice and adopt corresponding technology as a result. Unfortunately, there’s a chance this rapid adoption may catch the eye of cybercriminals as well.

Just last month, the New York City Subway system introduced turnstiles that open with a simple wave of a wearable, like an Apple Watch or Fitbit. Wearables may provide convenience and ease, but they also provide an open door to cybercriminals. With more connections to secure, there are more vectors for vulnerabilities and potential cyberthreats. This is especially the case with wearables, which often don’t have security built-in from the start.

App developers and manufacturers are hard-pressed to keep up with innovation, so security isn’t always top of mind, which puts user data at risk. As one of the most valuable things cybercriminals can get ahold of, the data stored on wearables can be used for a variety of purposes. These threats include phishing, gaining access to online accounts, or transferring money illegally. While the possibility of these threats looms, the adoption of wearables shows no sign of slowing down, with an estimated 1.1 billion in use by 2022. This means developers, manufacturers, and users need to work together in order to keep these handy gadgets secure and cybercriminals out.

Both consumers and transport systems need to be cautious of how wearables can be used to help, or hinder, us in the near future. Rest assured, even if cybercriminals utilize this technology, McAfee’s security strategy will continue to keep pace with the ever-changing threat landscape. In the meantime, consider these tips to stay secure while traveling to your destination:

  • Always keep your software and apps up-to-date.It’s a best practice to update software and apps when prompted to help fix vulnerabilities when they’re found.
  • Add an extra layer of security. Since wearables connect to smartphones, if it becomes infected, there is a good chance the connected smartphone will be impacted as well. Invest in comprehensive mobile security to apply to your mobile devices to stay secure while on-the-go.
  • Clear your data cache. As previously mentioned, wearables hold a lot of data. Be sure to clear your cache every so often to ensure it doesn’t fall into the wrong hands.
  • Avoid storing critical information. Social Security Numbers (SSN), bank account numbers, and addresses do not need to be stored on your wearable. And if you’re making an online purchase, do so on a laptop with a secure connection.
  • Connect to public Wi-Fi with caution. Cybercriminals can use unsecured public Wi-Fi as a foothold into a wearable. If you need to connect to public Wi-Fi, use a virtual private network, or VPN, to stay secure.

Interested in learning more about IoT and mobile security trends and information? Follow @McAfee_Home on Twitter, and ‘Like” us on Facebook.

The post Catch a Ride Via Wearable appeared first on McAfee Blogs.

BH Consulting in the media: supply chain security still a concern

The Huawei controversy has raised fundamental questions around supply chain security, Brian Honan has told Infosecurity Magazine. In a video interview recorded at Infosecurity Europe 2019 conference in London, BH Consulting’s CEO said the issue of technology containing alleged backdoors to enable spying has led to “interesting conversations” in the security community.

The question boils down to whether it’s possible to build secure systems if there’s no trust in the technology platform they’re built upon, Brian said. “Unless we actually build something ourselves from absolute scratch, we are relying on third parties, and how much trust can we give to those third parties? So the bigger issue becomes: how you secure your supply chain?”

For security professionals, securing their company’s supply chain needs a more rigorous due diligence process than asking vendors whether they have antivirus software on their PCs. It’s about “asking the right questions into the right levels, and digging deep into the technology, depending on what your requirements are,” Brian said.

Huawei to the danger zone

Noting the accusations that Huawei technology has security bugs, Brian said that the same is true of products from many other places including the US, UK or Europe. “There’s no such thing as 100% secure systems. Take the Intel chips that we have in all our servers: they have security bugs in them,” he said.

Emphasising that he wasn’t trying to defend Huawei, Brian said: “A lot of what we’re reading in the press and the media, there’s nothing to substantiate the claims behind it.” The larger question about whether any bugs are accidental, or deliberately placed backdoors that allow Government-level spying, is “outside the remit of our industry,” he said.

The chain

Even if a security professional decided not to use a certain brand of equipment in their network, there’s a question of what happens when their information travels elsewhere within their company’s external supply chain, or through its internet service provider. Instead, infosec professionals should focus on protecting information at rest or in transit, since the early internet engineers designed it to share information, not keep it secret. “We have been trying to build security on top of a very unsafe foundation. We need to look at ways of how we keep our data safe, no matter where it goes or how far it travels,” Brian said.

As for what’s next in security, Brian said regulations will stay at the forefront over the next year. “GDPR isn’t over. GDPR is the evolution of data protection laws that we had already… the regulations are still being enforced. We still have to continue looking after GDPR.”  Some of the earliest court cases relating to GDPR are due to conclude soon, with potentially large fines for offenders. He also said Brexit is “the elephant in the room”, given how it could affect the way that European companies deal with UK businesses, and vice versa.

Toys in the attic

The ePrivacy Regulation (ePR) will have a huge say in how companies embed cookies on their websites and how they communicate and market to customers. Regulations like the EU Cybersecurity Act look set to impose rules on IoT or ‘smart’ devices. Their security – or lack of it – has long been a thorny issue. Brian recently commented on this issue in an article for the Irish Times about smart toys and we’ve also blogged about it before on Security Watch.

Summing up the likely short-term developments in security, Brian said: “A lot of things in the next 12-24 months are going to have a big impact on our industry, and it’s where the regulators are going to play catch-up on the technology. It’s going to be interesting to see how those two worlds collide.” You can watch the 15-minute video here (free, but sign-in required).

Panel discussion at Infosecurity Europe 2019. From left: Peter Brown, Group Manager Technology Policy, UK ICO; Steve Wright, GDPR & CISO Advisor, Bank of England; Titta Tajwe, CISO, News UK; Deborah Haworth, Penguin Random House UK; and panel moderator Brian Honan, CEO of BH Consulting

Regulate

Also during Infosecurity Europe, Brian moderated a debate on dealing with complex regulations while ensuring privacy, security and compliance. It featured with data protection and security practitioners from the Bank of England, Penguin Random House UK, News UK and the UK Information Commissioner’s Office. Bank Info Security has a good writeup of some of the talking points. Its report noted that Brian focused the discussion on the broader regulatory landscape, including the updated EU ePrivacy Directive, while panellists and audience questions kept returning to GDPR.

The article noted how the panelists broadly agreed that regulations, including GDPR, helped to improve their organisation’s security posture. It quoted Titta Tajwe, CISO of News UK, who said: “With the EU GDPR, it really helped for executives to understand what needs to happen to protect the data of your customers. So it did allow the CISOs to get the budget they needed to do the work they’d already been asking for, for a long, long time.”

Photos used with kind permission of Mathew Schwartz.

The post BH Consulting in the media: supply chain security still a concern appeared first on BH Consulting.

This Week in Security News: Cyberespionage Campaigns and Botnet Malware

Welcome to our weekly roundup, where we share what you need to know about the cybersecurity news and events that happened over the past few days. This week, learn about a cyberespionage campaign targeting Middle Eastern countries and a botnet malware that infiltrates containers via exposed Docker APIs.

Read on:

Hackers Are After Your Personal Data – Here’s How to Stop Them

The latest FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) report paints an accurate picture of the scale of online threats and shows that consumers need to take urgent steps to protect their most sensitive identity and financial data from online attackers.

Mobile Cyberespionage Campaign ‘Bouncing Golf’ Affects Middle East

Trend Micro uncovered a cyberespionage campaign targeting Middle Eastern countries and named it “Bouncing Golf” based on the malware’s code in the package named “golf.” 

Trend Micro Partners with VIVOTEK to Enhance IP Cameras Security

Trend Micro announced it has blocked 5 million attempted cyberattacks against IP cameras in just five months. Through its strategic partnership with VIVOTEK, Trend Micro’s IoT security solutions are embedded in globally deployed IP cameras to provide superior protection.

AESDDoS Botnet Malware Infiltrates Containers via Exposed Docker APIs

Trend Micro details an attack type where an API misconfiguration in the open-source version of the popular DevOps tool Docker Engine-Community allows attackers to infiltrate containers and run a variant of the Linux botnet malware AESDDoS.

Ransomware Repercussions: Baltimore County Sewer Charges, 2 Medical Services Temporarily Suspended

A ransomware attack in May prevented the Baltimore City and County governments from mailing the annual water and sewage tax bills to its residents due to unverifiable accounts of abnormally low or no water consumption in 2018. 

Hackers Have Carried Out 12 Billion Attacks Against Gaming Sites in 17 Months

Hackers have targeted the gaming industry by carrying out 12 billion credential stuffing attacks against gaming websites in 17 months, according to a new report by internet delivery and cloud services company Akamai. 

Critical Linux and FreeBSD Vulnerabilities Found by Netflix, Including One That Induces Kernel Panic

A Netflix researcher uncovered four critical vulnerabilities within the TCP implementations on Linux and FreeBSD kernels that are related to the minimum segment size (MSS) and TCP Selective Acknowledgement (SACK) capabilities. 

New Oracle WebLogic Zero-day Vulnerability Allows Remote Attacks Without Authentication

Oracle published an out-of-band security alert advisory on CVE-2019-2729, a zero-day deserialization vulnerability that could allow remote attackers to execute arbitrary code on targeted servers.

Xenotime, Hacking Group Behind Triton, Found Probing Industrial Control Systems of Power Grids in the US

The hacking group, Xenotime, behind intrusions targeting facilities in oil and gas industries has started probing industrial control systems (ICSs) of power grids in the U.S. and the Asia-Pacific region, researchers reported.

Data Breach Forces Medical Debt Collector AMCA to File for Bankruptcy Protection

US medical bill and debt collector American Medical Collection Agency (AMCA) has filed for bankruptcy protection in the aftermath of a disastrous data breach that resulted in the theft of information from clients including Quest Diagnostics, LabCorp, BioReference Laboratories and more.

Cryptocurrency Mining Botnet Arrives Through ADB and Spreads Through SSH

Trend Micro observed a new cryptocurrency mining botnet that arrives via open ADB (Android Debug Bridge) ports and can spread from an infected host to any system that has had a previous SSH connection with the host.

Hacker Groups Pounce on Millions of Vulnerable Exim Servers

Multiple groups are launching attacks against exposed Exim mail servers, trying to exploit a vulnerability that could give them permanent root access.

Florida City to Pay $600K Ransom to Hacker Who Seized Computer Systems Weeks Ago

Riviera Beach is paying $600,000 in Bitcoins to a hacker who took over local government computers after an employee clicked on a malicious email link three weeks ago.

Are you up-to-date on the best ways to lower the risk of hackers accessing your personal data? Share your thoughts in the comments below or follow me on Twitter to continue the conversation: @JonLClay.

The post This Week in Security News: Cyberespionage Campaigns and Botnet Malware appeared first on .

Beware! Email attachments can make you victim of spear phishing attacks

In the last few months, we’ve seen a sudden increase in Spear Phishing attacks. Spear phishing is a variation of a phishing scam wherein hackers send a targeted email to an individual which appears to be from a trusted source. In this type of attack, the attacker uses social engineering tricks and some…

Upcoming cybersecurity events featuring BH Consulting

Here, we list upcoming events, conferences, webinars and training featuring members of the BH Consulting team presenting about cybersecurity, risk management, data protection, GDPR, and privacy. 

ISACA Last Tuesday: Dublin, 25 June

BH Consulting COO Valerie Lyons will present a talk on building an emotionally intelligent security team, and the role that leadership plays in influencing team style. It will be an interactive and fun session with several takeaways and directions to free online tools to help analyse team member roles. The evening event will take place at the Carmelite Community Centre on Aungier Street in Dublin 2. Attendance is free; to register, visit this link

Data Protection Officer certification course: Vilnius/Maastricht June/July

BH Consulting contributes to this specialised hands-on training course that provides the knowledge needed to carry out the role of a data protection officer under the GDPR. This course awards the ECPC DPO certification from Maastricht University. Places are still available at the courses scheduled for June and July, and a link to book a place is available here

IAM Annual Conference: Dublin, 28-30 August

Valerie Lyons is scheduled to speak at the 22nd annual Irish Academy of Management Conference, taking place at the National College of Ireland. The event will run across three days, and its theme considers how business and management scholarship can help to solve societal challenges. For more details and to register, visit the IAM conference page

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Podcast Two Year Anniversary – The Top 10 Episodes

Two years ago on June 9th, 2017 I released the first episode of Security In Five. Here we are two years later, 500+ episodes recorded and no signs of slowing down. The podcast’s longevity and the energy to keep up the dail episode schedule is all because of the listeners and feedback I have received. […]

The post Podcast Two Year Anniversary – The Top 10 Episodes appeared first on Security In Five.

Security awareness training: a constant in a changing world

There are two schools of thought when it comes to users and cybersecurity. Some people working in the industry think of users as the weakest link. We prefer to see them as the first line of defence. Cybersecurity training programmes can address staff shortcomings in knowledge, promote positive behaviour and equip non-experts with enough information to be able to spot potential threats or scams.

In our previous post, we looked back through the BH Consulting blog archives to trace the evolution of ransomware. This time, we’ve gone digging for a less technical threat. Instead, it’s a constant challenge for any infosec professional: security awareness.

Training shortfall

Back in April 2014, we reported on a survey which found that just 44 per cent of employees received cybersecurity training. David Monahan, research director with Enterprise Management Associates, summed up the issue perfectly:

“Without training, people will click on links in email and release sensitive information in any number of ways. In most cases they don’t realise what they are doing is wrong until a third-party makes them aware of it. In reality, organisations that fail to train their people are doing their business, their personnel and, quite frankly, the Internet as a whole a disservice because their employees’ not only make poor security decisions at work but also at home on their personal computing devices as well.”

One year later, little had changed. In a post from April 2015, Lee Munson covered a survey by SpectorSoft of 772 IT security professionals. “Not only do many firms have staff who lack even a basic level of security awareness they often, as the report concludes, have poorly trained staff too, with many of the survey respondents citing a lack of expertise as being a significant problem in terms of defending against insider threats.”

Accidents will happen

At least the post acknowledged that damage can sometimes be the result of accidental actions. Too often, security vendors throw around phrases like ‘insider threat’ that, intentionally or not, tar all user actions as malicious.

But could it be that some people are just naturally more susceptible to spilling the beans? Another post from April 2015 reported on a study from Iowa State University that claimed to spot which people are likely to fall for social engineering tricks that cybercriminals often use. It did this by analysing brainwaves. People with low levels of self control were more likely to reveal confidential information like company secrets, the researcher observed.

That’s not, admittedly, an approach many companies could take in practice, but it couldn’t hurt to ask some targeted questions at interview stage.

In June of that year, a UK Government survey found that the number of breaches had increased year on year. The findings also showed that more businesses large and small were providing ongoing security awareness training to their staff compared to the previous year. Despite that, many of the organisations surveyed also saw an increase in staff-related security breaches during the same period.

Must try harder

As Lee Munson wrote: “While budgets and technical controls obviously come into play and affect an organisation’s ability to protect its digital assets, the human aspect still appears to be the area requiring the most work. Staff training and awareness programmes are known to be effective but many companies do not appear to have leveraged them to their full potential.”

Another post put the need for cybersecurity training and awareness squarely into perspective. Security company Proofpoint showed the extent to which attackers aim for an organisation’s human resources rather than its technical defences. Its report found that people still click on 4 per cent of malicious links they find in emails. BH Consulting’s regular blogger Lee Munson found this to be a surprisingly high figure. “Attackers employ psychology to improve the chances of their attacks succeeding,” he wrote.

And if at first you don’t succeed? A post from early in 2016 suggested a radical approach to poor security behaviour: disciplinary measures. The blog quoted a survey by Nuix which determined that human behaviour was the biggest threat to an organisation’s security. It said corporations would tolerate risky behaviour less, and would likely penalise staff who “invite a data breach”. That’s one way to “encourage” people to show better security behaviour.

Communication breakdown

Lee rightly raised the question of whether companies have sufficiently communicated their security policies and procedures in the first place. “So, if companies (including yours) are going to penalise employees for not being up to date on all of their security policies, who is going to police the writing and dissemination of those documents in the first place?”.

The message is that security policies need to be clear, so that even a non-technical member of staff can:

  • Understand them
  • Act on them
  • Remember them.

Taken as a whole, the blogs show that while cybersecurity training is a valuable exercise, it’s got to be delivered in a way that the intended audience will understand.

The post Security awareness training: a constant in a changing world appeared first on BH Consulting.

Ransomware remains a risk, but here’s how you can avoid infection

It’s been a case of good news/bad news when it comes to ransomware recently. New figures from Microsoft suggest that Ireland had one of the lowest rates of infection in the world in 2018. But in early May, a sophisticated strain of ransomware called MegaCortex began spiking across Ireland, the US, Canada, Argentina, France, Indonesia and elsewhere.

Data from Microsoft’s products found that malware and ransomware attacks declined by 60 per cent in Ireland between March and December 2018. Just 1.26 per cent reported so-called ‘encounter rates’, giving Ireland the lowest score in the world.

Hoorays on hold

Don’t break out the bunting just yet, though. As BH Consulting’s CEO Brian Honan told the Daily Swig, the risk for businesses hasn’t disappeared the way it seems. One explanation for the reduced infection rates could be that 2017 happened to be a banner year for ransomware. In that context, that year’s global WannaCry and NotPetya outbreaks skewed the figures and by that reasoning, the ‘fall’ in 2018 is more likely just a regression to the mean.

Security company Sophos analysed MegaCortex and found it uses a formula “designed to spread the infection to more victims, more quickly.” The ransomware has manual components similar to Ryuk and BitPaymer but the adversaries behind MegaCortex use more automated tools to carry out the ransomware attack, which is “unique”, said Sophos.

History lesson

The risk of ransomware is still very much alive for many organisations, so we’ve combed through our blog archives to uncover some key developments. The content also includes tips and advice to help you stay secure.

In truth, ransomware isn’t a new threat, as a look back through our blog shows. New strains keep appearing, but it’s clear from earlier posts that some broad trends have stayed the same. As Brian recalled in 2014, many victims chose to pay because they couldn’t afford to lose their data. He pointed out that not everyone who parts with their cash gets their data back, which is still true today. “In some cases they not only lose their data but also the ransom money too as the criminals have not given them the code to decrypt it,” he said.

The same dynamic held true in subsequent years. In 2015, Lee Munson wrote that 31 per cent of security professionals would pay if it meant getting data back. It was a similar story one year later. A survey found that 44 per cent of British ransomware victims would pay to access their files again. Lee said this tendency to pay explains ransomware’s popularity among criminals. It’s literally easy money. For victims, however, it’s a hard lesson in how to secure their computer.

Here’s a quick recap of those lessons for individuals and businesses:

  • Keep software patched and up to date
  • Employ reputable antivirus software and keep it up to date
  • Backup your data regularly and most importantly verify that the backups have worked and you can retrieve your data
  • Make staff and those who use your computers aware of the risks and how to work securely online

Preventative measures

By taking those preventative steps, victims of a ransomware infection are in a better position to not pay the ransom. As Brian said in the post: “It doesn’t guarantee that they will get their data back in 100 per cent of cases, and payment only encourages criminals. We have also seen that once victims pay to have their data decrypted, they’re often targeted repeatedly because criminals see them as a soft touch.”

Fortunately, as 2016 wore on, there was some encouraging news. Law enforcement and industry collaborated on the No More Ransom initiative, combining the resources of the Dutch National Police, Europol, Intel Security and Kaspersky Lab. Later that year, BH Consulting was one of 20 organisations accepted on to the programme which expanded to combat the rising tide of infections.

The main No More Ransom website, which remains active today, has information about how the malware works and advice on ransomware protection. It also has free ransomware decryptor tools to help victims unlock their infected devices. Keys are available for some of the most common ransomware variants.

Steps to keeping out ransomware

By 2017, ransomware was showing no signs of stopping. Some variants like WannaCry caused havoc across the healthcare sector and beyond. In May of that year, as a wave of incidents showed no signs of letting up, BH Consulting published a free vendor-neutral guide to preventing ransomware. This nine-page document was aimed at a technical audience and included a series of detailed recommendations such as:

  • Implement geo-blocking for suspicious domains and regions
  • Review backup processes
  • Conduct regular testing of restore process from backup tapes
  • Review your incident response process
  • Implement a robust cybersecurity training programme
  • Implement network segmentation
  • Monitor DNS logs for unusual activity.

The guide goes into more detail on each bullet point, and is available to download from this link.

Infection investigation

Later that year, we also blogged about a digital forensics investigation into a ransomware infection. It was a fascinating in-depth look at the methodical detective work needed to trace the source, identify the specific malware type and figure out what had triggered the infection. (Spoiler: it was a malicious advert.)

Although ransomware is indiscriminate by nature, looking back over three years’ worth of blogs shows some clear patterns. As we noted in a blog published in October 2017, local government agencies and public bodies seem to be especially at risk. Inadequate security practices make it hard to recover from an incident – and increase the chances of needing to pay the criminals.

Obviously, that’s an outcome no-one wants. That’s why all of these blogs share our aim of giving practical advice to avoid becoming another victim. Much of the steps involve simple security hygiene such as keeping anti malware tools updated, and performing regular virus scans and backups. In other words, basic good practice will usually be enough to keep out avoidable infections. Otherwise, as Brian is fond of quoting, “those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”.

The post Ransomware remains a risk, but here’s how you can avoid infection appeared first on BH Consulting.

CVE-2019-11815: Experts discovered a privilege escalation vulnerability in the Linux Kernel

Red Hat engineers and experts discovered a memory corruption vulnerability in Linux kernel, which is basically a flaw while implementation of RDS (Remote desktop Protocol) over TCP. This flaw has affected Red Hat, Ubuntu, Debian and SUSE and security advisories have been issued for all. This flaw could enable an…

PayPal’s Beautiful Demonstration of Extended Validation FUD

PayPal's Beautiful Demonstration of Extended Validation FUD

Sometimes the discussion around extended validation certificates (EV) feels a little like flogging a dead horse. In fact, it was only September that I proposed EV certificates are already dead for all sorts of good reasons that have only been reinforced since that time. Yet somehow, the discussion does seem to come up time and again as it did following this recent tweet of mine:

Frankly, I think this is more a symptom of people coming to grips with the true meaning of SSL (or TLS) than it is anything changing with the way certs are actually issued, but I digress. The ensuing discussion after that tweet reminded me that I really must check back in on what I suspect may be the single most significant example of why EV has become little more than a useless gimmick today. It all started on stage at NDC Sydney in September, more than 8 months ago now. Here's the exact moment deep-linked in the recorded video:

Well that was unexpected. I came off stage afterwards and sat down with Scott Helme to delve into it further, whereupon we found behaviour that you can still see today at the time of writing. Here's PayPal in Firefox:

PayPal's Beautiful Demonstration of Extended Validation FUD

You can clearly see the green EV indicator next to the address bar in Firefox, but load it up in Chrome and, well...

PayPal's Beautiful Demonstration of Extended Validation FUD

Now, you may have actually spotted in the video that the cert was issued by "DigiCert SHA2 Extended Validation Server CA" which would imply EV. It also the same cert being issued to both Firefox and Chrome too, here's a look at it in both browsers (note that the serial number and validity periods match up):

PayPal's Beautiful Demonstration of Extended Validation FUD
PayPal's Beautiful Demonstration of Extended Validation FUD

The reason we're seeing the EV indicator in Firefox and not in Chrome has to do with the way the certificates chain in the respective browsers and again, here's Firefox then Chrome:

PayPal's Beautiful Demonstration of Extended Validation FUD
PayPal's Beautiful Demonstration of Extended Validation FUD

Whilst "DigiCert SHA2 Extended Validation Server CA" is the same in each browser, the upstream chain is then different with Firefox and Chrome both seeing different "DigiCert High Assurance EV Root CA" certs (even though they're named the same) and Chrome obviously then chaining up another couple of hops from there. But frankly, the technical explanation really isn't the point here, the point is that we're now nearly 8 months in which can only mean this:

PayPal really doesn't care that the world's most popular browser no longer displays the EV visual indicator.

And that's all EV ever really had going for it! (Note: yes, I know there can be regulatory requirements for EV in some jurisdictions, but let's not confuse that with it actually doing anything useful.) The entire value proposition put forward by the commercial CAs selling EV is that people will look for the indicator and trust the site so... it's pretty obvious that's not happening with PayPal.

Furthermore, as I've said many times before, for EV to work people have to change their behaviour when they don't see it! If someone stands up a PayPal phishing site, for example, EV is relying on people to say "ah, I was going to enter my PayPal credentials but I don't see EV therefore I won't". That's how EV "stops phishing" (according to those selling the certs), yet here we are with a site that used to have EV and if it ever worked then it was only by people knowing that PayPal should have it. So what does it signal now that it's no longer there? Clearly, that people aren't turning away due to its absence.

And finally, do you reckon PayPal is the sort of organisation that has the resources to go out and get another EV cert that would restore the visual indicator if need be? Of course they are! Have they? No, because it would be pointless anyway because nobody actually changes their behaviour in its absence!

It's a dead duck, let's move on.

Security roundup: May 2019

We round up interesting research and reporting about security and privacy from around the web. This month: password practice, GDPR birthday, c-suite risk, and further reading for security pros.

Passwords: a good day to try hard

No self-respecting security pro would use easy passwords, but could they say the same for their colleagues (i.e. everyone else)? The answer is no, according to the UK National Cyber Security Centre. It released a list of the 100,000 most hacked passwords, as found in Troy Hunt’s ‘Have I Been Pwned’ data set of breached accounts. Unsurprisingly, ‘123456’ topped the list. A massive 23 million accounts use this flimsy string as “protection” (in the loosest possible sense of the word). Next on the list of shame was the almost as unimaginative ‘123456789’, ‘qwerty’, ‘password’ and 1111111.

The NCSC released the list for two reasons: firstly to prompt people to choose better passwords. Secondly, to allow sysadmins to set up blacklists to block people in their organisations from choosing any of these terrible passwords for themselves. The list is available as a .txt file here and the agency blogged about the findings to give more context. Help Net Security has a good summary of the study. The NCSC published the research in the buildup to World Password Day on May 2, which Euro Security Watch said should be every day.

WP Engine recently performed its own analysis of 10 million compromised passwords, including some belonging to prominent (and anonymised) victims. It makes a useful companion piece to the NCSC study by looking at people’s reasons for choosing certain passwords.

Encouraging better security behaviour through knowledge is one part of the job; effective security controls are another. In April, Microsoft said it will stop forcing password resets for Windows 10 and Windows Server because forcing resets doesn’t improve security. CNet’s report of this development noted Microsoft’s unique position of influence, given its software powers almost 80 per cent of the world’s computers. We recently blogged about what the new FIDO2 authentication standard could mean for passwords. Better to use two-factor authentication where possible. Google’s Mark Risher has explained that 2FA offers much more effective protection against risks like phishing.

GDPRversary getting closer

Almost one year on from when the General Data Protection Regulation came into force, we’re still getting to grips with its implications. The European Data Protection Supervisor, Giovanni Buttarelli, has weighed in on the state of GDPR adoption. He covered many areas in an interview with Digiday, including consent, fines, and legitimate interest. One comment we liked was how falling into line with the regulation is an ongoing activity, not a one-time target to hit. “Compliance is a continued working progress for everyone,” he said.

The European Data Protection Board (formerly known as the Article 29 Working Group) recently issued draft guidance on an appropriate legal basis and contractual obligations in the context of providing online services to data subjects. This is a public consultation period that runs until May 24.

The EDPB is also reportedly planning to publish accreditation requirements this summer. As yet, there are no approved GDPR certification schemes or accreditation bodies, but that looks set to change. The UK regulator recently published its own information about certification and codes of conduct.

Meanwhile, Ireland’s Data Protection Commission has started a podcast called Know Your Data. The short episodes have content that mixes information for data controllers and processors, and more general information for data subjects (ie, everyone).

Breaching the c-suite

Senior management are in attackers’ crosshairs as never before, and 12 times more likely to be targeted in social engineering incidents than in years past. That is one of the many highlights from the 2019 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report. Almost seven out of ten attacks were by outsiders, while just over a third involved internal parties. Just over half of security breaches featured hacking; social engineering was a tactic in 33 per cent of cases. Errors were the cause of 21 per cent of breaches, while 15 per cent were attributed to misuse by authorised users.

Financial intent was behind 12 per cent of all the listed data breaches, and corporate espionage was another motive. As a result, there is a “critical” need for organisations to make all employees aware of the potential threat of cybercrime, Computer Weekly said. ThreatPost reported that executives are six times more likely to be a target of social engineering than a year ago.

Some sites like ZDNet led with another finding: that nation-state attackers are responsible for a rising proportion of breaches (23 per cent, up from 12 per cent a year ago). It also highlighted the role of system admin issues that subsequently led to breaches in cloud storage platforms. Careless mistakes like misconfiguration and publishing errors also left data at risk of access by cybercriminals.

The Verizon DBIR is one of the most authoritative sources of security information. Its content is punchy, backed by a mine of informative stats to help technology professionals and business leaders plan their security strategies. The analysis derives from 41,000 reported cybersecurity incidents and 2,000 data breaches, featuring contributions from 73 public and private organisations across the globe, including Ireland’s Irisscert. The full report and executive summary are free to download here.

Links we liked

Challenge your preconceptions: a new paper argues cybersecurity isn’t important. MORE

An unfortunate trend that needs to change: security pros think users are stupid. MORE

It’s time to panic about privacy, argues the New York Times in this interactive piece. MORE

Want a career in cybersecurity, or know someone who does? Free training material here. MORE

NIST has developed a comprehensive new tool for finding flaws in high-risk software. MORE

NIST also issued guidelines for vetting the security of mobile applications. MORE

Cybersecurity threats: perception versus reality as reported by AT&T Security. MORE

Here’s a technical deep dive into how phishing kits are evolving, courtesy of ZScaler. MORE

A P2P flaw exposes millions of IoT security cameras and other devices to risks. MORE

A new way to improve network security by analysing compressed traffic. MORE

 

The post Security roundup: May 2019 appeared first on BH Consulting.

DevSecOps Podcast Episodes Recap

The week of April 15th I dedicated every Security In Five podcast episode to DevSecOps and the push to move security left. I was motivated to talk about this push because it’s a concept and challenge I deal with almost daily with my own projects and working with clients. DevSecOps, or DevOps if you are […]

The post DevSecOps Podcast Episodes Recap appeared first on Security In Five.

How To Set Your Facebook Settings To Keep Your Profile Secure And Private

Facebook is the primary social network platform right now and you need make sure your account is secured properly and your profile is not wide open to the public. This post is a refresher for you to go in and review your settings. On the left side you will see the menu items, the details […]

The post How To Set Your Facebook Settings To Keep Your Profile Secure And Private appeared first on Security In Five.

The Most Common Phishing Attacks – An Inforgraphic

This infographic covers the most common phishing attacks. This graphic does a good job on covering all the vectors a phishing attempt could occur from email, text messages, phones calls to USB drives. Phishing is one of the most prevelant cyberattacks and one of the most successful for hackers to pull off. It’s important to […]

The post The Most Common Phishing Attacks – An Inforgraphic appeared first on Security In Five.

Best Cybersecurity Search Firms & Recruiters 2019

As cybersecurity is becoming more and more popular each day it’s also important to mention that there is a shortage of skilled people within the industry. Many recruiters create specific cybersecurity departments so they can stay competitive and fill the gap. According to the Forbes, it is expected that cybersecurity market will hit $170 billion by 2020 and cybersecurity jobs are expected to reach 6 million by the end of 2019. It’s not a secret that the rapid growth rate of the industry requires a professional approach from some of the best infosec recruiters.

In a recent interview, Karla Jobling from BeecherMadden (a top UK cybersecurity recruiter) reveals that at first cybersecurity companies wanted to hire as many people as possible. However, now they are more concentrated on how to find not many, but just the right people for the right position. It is extremely important for a recruiter to match the candidate’s expectations with the requirement and the corporate culture of the client company.

List of best cybersecurity search firms for 2019

Shield Security Recruiters

Shield Security Recruiters
A leading global recruiting firm focuses in the Cyber Security industry in USA, Europe, APAC and LATAM.
Sheild Security Recruiters have the global expertise and knowledge to bring you the quality Cyber Security candidates you deserve, expect and need.

3P&T Security Recruiting3P&T Security Recruiting

3P&T has been sucessfull in recruiting people in various areas of cybersecurity. They are one of the best cybersecurity recruiters in the area of Seattle, USA. A great UK-based company which is extremly trusted among the infosec professionals in Europe They are always ready to provide expert advices to their clients.

Alta Associates

Adeptis Group

Alta Associates is based in New Jersey, USA and performs custom searches for the most senior level executive roles in the cyber industry. They also deal with risk management, privacy, compliance and governance.

AcuminAcumin Consulting

The company is based in London, but they operate internationally with a special focus on cybersecurity and risk management recruitment.They specialize in providing key infosec and law enforcement skills across all sectors.

Blackmere ConsultingBlackmere Consulting

This company is focusing on quality, speed and cost effectiveness to provide a more specialized approach to source the best talents in cybersecurity. Their services include direct hire, consulting or hiring on a contract for a specific project.

Caliber Security PartnersCaliber Security Partners

They specialty is recruiting and staff augmentation in the short or the long term. They establish trusting relationships with their clients to identify their true neeeds of talent. Another good addition to our cybersecurity search firms list.

Computer FuturesComputer Futures

The company provides a platform both for companies to look for potential talents and for people who are looking for a career in the cybersecurity industry as well. They have a dedicated team of cyber security and business risk that provides individiual solutions.

Cyber ExecCyber Exec

Cyber Exec is headquartered in the Houston, Texas, but operates internationally also in cities like Tokyo or London for example. They definitely know how to find the best C-level employeees.

CISORecruiterCISORecruiter

As the name suggests this company are a team of professionals that will take care of your needs and provide you with the right people for your cybersec company.

Cyber Security Recruiters

This company is among the best cybersecurity search firms in the state of Minnesota, USA and is in bussiness since 2009.

Cyber 360 Inc.

Another top cybersecurity recruiters that work together with some of the biggest cybersecurity leaders and their teams to hire skilled information security professionals.

InfoSec PeopleInfosec People

The company was launched in 2008 and is currently one of the leaders on the cybersecurity recruitment companies in the UK. You can easily find a role, find people or find an advice on their website.

KnownFourKnownFour

Another UK company with owners that has been into international recruiting services for more than 20 years. Their information security department works closely with the experts to provide the perfect solution to their clients.

Redbud Cyber Security

Redbud has a national reach in the USA and is looking to source all kind of positions from Analysts or Engineers to CISOs. They are well known within the industry and can provide some of the best cyber talents.

Security Recruiter

The firm serves clients globally in the fields of information security, corporate security, risk management, governance, compliance and business intelligence.

This was our latest list of cybersecurity search firms. We hope that you will find what you need. Feel free to contact us if you want to add a company to our list.

The post Best Cybersecurity Search Firms & Recruiters 2019 appeared first on CyberDB.

The New Cyber Strategy Frees Up U.S. Cyber Muscle. How Will It Be Flexed?

The White House has recently published its new National Cyber Strategy, rescinding an Obama-era memorandum Presidential Policy Directive-20 (PPD-20) that laid forth the process by which the United States would undertake cyber attacks against cyber foes, to include foreign state actors.  The Strategy consists of four primary pillars designed to guide how the United States will undergo defensive, and perhaps more importantly, offensive actions in order to preserve its interests in cyberspace.  Per the Strategy, the four pillars are:

  • Protect the American People, the Homeland, and the American Way of Life. The themes in the first pillar focus on key aspects of U.S. homeland security to include critical infrastructure protection, securing federal networks, supply chain management, third party contractors, and improving incident reporting to mitigate the threat of cyber crime.
  • Promote American Prosperity. This pillar focuses on technology that supports the digital infrastructure.  The themes of innovation, protecting intellectual property, designing and implementing next generation infrastructure, and developing and sustaining workforce capability to support the talent pipeline.
  • Preserve Peace through Strength. The third pillar focuses on responsible state behavior in cyberspace and implementing deterrent strategies to influence state behavior. Such activities include building a credible deterrence strategy, imposing consequences to hostile actors, and countering influence operations.
  • Advance American Influence. The fourth pillar addresses collaborating with other governments in order to make the Internet safer and more reliable.  Focus in on a multi-stakeholder approach involving government and private sector to come to consensus on topics such as Internet freedom and Internet governance.

The Strategy follows in line with the President’s May 2018 Executive Order that called for government agency cybersecurity audits designed to identify “areas of improvement, or areas where specific legislation would be needed.”  The EO primarily focused on defensive aspects of the larger cyber umbrella, focusing on federal agencies need to adopt the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Framework for Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity, largely considered the gold standard for security guidelines.  The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has frequently given poor marks for cyber security to U.S. government agencies, and as observed in the recent U.S. State Department breach, challenges persist in improving agency cyber security postures.

Nevertheless, the part of the Strategy that has garnered attention – and correctly so – is the language that clearly removes the tethers that has traditionally restrained the United States from engaging in offensive cyber actions.  Where PPD-20 appeared to be hindered by interagency wrangling, the new Strategy makes it clear that the United States is unburdening itself from such bureaucratic wrangling positioning itself to launch counter attacks quickly and resolutely.  This shift in U.S. cyber policy comes at a time when Russian suspected involvement in the 2016 U.S. elections failed to elicit a “forceful response” either by the then-Obama or the current Trump Administrations, a frequent criticism levied by politicians.

There have been several iterations of a national cyber security strategy over the last decade.  The Clinton Administration had its National Plan for Information Systems, the Bush Administration had its National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace, and the Obama Administration had its Cybersecurity National Action Plan.  While there have been consistent themes in these strategies (e.g., an open and free Internet, the focus on critical infrastructure protection), the latest Strategy shows a more progressive evolution of thinking on how the cyber landscape has changed and how the United States needs to adapt to it.  Noticeably absent in the title is “security”; it is only the National Cyber Strategy, which accurately conveys the fact that “security” cannot be addressed independently without addressing how offensive actions can play a supporting role.  This is not to condemn or criticize past administrations’ strategies; cyber conflict has been evolutionary, and as such, requires each subsequent administration to review the prior one to ensure that it meets the needs and conditions of its environment.

And indeed, as cyber attacks have grown more prolific and increasingly severe, trying to figure out how to use counter attacks as punishment, retaliation, deterrence, or a combination thereof, is critical for governments.  Acknowledging that cyber threats are more than just disruptive/destructive attacks, but can leverage social media platforms, as well as regular and fabricated media outlets to spread propaganda, misinformation, and disinformation to influence targets, must be considered when determining a cyber retaliatory course of action.  Adversaries have typically not suffered any official punitive cyber response from the United States, which may serve to encourage follow on activities such as cyber spying, intellectual property theft, or undue influence operations.  The Strategy clearly articulates its intention to use all of its domestic and collaborative resources with like-minded states to immediately mitigate the threat.  There is no gray area open for misinterpretation.

Unquestionably, the ability for agile actions is necessary in a domain in which attacks happen instantaneously, and in which attribution can be murky at best.  Depending on the intent for conducting a punishing cyber retaliation, the ability to respond quickly to demonstrate that cyber hostility is not tolerated is critical.  However, one big caveat is that prior to launching a counter attack, is to ensure that striking back is done in an appropriate, proportional manner.  There is little doubt that the U.S. possesses the means and resources to conduct such counter strikes.  The biggest challenge for U.S. cyber retaliation – guaranteeing that the target is viable and not hiding behind some civilian façade or operating out of a third country.  The more the U.S. counters these activities, the more adversaries will invariably learn and adjust their operations accordingly, thereby balancing the scales again.  And all eyes will be on the U.S. once more seeing how it will react.

 

This is a guest blog post by Emilio Iasiello

The post The New Cyber Strategy Frees Up U.S. Cyber Muscle. How Will It Be Flexed? appeared first on CyberDB.

Businesses Beware: Top 5 Cyber Security Risks

Hackers are working hard to find new ways to get your data. It’s not surprising that cyber security risk is top of mind for every risk owner, in every industry. As the frequency and complexity of malicious attacks persistently grows, every company should recognize that they are susceptible to an attack at any time—whether it comes as an external focused attack, or a social engineering attack. Let’s take a look at the top 5 risks that every risk owner should be preparing for.

  1. Your Own Users. It is commonly known, in the security industry, that people are the weakest link in the security chain. Despite whatever protections you put in place from a technology or process/policy point of view, human error can cause an incident or a breach. Strong security awareness training is imperative, as well as very effective documented policies and procedures. Users should also be “audited” to ensure they understand and acknowledge their role in policy adherence. One area that is often overlooked is the creation of a safe environment, where a user can connect with a security expert on any issue they believe could be a problem, at any time. Your security team should encourage users to reach out. This creates an environment where users are encouraged to be part of your company’s detection and response. To quote the Homeland Security announcements you frequently hear in airports, “If you see something, say something!” The biggest threat to a user is social engineering—the act of coercing a user to do something that would expose sensitive information or a sensitive system.
  2. Phishing. Phishing ranks number three in both the 2018 Verizon Data Breach Investigation Report Top 20 action varieties in incidents and Top 20 action varieties in breaches. These statistics can be somewhat misleading. For example, the first item on the Top 20 action varieties in breaches list is the use of stolen credentials; number four is privilege abuse. What better way to execute both of those attacks than with a phishing scam. Phishing coerces a user through email to either click on a link, disguised as a legitimate business URL, or open an attachment that is disguised as a legitimate business document. When the user executes or opens either, bad things happen. Malware is downloaded on the system, or connectivity to a Command and Control server on the Internet is established. All of this is done using standard network communication and protocols, so the eco-system is none the wiser—unless sophisticated behavioral or AI capabilities are in place. What is the best form of defense here? 1.) Do not run your user systems with administrative rights. This allows any malicious code to execute at root level privilege, and 2.) Train, train, and re-train your users to recognize a phishing email, or more importantly, recognize an email that could be a phishing scam. Then ask the right security resources for help. The best mechanism for training is to run safe targeted phishing campaigns to verify user awareness either internally or with a third-party partner like Connection.
  3. Ignoring Security Patches. One of the most important functions any IT or IT Security Organization can perform is to establish a consistent and complete vulnerability management program. This includes the following key functions:
  • Select and manage a vulnerability scanning system to proactively test for flaws in IT systems and applications.
  • Create and manage a patch management program to guard against vulnerabilities.
  • Create a process to ensure patching is completed.

Most malicious software is created to target missing patches, especially Microsoft patches. We know that WannaCry and Petya, two devastating attacks, targeted systems that were missing Microsoft MS17-010. Eliminating the “low-hanging-fruit” from the attack strategy, by patching known and current vulnerabilities or flaws, significantly reduces the attack-plane for the risk owner.

  1. Partners. Companies spend a lot of time and energy on Information Security Programs to address external and internal infrastructures, exposed Web services, applications and services, policies, controls, user awareness, and behavior. But they ignore a significant attack vector, which is through a partner channel—whether it be a data center support provider or a supply chain partner. We know that high-profile breaches have been executed through third partner channels, Target being the most prominent.The Target breach was a classic supply chain attack, where they were compromised through one of their HVAC vendors. Company policies and controls must extend to all third-party partners that have electronic or physical access to the environment. Ensure your Information Security Program includes all third partner partners or supply chain sources that connect or visit your enterprise. The NIST Cyber Security Framework has a great assessment strategy, where you can evaluate your susceptibility to this often-overlooked risk.
  2. Data Security. In this day and age, data is the new currency. Malicious actors are scouring the Internet and Internet-exposed corporations to look for data that will make them money. The table below from the 2018 Ponemon Institute 2018 Cost of a Data Breach Report shows the cost of a company for a single record data breach.

Cost for a Single Record Data Breach

The Bottom Line

You can see that healthcare continues to be the most lucrative target for data theft, with $408 per record lost. Finance is nearly half this cost. Of course, we know the reason why this is so. A healthcare record has a tremendous amount of personal information, enabling the sale of more sensitive data elements, and in many cases, can be used to build bullet-proof identities for identity theft. The cost of a breach in the US, regardless of industry, averages $7.9 million per event. The cost of a single lost record in the US is $258.

I Can’t Stress It Enough

Data security should be the #1 priority for businesses of all sizes. To build a data protection strategy, your business needs to:

  • Define and document data security requirements
  • Classify and document sensitive data
  • Analyze security of data at rest, in process, and in motion
  • Pay attention to sensitive data like PII, ePHI, EMR, financial accounts, proprietary assets, and more
  • Identify and document data security risks and gaps
  • Execute a remediation strategy

Because it’s a difficult issue, many corporations do not address data security. Unless your business designed classification and data controls from day one, you are already well behind the power curve. Users create and have access to huge amounts of data, and data can exist anywhere—on premises, user laptops, mobile devices, and in the cloud. Data is the common denominator for security. It is the key thing that malicious actors want access to. It’s essential to heed this warning: Do Not Ignore Data Security! You must absolutely create a data security protection program, and implement the proper policies and controls to protect your most important crown jewels.

Cyber criminals are endlessly creative in finding new ways to access sensitive data. It is critical for companies to approach security seriously, with a dynamic program that takes multiple access points into account. While it may seem to be an added expense, the cost of doing nothing could be exponentially higher. So whether it’s working with your internal IT team, utilizing external consultants, or a mix of both, take steps now to assess your current situation and protect your business against a cyber attack. Stay on top of quickly evolving cyber threats. Reach out to one of our security experts today to close your businesses cyber security exposure gap!

The post Businesses Beware: Top 5 Cyber Security Risks appeared first on Connected.

October Is National Cyber Security Awareness Month: Be Part of Something Big

2018 marks the 15th year of National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM). The Internet touches every aspect of our lives, and keeping it safe and secure is everyone’s responsibility. You can make a difference by remaining diligent and staying cyber aware. Be part of something big this month. Learn more, be aware, and get involved.

Connection is an official Champion of NCSAM. We’re dedicating the month of October to spreading the word about the importance of cyber security, and providing tools and resources to help you stay safe and secure online.

Each week during October highlights a different cyber security theme, addressing specific challenges and opportunities for change. Stay tuned for information about the top cyber security threats, careers in cyber security, and why it’s everyone’s job to ensure online safety. What are you doing to keep the Internet safer and more secure? Be sure to check back each week to stay informed, and get tips from our experts about how you can participate in keeping everyone safe online.

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Firewalls and the Need for Speed

I was looking for resources on campus network design and found these slides (pdf) from a 2011 Network Startup Resource Center presentation. These two caught my attention:



This bothered me, so I Tweeted about it.

This started some discussion, and prompted me to see what NSRC suggests for architecture these days. You can find the latest, from April 2018, here. Here is the bottom line for their suggested architecture:






What do you think of this architecture?

My Tweet has attracted some attention from the high speed network researcher community, some of whom assume I must be a junior security apprentice who equates "firewall" with "security." Long-time blog readers will laugh at that, like I did. So what was my problem with the original recommendation, and what problems do I have (if any) with the 2018 version?

First, let's be clear that I have always differentiated between visibility and control. A firewall is a poor visibility tool, but it is a control tool. It controls inbound or outbound activity according to its ability to perform in-line traffic inspection. This inline inspection comes at a cost, which is the major concern of those responding to my Tweet.

Notice how the presentation author thinks about firewalls. In the slides above, from the 2018 version, he says "firewalls don't protect users from getting viruses" because "clicked links while browsing" and "email attachments" are "both encrypted and firewalls won't help." Therefore, "since firewalls don't really protect users from viruses, let's focus on protecting critical server assets," because "some campuses can't develop the political backing to remove firewalls for the majority of the campus."

The author is arguing that firewalls are an inbound control mechanism, and they are ill-suited for the most prevalent threat vectors for users, in his opinion: "viruses," delivered via email attachment, or "clicked links."

Mail administrators can protect users from many malicious attachments. Desktop anti-virus can protect users from many malicious downloads delivered via "clicked links." If that is your worldview, of course firewalls are not important.

His argument for firewalls protecting servers is, implicitly, that servers may offer services that should not be exposed to the Internet. Rather than disabling those services, or limiting access via identity or local address restrictions, he says a firewall can provide that inbound control.

These arguments completely miss the point that firewalls are, in my opinion, more effective as an outbound control mechanism. For example, a firewall helps restrict adversary access to his victims when they reach outbound to establish post-exploitation command and control. This relies on the firewall identifying the attempted C2 as being malicious. To the extent intruders encrypt their C2 (and sites fail to inspect it) or use covert mechanisms (e.g., C2 over Twitter), firewalls will be less effective.

The previous argument assumes admins rely on the firewall to identify and block malicious outbound activity. Admins might alternatively identify the activity themselves, and direct the firewall to block outbound activity from designated compromised assets or to designated adversary infrastructure.

As some Twitter responders said, it's possible to do some or all of this without using a stateful firewall. I'm aware of the cool tricks one can play with routing to control traffic. Ken Meyers and I wrote about some of these approaches in 2005 in my book Extrusion Detection. See chapter 5, "Layer 3 Network Access Control."

Implementing these non-firewall-based security choices requries a high degree of diligence, which requires visibility. I did not see this emphasized in the NSRC presentation. For example:


These are fine goals, but I don't equate "manageability" with visibility or security. I don't think "problems and viruses" captures the magnitude of the threat to research networks.

The core of the reaction to my original Tweet is that I don't appreciate the need for speed in research networks. I understand that. However, I can't understand the requirement for "full bandwidth, un-filtered access to the Internet." That is a recipe for disaster.

On the other hand, if you define partner specific networks, and allow essentially site-to-site connectivity with exquisite network security monitoring methods and operations, then I do not have a problem with eliminating firewalls from the architecture. I do have a problem with unrestricted access to adversary infrastructure.

I understand that security doesn't exist to serve itself. Security exists to enable an organizational mission. Security must be a partner in network architecture design. It would be better to emphasize enhance monitoring for the networks discussed above, and think carefully about enabling speed without restrictions. The NSRC resources on the science DMZ merit consideration in this case.

Be a Conscientious Risk Manager

Whether you are a CIO or CISO in the Federal, State or Local, Education, or Commercial Business areas, you are all faced the with same challenge, whether you accept it or not. In the security risk management world, if the malicious actor wants into your network, they will figure out a way to get in. You of course still need to build a comprehensive risk governance and management plan, but that plan must be built on the premise of how you will respond, when the breach occurs.

Having spent 38 years in Information Security, the one constant that I see, is that the individuals who make it their business to steal or disrupt your data, are better funded, better trained, and have unlimited hours to execute their trade. What we hope to achieve is being a half-step behind them at worst case. There is no way to stay in step, and a step ahead is out of the question.

So what does this really mean to the conscientious risk manager. Create a strategy whereby you frequently identify the threat, and measure the risk against that threat in your as-built infrastructure. Test frequently, outside and inside, using he same tools and techniques the malicious actors use. Test user security awareness, as we know it only takes one click of a phishing email malicious link, to potentially bring down and entire enterprise. Measure, document, prioritize, and build a risk roadmap strategy to keep risk mitigation focus on those most critical exploitable areas.

Three Top Security Imperatives
Keep in mind that your top three security imperatives are: Reducing your threat exposure, enhancing your response and recovery times, and increasing security visibility. What does security visibility mean, implementing the people, process, and technology in key security areas, to give you a fighting chance to detect, and react to malicious and advanced persistent threats.

Let’s talk people, process, and technology. We all know users are the weakest link in any security chain. Not because they have sinister intent, although sometimes they do, but primarily because in today’s high-powered technical, mobile, and social world, it is commonplace for a lapse in judgment to occur. We live in a rapid–fire, high-availability, high-output world, and mistakes can and will be made. So make is less commonplace, train and educate often, and monitor closely for when that lapse in judgment occurs.

Process: Again our high-powered technical, mobile, and social world often demands we run at warp speed.  Who has time to document? Well — make the time.  Good documentation to include process, policies and standards, as well as a documented and managed configuration control process, will help keep you more secure. Every process, policy and standard document has to have an assigned owner, has to have a designated review date, and has to have an oversight or governance process. All roles and responsibilities need to be included in the documentation, and the expected outcome needs to be defined. Make the time to prepare and socialize your critical information security program documentation.

Technology: Many risk owners fall prey to purchasing every piece of security technology available, at what I like to call the security “choke points”, end-point, network, edge, gateway, etc. This is just what everyone does. However, why not use the process we discussed above — measure, document, prioritize, and build a risk roadmap strategy — as your guideline for what you purchase and deploy for technology. Ask yourself — what is so wrong with selecting and implementing a product, only after you validate how it will help you manage your documented security risk? Of course the answer to that is — nothing.

Focus on Seamless Collaboration
You have documented your risk, you have prioritized your risk roadmap, and as a result you know the very specific technology, or set of technologies, you need to implement first. Most importantly, your technology selections should focus on products that collaborate in a seamless way. In other words, your end-point, edge, network, gateway, sandbox, etc., security technologies all talk to each other. We call this approach to complete security visibility across the whole landscape, Unified Security Stack. And, don’t forget that all technology must have a people and process component as well.

Good information security risk management and risk governance does not come by accident.  It takes planning and execution. In the end, although you may not keep the bad guy out, you will be better prepared for when.

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Protecting Critical Infrastructure from Cyber Threats

We’ve made it to week five of National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM)! The theme this week is “Protecting Critical Infrastructure from Cyber Threats.” The basic infrastructure that supports our daily lives is deeply dependent on the Internet, and, therefore, continually exposed to the risk of new threats and cyber attacks. As security breaches grow in frequency and sophistication every day, it’s crucial to build resiliency and then take steps to protect critical infrastructure to remain safe and secure online.

During the last week of NCSAM, the experts at Connection would like to remind you of the importance of identifying current and future strategies to protect your infrastructure and manage your risk. Cyber security is one of the biggest challenges organizations face today. Regardless of size or industry, every organization must ask themselves, is my security strategy up to date? If your organization is looking to stay on the front line of cyber security, it’s imperative to know how an end-to-end risk management strategy can help you properly secure your infrastructure.

Our security experts have an abundance of experience, and several areas of expertise we can put to work for you. We are committed to keeping your organization safe and secure, and can help design, deploy, and support solutions to address your critical risks and defend your critical infrastructure. For more information, contact one of our security experts today!

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NCSAM, Week Five: Protecting Critical Infrastructure

It’s Week 5 of National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM). This week, the focus is on protecting critical infrastructure—the essential systems that support our daily lives such as the electric grid, financial institutions, and transportation. Unfortunately, attacks on critical infrastructure have become a concern worldwide. A devastating attack isn’t just a theoretical possibility anymore. As we’ve recently seen with Equifax, and other security breaches in healthcare and other industries, the growing threat of serious attacks on critical infrastructure is real. These days, hackers have become much more formidable, and we will undoubtedly see more of these attacks in the future. It’s no longer a matter of if there will be another attack, but when. Let’s celebrate this last week of NCSAM by staying aware and being prepared.

Protecting your infrastructure requires constant vigilance and attention to evolving cyber attacks. Risk is inherent in everything we do, so trying to stay ahead of the cyber security curve is key. Our team of security experts can help you build a security strategy to detect, protect, and react to the complete threat lifecycle. The threats we all need to manage today evolve quickly, and we can help you minimize your risk and maximize your defenses to improve your cyber resiliency. For some expert insight on securing your critical infrastructure, give us a call and discover the Connection difference.

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The New Security Reality

It’s week 4 of National Security Awareness Month (NCSAM). Each week of NCSAM is dedicated to a specific cybersecurity theme. The theme this week is “The Internet Wants YOU: Consider a Career in Cyber Security.”

With the continuous state of change in the global threat landscape, organizations face cyber attacks and security breaches that are growing in frequency and sophistication every day. But now, consider this: according to a study by the Center for Cyber Safety and Education, there will be a shortage of 1.8 million information security workers by 2022. This gap should be of great concern to organizations.

Skilled people make the difference in protecting sensitive data, so it’s more critical than ever that organizations begin to attract and retain the cybersecurity talent needed to defend against the evolving threat landscape. At Connection, we help inspire individuals coming out of universities to engage in co-op or intern-related opportunities, and I strongly encourage other organizations to see what they can do to help young people today who are really interested in building their skills in this area.

The figures don’t lie. The demand for cyber security will only continue to grow. Through local collaborative efforts between employers, training providers, and community leaders, we can ensure individuals have the opportunity to build on their tech knowledge and participate in a secure, thriving economy.

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Cyber Security Careers Are in High Demand

October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month, which is an annual campaign to raise awareness about the importance of cyber security. Week 4 of NCSAM is all about the growing field of cyber security and why you might want to consider this career.

It’s impossible to overstate the importance of security in today’s digital world. Cyber attacks are growing in frequency and sophistication every day, and a key risk to our economy and security is the lack of professionals to protect our growing networks. According to a study by the Center for Cyber Safety and Education, by 2022, there will be a shortage of 1.8 million information security workers. So, it’s critical that that we begin now to prepare our students—and any others who are interested in making a career move—to fill these gaps. Many colleges and universities have developed information assurance programs that help technical, security-minded students achieve a great foundation in this industry. We also challenge corporations to offer intern and co-op opportunities for students in these degree programs, so they can see what security looks like in practical, business-world applications.

Connection is committed to promoting cyber security and online safety. Join Connection during Week 4 of NCSAM, as we explore cyber security as a viable and rewarding profession and encourage people from all backgrounds to see information security as an essential career path.

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WPA2 Hacks and You

The world has been rocked once again with a serious flaw in a basic security mechanism that we all take for granted to keep us safe and secure. According to Dark Reading, researchers at Belgium’s University of Leuven have uncovered as many as 10 critical vulnerabilities in the Wi-Fi Protected Access II (WPA2) protocol used to secure Wi-Fi networks. This is a protocol that—as we have all learned over the last several years—must be configured to keep us safe.

The key reinstallation attack—or KRACKs—impacts all modern wireless networks using the WPA2 protocol. The flaw gives attackers the ability to decrypt data packets that make all private (encrypted) communication no longer private. Although the flaw requires the attacker to have close proximity to the network to execute, this is especially bad news for those with far-reaching wireless signals—such as hotel and hospital lobbies—where an attacker can just sit down and work their trade.

The Vulnerability Notes Database provides a summary and detailed description of the vulnerabilities. It includes a list of vendors who may be affected by the vulnerability, and a status field indicating whether the vendor has any products that are affected.

What can you do?

Vendors are currently identifying their affected products and working on patches to address this attack. In the meantime, here are a few things you can do to keep your information safe:

  1. Apply patches as they are released
  2. Pay careful attention to your wireless environment
  3. Watch for people and technology that look out of place
  4. Utilize a trusted VPN solution
  5. When possible, transfer data over an encrypted channel—such as HTTPS
  6. Restrict sensitive information that would normally pass over a wireless network
  7. And, as always, it’s a good practice to monitor access logs and wireless traffic to look for anomalies in standard business communication

How has this WiFi vulnerability affected your organization? Leave a comment bellow to share your experience and any additional advice you have for staying protected.

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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.

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