Category Archives: Software

Half of businesses don’t have a clear digital transformation plan

Businesses are failing their digital transformation efforts because they’re moving head first, without clear vision, and because they’re not communicating their ideas among key departments enough.This is according to a

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Worldwide spending on security solutions expected to continue growing

Worldwide spending on security-related hardware, software, and services is forecast to reach $103.1 billion in 2019, an increase of 9.4% over 2017. This pace of growth is expected to continue for the next several years as industries invest heavily in security solutions to meet a wide range of threats and requirements. $133.8 billion by 2022 Worldwide spending on security solutions will achieve a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9.2% over the 2018-2022 forecast period … More

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Quality Assurance and Testing is a bottleneck to implementing DevOps for many organizations

The practice of Continuous Testing – the process of fast and efficient validation of software releases in agile developments through highly automated tests – is gaining ground in large enterprises, with almost a third of IT executives (32%) stating that their IT departments had ‘fully embraced Continuous Testing’. However, with 58% of enterprises deploying a new build daily (and 26% at least hourly), companies must work to improve their continuous testing effectiveness by streamlining their … More

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Report: with most exploited vuln of 2018, it’s really Really REALLY time to ditch IE!

Microsoft's products are still a leading source of exploitable security vulnerabilities used by hackers, according to a report by the firm Recorded Future.

The post Report: with most exploited vuln of 2018, it’s really Really REALLY time to ditch IE! appeared first on The Security Ledger.

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Securing the Microservices Architecture: Decomposing the Monolith Without Compromising Information Security

In the world of software development, microservices is a variant of service-oriented architecture (SOA). It is an architectural style in which software applications that are typically built as monoliths and run in a single process are decomposed into smaller parts. Each of these parts is called a microservice, running independently with its own process.

Creating a mental picture of monolith versus microservices is relatively easy:

Securing the Microservices Infrastructure

Microservices is a great way to redefine large-scale software projects because it is more flexible and allows for on-demand scalability and much shorter release cycles. As a result, forward-thinking organizations have been increasingly moving to the microservices development style. With this architecture’s fine-grained services and lightweight protocols, it can help teams increase product modularity, making applications easier to develop, test, deploy, modify and maintain over time.

Microservices is also good for scalability. If teams want to scale up one component, they can do that without having to scale the entire project. Scaling up can therefore be a lot faster and less costly.

It might sound like microservices is a cure-all for software development woes. But like any other domain, it has its disadvantages; moving to microservices adds complexity and security implications. Regardless of how an application is designed, major gaps could potentially be introduced on the platform level. In microservices, security concerns can get exacerbated due to the various network connections and application programming interfaces (APIs) used to forge communication channels between the components of the microservice architecture. Another issue is that, if not properly designed, the standardized replicable nature of containers could spread out any vulnerability manyfold.

From managing user access to the code all the way to implementing a distributed firewall, one thing is clear: Ditching monolith for microservices may be right for your organization, but the relevant security considerations must be addressed early in the process.

The Microservices Trinity: Cloud, Containers and DevOps

Microservices are containerized and accessed on scale via cloud infrastructures. To make microservices flow effectively, organizations must adopt a DevOps culture where small, multidisciplinary teams work autonomously, applying Agile methodologies and including operations in their scope of responsibility.

This combination of factors can increase overall security risk for the organization in general and, more specifically, through the phases of a microservice-based application project: planning, development and post-deployment operations in cloud-hosted architectures.

Key Concerns: Knowing Where to Look First

In general, organizations nowadays are aware of their overall risk appetite and know that new projects always introduce new risk considerations. With a move to microservices, we are looking at a gradual process that breaks one large, monolithic project into smaller parts, each of which needs to be managed as its own project. Below are a few key concerns to look out for when operating a microservices architecture.

Isolation

Isolation is at the core of the microservices concept. To be an autonomous piece of the overall application puzzle, a microservice needs to be its own island in a sense — architected, created, deployed, maintained, modified, scaled and, eventually, retired without affecting any of the other microservices around it.

One area where isolation is much-needed is on the database level. Monolithic applications where every part of the application can access any part of the databases can, over time, impact performance due to deadlocks, row locks and errors. Microservices, in contrast, can avoid that if isolation is applied — for example, if it is decided that only one microservice will access one data store and integration with the entire database is eliminated. In a security sense, that means more microservices and more data stores to secure. But if done correctly, one microservice will not be able to access the data of another and, if compromised, it will not give way to an attacker moving laterally.

Another area that requires isolation is deployment. The goal is to ensure that each microservice is deployed without impacting others around it and, should it fail, that the effect would not bring down other microservices as well. The biggest challenge typically applies to multitenant applications, which require isolation on both the microservices and data levels, such as in software-as-a-service (SaaS) scenarios.

A Preference for Hybrid Clouds

Developing at scale usually takes place in the cloud, and most organizations have been doing it for years now. That can also mean that any given organization operates different parts of its infrastructure of different clouds with different vendors. Securing microservices will therefore have to be cloud-agnostic and applicable to any environment with relevant controls in place to achieve uniform effectivity across the various cloud infrastructures.

Insecure DevOps Tool Sets

There are some great open-source tool sets out there built for DevOps teams, and they can be used in most Agile developments. What these tools may not always offer is proper security. Integrating open-source tools into the team’s projects requires assessing exposure and adapting controls ahead of integration, as well as reevaluating them over time. Open-source also means access for all, and that often gives way to opportunities for attackers to plant or exploit vulnerabilities and infect tools with malicious code.

Interservice Communications

Interservice communication is typically not a good idea for projects that exist autonomously, but in some cases it is necessary. These channels can be risky and costly if not designed and implemented properly. Securing interservice communications calls for high standards and encryption on the data level where needed.

Managing Data Layers

Each microservice manages its own data. As a result, data integrity and consistency become critical security challenges to reckon with. This is partly because of the intricacy in planning data stores to keep entries once in each store, avoiding redundancy. One store can keep a reference to a piece of data stored elsewhere, but it should not be duplicated across many stores. From a security viewpoint, we are looking at the CIA triad of confidentiality, integrity, availability — all of which must be managed correctly to provide the organization with better levels of performance and continuity than it had in its monolithic days.

Dive Into Microservice Security

Microservice architectures bring agility, scalability and consistency to the development platform. However, security in these environments often lags behind.

A major concern we face in that domain is imposing the right level of isolation based on application type, platform and data in context. We also look at privacy, regulatory concerns and possible security automation to incubate within the DevOps life cycle.

Though DevOps has already made some strides toward integrating security into the development life cycle, there’s still significant work to be done in this space.

Want to learn more? Check out our paper, “Securing Microservice Architectures — A Holistic Approach.”

The post Securing the Microservices Architecture: Decomposing the Monolith Without Compromising Information Security appeared first on Security Intelligence.

LLVM 8.0 Released With Cascade Lake Support, Better Diagnostics, More OpenMP/OpenCL

After being delayed for the better part of one month, LLVM 8.0 officially is finally available. From a report: LLVM release manager Hans Wennborg announced the release a few minutes ago and summed up this half-year update to LLVM and its sub-project as: "speculative load hardening, concurrent compilation in the ORC JIT API, no longer experimental WebAssembly target, a Clang option to initialize automatic variables, improved pre-compiled header support in clang-cl, the /Zc:dllexportInlines- flag, RISC-V support in lld. And as usual, many bug fixes, optimization and diagnostics improvements, etc."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

New Mirai variant leverages 11 new exploits and targets smart signage TVs and wireless presentation systems

This new variant now uses 11 new exploits and targets LG Supersign TVs and WePresent WiPG-1000 wireless presentation systems. In addition to using new exploits in its multi-exploit battery, this

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Android Q will come with improved privacy protections

Android Q, the newest iteration of Google’s popular mobile OS, is scheduled to be made available to end users at the end of August. While we still don’t know what its official release name will be, the first preview build and accompanying information released by Google give us a peek into some of the privacy improvements that we can look forward to. Stronger protections for user privacy 1. The platform will stop keeping track of … More

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2019 may be a record year for enterprise breaches, but secure collaboration tools could help

Despite business executives agreeing that cybersecurity is a major challenge, businesses globally are severely unprepared for cyberattacks. 44% of business executives from Europe and the United States said they shared sensitive information over email, yet 35% admitted they are unaware of the ways in which their organization is protecting its sensitive information, communications and data, according to the results of the annual Communication and Security survey released by Wire. Despite 2018 being a record year … More

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Ransomware’s New Normal

GandCrab’s evolution underscores a shift in ransomware attack methods. Don’t be fooled by the drop in overall ransomware attacks this past year: Fewer but more targeted and lucrative campaigns against

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How susceptible are hospital employees to phishing attacks?

Cybersecurity threats are a rising problem in society, especially for healthcare organizations. Successful attacks can jeopardize not only patient data but also patient care, leading to cancellations and disruptions in

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Spotlight: CTIA’s IoT Cybersecurity Certification is a Big Deal. Here’s why.

Forget about Congress's latest attempt to regulate IoT security. CTIAs new certification is the toothiest standard going. In this Spotlight Podcast, we talk with Sameer Dixit of Spirent * on the sidelines of RSA about why. 

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Hackers steal 6TB of data from enterprise software developer Citrix

By Waqas

Enterprise software developer Citrix becomes a victim of state-sponsored hack attack after hackers steal the company’s secrets. One of the most popular enterprise software and networking and remote access technology provider firm Citrix affirmed that its internal network was compromised by international criminals. Reportedly, the attackers exploited weak passwords and managed to get limited access […]

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IQ Retail Guards Against New Age Threats with Panda Security

iq-retail-1

“Stories of cyber-attacks hit the news almost daily – data breaches, DDos attacks, email hacks and phishing attacks – reminders of the dangers of the internet” says Jeremy Matthews Regional Manager of Panda Security Africa. “Yet somehow all of these attacks still seem foreign– as though it would never happen to you, however the reality is, South African businesses are affected by these threats” continues Matthews.

IQ Retail MD, Chris Steyn knows this all too well and has seen first-hand the dramatic rise of new age threats such as Ransomware. Software company IQ Retail, provides expertise in complete financial and business administration solutions, focusing on the development of business systems for the accounting and retail management environment. Since its inception in 1986, IQ Retail has grown to become one of the premium providers of innovative business solutions.

“Few businesses realise the seriousness of these threats and the damage they can have on a business’’, says Steyn. “ The problem we have found is twofold; firstly, businesses do not have adequate security software protecting their network, and secondly, they do not have effective backups in place”, continues Steyn.

He recognises that these advanced threats stem from a situation in which hackers no longer need to be tech savvy, with access to ready-made Malware toolkits available on the dark web. New malware variants are created daily and many security vendors are unable to keep up. As a result, businesses are being attacked more often and Cybercrime has become more profitable and easier to implement than ever before.

Speaking to Panda Security about his experience working with many South African businesses Steyn says, “We have noticed two week spikes in attacks that most often occur on the weekend when there are few people in the office. This puts businesses in a tough position that often leads to payment of the ransom or worse, a loss of company data”

Taking note of the shifting dynamic, IQ Retail developed a multi-layered approach, implementing security solutions at every level of their infrastructure, as well as ensuring backups are in place and procedures are being followed. Despite their efforts, Ransomware was still able to penetrate their network.

Advanced Protection

In order to prevent further breaches, Steyn and his team did extensive research into solutions offered by various vendors. They discovered that conventional AV solutions are unable to prevent zero-day Ransomware and other advanced threats from entering the network.
Steyn turned to Panda to implement a final effort to mitigate the threat of Ransomware. “Through our research, we realised that Panda’s Adaptive Defense 360 software is the only solution that could give us comprehensive protection. AD360 allows us to proactively manage the security on our network and track possible risk situations” says Steyn.

The Solution

Steyn explains that the current environment requires new generation protection solutions such as Adaptive Defense 360 that provide an Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) service to accurately classify all running programs on your network. This means that only legitimate programs are able to run.

Panda’s EDR technology model is based on three phases: Continuous monitoring of applications on a company’s computers and servers. Automatic analysis and correlation using machine learning on Panda’s Big Data platform in the cloud. Finally, Endpoint hardening and enforcement – blocking all suspicious or dangerous processes, with notifications to alert network administrators.

AD 360 combines EDR with full conventional Endpoint Protection (EPP) to deliver comprehensive protection.
For more information on how to protect your business from the advanced threats we see today, contact Panda Security.

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