Vulnerabilities / Threats
6/7/2013
01:15 PM
Mike Rothman
Mike Rothman
Commentary
50%
50%

Putting Vulnerabilities And Threats Into Context

Advanced security research should play a role in your security program and be ready when science projects become weaponized attacks

Since I'm the new blogger in Dark Reading's Vulnerabilities & Threats Tech Center, it probably makes sense to explain a bit about my views on the role of advanced security research in your general security program. Security research is a critical aspect of your ability to defend yourself. To get a feel for why, go no further than the Great One's quote on a great hockey player:

"A good hockey player plays where the puck is. A great hockey player plays where the puck is going to be." -- Wayne Gretzky

Research and understanding emerging attack vectors help you understand where attackers are going to be. Breach reports and quarterly threat summaries only tell you where attackers have been. If you are trying to stay ahead of the game, then you should not be focusing the short amount of time during the day fighting fires, waging political battles, beating back auditors, and hanging up on vendor sales droids. That's right: Think about where things are going, not where they've been.

To be clear, my perspectives only apply if you do a decent job on blocking and tackling. The fact that a smart researcher will show how you can own an iPhone via the charger matters only if your security program and control set is sufficiently mature. If not, you've got some work to do. But since this is a forward-looking column in a forward-looking Tech Center, I'm not going to tell you what that work is. You can mine the rest of Dark Reading or the Securosis research library for lots of good guidance on security fundamentals.

But if you are ready to systematically factor advanced security research into your program, then I suggest you set up a firm monthly lunch meeting with the security team, ensuring you have something scheduled. You know how it goes with ad hoc meetings, which are always canceled in the wake of some emergency.

In the time between the meetings, use a collaboration tool like Instapaper, Evernote, or (shudder) SharePoint to aggregate interesting links and news items discussing cool, new exploits and/or research findings. It's easy to stay on top of this information because the media loves new attacks; there will be plenty of coverage for anything that's interesting -- and plenty for the stuff that's not.

Once you have your list of things to discuss, ask the team two questions: The first is whether you are exposed to this new attack? Do you have the devices shown to be exploitable by the research? Do you use the applications or technologies in question? If the answer to that question is yes, then ask yourself, what would we do differently to close this exploit? Pretty simple, eh?

You may need to do more research into the attack to understand what's really involved in stopping it. Once you know what's required to address the issue, you can put it on your list of things to address. Understand there may not be a great urgency to fix the issue immediately since a lot of advanced security research is not weaponized yet. But you know what you need to do when the time comes.

And amazingly enough, you'll be where the puck is, and the rest of the industry will be cleaning up the mess. The Great One will be proud.

Mike Rothman is President of Securosis and author of The Pragmatic CSO Mike's bold perspectives and irreverent style are invaluable as companies determine effective strategies to grapple with the dynamic security threatscape. Mike specializes in the sexy aspects of security, like protecting networks and endpoints, security management, and ... View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Cartoon
Latest Comment: nice post
Current Issue
Flash Poll
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2014-1750
Published: 2015-07-01
Open redirect vulnerability in nokia-mapsplaces.php in the Nokia Maps & Places plugin 1.6.6 for WordPress allows remote attackers to redirect users to arbitrary web sites and conduct phishing attacks via a URL in the href parameter to page/place.html. NOTE: this was originally reported as cross-sit...

CVE-2014-1836
Published: 2015-07-01
Absolute path traversal vulnerability in htdocs/libraries/image-editor/image-edit.php in ImpressCMS before 1.3.6 allows remote attackers to delete arbitrary files via a full pathname in the image_path parameter in a cancel action.

CVE-2015-0848
Published: 2015-07-01
Heap-based buffer overflow in libwmf 0.2.8.4 allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service (crash) or possibly execute arbitrary code via a crafted BMP image.

CVE-2015-1330
Published: 2015-07-01
unattended-upgrades before 0.86.1 does not properly authenticate packages when the (1) force-confold or (2) force-confnew dpkg options are enabled in the DPkg::Options::* apt configuration, which allows remote man-in-the-middle attackers to upload and execute arbitrary packages via unspecified vecto...

CVE-2015-1950
Published: 2015-07-01
IBM PowerVC Standard Edition 1.2.2.1 through 1.2.2.2 does not require authentication for access to the Python interpreter with nova credentials, which allows KVM guest OS users to discover certain PowerVC credentials and bypass intended access restrictions via unspecified Python code.

Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
Marc Spitler, co-author of the Verizon DBIR will share some of the lesser-known but most intriguing tidbits from the massive report