Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Application Security

5/4/2020
09:00 AM
Kelly Sheridan
Kelly Sheridan
Slideshows
Connect Directly
Twitter
LinkedIn
RSS
E-Mail

7 Tips for Security Pros Patching in a Pandemic

The shift to remote work has worsened patch management challenges and created new ones. Security pros share insights and best practices.
4 of 8

How to Prioritize Patching
Attackers weaponize vulnerabilities within days or weeks of disclosure, says Melick, giving businesses a limited window to patch. As more people can report CVEs, the amount of flaws may be too high for businesses to keep up: between 2005 and 2016, 6,100 vulnerabilities were published each year; that number jumped to 18,000 per year from 2017 to 2020, the Cyentia Institute  reports. Earlier this month, software vendors collectively pushed more than 560 vulnerability fixes in a single day. 
When you can't patch them all, Melick advises prioritizing zero-day vulnerabilities. 'Patching within 24 hours ensures that corporations are minimizing their attack surface, especially as we're spread out so much,' he explains. Known flaws being exploited should be top of the list. Boyer seconds the sentiment: 'Focus on the ones that matter and are really a risk,' he says.
In today's climate, Childs recommends focusing on systems that enable remote employees. 'If I were on the front lines, I would prioritize first the infrastructure keeping my remote workers working, look at the infrastructure, and then boil it down to the clients,' he says. Admins should learn what these core resources are, make sure they're documented, and see when they get patched, as different vendors release patches on different schedules. Check and see which blog, email update, or Twitter feed you should subscribe to in order to learn yours. 
'One of the challenges we have is there is no one place for someone to go find that information out,' says Clay. 'As an industry we'll have to get better about building mechanisms to alert organizations when a specific vulnerability has an active exploit.'
(Image: Jirapong -- stock.adobe.com)

How to Prioritize Patching

Attackers weaponize vulnerabilities within days or weeks of disclosure, says Melick, giving businesses a limited window to patch. As more people can report CVEs, the amount of flaws may be too high for businesses to keep up: between 2005 and 2016, 6,100 vulnerabilities were published each year; that number jumped to 18,000 per year from 2017 to 2020, the Cyentia Institute reports. Earlier this month, software vendors collectively pushed more than 560 vulnerability fixes in a single day.

When you can't patch them all, Melick advises prioritizing zero-day vulnerabilities. "Patching within 24 hours ensures that corporations are minimizing their attack surface, especially as we're spread out so much," he explains. Known flaws being exploited should be top of the list. Boyer seconds the sentiment: "Focus on the ones that matter and are really a risk," he says.

In today's climate, Childs recommends focusing on systems that enable remote employees. "If I were on the front lines, I would prioritize first the infrastructure keeping my remote workers working, look at the infrastructure, and then boil it down to the clients," he says. Admins should learn what these core resources are, make sure they're documented, and see when they get patched, as different vendors release patches on different schedules. Check and see which blog, email update, or Twitter feed you should subscribe to in order to learn yours.

"One of the challenges we have is there is no one place for someone to go find that information out," says Clay. "As an industry we'll have to get better about building mechanisms to alert organizations when a specific vulnerability has an active exploit."

(Image: Jirapong -- stock.adobe.com)

4 of 8
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
News
US Formally Attributes SolarWinds Attack to Russian Intelligence Agency
Jai Vijayan, Contributing Writer,  4/15/2021
News
Dependency Problems Increase for Open Source Components
Robert Lemos, Contributing Writer,  4/14/2021
News
FBI Operation Remotely Removes Web Shells From Exchange Servers
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  4/14/2021
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
2021 Top Enterprise IT Trends
We've identified the key trends that are poised to impact the IT landscape in 2021. Find out why they're important and how they will affect you today!
Flash Poll
How Enterprises are Developing Secure Applications
How Enterprises are Developing Secure Applications
Recent breaches of third-party apps are driving many organizations to think harder about the security of their off-the-shelf software as they continue to move left in secure software development practices.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2021-20527
PUBLISHED: 2021-04-19
IBM Resilient SOAR V38.0 could allow a privileged user to create create malicious scripts that could be executed as another user. IBM X-Force ID: 198759.
CVE-2021-27028
PUBLISHED: 2021-04-19
A Memory Corruption Vulnerability in Autodesk FBX Review version 1.4.0 may lead to remote code execution through maliciously crafted DLL files.
CVE-2021-27029
PUBLISHED: 2021-04-19
The user may be tricked into opening a malicious FBX file which may exploit a Null Pointer Dereference vulnerability in FBX's Review causing the application to crash leading to a denial of service.
CVE-2021-27030
PUBLISHED: 2021-04-19
A user may be tricked into opening a malicious FBX file which may exploit a Directory Traversal Remote Code Execution vulnerability in FBX’s Review causing it to run arbitrary code on the system.
CVE-2021-27031
PUBLISHED: 2021-04-19
A user may be tricked into opening a malicious FBX file which may exploit a use-after-free vulnerability in FBX's Review causing the application to reference a memory location controlled by an unauthorized third party, thereby running arbitrary code on the system.