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.

Attacks/Breaches

Guest Blog // Selected Security Content Provided By Sophos
What's This?
6/4/2014
04:05 PM
Maxim Weinstein
Maxim Weinstein
Security Insights
100%
0%

Back To Basics

By failing to execute on basic security, we're making the attacker's job too easy.

About half of American adults have had data stolen via a breach in the past year, according to a recent study. It would be easy to look at that statistic and the who's who of brands that have been breached -- Target, eBay, Adobe, Nieman Marcus -- and conclude that attackers have gotten so sophisticated that we have no chance to protect our own organizations from a similar fate. The truth, though, is that many of these high-profile attacks have succeeded, not because of their sophistication, but because we continue failing to execute on basic security.

Consider the Adobe breach, which leaked 38 million records and some of the company's source code. It's been alleged, though not officially confirmed, that the point of entry was a public-facing web server that was lacking available patches. The leaked account records were not properly protected with a strong one-way hash algorithm designed for passwords. (Instead, they were encrypted with 3DES, a symmetric encryption algorithm not built for the purpose.) That the attackers could get from a public-facing web server to the company's confidential source code repository implies that the network was not properly segmented, nor access properly controlled and monitored between segments.

Speaking of network segmentation, some of the big retail breaches at Target and elsewhere were aided by point of sale (POS) systems sharing the VLAN with other systems that didn't require the same level of security. If the networks had been segmented, firewall rules could have restricted attempts to exfiltrate stolen data. And, when the average enterprise sees 10,000 security alerts per day, keeping sensitive systems separate make it easier to prioritize alerts like the one Target famously failed to act upon.

Other noteworthy breaches in recent years can be chalked up to dropping the ball on encrypting laptop hard drives or flash drives, restricting and monitoring access to management tools, and protecting encryption keys.

I'm not suggesting that getting security right is easy. I am suggesting that it's time to get back to basics. The latest APT-detecting threat intelligence gizmo with "innovative" technology isn't going to help you if your existing firewall is configured like Swiss cheese and your customer data is being toted around unencrypted on the VP's laptop.

A great place to start is the SANS Critical Security Controls list. The list is prioritized, so you can start at the top and work your way down, making sure you're covering your bases at each step. Call on your vendors to help, as well. They should have best-practices documents available to help you configure their tools for optimum effectiveness. And if you've seen threats slipping by, be sure to report them to the vendors, so they can improve their products and/or guide you in improving your use of the products.

A focus on doing the basics really well doesn't guarantee protection against every threat, but it certainly reduces your exposure to both opportunistic threats and targeted attacks. And if something does slip by, it's a lot easier to explain an attack that took advantage of an obscure vulnerability than one that should have been stopped by standard operating procedures.

Thanks to my colleague Chet Wisnewski, host of the Chet Chat podcast, for the presentation that inspired this post.

Maxim Weinstein, CISSP, is a technologist and educator with a passion for information security. He works in product marketing at Sophos, where he specializes in server protection solutions. He is also a board member and former executive director of StopBadware. Maxim lives ... View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
chny07
0%
100%
chny07,
User Rank: Apprentice
6/14/2014 | 4:45:59 AM
amazing
Thanks for the great article. i really appreciate it. it will be a great guide for my en ucuz iphone fiyatları thesis
ecowper
100%
0%
ecowper,
User Rank: Apprentice
6/12/2014 | 1:33:55 PM
Basics is the key
The more we analyze the breaches, the more it becomes clear that some really basic things aren't happening well, in general. And I do mean very basic. Network segmentation, user privilege and access management, end point security controls staying set at "factory default", etc. 

Doing security basics better would mitigate much of the impact of the initial entry point into the network. 
COVID-19: Latest Security News & Commentary
Dark Reading Staff 9/21/2020
Hacking Yourself: Marie Moe and Pacemaker Security
Gary McGraw Ph.D., Co-founder Berryville Institute of Machine Learning,  9/21/2020
Startup Aims to Map and Track All the IT and Security Things
Kelly Jackson Higgins, Executive Editor at Dark Reading,  9/22/2020
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
Special Report: Computing's New Normal
This special report examines how IT security organizations have adapted to the "new normal" of computing and what the long-term effects will be. Read it and get a unique set of perspectives on issues ranging from new threats & vulnerabilities as a result of remote working to how enterprise security strategy will be affected long term.
Flash Poll
How IT Security Organizations are Attacking the Cybersecurity Problem
How IT Security Organizations are Attacking the Cybersecurity Problem
The COVID-19 pandemic turned the world -- and enterprise computing -- on end. Here's a look at how cybersecurity teams are retrenching their defense strategies, rebuilding their teams, and selecting new technologies to stop the oncoming rise of online attacks.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2020-8344
PUBLISHED: 2020-09-24
** REJECT ** DO NOT USE THIS CANDIDATE NUMBER. ConsultIDs: none. Reason: This candidate was withdrawn by its CNA. Notes: none.
CVE-2020-8347
PUBLISHED: 2020-09-24
A reflective cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability was reported in Lenovo Enterprise Network Disk prior to version 6.1 patch 6 hotfix 4 that could allow execution of code in an authenticated user's browser if a crafted url is visited, possibly through phishing.
CVE-2020-8348
PUBLISHED: 2020-09-24
A DOM-based cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability was reported in Lenovo Enterprise Network Disk prior to version 6.1 patch 6 hotfix 4 that could allow execution of code in an authenticated user's current browser session if a crafted url is visited, possibly through phishing.
CVE-2020-15850
PUBLISHED: 2020-09-24
Insecure permissions in Nakivo Backup & Replication Director version 9.4.0.r43656 on Linux allow local users to access the Nakivo Director web interface and gain root privileges. This occurs because the database containing the users of the web application and the password-recovery secret value i...
CVE-2020-15851
PUBLISHED: 2020-09-24
Lack of access control in Nakivo Backup & Replication Transporter version 9.4.0.r43656 allows remote users to access unencrypted backup repositories and the Nakivo Controller configuration via a network accessible transporter service. It is also possible to create or delete backup repositories.