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.


Many Security Pros In The Dark About Their Own Environments, Study Says

It's 9 a.m. Do you know how many Internet-facing servers you have? Many IT pros don't, according to a new RedSeal survey

In an ironic twist on Cybersecurity Awareness Month, many IT security professionals now admit they don't know some key facts about their own networks, according to a study published Wednesday.

The survey, which was conducted by Dimensional Research and RedSeal Systems, gathered data from nearly 2,000 IT and security professionals at the recent Cisco Live and Black Hat USA conferences. The results raise questions about cybersecurity awareness among those who are responsible for managing cybersecurity. A few of the numbers:

>> More than 71 percent of respondents admitted that their networks are exposed to external threats due to misconfiguration issues present in their security device infrastructures. >> More than 50 percent had no idea how many of their organizations’ internal hosts were actually exposed to the Internet.

>> Some 52 percent conceded that their vulnerability management tools and practices don’t allow them to prioritize remediation based on the likelihood of real-world attacks.

>> More than 75 percent of network management and security professionals believe that automated tools give hackers the upper hand in evading the defenses they've built to protect their critical data.

"The survey is a pretty dire readout on how IT and security professionals are doing in the war with hackers," says Mike Lloyd, chief scientist at RedSeal Systems. "They're trying, but they really don't feel they're doing all that well."

Lloyd says he is surprised that so many IT and security professionals were willing to admit that they are in the dark about such fundamental issues.

"On the one hand, it shows that, as an industry, we are growing up -- we're willing to admit we don't have all the answers," he says. "On the other hand, it also shows that it's time for many organizations to wake up and smell the coffee -- they don't have some of the information they need to build a comprehensive defense."

Many organizations are in the dark about their security proficiency simply because they don't have any metrics to measure it, Lloyd observes. Only 47 percent of survey respondents said they have consistent metrics that show the effectiveness of network security over time, he notes. Fifty-three percent of respondents said they have no way to determine the security impact of proposed changes to network access before they implement them.

"One of the key issues is that humans in the organization don't understand the impact of the changes they make to the network," Lloyd says. "They don't know until it's too late."

Have a comment on this story? Please click "Comment" below. If you'd like to contact Dark Reading's editors directly, send us a message. Tim Wilson is Editor in Chief and co-founder of Dark Reading.com, UBM Tech's online community for information security professionals. He is responsible for managing the site, assigning and editing content, and writing breaking news stories. Wilson has been recognized as one ... View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
7 Old IT Things Every New InfoSec Pro Should Know
Joan Goodchild, Staff Editor,  4/20/2021
Cloud-Native Businesses Struggle With Security
Robert Lemos, Contributing Writer,  5/6/2021
Defending Against Web Scraping Attacks
Rob Simon, Principal Security Consultant at TrustedSec,  5/7/2021
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
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
PUBLISHED: 2021-05-14
The NPort IA5000A Series devices use Telnet as one of the network device management services. Telnet does not support the encryption of client-server communications, making it vulnerable to Man-in-the-Middle attacks.
PUBLISHED: 2021-05-14
Cleartext transmission of sensitive information via Moxa Service in NPort IA5000A series serial devices. Successfully exploiting the vulnerability could enable attackers to read authentication data, device configuration, and other sensitive data transmitted over Moxa Service.
PUBLISHED: 2021-05-14
In radare2 through 5.3.0 there is a double free vulnerability in the pyc parse via a crafted file which can lead to DoS.
PUBLISHED: 2021-05-14
Low privileged users can use the AJAX action 'cp_plugins_do_button_job_later_callback' in the Tree Sitemap WordPress plugin before 2.9, to install any plugin (including a specific version) from the WordPress repository, as well as activate arbitrary plugin from then blog, which helps attackers insta...
PUBLISHED: 2021-05-14
Low privileged users can use the AJAX action 'cp_plugins_do_button_job_later_callback' in the Visitor Traffic Real Time Statistics WordPress plugin before 2.12, to install any plugin (including a specific version) from the WordPress repository, as well as activate arbitrary plugin from then blog, wh...