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Five Easiest Ways to Get Hacked Part 2
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User Rank: Apprentice
3/6/2015 | 6:11:41 PM
Re: Vulnerability Standpoint

This is a great question and it's something Amit discusses a bit in his Low Hanging Fruits: The Top Five Easiest Ways to Hack or Get Hacked whitepaper (link in blog). In my personal experience, SMB's tend to have almost zero awareness of the threats or their vulnerabilities. They don't really have a geek culture (unless the owner happens to be one) that really participates in the community, that lives and breathes this stuff. I think you can take an affordable approach to achieve SOME level of security. It doesn't take an enterprise-level effort or tool to secure an SMB.

From a purely vulnerability standpoint SMBs would typically look for high value in return for the time and money they invest. My suggestion is to use a scan policy that performs checks only for vulnerabilities, which have an exploit available, or alternatively you can filter the results of a full vulnerability scan to only those which have exploits. This would provide a shorter and more manageable list of actionable items, and you can start with addressing the critical/high risk findings first. Also, for an SMB it will be very valuable to invest in a software for patch management (including non-Microsoft patches), otherwise it becomes too big and discouraging of a problem to solve for most organizations. Lastly, SMBs should use a maturity model based approach to plan where they currently stand and where they would like to go. This would need a thorough understanding of what an organization is trying to protect, and what people, process and technology controls they can put in place to achieve the security level they would like.

Consider the following:

  • Nessus is $1,500/ year, and a very good tool used by almost everyone at all levels of security maturity. It helps find missing patches, default configurations and accounts, etc. For a homogeneous Windows environment (typical for SMB), the "Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer" is a reasonable start, and not so complicated that just a little IT know-how can't handle the tasks.
  • Microsoft now ships with some basic AV and anti-malware protection built-in, but it's not centrally manageable (less of a problem a problem for a small shop).

Some ISP's offer services to help filter e-mail as well so you might be subject fewer attacks on that vector as well. And, don't run or open anything you get that you don't absolutely trust... Also, having someone local (a small consultancy) help with setting baseline configurations for servers and workstations would help, and vendors provide a lot of guidance for both applications and the OS, especially since most small business these days run some version of Windows.


Joe Stanganelli
Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Ninja
3/2/2015 | 12:11:10 AM
Testing patches
An important yet oft overlooked aspect of a good patch management strategy: implement everything in a testbed first.  Test everything with everything.  Otherwise, you could really screw things up -- especially in a multi-vendor environment.

Verizon learned this lesson (so we might hope) the hard way last summer when its billing system suffered a multi-day outage because of its failure to test updates.
User Rank: Ninja
2/26/2015 | 9:25:23 AM
Vulnerability Standpoint
From a vulnerability standpoint, it may be difficult to dedicate the bandwidth required for assessment and remediation.It's an ongoing process and is a multi-team faceted endeavor. What tips do you have for small to medium sized organizations that are trying to increase their security posture through their vulnerability remediation effort?

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