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Why Your Security Tools Are Exposing You to Added Risks
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AlexMcG
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AlexMcG,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/3/2016 | 8:22:58 AM
Re: Agree, but...
Hi there! We tried pretty hard to make this not seem like scare mongering. Our point here is that defense tools have bugs and we're advising people to account for that. As with the rest of security there's no real magic solution. So what we purpose is dealing with it in context. Let's take the TrendMicro bug as an example and assume some fictional enterprise has it installed everywhere.

This bug was in an extraneous feature, I don't want an AV that runs its own webserver on my host. Our advice is choose an AV that doesn't do silly stuff like that. So lets assume we can disable all those extra features, now we're left with this big chunk of C/C++ that tries to parse every file type you've never heard of that regulation says we have to keep on our hosts. Ok, if I can't get rid of it I can at least make attacking it more expensive for common bug types in C/C++ with Microsoft's EMET. Though as we've seen recently thanks to FireEye there are ways around that for dedicated attackers but attackers have to spend a lot of time to find those. How do we then deal with an attacker who is willing to do that leg work? We monitor our hosts for surprising new binaries/DLLs as attackers typically want some type of persistence.


In following that advice we have: reduced our attack surface by turning off AV features we don't need, increased the cost to attackers to attack us via bugs in the core part of the AV engine, and increased the odds that if we are successfully compromised we'll know about it. That's pretty reasonable substantive advice for how to deal with vulnerabilities in your defensive tool chain. I hope that readers don't come away with the impression that all security software is bad, I hope they come away with the idea that NO complex software is without vulnerabilities and they need to plan accordingly.
robep00
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robep00,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/3/2016 | 7:39:26 AM
Re: Agree, but...
I agree with Dave and  Alex in this article.

I don't think it's about scaremongering more then accepting a hard reality. A reality that is forcing changes in the approach to security as we are writing about it.

For example, file analysis could be performed off site instead of on the host like some anti-virus engines or security solutions are already doing. By limiting and making the security product as lightweight as possible, the increase in attack surface is minimal compared to the potential increase in security posture.

 
Whoopty
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Whoopty,
User Rank: Ninja
3/3/2016 | 7:01:24 AM
Agree, but...
As much as I agree with this post and it's important that people realise anti-virus is not a set-it-and-forget-it tool, this gives us a lot of concerns without much in the way of a meaningful solution. It smells like scaremongering. 

The last thing we want is people thinking that it would be better to do without security software altogether.

Does anyone have a good solution to AV? Even if international alternatives are a bad idea, US and UK made security software is just as beholden to intelligence agencies there as the foreign alternatives are.


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