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.

Operations

Cisco Talos Summit: Network Defenders Not Serious Enough About Attacks

Security is weak, and most companies are clueless, according to Immunity researcher Lurene Grenier, who kicked off the Cisco Talos Threat Research Summit on Sunday.

Your network is under attack, but you don't care. That was the message from Immunity researcher Lurene Grenier, who on Sunday kicked off the Cisco Talos Threat Research Summit, in Orlando, Fla.

"You are either not aware of what's going on or aren't taking all this seriously," she said.  

At the heart of Grenier's view of attackers is a set of three tiers:

  • Tier 1: Nation-state actors
  • Tier 2: Organized crime
  • Tier 3: lolsec and reverse hacktivism

She told the audience that dealing with tier 3 involves the kind of activity they're used to — pen testing, updating, and then continuing to pen test and update.

Tier 2 becomes more complex because many of the organized crime groups are either working on behalf of nation-states or reusing nation-state code. To have a chance of defending against tier 2 threats, Grenier said, your organization must do two things, one expensive and one difficult.

The expensive task is finding and hiring good security people. From there, give them time to understand your network, she said. "They need to know your network better than the attackers, and that's a tall order," Grenier explained.

Then comes the hard task: "Give them the clout to change what needs to be changed, and give them the resources to make the changes," Grenier said, noting that both involves a cultural shift for many organizations.

But that's easy compared with the shift required for coping with tier 1 attackers. Grenier hammered home the point that every organization must be prepared to deal with these most advanced threat actors.

"How can I convince you to care about this? This isn't a responsibility thing anymore — they won't tell you when they've owned you," Grenier said. "It's just that your IP will end up in another country."

Defending against this kind of attacker requires investment; Grenier offered a metric for how much a company should be prepared to invest. "How much do you pay your lawyers? You should be paying your security team at least as much," she said.

Then she recommended draconian segmentation. Most corporate computers, she said, have no business being on the Internet and should only be connected to an internal network without an internet gateway. What about the employees who need to update social media and check March Madness scores? "Give your employees an iPad," Grenier recommended.

One of the reasons Grenier's warnings seem so dire is that she has seen the layers of attacks that threat actors have at their disposal. "There are unpatchable bugs in everything you own and use. Every nation-state has multiple zero days on everything you own — probably three deep," she said.

Those vulnerabilities and exploits extend to mobile devices. The iPhone, Grenier said, is probably the most secure mobile device widely sold, and yet "there are probably 10 full iPhone [exploit] chains at any given time. And that's the most secure calling platform."

The real risk isn't in an attacker devastating your infrastructure, Grenier said, but in a nation-state-sponsored competitor beating you economically.

"What could you do, as someone negotiating a contract, if you had perfect knowledge of your competitor's plans, information, and projections?" she asked. "That's the situation everyone finds themselves in when they deal with a state capitalist."

Related Content:

 

 

Top industry experts will offer a range of information and insight on who the bad guys are – and why they might be targeting your enterprise. Click for more information

Curtis Franklin Jr. is Senior Editor at Dark Reading. In this role he focuses on product and technology coverage for the publication. In addition he works on audio and video programming for Dark Reading and contributes to activities at Interop ITX, Black Hat, INsecurity, and ... View Full Bio
 

Recommended Reading:

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
REISEN1955
50%
50%
REISEN1955,
User Rank: Ninja
6/13/2018 | 2:49:09 PM
Working in a real shop
I am honored to be working with a talented group of warfare professoinals at Fiserv - where we have a dedicated malware forensics and threat hunting group for the entire firm.  We are ACTIVE in finding incoming threats and monitoring over 11,000 systems for invasive anything, remediating and eliminating.  Almost unique in corporate America.  
COVID-19: Latest Security News & Commentary
Dark Reading Staff 5/28/2020
Stay-at-Home Orders Coincide With Massive DNS Surge
Robert Lemos, Contributing Writer,  5/27/2020
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win a Starbucks Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: Can you smell me now?
Current Issue
How Cybersecurity Incident Response Programs Work (and Why Some Don't)
This Tech Digest takes a look at the vital role cybersecurity incident response (IR) plays in managing cyber-risk within organizations. Download the Tech Digest today to find out how well-planned IR programs can detect intrusions, contain breaches, and help an organization restore normal operations.
Flash Poll
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2020-11844
PUBLISHED: 2020-05-29
There is an Incorrect Authorization vulnerability in Micro Focus Service Management Automation (SMA) product affecting version 2018.05 to 2020.02. The vulnerability could be exploited to provide unauthorized access to the Container Deployment Foundation.
CVE-2020-6937
PUBLISHED: 2020-05-29
A Denial of Service vulnerability in MuleSoft Mule CE/EE 3.8.x, 3.9.x, and 4.x released before April 7, 2020, could allow remote attackers to submit data which can lead to resource exhaustion.
CVE-2020-7648
PUBLISHED: 2020-05-29
All versions of snyk-broker before 4.72.2 are vulnerable to Arbitrary File Read. It allows arbitrary file reads for users who have access to Snyk's internal network by appending the URL with a fragment identifier and a whitelisted path e.g. `#package.json`
CVE-2020-7650
PUBLISHED: 2020-05-29
All versions of snyk-broker after 4.72.0 including and before 4.73.1 are vulnerable to Arbitrary File Read. It allows arbitrary file reads to users with access to Snyk's internal network of any files ending in the following extensions: yaml, yml or json.
CVE-2020-7654
PUBLISHED: 2020-05-29
All versions of snyk-broker before 4.73.1 are vulnerable to Information Exposure. It logs private keys if logging level is set to DEBUG.