Perimeter

3/9/2017
10:30 AM
Amit Yoran
Amit Yoran
Commentary
Connect Directly
Twitter
LinkedIn
RSS
E-Mail vvv
50%
50%

Securing Todays 'Elastic Attack Surface'

The foundation of good cybersecurity is knowing your network. But as organizations embrace new technologies, that simple task has gotten incredibly difficult.

Security pros today feel overwhelmed by the current cyberthreat environment and the deluge of security solutions on the market. Given the rapid adoption of cloud, BYOD, IoT and DevOps, many lack confidence in their ability to accurately assess exposure and risk. What the world needs is a modern approach to understanding threats and exposures across the entire enterprise, based on visibility and driving understanding. I call that the "elastic attack surface."

Dynamic and borderless
The modern enterprise environment is dynamic and borderless with virtually unlimited connectivity. Employees bring personal devices to work, contractors use their tools on the corporate network, IoT devices and infrastructure abound, people connect to new cloud instances daily, IT teams spin up containers and manage on-site and legacy architectures. The result is an elastic attack surface, and it is constantly changing in consequential ways, creating gaps in security coverage and creating exposure.

There are six major components of today’s elastic attack surface:

1. Traditional assets: The tried and true assets within the corporate enterprise - such as servers and desktops - still exist but with a dynamic interconnectedness within the environment that results in an abundance of software changes and updates.

2. Cloud instances: Between commercial offerings and organizations’ own software, the idea of a traditional network perimeter is gone forever. Most enterprises are connected to dozens of off-site server environments, making it harder to accurately assess exposure and risk.

3. Mobile/BYOD: It is now expected that employees, contractors, partners and others have access to your network when they bring their personal devices to work. Laptops, tablets, smartphones, wearables, and other devices demand connectivity, and even help employees do their jobs more efficiently.

4. IoT devices: Devices such as consumer appliances, conference room utilities, cars parked in office lots, green-building technologies, and physical security systems are all connected to your network. These devices are growing in popularity and add scale and complexity to the corporate network.

5. DevOps/Containers: As organizations adopt DevOps practices to deliver applications and services faster, ownership of IT assets changes and security teams must work directly with developers. The shift in how we build software and the use of short-lived assets, like containers, help organizations increase agility, but they also create significant new exposure along the way.

6. Web applications: Vulnerabilities have become more common in self-supported code like web applications as enterprises look for new and innovative ways to improve business operations. Delivering custom applications to employees, customers, and partners can increase revenue, strengthen customer relationships, and improve efficiency, but it also forces the organization to take responsibility for finding flaws in its own code.

Securing Elastic IT
Security teams who want to see and protect the assets in their elastic attack surface need a modern approach to understanding their asset base, an approach that gives them visibility into what exists and how it is exposed, and insight to address the risks that matters most. Without this modern approach, businesses will never be able to answer the two most fundamental questions in security: How exposed am I? And what can I do today to reduce risk?

The process starts with a deep knowledge of all of your systems and their exposures. This knowledge is critical for security teams that are trying to stay ahead of evolving threats.

Next, organizations need to understand how each of these assets maps to the business, and which ones are most critical. Security is not an island. Smart CISOs must understand how their decisions affect the overall mission of the organizations, and adjust their plans accordingly.

This in-depth understanding of the environment is the foundation on which you can prioritize improvements to security hygiene and develop a security program based on risk. The basic blocking and tackling of security might not be sexy or flashy, but at a time when more than 85% of all successful data breaches are the result of an attacker exploiting a known, unpatched vulnerability, it is critical to your security program and mission success.

Related Content:

Amit Yoran is chairman and CEO of Tenable, overseeing the company's strategic vision and direction. As the threat landscape expands, Amit is leading Tenable into a new era of security solutions, empowering organizations to meet the challenges of evolving threats with ... View Full Bio
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
JulietteRizkallah
50%
50%
JulietteRizkallah,
User Rank: Ninja
3/15/2017 | 2:26:27 PM
What about the human factor as a threat vector?
This list, though very comprehensive, is missing the main attack vector of today cyber reality: us.  We are the link to what is coveted in many of the cyberattacks today: sensistive data. Whether in structured systems - where the assets inventory and risk classification discussed in this article can help- or as unstructured data which resides in files, emails and cloud file share apps. This is why identity management is one of the fastest growing security category and why behavioral analytics will start picking up as a detection tool for cyber attacks.
6 Security Trends for 2018/2019
Curtis Franklin Jr., Senior Editor at Dark Reading,  10/15/2018
6 Reasons Why Employees Violate Security Policies
Ericka Chickowski, Contributing Writer, Dark Reading,  10/16/2018
Getting Up to Speed with "Always-On SSL"
Tim Callan, Senior Fellow, Comodo CA,  10/18/2018
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Latest Comment: Too funny!
Current Issue
Flash Poll
The Risk Management Struggle
The Risk Management Struggle
The majority of organizations are struggling to implement a risk-based approach to security even though risk reduction has become the primary metric for measuring the effectiveness of enterprise security strategies. Read the report and get more details today!
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2018-10839
PUBLISHED: 2018-10-16
Qemu emulator <= 3.0.0 built with the NE2000 NIC emulation support is vulnerable to an integer overflow, which could lead to buffer overflow issue. It could occur when receiving packets over the network. A user inside guest could use this flaw to crash the Qemu process resulting in DoS.
CVE-2018-13399
PUBLISHED: 2018-10-16
The Microsoft Windows Installer for Atlassian Fisheye and Crucible before version 4.6.1 allows local attackers to escalate privileges because of weak permissions on the installation directory.
CVE-2018-18381
PUBLISHED: 2018-10-16
Z-BlogPHP 1.5.2.1935 (Zero) has a stored XSS Vulnerability in zb_system/function/c_system_admin.php via the Content-Type header during the uploading of image attachments.
CVE-2018-18382
PUBLISHED: 2018-10-16
Advanced HRM 1.6 allows Remote Code Execution via PHP code in a .php file to the user/update-user-avatar URI, which can be accessed through an "Update Profile" "Change Picture" (aka user/edit-profile) action.
CVE-2018-18374
PUBLISHED: 2018-10-16
XSS exists in the MetInfo 6.1.2 admin/index.php page via the anyid parameter.