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.

Threat Intelligence

5/22/2017
08:00 AM
Rick Orloff
Rick Orloff
Commentary
Connect Directly
LinkedIn
RSS
E-Mail vvv
100%
0%

In Search of an Rx for Enterprise Security Fatigue

Are you exhausted by the vast number of measures your organization needs to keep its systems and data safe? You're not alone.

The last thing any company stakeholder wants is to be in the headline of a news story about a security breach. Not only does it do irreparable damage to your reputation, but it could also have a huge monetary impact on both revenue and the overall value of your company. Just ask Yahoo, which, after reports of being hit by two major data breaches last year, had to settle for a $350 million price cut in its sale to Verizon.

In 2016 alone, 1,093 US companies and agencies were breached, a 40% increase from 2015, according to the Identity Theft Resource Center. Cyberthreats will continue to expand, whether ransomware, phishing, or a full system takeover. But while cybercrime continues to rise, so does the number of companies and point solutions attempting to keep your system safe. All of these factors are causing security spending to go up, increasing from $68.2 billion in 2015 to $73.7 billion in 2016. Herein lies the problem.

Enterprises are now receiving so much noise from so many point solutions that it's become incredibly difficult to discern the false positives from actionable information. In today's environment, that's exhausting for the security practitioners and can cause them to become apathetic and disillusioned in trying to support too many disparate data sources. In other words, the lack of a solid strategy can lead to security fatigue. This can manifest in the operations environment wherein important alerts are ignored. The objective for a security team is to build programs that deliver actionable intelligence. That doesn't necessarily mean security teams need to build an empire.

The security fatigue phenomenon affects consumers and enterprises alike. According to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), security fatigue is also causing consumers to make poor security decisions, such as reusing the same password across all online accounts. But what enterprises can glean from this report is NIST's suggestions to combat security fatigue, including limiting the number of security decisions that users need to make; making it simple for users to choose the right security action; and designing for consistent decision making whenever possible.

But up until a few years ago, many enterprise networks in Fortune 500 companies didn't have the ability to identify a compromised network or subnet in a timely manner. Now, the sheer amount of security measures used to detect a network compromise can create this fatigue. Without knowing what to pay attention to, identifying an inside threat is like trying to find a needle in a haystack.

There are two methods to find that needle. The first is to burn the entire haystack and make it so that the only thing left is the needle itself. The second is to correlate the data and identify the needle expeditiously. The average dwell time before identifying a network breach is approximately 200 days; however, with the proper tools it should take only a matter of hours or a few days, depending on the sophistication of the attack.

To identify the correct path, the security team needs to correlate data in a meaningful, actionable way and present the right information to executives and C-suites, such as log files, metadata, and vulnerabilities. Instead of throwing money at a new security service, this allows C-suites and executives to ask the right questions and figure out if new offerings are relevant to their own security program, and how well it will be integrated with their data feeds.

Together, the C-suite and security team should be asking how their security program can determine if someone made it through their security defenses. Breaches are usually found and reported through third-party sources and not the company itself. If security team members are asked these questions and they're left with a blank look on their faces, there are holes in the security program.

In 2013, hackers stole up to 40 million credit and debit card accounts in the now infamous Target breach. After the company's forensic team went in, it also realized that up to 70 million customer names, emails, and phone numbers were stolen. Their ability to go in and find new vulnerabilities after the fact shows that the information was there the whole time, but they may not have been correlating the data/logs to make them useful and actionable.

Some industries do a better job with security than others, but ultimately most enterprise environments should improve their ability to correlate security data in real-time to get actionable insights and have situational awareness. Correlating data means taking a look at everything — from logs to metadata — to find abnormalities and quickly catch potential breaches.

Security fatigue has taken its toll on industries and enterprises, but it's time to create a plan to corral security software and investments and create an environment that will properly protect the crown jewels. If breaches keep slipping through the cracks and customer and company data continues to be stolen, the role of chief security officer could leapfrog the chief information officer in the reporting structure. But in the end, it falls on the company as a whole, and it is time for everyone to start finding the needles in the haystack before everything gets burned down — needles and all.

Rick has more than 20 years of deep information security experience. Prior to joining Code42, Rick was VP and chief information security officer at eBay, led and built a variety of global security programs at Apple, and directed global security at Lam Research. Rick is ... View Full Bio
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Windows 10 Migration: Getting It Right
Kevin Alexandra, Principal Solutions Engineer at BeyondTrust,  5/15/2019
Artist Uses Malware in Installation
Dark Reading Staff 5/17/2019
Baltimore Ransomware Attack Takes Strange Twist
Kelly Jackson Higgins, Executive Editor at Dark Reading,  5/14/2019
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win a Starbucks Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: This comment is waiting for review by our moderators.
Current Issue
Building and Managing an IT Security Operations Program
As cyber threats grow, many organizations are building security operations centers (SOCs) to improve their defenses. In this Tech Digest you will learn tips on how to get the most out of a SOC in your organization - and what to do if you can't afford to build one.
Flash Poll
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2019-12198
PUBLISHED: 2019-05-20
In GoHttp through 2017-07-25, there is a stack-based buffer over-read via a long User-Agent header.
CVE-2019-12185
PUBLISHED: 2019-05-20
eLabFTW 1.8.5 is vulnerable to arbitrary file uploads via the /app/controllers/EntityController.php component. This may result in remote command execution. An attacker can use a user account to fully compromise the system using a POST request. This will allow for PHP files to be written to the web r...
CVE-2019-12184
PUBLISHED: 2019-05-19
There is XSS in browser/components/MarkdownPreview.js in BoostIO Boostnote 0.11.15 via a label named flowchart, sequence, gallery, or chart, as demonstrated by a crafted SRC attribute of an IFRAME element, a different vulnerability than CVE-2019-12136.
CVE-2019-12173
PUBLISHED: 2019-05-18
MacDown 0.7.1 (870) allows remote code execution via a file:\\\ URI, with a .app pathname, in the HREF attribute of an A element. This is different from CVE-2019-12138.
CVE-2019-12172
PUBLISHED: 2019-05-17
Typora 0.9.9.21.1 (1913) allows arbitrary code execution via a modified file: URL syntax in the HREF attribute of an AREA element, as demonstrated by file:\\\ on macOS or Linux, or file://C| on Windows. This is different from CVE-2019-12137.