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.

Vulnerabilities / Threats

3/23/2011
01:05 PM
50%
50%

Schwartz On Security: Advanced Threats Persist And Annoy

APTs are today's normal threat, and companies such as RSA must do better, even as the odds against them keep increasing.

It was the advanced persistent threat that done it. So said RSA's executive chairman, Art Coviello, describing the security breach that stole some yet-to-be-disclosed aspect of his company's SecurID two-factor authentication system.

Helpfully, in his breach notification letter to RSA's customers, Coviello offers to promulgate "lessons learned" once RSA figures out how it got nailed by an APT. "As appropriate, we will share our experiences from these attacks with our customers, partners, and the rest of the security vendor ecosystem and work in concert with these organizations to develop means to better protect all of us from these growing and ever more sophisticated forms of cyber security threat," he said.

How's that for spin, especially from a company that has so far refused to detail which aspects of its SecurID system were breached, leaving customers to prepare for the worst-case scenario. Will RSA use itself as a case study for selling future, anti-APT products to its own customers?

As Gartner Group analyst John Pescatore titled a recent blog post: "Sorry, The Computer Is Down and The Advanced Persistent Threat Stole Your Data -- But Your Business Is Important to Us!"

Pescatore, among others, questions the usefulness of the "APT" term altogether. For reference, the Ponemon Institute has defined the advanced persistent threat as "a methodology employed to evade an organization's present technical and process countermeasures, which relies on a variety of attack techniques, as opposed to one specific type."

If the definition of APT doesn't sound ultra-precise, you're correct: it's a catch-all term for attacks designed to defeat existing security controls, oftentimes using "long and slow" techniques to help evade detection. But haven't attacks designed to defeat existing defenses through unconventional means been around for years?

Companies, RSA included, need to do better if they want to stay in business. Of course, they're facing difficult odds, given that botnets and spam networks -- for infecting targeted PCs -- are within reach of even the most common criminal.

That fact was highlighted by federal authorities announcing on Monday that they'd busted a penny stock "pump and dump" scheme backed by botnets. That's to say, rather than running a telephone boiler room, the two men arrested allegedly contracted with hackers who rented or ran their own botnets and spamming operations.

Previous
1 of 2
Next
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
DevSecOps: The Answer to the Cloud Security Skills Gap
Lamont Orange, Chief Information Security Officer at Netskope,  11/15/2019
Attackers' Costs Increasing as Businesses Focus on Security
Robert Lemos, Contributing Writer,  11/15/2019
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Current Issue
Navigating the Deluge of Security Data
In this Tech Digest, Dark Reading shares the experiences of some top security practitioners as they navigate volumes of security data. We examine some examples of how enterprises can cull this data to find the clues they need.
Flash Poll
Rethinking Enterprise Data Defense
Rethinking Enterprise Data Defense
Frustrated with recurring intrusions and breaches, cybersecurity professionals are questioning some of the industrys conventional wisdom. Heres a look at what theyre thinking about.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2019-19037
PUBLISHED: 2019-11-21
ext4_empty_dir in fs/ext4/namei.c in the Linux kernel through 5.3.12 allows a NULL pointer dereference because ext4_read_dirblock(inode,0,DIRENT_HTREE) can be zero.
CVE-2019-19036
PUBLISHED: 2019-11-21
btrfs_root_node in fs/btrfs/ctree.c in the Linux kernel through 5.3.12 allows a NULL pointer dereference because rcu_dereference(root->node) can be zero.
CVE-2019-19039
PUBLISHED: 2019-11-21
__btrfs_free_extent in fs/btrfs/extent-tree.c in the Linux kernel through 5.3.12 calls btrfs_print_leaf in a certain ENOENT case, which allows local users to obtain potentially sensitive information about register values via the dmesg program.
CVE-2019-6852
PUBLISHED: 2019-11-20
A CWE-200: Information Exposure vulnerability exists in Modicon Controllers (M340 CPUs, M340 communication modules, Premium CPUs, Premium communication modules, Quantum CPUs, Quantum communication modules - see security notification for specific versions), which could cause the disclosure of FTP har...
CVE-2019-6853
PUBLISHED: 2019-11-20
A CWE-79: Failure to Preserve Web Page Structure vulnerability exists in Andover Continuum (models 9680, 5740 and 5720, bCX4040, bCX9640, 9900, 9940, 9924 and 9702) , which could enable a successful Cross-site Scripting (XSS attack) when using the products web server.