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.

Security Management //

Cloud

8/1/2019
04:13 PM
Larry Loeb
Larry Loeb
Larry Loeb
50%
50%

Who Is Phoning Home on Your Firm's Dime?

ExtraHop customers in 2018 and the first weeks of 2019 took a look at some third-party supplied enterprise software's behavior and were not pleased when it would, unannounced, call home for its creators.

ExtraHop customers in 2018 and the first weeks of 2019 took a look at some third-party supplied enterprise software's behavior and were not pleased when it would, unannounced, call home for its creators. ExtraHop took a further look and wrote a report about it. In its report, ExtraHop develops four case studies of how this sort of thing happens.

The first case study involves a financial services provider. The ExtraHop trainer that was at the organization noticed that domain controllers were shipping data to a public cloud instance. The customer's immediate reaction was said to be "that's not possible." However, domain controllers were definitely sending SSL traffic outbound to 50 different public cloud endpoints.

A glance at the underlying certificate for the client/server session revealed another well-known vendor was phoning data home to a cloud storage instance in vendor-owned IP space. The financial services company had evaluated the vendor's product months earlier but didn't buy it. All vendor connections were supposed to have terminated when the proof of concept (POC) ended, but it's evident that outbound traffic had continued for at least two months. The problem had a root cause in the vendor's actions, not the service provider.

A hospital located in the Western United States had the same sort of problem. They were trying to install a a medical device management product that manages phones and tablets when they found out the product was opening encrypted SSL:443 connections to vendor-owned cloud storage. But because the hospital was subject to HIPAA regulations an incident such as this (an unknown data leak of unknown duration that could involve personally identifiable information) typically requires significant documentation, as well as incident response and cleanup.

A large multinational food services company realized that approximately every 30 minutes, a network-connected device was sending UDP traffic out to a known bad IP address. The device turned out to be a Chinese-manufactured security camera. It was probably independently installed by an employee at their office for perceived personal security purposes. It goes to show how a well-known consumer brand can expose an enterprise's network to risk.

Working with a large financial services institution in the US Midwest, ExtraHop found a large volume of outbound traffic headed from the customer's US datacenter to the United Kingdom. It turned out to be due to a security technology vendor that was also in a POC in the same time frame.The customer was unaware that any data was leaving their environment. Because the data was crossing geographic and political boundaries, it could be prosecuted if not done properly under data compliance regimes like the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA) and GDPR.

The point of all this is simple, really. An organization's daily business may expose it to security risks that it is totally unaware of. Those risks may result from exfiltration of data, or other data transmissions that have been established without an organization's knowledge. It's an unknown that has to be trapped by an organization through review of what is happening, not what the organization wants to be happening.

So, monitor all vendor activity even if they are supposed to be off the network. Keep looking for rogue data transmissions, regardless of who is making them. Above all, create a security regimen that will be deep enough to be effective but still flexible enough to be routinely used.

— Larry Loeb has written for many of the last century's major "dead tree" computer magazines, having been, among other things, a consulting editor for BYTE magazine and senior editor for the launch of WebWeek.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
NSA Appoints Rob Joyce as Cyber Director
Dark Reading Staff 1/15/2021
Vulnerability Management Has a Data Problem
Tal Morgenstern, Co-Founder & Chief Product Officer, Vulcan Cyber,  1/14/2021
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win an Amazon Gift Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: This is not what I meant by "I would like to share some desk space"
Current Issue
2020: The Year in Security
Download this Tech Digest for a look at the biggest security stories that - so far - have shaped a very strange and stressful year.
Flash Poll
Assessing Cybersecurity Risk in Today's Enterprises
Assessing Cybersecurity Risk in Today's Enterprises
COVID-19 has created a new IT paradigm in the enterprise -- and a new level of cybersecurity risk. This report offers a look at how enterprises are assessing and managing cyber-risk under the new normal.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2021-1067
PUBLISHED: 2021-01-20
NVIDIA SHIELD TV, all versions prior to 8.2.2, contains a vulnerability in the implementation of the RPMB command status, in which an attacker can write to the Write Protect Configuration Block, which may lead to denial of service or escalation of privileges.
CVE-2021-1068
PUBLISHED: 2021-01-20
NVIDIA SHIELD TV, all versions prior to 8.2.2, contains a vulnerability in the NVDEC component, in which an attacker can read from or write to a memory location that is outside the intended boundary of the buffer, which may lead to denial of service or escalation of privileges.
CVE-2021-1069
PUBLISHED: 2021-01-20
NVIDIA SHIELD TV, all versions prior to 8.2.2, contains a vulnerability in the NVHost function, which may lead to abnormal reboot due to a null pointer reference, causing data loss.
CVE-2020-26252
PUBLISHED: 2021-01-20
OpenMage is a community-driven alternative to Magento CE. In OpenMage before versions 19.4.10 and 20.0.6, there is a vulnerability which enables remote code execution. In affected versions an administrator with permission to update product data to be able to store an executable file on the server ...
CVE-2020-26278
PUBLISHED: 2021-01-20
Weave Net is open source software which creates a virtual network that connects Docker containers across multiple hosts and enables their automatic discovery. Weave Net before version 2.8.0 has a vulnerability in which can allow an attacker to take over any host in the cluster. Weave Net is suppli...