Back to qualys.com
111 posts

Threat Hunting: Adoption, Expertise Grow, but Work Remains

Threat hunting, an often misunderstood but powerful security practice, is gaining traction, as more organizations reap benefits from it and get better at it. However, there is still a lot of room for adoption to increase and for practices to improve.

Those were key findings from the SANS Institute’s 2018 threat hunting study, which experts from SANS, Qualys and other companies discussed recently in the two-part webcast “Threat Hunting Is a Process, Not a Thing.”

“Over the past two to three years, threat hunting has been moving from a ‘What is it?’ discussion into a more formal mentality of: ‘This is what it is. Am I doing it right?’,” said Rob Lee, a SANS instructor. “But we’re still in a transition.”

For starters, there’s still considerable confusion about what threat hunting is. For example, it’s very common for many to equate it with reactive practices such as incident response. Rather, threat hunting is by definition proactive. It assumes that the organization’s prevention defenses have been bypassed, and the IT environment breached, without any alerts being triggered.

Using threat intelligence analysis and other tactics, hunters formulate and act on a hypothesis about where the intruders are likely to be lurking in silence while pursuing their nefarious goals.

Continue reading …

Apple, Amazon in a Tussle with Bloomberg over Spy Chips Report

In our latest security news digest, we delve into the brouhaha over Chinese spy chips, check out the latest in Facebook’s investigation of its recent hack, and look at Google’s controversial decision to delay disclosing a potential data breach.

Bloomberg’s spy chip report stuns tech industry, then draws skepticism

The hyperactive cyber security news cycle reached another intensity level when Bloomberg reported the presence of Chinese spy chips in servers used by Apple, Amazon and other major U.S. companies. But did the global news agency get the story right?

Citing numerous anonymous sources, Bloomberg stated that China surreptitiously modified server hardware and embedded tiny chips in motherboards to snoop on about 30 large American businesses.

The Chinese government reportedly did this by tampering with parts built in China by suppliers of Supermicro, a U.S.-based Fortune 1000 designer and maker of servers.

“In Supermicro, China’s spies appear to have found a perfect conduit for what U.S. officials now describe as the most significant supply chain attack known to have been carried out against American companies,” Bloomberg’s article reads.

But Bloomberg, which doubled-down on the original article with a follow-up, has become part of the story, as more and more parties question the accuracy of its bombshell reports.

Continue reading …

Qualys Broadens Security Offerings for Azure

Qualys is expanding its security and compliance capabilities for Microsoft Azure, by adding protection for the on-premises Azure Stack and extending capabilities for public cloud deployments.

By using Qualys’ platform to defend hybrid IT environments, organizations get a unified view of their security posture, and can apply the same standards and processes on premises and in clouds.

“The advantages of doing so all within a single pane of glass is to reduce your total cost of ownership, and to have all the data in one place,” Hari Srinivasan, a Qualys Director of Product Management, said during a presentation at Microsoft’s Ignite 2018 conference.

That way, when a major attack like WannaCry is unleashed, organizations can quickly assess their risk and take action from a single console, instead of scrambling to assemble fragmented information from siloed tools.

Read on to learn more about Qualys’ comprehensive offerings for Azure.

Continue reading …

Stronger Security with Global IT Asset Inventory

On a Friday afternoon before a long holiday weekend, a company’s security operations center receives a potentially serious alert: It appears that a domain controller has been tampered with. After examining event logs and overlaying network traffic, a SOC analyst confirms that a suspicious system did in fact connect to the controller, extracted credentials, and performed other actions. 

Worried this could be a hacker, the SOC team spends hours doing network analysis. Eventually they determine it’s a false alarm: An administrator had logged into the network to check his email with his personal laptop, whose use the company had authorized a month before.

Why did it take the SOC team so long to solve this mystery? They lacked a comprehensive IT asset inventory that would have allowed them to either quickly find that laptop on a list of devices owned by employees and approved for work use, or else determine it was a rogue device.

This hypothetical incident shows the importance of a continuously updated IT asset inventory, which would have slashed the SOC’s investigation time, and made a big difference if instead there had been an attack, according to security experts from SANS Institute and from Qualys.

Continue reading …

Hackers Exploit Facebook Bug, As Twitter DMs (Maybe) Got Misrouted

In our latest security news digest, we check out the Facebook hack heard ’round the world, a Twitter bug that rattled users but may not amount to much, and a pair of serious Linux kernel vulnerabilities.

Facebook scrambles to investigate major breach affecting tens of millions of users

The cyber security world shook on Friday upon learning that attackers exploited a software flaw on Facebook that allowed them to obtain access tokens for 50 million accounts, with another 40 million accounts possibly also affected.

Equally or even more concerning: The purloined tokens could have been used to access accounts in other websites into which their users log in with their Facebook credentials, such as Spotify and AirBnB.

Facebook inadvertently introduced the bug in July of last year. After investigating unusual activity detected in mid-September of this year, Facebook discovered the attack last week.

The attack has made global headlines since its disclosure on Sept. 28, and has naturally drawn scrutiny from security experts, government regulators, Facebook users, and industry observers.

“It’s surprising to me that as popular as Facebook is, no white hat hacker ever discovered and reported this flaw in the past, neither an external pen tester nor Facebook’s internal IT security team,” Paul Bischoff, privacy advocate with Comparitech, told Dark Reading.

Continue reading …

British Airways Hack Triggers GDPR Concerns, as World Awaits Windows 0-Day Patch

A swipe of confidential data from almost 400,000 British Airways customers. A string of app takedowns at the Mac App Store after exfiltration findings. A gargantuan data breach at a Chinese hotel chain. An unpatched zero-day Windows bug exploited in the wild. These are some of the security news that have recently caught our eye.

Could British Airways hit GDPR turbulence after data breach?

Hackers breached British Airways’ website and mobile app during a two-week period recently, and may have stolen personal and financial information of 380,000 customers, including payment card details. The airline disclosed the hack last week, saying that the cyber criminals had access to the breached systems between Aug. 21 and Sept. 5.

Credit card information included the 3- or 4-digit security codes printed on the cards. Other information that was at risk included names, billing addresses, and email addresses. This set of information puts affected customers at risk for a variety of fraudulent activity, including unauthorized use of their payment card and email “phishing” scams.

Continue reading …

GDPR 101: Monitoring & Maintaining Compliance After the Deadline

Discussions about the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) reached a crescendo on May 25, the compliance deadline, but many companies continue seeking guidance.

The reason: A majority of companies missed the deadline, according to estimates from various sources, including Gartner, Crowd Research, IDC, Spiceworks, TrustArc, and Ponemon Institute, so it’s very likely that millions are still working on GDPR compliance.

Although GDPR has been in effect for months, “it’s clear that many organizations lack such a strategy or the tools needed to effectively protect sensitive data and maintain privacy and protection,” Gartner analyst Deborah Kish said in August.

To help companies still in the process of meeting the regulation’s requirements, the IT GRC Forum recently held a webcast titled “GDPR 101: Monitoring & Maintaining Compliance After the Deadline.” The webcast’s panelists included Qualys expert Tim White, who spoke about the importance of managing vendor risk and leveraging a control framework.

Tim White is Qualys’ Director of Product Management for Policy Compliance

White explained that IT security is a small yet key subset of GDPR. “The need to protect the privacy of the information, to prevent accidental or intentional disclosure, is a critical sub-component,” he said.

It’s also important to know that GDPR offers vague, general requirements for IT security, unlike other industry mandates and regulations that are very specific and prescriptive in this regard, said White, Qualys’ Director of Product Management for Policy Compliance.

“In GDPR, you’ve got to implement a good security program and apply the appropriate technical compensating and procedural controls to do due diligence to protect the information privacy,” he said.

The best way to achieve this is by leveraging a technical control framework, like the Center for Internet Security’s (CIS) Critical Security Controls or the National Institute for Standards and Technology’s (NIST) 800-53 controls.

“It’s really important to make sure you have comprehensive coverage of all aspects of IT security, including vulnerability management, configuration management and patching, as well as all appropriate detection and preventative controls at the network layers,” White said.

Continue reading …

Securing Container Deployments with Qualys

With container adoption booming, security teams must protect the applications that DevOps teams create and deploy using this method of OS virtualization. The security must be comprehensive across the entire container lifecycle, and built into the DevOps pipeline in a way that is seamless and unobtrusive.

Accomplishing this requires an understanding of Docker container technology and the adoption of processes and tools tailored for these environments. In a recent webcast, Qualys Director of Product Management Hari Srinivasan, an expert on cloud and container security, outlined container security risks, use cases, and best practices.

Read on to learn about Srinivasan’s recommendations for gaining visibility into container assets, doing vulnerability analysis, and detecting drifting runtimes across your DevOps pipeline.

Continue reading …

How New Passive Network Sensor Boosts Platform Capabilities

Black Hat attendees got a peek at Qualys Passive Network Sensor (PNS), a product that amplifies the already comprehensive IT asset visibility Qualys provides to its customers. By adding real-time network analysis to Qualys’ versatile set of sensors, PNS eliminates blind spots across IT environments through continuous traffic monitoring.

“Now you have instant visibility into every single asset that’s communicating on your network,” said Qualys’ Chief Product Officer Sumedh Thakar during a presentation on Passive Network Sensor at the conference.

The sensor extends the Qualys Cloud Platform’s broad spectrum of integrated security and compliance capabilities, further reducing Qualys customers’ needs for multi-vendor point products that are costly to manage and integrate.

Continue reading …

Security News: Hackers Aim Ransomware at Big Cos., as Experts Call for Swift Patching of Struts Bug

Ransomware raids aimed at specific targets with big pockets. Another Struts vulnerability — but scarier than last year’s. An Android spyware that records your phone calls. These are some of the security news that have caught our attention.

New Struts Bug Should Be Patched Yesterday

Apache patched a serious remote code execution vulnerability (CVE-2018-11776) affecting all supported versions — 2.3 to 2.3.34 and 2.5 to 2.5.16 — of the widely used Struts Java application framework. The bug is considered more dangerous than the one disclosed last year in Struts that was exploited in the massive data breach at Equifax.

In the Apache security bulletin, the vulnerability is rated “Critical” and users are advised to immediately upgrade to Struts 2.3.35 or Struts 2.5.17.

The remote code execution becomes possible “when using results with no namespace and in same time, its upper action(s) have no or wildcard namespace” and “when using url tag which doesn’t have value and action set,” the bulletin reads.

Organizations should upgrade to the patched Struts versions even if their applications aren’t  vulnerable to this bug. “An inadvertent change to a Struts configuration file may render the application vulnerable in the future,” stated Semmle, whose security researcher Man Yue Mo discovered this vulnerability.

Continue reading …