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QSC17 Focuses on Digital Transformation’s Challenges and Opportunities

Qualys Security Conference 2017 finds Qualys rapidly advancing in its ongoing quest to seamlessly and transparently thread security into the fabric of IT environments, and to make it essential for digital transformation.

At QSC17, happening this week in Las Vegas, Qualys executives will share how the company’s growing catalog of security and compliance apps, powered by the highly scalable Qualys Cloud Platform, can yield substantial benefits and unique advantages to our customers and partners.

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The Critical Security Controls: Basic Cybersecurity Hygiene for your Organization

It’s a well-known fact that most successful cyber attacks are easily preventable. That’s because the majority are neither highly sophisticated nor carefully customized.

Instead, they are of the “spray and pray” sort. They try to exploit known vulnerabilities for which patches are available, or to take advantage of weak configuration settings that IT departments could have handily and quickly hardened.

One recent and infamous example was the WannaCry ransomware, which infected 300,000-plus systems and disrupted critical operations globally in May. It spread using the EternalBlue exploit for a Windows vulnerability Microsoft had patched in March.

So why do many businesses, non-profit organizations and government agencies — including those with substantial cybersecurity resources and knowledge — continue falling prey to these largely unrefined and easy to deflect strikes?

In most cases, the main reason can be traced back to hygiene — of the cybersecurity type, of course. Just as personal hygiene practices reduce the risk of getting sick, applying cybersecurity hygiene principles goes a long way towards preventing security incidents.

That was the key message Qualys Product Management Director Tim White and SANS Institute Analyst John Pescatore delivered during the recent webcast “Automating CIS Critical Security Controls for Threat Remediation and Enhanced Compliance.”

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Achieve Continuous Security and Compliance with the CIS Critical Security Controls

For InfoSec pros, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the constant noise from cybersecurity industry players — vendors, research firms, consultants, industry groups, government regulators and media outlets. A good antidote for this hyperactive chatter is to refocus on foundational InfoSec practices. That’s what SANS Institute Senior Analyst John Pescatore and I will do this week: An immersion into the Center for Internet Security’s Critical Security Controls (CSCs).

During an hour-long webcast on Sept. 28, we’ll be discussing the benefits of implementing these 20 recommended controls. Initially published in 2008, these information security best practices have been endorsed by many leading organizations and successfully adopted by thousands of InfoSec teams over the years. Now on version 6.1, the CIS CSCs map effectively to most security control frameworks, as well as regulatory and industry mandates, and are more relevant and useful than ever.

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SANS Institute: Hackers Paint a Bullseye on Your Employees and Endpoints

End users and their devices are right smack in the center of the battle between enterprise InfoSec teams and malicious hackers, and it’s not hard to see why.

When compromised, connected endpoints — desktops, laptops, smartphones, tablets — offer intruders major entry points into corporate networks. However, end users are also their organizations’ best threat detection tools.

That’s a key takeaway from SANS Institute’s “2017 Threat Landscape Survey: Users on the Front Line,” a report published in August and co-sponsored by Qualys.

The study, conducted in May and June, polled 263 IT and InfoSec pros from companies of all sizes and major industries such as finance, government, technology and education.

It found that most of the top intrusion methods reported by respondents sought to directly or indirectly compromise end users or their devices. Hackers’ preferred threat vectors included:

  • Email attachment or link (flagged by 74 percent of respondents)
  • Web-based drive by or download (48 percent)
  • App vulnerabilities on endpoints (30 percent)
  • Web server / web app vulnerabilities (26 percent)
  • Removable storage devices (26 percent)

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Call for Papers: Qualys Security Conference 2017

Our annual user conference, QSC17, is quickly approaching and we are looking for customer presentations that showcase hot topics related to security and best practices via case studies leveraging the use of Qualys technologies.

If you would like to be considered as a presenter, please send a session title and short abstract to David Conner at dconner@qualys.com. The CFP is open until September 7, 2017.

This year’s event will be held at the Bellagio Hotel and Casino on October 18-19, in Las Vegas. QSC is a unique event with the main purpose to connect our customers and partners with our engineers and leading industry experts. To learn more about Qualys Security Conference, watch the QSC16 highlights video.

Countdown to GDPR: IT Policy Compliance

From the first page, the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation stresses the importance it places on the security and privacy of EU residents’ private information. The 88-page document opens by referring to the protection of this personal data as a “fundamental right” essential for “freedom, security and justice” and for creating the “trust” needed for the “digital economy” to flourish.

The stakes are sky-high for EU regulators tasked with enforcing GDPR, and for organisations that must comply with it. The requirements outlined in the document amount to what some have called “zero-tolerance” on mishandling EU residents’ personal data and apply to any organisation doing business in the EU, regardless of where they are based.

Both data “controllers” — those who collect the data — and data “processors” — those with whom it’s shared — must implement “appropriate technical and organisational measures” and their IT networks and systems must “resist, at a given level of confidence, accidental events or unlawful or malicious actions.”

Bottom line: Organisations are expected to have technology and processes in place to prevent accidental or malicious incidents that compromise the “availability, authenticity, integrity and confidentiality of stored or transmitted personal data.”

As we’ve discussed in this GDPR preparedness blog series, while the regulation’s document is light on specific prescriptive information security controls and technologies, organisations must have solid InfoSec foundations in place to comply with this regulation, which goes into effect in May 2018.

In prior installments, we’ve discussed the importance for GDPR compliance of IT asset inventory, vulnerability management, prioritization of remediation based on current threats, and vendor risk assessment. Today, we’ll focus on another core component for preparing for GDPR: policy compliance.

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CyberSecurity Report: Threat Landscape Gets More Sophisticated

Destruction of service. Get acquainted with this newly-minted term, and with its acronym — DeOS. It’s a particularly disturbing type of cyber attack InfoSec teams may face regularly in the not too distant future.

Cisco 2017 Cybersecurity ReportThat’s one of the main findings featured in the Cisco 2017 Midyear Cybersecurity Report, a comprehensive cyber security study the networking giant has been publishing for almost a decade.

Due to several troubling developments, including the expected popularization of DeOS attacks — intended to wreck breached IT systems — and the proliferation of IoT device use in DDoS attacks, this report blares a special alarm.

“We must raise our warning flag even higher,” reads the report, which is based on research and data from Cisco and several of its technology partners, including Qualys. “Our security experts are becoming increasingly concerned about the accelerating pace of change — and yes, sophistication — in the global cyber threat landscape.”
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Countdown to GDPR: Manage Vulnerabilities

If your organization needs a compelling reason for establishing or enhancing its vulnerability management program, circle this date in bold, red ink on your corporate calendar: May 25, 2018.

On that day, the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) goes into effect, intensifying the need for organizations to painstakingly protect EU residents’ data from accidental mishandling and foul play.

While complying with GDPR involves adopting and modifying a variety of IT systems and business processes, having comprehensive and effective vulnerability management should be key in your efforts.

Why? Too many preventable data breaches occur because hackers exploit well-known vulnerabilities for which patches are available but haven’t been installed.

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How to Secure Public Clouds while Boosting Digital Transformation

It’s happening all over the business world. Organizations of all sizes and in all industries are aggressively deploying innovative products to new online consumer channels, digitizing their core services and transitioning core business workloads to public clouds as part of digital transformation efforts aimed at increasing business efficiency and effectiveness.

This trend represents both a challenge and an opportunity for InfoSec teams. The challenge: To ensure the security and compliance of these cloud instances, without interrupting their deployment. The opportunity: To become a partner to business units by facilitating the adoption of public cloud services and other digital transformation technologies.

The digital transformation opportunities ahead are immense, according to Mark Butler, Qualys CISO. Digital transformation programs are yielding tangible business benefits, but fundamental security challenges remain, he said during the recent webcast “Securing Your Public Cloud Infrastructure.” 

Specifically, InfoSec teams must gain visibility into these cloud workloads, so that they can monitor those assets, identify vulnerabilities and misconfigurations, and promptly remediate problems. Continue reading …

Introducing the Qualys New Look and Positioning

Dear Customer, Partner and Security Professional,

I would like to thank all of you for your support during our ongoing journey to a world where we are making security invisible and an integrated component of the Digital Transformation of our enterprises. With your help and the dedication of our engineers over many years, we are finally getting closer to that dream, as we continue to significantly increase the performance and reach of the Qualys Cloud Platform and apps.

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