Qualys Blog

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14 posts

Implementing the CIS 20 Critical Security Controls: Delving into More Sophisticated Techniques

Corden Pharma needed a standardized security program to meet customer requirements. Link3 Technologies wanted to prioritize its network security improvements. Telenet was looking for a road map to implement its ISO-27000 compliance program.

These three companies — a German pharmaceutical contract manufacturer, an IT services provider in Bangladesh and a large telecom in Belgium — all found the InfoSec clarity and guidance they needed in the Center for Internet Security’s Critical Security Controls (CSCs).

They are among the thousands of organizations that over the years have successfully adopted the CSCs, a set of 20 security best practices that map effectively to most security control frameworks, as well as regulatory and industry mandates.

In this blog series, we’re explaining how Qualys Cloud Platform — a single, integrated, end-to-end platform for discovery, prevention, detection, and response — and its Qualys Cloud Apps can help security teams of any size to broadly and comprehensively adopt the CIS controls.

In our first installment, we discussed how Qualys can help organizations slash 85% of cyber attack risk by adopting the first five of the Center for Internet Security’s 20 Critical Security Controls. Last week, we explained the benefits of building upon that “foundational cyber hygiene” with controls 6 to 10.

Now on version 6.1, the CSCs are described by the CIS as “high-priority, highly effective actions” that offer “specific and actionable ways to thwart the most pervasive attacks.” They’re meant to be a starting point for cyber defense improvement using a prioritized approach.

The CSCs, first published in 2008, help organizations prioritize and deal with “the most important things, which are the ones that stop real world attacks,” John Pescatore, a SANS Institute analyst, said in a recent webcast hosted by Qualys.

In today’s installment of our blog series we’ll discuss controls 11 to 15, as we move into the second half of the list, which contains increasingly more sophisticated techniques. Continue reading …

Implementing the CIS 20 Critical Security Controls: Slash Risk of Cyber Attacks by 85%

If a CISO needed to cut cyber attack risk by 85%, how would this security chief go about accomplishing that? Would the CISO even know where to begin? It’s safe to say that such a mandate would be considered daunting, and maybe even overwhelming.

CISOs are scrambling to protect IT infrastructures whose boundaries are increasingly fluid due to the adoption of mobility, cloud computing, IoT, and other new technologies. They get bombarded daily with information — research studies, threat warnings, vendor announcements, regulatory requirements, industry recommendations. Making sense out of it all is a challenge.

And yet, that dramatic cyber-attack risk reduction is an attainable goal for organizations that apply the first five of the Center for Internet Security’s 20 Critical Security Controls.

This structured and prioritized set of foundational InfoSec best practices offers a methodical and sensible approach for securing your IT environment. It maps effectively to most security control frameworks, government regulations, contractual obligations and industry mandates.

In this blog series, we’ll explain how Qualys Cloud Platform — a single, integrated, end-to-end platform for discovery, prevention, detection, and response — can help security teams of any size to broadly and comprehensively adopt the CIS controls. Continue reading …

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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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: Prioritize Vulnerability Remediation

The EU’s GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) demands that organizations stringently protect EU residents’ data they hold, share and process, which requires having solid InfoSec practices, including threat prioritization.

No, there is no specific mention of prioritization of vulnerability remediation in the regulation’s text. In fact, only a few InfoSec technologies and practices are mentioned by name.

What is stressed throughout the 88-page document is the call for both data “controllers” and data “processors” to protect this customer information by implementing “appropriate technical and organisational measures”, a phrase repeated multiple times.

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Countdown to GDPR: Get 20/20 Visibility Into Your IT Assets

Anyone questioning the importance of IT asset visibility in an organization’s security and compliance postures ought to review the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which goes into effect next year.

With the severe requirements the GDPR places on how a business handles the personal data of EU residents, it’s clear a comprehensive IT asset inventory is a must for compliance.

Specifically, companies must know what personal data they hold on these individuals, where it’s stored, with whom they’re sharing it, how they’re protecting it, and for what purposes it’s being used.

In this second installment of our blog series on GDPR readiness, we’ll explain how organizations need full visibility into all hardware and software involved in the processing, transmission, analysis and storage of this personal data, so they’re able to protect it and account for it as required by the regulation.

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Countdown to GDPR — Reduce your Risk

First discussed in the 1990s and turned into law last year, the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) finally goes into effect in May 2018, imposing strict requirements on millions of businesses and subjecting violators to severe penalties.

The complex regulation is of concern not just to European businesses. It applies to any organization worldwide that controls and processes the data of EU citizens, whose privacy the GDPR is meant to protect.

A recent PwC survey found that more than half of U.S. multinationals say GDPR is their main data-protection priority, with 77% of them planning to spend $1 million or more on GDPR readiness and compliance.

“The GDPR is putting data protection practices at the forefront of business agendas worldwide,” Steve Durbin, Information Security Forum’s managing director, wrote recently.

In other words, it’s crunch time for companies that fall within the GDPR’s broad scope and that haven’t completed their preparations to comply with this regulation. Gartner estimates that about half of organizations subject to the GDPR will be non-compliant by the end of 2018. You don’t want to be in this group of laggards.

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No More Tears: WannaCry Highlights Importance of Prompt Vulnerability Detection, Remediation

It didn’t have to happen.

That’s the simple yet profound lesson from WannaCry’s ransomware rampage that has infected 300,000-plus systems in more than 150 countries, disrupting critical operations across industries, including healthcare, government, transportation and finance.

If vulnerable systems had been patched and maintained as part of a proactive and comprehensive system configuration and vulnerability management program, the attack would have been a dud, barely registering on anyone’s InfoSec radar.

“WannaCry was totally preventable with the proper patching and the proper build configurations,” Mark Butler, Qualys’ Chief Information Security Officer (CISO), said during a webcast this week. “That’s a reminder to all of us that you didn’t have to be a victim.”

There are various workarounds for mitigating the underlying WannaCry vulnerability, but those are stopgap measures. “The primary way to remediate this vulnerability is through disciplined and timely patching,” Qualys Product Management Director Jimmy Graham said during the webcast, titled “How to Rapidly Identify Assets at Risk to WannaCry Ransomware.”

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For GDPR Readiness, You Need Visibility into Your IT Assets

The looming deadline for complying with the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is shining the spotlight on a foundational InfoSec best practice: A comprehensive IT asset inventory.

The reason: GDPR places strict requirements on the way a business handles the personal data of EU residents. For example, companies must know what information they hold on these individuals, where it’s kept, with whom they’re sharing it, how they’re protecting it, and for what purposes it’s being used.

An organization can’t expect to comply with GDPR if it lacks full visibility into the IT assets — hardware and software — that it’s using to process, transmit, analyze and store this data.

“If you don’t know what IT assets you’ve got, how can you effectively find the data on your network that you need to meet GDPR requirements?” said Darron Gibbard, Qualys’ Chief Technical Security Officer for the EMEA region, during a recent webcast.

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SANS 2017 Cybersecurity Trend Report Checklist

The SANS Institute recently released its 2017 report on cybersecurity trends. We examined the report’s six threat trends in a recent blog post, as well as in a webcast with the report’s author, security analyst John Pescatore, and with Qualys Product Management Vice President Chris Carlson. Now, we’re providing you with a useful checklist to help put you in a better position to respond these trends, which are expected to continue to dominate this year.

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