Qualys Blog

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11 posts

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 personally identifiable information (PII) 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 PII 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 personally identifiable information (PII) of EU residents. For example, companies must know what PII 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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SANS Study: To Take On New InfoSec Challenges, First Get the Basics Right

A major challenge for enterprise InfoSec teams is keeping their finger on the pulse of two constantly changing elements: external cyber threats and internal technology needs.

Staying a step ahead and proactively adjusting their organization’s security posture accordingly is a must in order to keep attack risks as low as possible. So what are the major shifts in threats and business technology use that CISOs and their staff face in 2017? And how should they respond to these changes?

You will find comprehensive answers to those and other critical InfoSec questions in a new SANS Institute whitepaper written by security analyst John Pescatore.

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Making Asset Inventory Actionable With a Cloud-Based System

As we’ve discussed in this blog series on automated IT asset inventory, having — or regaining — unobstructed visibility of your IT environment is key for a strong security and compliance posture.

We met Max, the CISO of a large manufacturer, whose organization progressively lost this visibility, as it adopted cloud computing, mobility, virtualization, IoT and other digital transformation technologies.

AssetView_Overview_v2_crop_searchbarWith the company’s IT environment upended and its network perimeter blurred, Max and the InfoSec team recovered control with a cloud-based, automated IT asset inventory system. This successful solution featured six key elements. In the previous posts, we addressed the first three:

This means that you need a complete and continuously updated list of IT assets, as well as granular security, compliance and system details on each one.

In this post, we’ll explain the next two requirements for an effective cloud-based IT asset inventorying system:

  • Asset criticality rankings
  • Dashboarding and reporting

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For Complete Visibility, Dive Deep into IT Asset Discovery

In the first installment of this blog series on automated asset inventorying, we met Max, the CISO of a large manufacturer whose InfoSec team lost full visibility of the company’s hardware and software.

Dangerous blind spots appeared progressively over time as Max’s company adopted more and more digital transformation technologies, such as cloud computing, mobility, IoT, and virtualization.

Eventually, Max and his team became alarmed at the inability of their legacy on-premises security products to account for the new cloud instances, virtualized environments, mobile endpoints and other assets outside of the traditional, tightly-controlled network perimeter.

They were concerned that this lack of visibility could lead to an increase in employee use of unapproved personal devices and unauthorized software, as well as to data breaches.

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