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Alpine Docker Image Vulnerability (CVE-2019-5021): How to Detect and Fix

A vulnerability affecting the official Alpine Docker images version >=3.3 contains a null password for the root user. Due to the nature of this issue, systems deployed using affected versions of the Alpine Linux container that utilize Linux PAM, or some other mechanism that uses the system shadow file as an authentication database, may accept a NULL password for the root user.

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Boost Security with These Gartner-Recommended Projects

Is your security team struggling to decide which projects will slash risk the most without breaking the bank? If so, we believe your security leaders can end analysis paralysis by perusing Gartner’s “Top 10 Security Projects for 2019” report. As its title states, the report recommends ten security projects for 2019, and the projects selected are supported by technologies available today, address the changing needs of cybersecurity and support what Gartner calls a CARTA (Continuous Adaptive Risk and Trust Assessment) strategic approach through risk prioritization.

Below we highlight five of the projects, provide Gartner’s take, offer our opinion, and explain how Qualys can help you implement them.

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RunC Container Breakout Vulnerability

Despite the huge advantages that containers offer in application portability, acceleration of CI/CD pipelines and agility of deployment environments, the biggest concern has always been about isolation. Since all the containers running on a host share the same underlying kernel, any malicious code breaking out of a container can compromise the entire host, and hence all the applications running on the host and potentially in the cluster.

That fear of container isolation failing to hold up turned out to be true yesterday when a vulnerability in runC was announced. runC is the key and most popular software component that most container engines rely on for spinning up containers on a host. The announced vulnerability allows an attacker to break out of the container isolation through a well-crafted attack (technical details of the vulnerability and the exploit are at https://seclists.org/oss-sec/2019/q1/119) and compromise the entire host. The vulnerability is particularly nasty because it is not covered by the default AppArmor or SELinux kernel-enforced sandboxing policies.

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Container Security Becomes a Priority for Enterprises

Among the IT innovations that businesses are using to digitally transform operations, containers might be the most disruptive and revolutionary.

“They’re a real game changer,” Qualys Chief Product Officer Sumedh Thakar said at QSC 2018 in Las Vegas.

DevOps teams have embraced containers because they boost speed and flexibility in app development and delivery, and are ideal for microservices. In fact, by 2020 more than 50% of organizations will run containerized applications in production, up from under 20% in 2017, according to Gartner. Thus, security teams must prioritize protecting the applications that DevOps teams create with this OS virtualization method.

“We see container security as a significant new paradigm coming at us, which will bring a lot of change,” Qualys CEO Philippe Courtot said.

Asif Awan, Qualys’ Container Security CTO

But to ensure the security and compliance of container-based code, organizations can’t rely on conventional application security products. “Your existing tools aren’t going to work,” said Asif Awan, Qualys’ Container Security CTO. Unsurprisingly, organizations cite security as the biggest challenge when deploying containers, according to Forrester.

“Security automation is a simple term but to get a handle over that entire automated and ever-accelerating CI/CD (continuous integration and delivery) pipeline is becoming more and more difficult,” Awan said.

Responding to this need, Qualys offers a comprehensive security solution that monitors and protects containerized applications from the inside.  In order to do that, Qualys technology collects granular behavior data about the application, providing deep visibility and enforcing normal application behavior for runtime protection.

Read on to learn about Qualys’ container security approach.

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Capital One: Building Security Into DevOps

Capital One prides itself on staying at the forefront of IT innovations to give its business a competitive edge.

For example, it adopted Agile software-development methodologies years ago, and uses artificial intelligence and machine learning. It was the first bank to implement a mobile wallet with “contactless” NFC payments, and to offer voice-activated financial transactions using Amazon’s Alexa. When 2018 ends, Capital One expects 80% of its IT infrastructure to be cloud based, allowing it to go from seven to two data centers.

Given its tech transformation track record, it’s not surprising that Capital One has embraced DevSecOps, embedding automated security checks into its DevOps pipeline. This effort has dramatically accelerated the process of assessing vulnerabilities and mis-configurations in its virtual machine images and containers.

As a result, the code created in the DevOps pipeline is certified as secure and released to production without unnecessary delays. This allows Capital One — one of the United States’ 10 largest banks, based on deposits — to consistently boost its business across the board by quickly and continuously improving its web properties, mobile apps, online services and digital offerings.

“This has provided a huge benefit to the entire company,” said Emmanuel Enaohwo, Senior Manager for Vulnerability/Configuration Management at Capital One, a Fortune 500 company based in McLean, Virginia that offers a broad spectrum of financial products and services to consumers, small businesses and commercial clients.

Read on to learn how the bank has automated vulnerability and compliance checks in its CI/CD software pipeline, helped by Qualys.

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Infosec Teams Race To Secure DevOps

With DevOps adoption spreading, infosec teams are scrambling to address the new security challenges stemming from DevOps’ accelerated code development and app deployment. But while IT organizations have made notable progress adapting security to their DevOps processes, work remains to be done.

That’s a key finding from SANS Institute’s “Secure DevOps: Fact or Fiction” report, which was discussed recently in a two-day webcast (Part 1 & Part 2) co-sponsored by Qualys. A revealing statistic: Under 50% of respondent organizations have fully “shifted left” to embed security throughout their DevOps pipelines, a figure that should be higher.

“Security is still being built in at the end, whereas risk reduction should start earlier in the software development lifecycle,” said Barbara Filkins, a SANS analyst. With security in the early stages of application design, “we can eliminate many issues that we’d see at the back end,” she said.

Threading security throughout DevOps also preserves the benefits of continuous and quick software delivery, like improved customer support and employee productivity. 

“As a DevOps engineer, you’re looking to automate security at the speed of what business needs,” said Qualys Product Management Director Hari Srinivasan.

“The goal is enabling a transition from DevOps to secure DevOps that is factual, not fiction,” Filkins said.

Read on to learn about DevSecOps challenges, best practices and case studies.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Eager to Boost your Container Security? Don’t Miss this Webcast

DevOps teams can’t get enough of containers — and for good reason. Faster and more efficient application development and deployment, as well as increased application portability, are some container technology benefits, which in turn help drive digital transformation efforts.

Container-based applications can be smaller, often focused on one or a few capabilities, and be more easily distributed across an IT environment. That’s why containers have facilitated the popularity of microservices, a type of architecture in which applications are structured as independent, small, modular services.

However, containers create their own set of security and compliance issues. These challenges include the use of un-validated software pulled from public repositories, which often contains unpatched vulnerabilities, and the deployment of containers with weak configurations. In addition, containers communicate directly with each other via exposed network ports in a way that bypasses host controls, and they’re hard to track because they’re so ephemeral.

Hari Srinivasan, Director of Product Management for Qualys’ public cloud infrastructure platform integrations

This Thursday, Qualys will host a webcast, “Building Security into the 3 Phases of Container Deployment,” led by Hari Srinivasan, Director of Product Management, who’s our resident expert on container security.

In this webcast, Srinivasan will outline security use cases for containers at the build, registry, and runtime stages of DevOps pipelines. He will also explain the importance of having visibility into container assets, and of the need for container-native vulnerability analysis. Srinivasan will also address strategies to detect and address drifting runtimes.

Register for Thursday’s webcast, which begins at 10 am PT / 1 pm ET.