Qualys Blog

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6 posts

Meltdown and Spectre Aren’t Business as Usual

The new year brought a new vulnerability type — the CPU-based Meltdown and Spectre bugs — that’s forcing vendors and IT departments to modify long-standing ways of identifying threats, prioritizing remediation, managing patches and evaluating risk.

“Meltdown and Spectre are different vulnerabilities from what you’re used to seeing,” Jimmy Graham, a Product Management Director at Qualys, said during a webcast on Wednesday.

As a result, it’s essential for organizations to fully understand the nature of these vulnerabilities, stay on top of the latest information, and analyze the vulnerabilities’ impact in their IT environments, in order to stay as safe as possible.

“It’s not a simple [process] of just install a patch and you’re done,” he said.

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Meltdown / Spectre Mitigation Is a Work in Progress

Since researchers disclosed the Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities on Jan. 3, vendors and IT departments have been consumed trying to figure out how to properly address the potentially devastating effects of these kernel-level bugs.Meltdown Spectre Mitigation is a Work in Progress

By now, one thing we know for sure is that dealing with the vulnerabilities is a moving target. This situation is compounded by the fact that they have broad implications and that every day seems to bring new, relevant information that must be factored into ongoing mitigation efforts.

Thus, it’s important to stay on top of the latest developments, so we’re providing a snapshot of what we know to date, how Qualys can help and and what InfoSec teams can do. We’re also tracking a list of Qualys resources.

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January Patch Tuesday – Meltdown/Spectre, 16 Critical Microsoft Patches, 1 Adobe Patch

Due to the disclosure of Meltdown and Spectre, Microsoft released several patches last week with the ranking “Important.” While there are no active attacks against these vulnerabilities, a special focus should be placed on any of the browser patches, due to potential attacks using JavaScript.

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Meltdown/Spectre and Qualys Cloud Platform

In light of the recently released information about two security vulnerabilities, Qualys has considered the impact on the Qualys Cloud Platform and associated services. Qualys released a detailed advisory for customers of the Qualys Cloud Platform to help customers identify these vulnerabilities and to assist customers in their internal security assessment.  

Below, please find information about how Qualys has performed its assessment and is taking steps to protect its environment and the Qualys Cloud Platform:

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Visualizing Spectre/Meltdown Impact and Remediation Progress

In order to determine the impact of Spectre/Meltdown and track remediation progress across your entire environment, it is important to visualize vulnerability detections in a dynamic dashboard. For more information on Spectre and Meltdown, please see our previous blog.

Using Qualys AssetView, we have created a dashboard with preloaded widgets that can help track remediation progress as you patch against Spectre and Meltdown. These widgets were built with out-of-the-box functionality, and can be imported into any Qualys subscription.

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Processor Vulnerabilities – Meltdown and Spectre

UPDATE 1/4/2018: Qualys has released several QIDs for detecting missing patches for these vulnerabilities.
UPDATE 1/5/2018: Pre-built AssetView dashboards to visualize impact and remediation progress.

Vulnerabilities potentially impacting all major processor vendors were disclosed today by Google Project Zero. These vulnerabilities have been named Meltdown (CVE-2017-5754) and Spectre (CVE-2017-5753 & CVE-2017-5715). Organizations should inventory their systems by processor type, apply vendor patches as they become available, and track their progress. This article describes how Qualys can help in all three areas.

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