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Vendor Risk Bites Sears, Delta and Best Buy, while Saks, Lord & Taylor Deal With Breach

Data breaches dominated the cyber security headlines last week, as Sears, Delta, Best Buy, Saks, and Lord & Taylor all found themselves in the news.

Sears, Delta and Best Buy: Another vendor risk incident

What do retail giant Sears Holdings, consumer electronics chain Best Buy and Delta Air Lines have in common? A customer service contractor that got hacked, compromising an undetermined number of their customers’ payment card data.

The contractor, called [24]7.ai, got breached in late September of last year, and discovered and contained the incident in mid-October. The company, which provides customer support for a variety of clients via online chats, didn’t offer details about the cause or nature of the hack in its brief statement issued Wednesday.

In its statement, Sears estimated the number of its potentially affected customers at under 100,000, and said that [24]7.ai informed it about the breach in mid-March of this year. Meanwhile, Delta said it was notified on March 28, and that it believes a “small subset” of its customers’ data was exposed, although it can’t say for sure whether the information was accessed or compromised. Best Buy said “a small fraction” of its customers may have been impacted, regardless of whether they used the chat function, according to USA Today.

It’s the latest in the recurring problem of vendor risk, in which an organization’s information security is compromised after a trusted third party — contractor, supplier, consultant, partner — suffers a breach.

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Feds Take On Foreign Hackers, While 880K Orbitz Customers “Likely” Affected by Data Breach

In this edition of Qualys’ infosec news digest, we look at Orbitz’s data breach, AMD’s vulnerabilities controversy, and recent actions by the U.S. government against alleged Russian and Iranian cyber spies.

Orbitz was (kinda, sorta, maybe) hacked

Orbitz disclosed last week that personal information linked to almost 900,000 payment cards may have been compromised, after it detected a “data security incident” in which “there was likely unauthorized access” to customer data.

The customer data at risk includes payment card details, full names, dates of birth, phone numbers and e-mail and home addresses.

Orbitz doesn’t think that passport numbers nor travel itineraries were compromised. It doesn’t collect Social Security numbers. Orbitz, which is owned by Expedia, isn’t sure if data was stolen, but a privacy rights experts recommends that customers not rest easy.

“I think consumers should assume that their personal information has been compromised even though they may not have been notified. There have been so many data breaches that you just can’t assume that you haven’t been affected,” Beth Givens, executive director of the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, told Consumer Reports.

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GDPR: The Stakes Are High and Time Is of the Essence

With the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) going into effect in under three months, the countdown clock is fast approaching zero for organizations worldwide that handle personal data of EU residents.

GDPR is a very broad and wide-ranging regulation that requires organizations to obtain a lot of legal advice, and to implement business controls. Although these controls exceed the scope of information security, IT security and compliance are a significant subset of the regulation.

A special challenge for InfoSec teams is GDPR’s lack of details about specific security measures and requirements for protecting EU residents’ data.

“The GDPR regulation is extremely vague and doesn’t give any detailed prescriptive requirements of what the expectations are for data protection, but they’re very far-reaching,” Tim White, a Qualys Product Management Director, said during a recent webcast.

GDPR puts a heavier burden of accountability on organizations, forcing them, among other things, to accommodate significant new rights for individuals. For example, EU residents can request that organizations delete, disclose, correct and transfer their personal information.

To comply with these GDPR “subject access requests,” organizations must know what data they have, where it’s stored, with whom they’re sharing it, how they’re protecting it, and what they’re using it for.

Unfortunately, many organizations are far from ready to comply with GDPR.

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Intel Makes Spectre Patch Progress, while Adobe Grapples with Latest Flash Bug

It’s been a busy week in InfoSec land, as Intel released a new Spectre patch, iOS source code was leaked online, and a zero-day Flash bug got exploited in the wild.

Also making noise these past few days: A major security hole in the Grammarly web app, WordPress updates tripping over each other, and a data breach at a Swiss telecom company.

As has been the case these past few weeks, we’ll lead off with the latest on Meltdown and Spectre, the hardware vulnerabilities whose disclosure on Jan. 3 sent shockwaves through the IT industry due to their scope and severity, and which are expected to remain an issue for years.

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Implementing the CIS 20 Critical Security Controls: Building Upon Foundational Cyber Hygiene

Most successful cyber attacks exploit known vulnerabilities for which patches are available, or take advantage of weak configuration settings that could have been easily hardened. You can significantly lower the risk of being victimized by this type of common, preventable attack by adopting the Center for Internet Security’s Critical Security Controls (CSCs).

This set of 20 structured InfoSec best practices offers a methodical and sensible plan for securing your IT environment, and maps to most security control frameworks, government regulations, contractual obligations and industry mandates.

The CSCs were first developed in 2008 and are periodically updated by a global community of volunteer cybersecurity experts from government, academia and industry. “The CIS Controls provide a prioritized approach to cyber security, starting with the most essential tasks and progressing to more sophisticated techniques,” Tony Sager, CIS Chief Evangelist, wrote recently.

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.

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Webcast Q&A: Automating the CIS Critical Security Controls

Qualys Product Management Director Tim White and SANS Institute Analyst John Pescatore did a deep dive into the Center for Internet Security’s Critical Security Controls during a recent webcast, and answered questions from audience members about these 20 foundational security practices, and about the importance of maintaining basic security hygiene.

In this blog post, we’re providing edited transcripts of their answers to all the questions, including those that they didn’t have time to address during the one-hour webcast, which was titled “Automating CIS Critical Security Controls for Threat Remediation and Enhanced Compliance.” We hope you find their explanations insightful and useful.

Webcast Questions and Answers - Automating CIS 20 Critical Security ControlsIn addition, if you didn’t catch the webcast live, we invite you to listen to the CIS controls webcast recording. We also encourage you to download a copy of a highly detailed guide that maps the CIS controls and sub-controls directly to specific features in Qualys apps.

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Countdown to GDPR: Assess Vendor Risk

To comply with GDPR, organizations typically must overhaul and update a number of internal processes and systems, but they can’t ignore a critical area: risk from vendors and other third parties such as contractors, partners, suppliers and service providers.

GDPR assess vendor riskIt’s a point that’s stressed repeatedly throughout the 88-page text of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which goes into effect in May 2018 and requires that organizations worldwide properly identify, track and protect their EU customers’ personal data.

In GDPR lingo, “data controllers” must vet the “data processors” they share this customer information with, and assume joint responsibility for what happens to it. In other words, you’re liable if one of your third parties gets breached for failing to adhere to GDPR requirements and as a result your customers’ personal data gets compromised.

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Q&A: Conducting Cloud-Based Vendor Risk Audits With Qualys SAQ

Q&A: Conducting Cloud-Based Vendor Risk Audits With Qualys Security Assessment Questionnaire SAQThird-party security assessments drastically reduce your organization’s risk of suffering a data breach. When carried out properly, these assessments identify poor InfoSec and privacy practices among your vendors, partners, contractors, and other third parties with access to your IT systems and data. Unfortunately, many businesses conduct these assessments manually, using email and spreadsheets, which makes them labor-intensive, slow and imprecise. This manual approach strains InfoSec teams and creates a backlog of security evaluations.

In a recent webcast, “Streamlining Third Party Risk Assessments in the Cloud,” a Qualys customer discussed how his organization tackled this challenge in a way that improved productivity, efficiency, visibility, and risk analysis. Below are the answers to the questions asked by participants during the Q&A portion of the presentation, provided by speakers Jonathan Osmolski, Manager of Enterprise Records and Information Governance at Pekin Insurance, and Hariom Singh, Director of Product Management for Qualys Security Assessment Questionnaire (SAQ).

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Save Time by Streamlining Vendor Risk Assessments in the Cloud

As your organization enthusiastically adopts cloud and mobile services from multiple new vendors, are your already-busy security and compliance teams scrambling to assess the risks of using these new providers’ products?

Are you still using a manual process for conducting these vendor evaluations, even though you’re being asked to do more of them, and to complete them more quickly?

This is an increasingly common scenario in enterprises globally, and it creates a challenge for InfoSec teams: How to do more vendor risk assessments, and faster, so that business units can deploy these new cloud and mobile services quickly and gain the desired competitive edge?

Pekin Insurance, a provider of life, business, auto, home and health coverage, found itself in this position last year: Using a manual process that taxed its InfoSec team members and didn’t scale.

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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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