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Windows RDP Remote Code Execution Vulnerability (BlueKeep) – How to Detect and Patch

This month’s Microsoft Patch Tuesday included a very high-risk vulnerability (CVE-2019-0708, aka BlueKeep) in Remote Desktop that impacts Windows XP, Windows 7, Server 2003, Server 2008, and Server 2008 R2. This vulnerability allows an unauthenticated attacker (or malware) to execute code on the vulnerable system. It is very likely that PoC code will be published soon, and this may result in a WannaCry-style attack.

Microsoft has not only released patches for Windows 7, Server 2008 & R2, but also has taken the extra step to issue patches for Windows XP and Server 2003. Patch now!

UPDATE: Network Level Authentication (NLA) partially mitigates this vulnerability. QID 90788 (Microsoft Windows Network Level Authentication Disabled) can be used to find hosts that have NLA disabled. This forces the attacker to have valid credentials in order to perform RCE.

UPDATE: A new remote (unauthenticated) check was released under QID 91541. See below for details.

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Verizon’s DBIR Highlights Key Drivers of Security Risk

It’s that time of the year when Verizon updates us on the latest trends in the global threat landscape with its Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR). The findings in this year’s report are based on data provided by more than 70 sources (including Qualys) about more than 41,000 security incidents, including more than 2,000 confirmed data breaches, across a variety of geographies (over 80 countries) and industries. A privileged observation point indeed.

While the very informative 78-page report touches on a wide range of areas,  I’ll focus on three that are particularly relevant for Qualys customers:

  • Who are hackers’ preferred targets, and why
  • The importance of reducing both the time it takes to discover security problems, such as vulnerabilities or breaches, and the time it takes to fix them
  • How lack of visibility, human error and careless misconfigurations heighten organizations’ security risks

Read on to learn more about the evolution (or is it “EVILution”) of the threat landscape in the past year, and find out about recommended actions.

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May 2019 Patch Tuesday – 79 Vulns, 22 Critical, RDP RCE, MDS Attacks, Adobe Vulns

This month’s Microsoft Patch Tuesday addresses 79 vulnerabilities with 22 of them labeled as Critical. Of the 22 Critical vulns, 18 are for scripting engines and browsers. The remaining 4 are remote code execution (RCE) in Remote Desktop, DHCP Server, GDI+, and Word. Microsoft also released guidance on the recently disclosed Microarchitectural Data Sampling (MDS) techniques, known as ZombieLoad, Fallout, and RIDL. Adobe’s Patch Tuesday includes patches for vulnerabilities in Flash, Acrobat/Reader (83 vulnerabilities!) and Media Encoder.

UPDATE May 15: Microsoft has also issued Remote Desktop patches for Windows XP and Server 2003.

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Ancestry: On the Vanguard of DevOps Security

Grant Johnson, Ancestry’s Director, Risk & Compliance

(This is a guest post by Grant Johnson, Director, Risk & Compliance at Ancestry)

Over the past two years, Ancestry moved its entire applications and data infrastructure from local data centers to Amazon’s cloud, and this required a new approach for managing vulnerabilities in our DevOps pipeline. In the hopes that our insights will help security teams embarking on this path, this article details the challenges we faced and the best practices that helped us succeed, including:

  • the benefits of replacing production AMIs with new ones instead of patching them;
  • the importance of making security an enabler of agile, cloud processes like DevOps;
  • and effective ways to get DevOps team members and senior leaders to buy into your risk reduction strategy.

Read on to learn how, with Qualys’ help, we streamlined and automated vulnerability fixes, resulting in a steep drop in the number of high severity bugs in our production applications.

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January 2019 Patch Tuesday – 47 Vulns, 7 Critical, Adobe Vulns

This month’s Patch Tuesday is medium in size, with 47 vulns covered and only 7 labeled as Critical. Twenty-six of the vulns apply to Windows Servers and Workstation operating systems. Two of the Criticals apply to Hyper-V and could lead to RCE on the host system. Microsoft also issued and out-of-band patch in December for Internet Explorer 9 through 11 due to active attacks in the wild. Last week, Adobe also released out-of-band patches for Acrobat and Reader covering two Critical vulns.

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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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November 2018 Patch Tuesday – 62 Vulns, TFTP Server RCE, Adobe PoC

Microsoft and Adobe LogosThis month’s Patch Tuesday addresses 62 vulnerabilities, with 12 of them labeled as Critical. Out of the Criticals, 8 are for the Chakra Scripting Engine used by Microsoft Edge. A Remote Code Execution vulnerability in Windows Deployment Services’ TFTP server is also addressed in this release. Adobe also patched three Important vulnerabilities this month, although there is a PoC exploit available for Adobe Acrobat and Reader.

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Threat Hunting: Adoption, Expertise Grow, but Work Remains

Threat hunting, an often misunderstood but powerful security practice, is gaining traction, as more organizations reap benefits from it and get better at it. However, there is still a lot of room for adoption to increase and for practices to improve.

Those were key findings from the SANS Institute’s 2018 threat hunting study, which experts from SANS, Qualys and other companies discussed recently in the two-part webcast “Threat Hunting Is a Process, Not a Thing.”

“Over the past two to three years, threat hunting has been moving from a ‘What is it?’ discussion into a more formal mentality of: ‘This is what it is. Am I doing it right?’,” said Rob Lee, a SANS instructor. “But we’re still in a transition.”

For starters, there’s still considerable confusion about what threat hunting is. For example, it’s very common for many to equate it with reactive practices such as incident response. Rather, threat hunting is by definition proactive. It assumes that the organization’s prevention defenses have been bypassed, and the IT environment breached, without any alerts being triggered.

Using threat intelligence analysis and other tactics, hunters formulate and act on a hypothesis about where the intruders are likely to be lurking in silence while pursuing their nefarious goals.

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October 2018 Patch Tuesday – 49 Vulns, Critical browser patches, Hyper-V, Adobe vulns

In this month’s Patch Tuesday release there are 49 vulnerabilities patched with 12 Criticals. Out of the criticals, over half are browser-related, with the rest including Hyper-V and MSXML Parser.  Microsoft Exchange covers CVE-2010-3190 which was not identified as in-scope product when originally published, per Microsoft. Microsoft Office covers 9 Important CVEs including Sharepoint and Graphics component.

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September 2018 Patch Tuesday – 61 Vulns, FragmentSmack, Hyper-V Escape

Microsoft and Adobe LogosIn this month’s Patch Tuesday release there are 61 vulnerabilities patched with 17 Criticals. Out of the criticals, most are browser-related, with the rest including Windows, Hyper-V, and .net Framework. A vulnerability (CVE-2018-8475) in Windows’ image parsing has been publicly disclosed, in addition to a vulnerability (CVE-2018-8457) in the Scripting Engine.

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