Cisco, the world’s leading provider of top networking equipment and enterprise software, has released today 15 security updates, including a fix for an issue that can be described as a backdoor account.
This latest patch marks the seventh time this year when Cisco has removed a backdoor account from one of its products, with the other previous six fixes listed below:
- March – CVE-2018-0141 – Cisco Prime Collaboration Provisioning
- March – CVE-2018-0150 – Cisco IOS XE operating system
- May – CVE-2018-0222 – Cisco Digital Network Architecture
- June – CVE-2018-0329 – Cisco Wide Area Application Services
- July – CVE-2018-0375 – Cisco Policy Suite Cluster Manager
- September – CVE-2018-15427 – Cisco Video Surveillance Manager
- November – CVE-2018-15439 – Cisco Small Business Switches
In the majority of the cases above, the backdoor accounts were nothing more than debugging profiles that have been left inside Cisco software/firmware after factory testing or debugging operations.
Five of the seven backdoor accounts were discovered by Cisco’s internal testers, with only CVE-2018-0329 and this month’s CVE-2018-15439 being found by external security researchers.
The company has been intentionally and regularly combing the source code of all of its software since December 2015, when it started a massive internal audit.
Cisco started that process after security researchers found what looked to be an intentional backdoor in the source code of ScreenOS, the operating system of Juniper, one of Cisco’s rivals. The Juniper ScreenOS backdoor allowed remote attackers to decrypt VPN traffic passing through Juniper devices running certain versions of ScreenOS.
Juniper suffered a massive reputational damage following the 2015 revelation, and this may secretly be the reason why Cisco has avoided using the term “backdoor account” all year for the seven “backdoor account” issues. Instead, Cisco opted for more complex wordings such as “undocumented, static user credentials for the default administrative account,” or “the affected software enables a privileged user account without notifying administrators of the system.”
It is true that using such phrasings might make Cisco look disingenuous, but let’s not forget that Cisco has been ferreting these backdoor accounts mainly on its own, and has been trying to fix them without scaring customers or impacting its own stock price along the way.
Side note: Today’s latest batch of Cisco security fixes also included patches for two other issues, both of which received a 9.8 severity rating on a scale from 1 to 10. The first was a now-classic Java serialization issue that leads to root-level remote code execution in Cisco Unity Express products, while the second was an authentication bypass due to an insecure configuration of Cisco Stealthwatch Management Console systems.
Related security coverage:
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Security Tools Help Bring Dev and Security Teams Together
Software development teams are increasingly focused on identifying and mitigating any issues as quickly and completely as possible. This relates not only to software quality but also software security. Different organizations are at different levels when it comes to having their development teams and security teams working in concert, but the simple fact remains that there are far more developers out there than security engineers.
Those factors are leading organizations to consider security tooling and automation to proactively discover and resolve any software security issues throughout the development process. In the recent report, “GigaOm Radar for Developer Security Tools,” Shea Stewart examines a roundup of security tools aimed at software development teams.
Stewart identified three critical criteria to bear in mind when evaluating developer security tools. These include:
- Vendors providing tools to improve application security can and should also enhance an organization’s overall security posture.
- The prevailing “shift-left” mindset doesn’t necessarily mean the responsibility for reducing risk should shift to development, but instead focusing on security earlier in the process and continuing to do so throughout the development process will reduce risk and the need for extensive rework.
- Security throughout the entire software development lifecycle (SDLC) is critical for any organization focused on reducing risk.
Figure 1. How Cybersecurity Applies Across Each Stage of the Software Development Lifecycle *Note: This report focuses only on the Developer Security Tooling area
Individual vendors have made varying levels of progress and innovation toward enhancing developer security. Following several acquisitions, Red Hat, Palo Alto Networks, and Rapid7 have all added tooling for developer security to their platforms. Stewart sees a couple of the smaller vendors like JFrog and Sonatype as continuing to innovate to remain ahead of the market.
Vendors delving into this category and moving deeper into “DevSecOps” all seem to be taking different approaches to their enhanced security tooling. While they are involving security in every aspect of the development process, some tend to be moving more quickly to match the pace of the SDLC. Others are trying to shore up existing platforms by adding functionality through acquisition. Both infrastructure and software developers are now sharing toolsets and processes, so these development security tools must account for the requirements of both groups.
While none of the 12 vendors evaluated in this report can provide comprehensive security throughout the entire SDLC, they all have their particular strengths and areas of focus. It is therefore incumbent upon the organization to fully and accurately assess its SDLC, involve the development and security teams, and match the unique requirements with the functionality provided by these tools. Even if it involves using more than one at different points throughout the process, focus on striking a balance between stringent security and simplifying the development process.
Read more: Key Criteria for Evaluating Developer Security Tools, and the Gigaom Radar for Developer Security Tool Companies.
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Key Criteria for Evaluating User and Entity Behavior Analytics (UEBA)
Cybersecurity is a multidisciplinary practice that not only grows in complexity annually but evolves nearly as quickly. A survey of the security landscape today would reveal concerns ranging from the classic compromised servers to the relatively new DevSecOps practices aimed at securing the rapid deployment of new code and infrastructure. However, some things remain constant no matter how much change is introduced. While technology evolves and complexity varies, there is almost always a human component in
risks presented to an organization.
User Behavior Analysis (UBA) was designed to analyze the actions of users in an organization and attempt to identify normal and abnormal behaviors. From this analysis, malicious or risky behaviors can be detected. UBA solutions identify events that are not detectable using other methods because, unlike classic security tools (an IDS or SIEM for example), UBA does not simply pattern match or apply rule sets to data to identify security events. Instead, it looks for any and all deviations from baseline user activity.
As technology advanced and evolved, and the scope of what is connected to the network grew, the need to analyze entities other than users emerged. In response, entity analysis has been added to UBA to create UEBA or User and Entity Behavior Analysis. The strategy remains the same, but the scope of analysis has expanded to include entities involving things like daemons, processes, infrastructure, and so on.
How to Read this Report
This GigaOm report is one of a series of documents that helps IT organizations assess competing solutions in the context of well-defined features and criteria. For a fuller understanding consider reviewing the following reports:
Key Criteria report: A detailed market sector analysis that assesses the impact that key product features and criteria have on top-line solution characteristics—such as scalability, performance, and TCO—that drive purchase decisions.
GigaOm Radar report: A forward-looking analysis that plots the relative value and progression of vendor solutions along multiple axes based on strategy and execution. The Radar report includes a breakdown of each vendor’s offering in the sector.
Solution Profile: An in-depth vendor analysis that builds on the framework developed in the Key Criteria and Radar reports to assess a company’s engagement within a technology sector. This analysis includes forward-looking guidance around both strategy and product.
The post Key Criteria for Evaluating User and Entity Behavior Analytics (UEBA) appeared first on Gigaom.
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