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CrowdStrike, NSS Labs resolve court battle over product testing

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Researcher creates SMBdoor based on NSA malware for security purposes
New experimental backdoor highlights an OS section that antivirus products are not looking at.

CrowdStrike and NSS Labs have settled a legal dispute over tests relating to the CrowdStrike Falcon endpoint protection solution.

In a statement, CrowdStrike said “CrowdStrike and NSS Labs have resolved the lawsuits between them pursuant to a confidential settlement agreement.”  

As part of that settlement, NSS issued a corrective statement concerning the firm’s past analysis of the CrowdStrike Falcon, tested by the cybersecurity guidance company both privately and publicly.

Originally, NSS included the product in its first Advanced Endpoint Protection (AEP) Test Reports and Security Value Map, published in February 2017.

See also: NSS Labs files lawsuit over alleged CrowdStrike, Symantec, ESET product test conspiracy

The antivirus and cybersecurity solutions of 13 vendors were analyzed, including Carbon Black, ESET, Malwarebytes, SentinelOne, and CrowdStrike. In total, nine were “recommended,” while one was “security recommended,” one was deemed “neutral” and two were given a “caution” rating.

CrowdStrike’s Falcon was one of two products given a value estimate of “below average,” with an overall effectiveness rating of 73.2 percent and a score of 99 percent for evasion techniques.

While NSS said the report “was in the public domain to provide transparency and help enterprises understand the factors behind the results,” CrowdStrike disputed the results.

CNET: Apple has a secret facility for stress-testing iPhone parts

The cybersecurity vendor then launched a lawsuit against NSS in a US Federal District Court and requested that the report be withheld prior to public release. CrowdStrike alleged that NSS’ testing practices were “deeply flawed” and errors were made including “labeling legitimate software such as Firefox, Skype, and Java, digitally signed by vendors, as malicious.”

In addition, CrowdStrike said that the Falcon’s prevention settings were turned off during the test, an analysis which was also labeled “incomplete” after CrowdStrike suspended access to the software on suspicion of NSS colluding with a reseller to obtain entry.

A year later, NSS filed an antitrust lawsuit against CrowdStrike, Symantec, and ESET, alleging that the organizations were actively conspiring to restrict independent product testing.

However, NSS has now admitted its own conduct was not exemplary — at least, in CrowdStrike’s case.

TechRepublic: Nessus expands vulnerability scanner offerings to 16 IPs in commercial environments

In a statement, NSS said testing of the CrowdStrike Falcon platform “was incomplete and the product was not properly configured with prevention capabilities enabled.”

NSS added that the results were “not accurate” and therefore the solution’s effectiveness score, caution rating and total cost of ownership have been retracted. The results have been wiped from the report, alongside press releases and blog posts posted by the company in connection to the 2017 report and legal dispute.

“NSS extends its sincere apology to CrowdStrike for the publication of inaccurate test results of CrowdStrike’s Falcon Platform,” NSS said. 

Previous and related coverage


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Work from Home Security

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Spin Master is a leading global children’s entertainment company that invents toys and games, produces dozens of television and studio series that are distributed in 160 countries, and creates a variety of digital games played by more than 30 million children. What was once a small private company founded by childhood friends is now a public global supply chain with over 1,500 employees and 28 offices around the world.

Like most organizations in 2020, Spin Master had to adapt quickly to the new normal of remote work, shifting most of its production from cubicles in regional and head offices to hundreds of employees working from home and other remote locations.

This dramatic shift created potential security risks, as most employees were no longer behind the firewall on the corporate network. Without the implementation of hardened endpoint security, the door would be open for bad actors to infiltrate the organization, acquire intellectual property, and ransom customer information. Additionally, the potential downtime caused by a security breach could harm the global supply chain. With that in mind, Spin Master created a self-imposed 30-day deadline to extend its network protection capabilities to the edge.

Key Findings:

  • Think Long Term: The initial goal of establishing a stop-gap work-from-home (WFH) and work-from-anywhere (WFA) strategy has since morphed into a permanent strategy, requiring long-term solutions.
  • Gather Skills: The real urgency posed by the global pandemic made forging partnerships with providers that could fill all the required skill sets a top priority.
  • Build Momentum: The compressed timeline left no room for delay or error. The Board of Directors threw its support behind the implementation team and gave it broad budget authority to ensure rapid action, while providing active guidance to align strategy with action.
  • Deliver Value: The team established two key requirements that the selected partner must deliver: implementation support and establishing an ongoing managed security operations center (SOC).
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Key Criteria for Evaluating Privileged Access Management

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Privileged Access Management (PAM) enables administrative access to critical IT systems while minimizing the chances of security compromises through monitoring, policy enforcement, and credential management.

A key operating principle of all PAM systems is the separation of user credentials for individual staff members from the system administration credentials they are permitted to use. PAM solutions store and manage all of the privileged credentials, providing system access without requiring users to remember, or even know, the privileged password. Of course, all staff have their own unique user ID and password that they use to complete everyday tasks such as accessing email and writing documents. Users who are permitted to handle system administration tasks that require privileged credentials log into the PAM solution, which provides and controls such access according to predefined security policies. These policies control who is allowed to use which privileged credentials when, where, and for what tasks. An organization’s policy may also require logging and recording of the actions undertaken with the privileged credentials.

Once implemented, PAM will improve your security posture in several ways. The first is by segregating day-to-day duties from duties that require elevated access, reducing the risk of accidental privileged actions. Secondly, automated password management reduces the possibility that credentials will be shared while also lowering the risk if credentials are accidentally exposed. Finally, extensive logging and activity recording in PAM solutions aids audits of critical system access for both preventative and forensic security.

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.

Vendor 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.

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Adventist Risk Management Data Protection Infrastructure

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Companies always want to enhance their ability to quickly address pressing business needs. Toward that end, they look for new ways to make their IT infrastructures more efficient—and more cost effective. Today, those pressing needs often center around data protection and regulatory compliance, which was certainly the case for Adventist Risk Management. What they wanted was an end-to-end, best-in-class solution to meet their needs. After trying several others, they found the perfect combination with HYCU and Nutanix, which provided:

  • Ease of deployment
  • Outstanding ROI
  • Overall TCO improvement

Nutanix Cloud Platform provides a software-defined hyperconverged infrastructure, while HYCU offers purpose-built backup and recovery for Nutanix. Compared to the previous traditional infrastructure and data protection solutions in use at Adventist Risk Management, Nutanix and HYCU simplified processes, speeding day-to-day operations up to 75%. Now, migration and update activities typically scheduled for weekends can be performed during working hours and help to increase IT staff and management quality of life. HYCU further increased savings by providing faster and more frequent points of recovery as well as better DR Recovery Point Objective (RPO) and Recovery Time Objective (RTO) by increasing the ability to do daily backups from one to four per day.

Furthermore, the recent adoption of Nutanix Objects, which provides secure and performant S3 storage capabilities, enhanced the infrastructure by:

    • Improving overall performance for backups
    • Adding security against potential ransomware attacks
    • Replacing components difficult to manage and support

In the end, Nutanix and HYCU enabled their customer to save money, improve the existing environment, and, above all, meet regulatory compliance requirements without any struggle.

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