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Cybersecurity: How to get your software patching strategy right and keep the hackers at bay

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Intel to Windows 10 users: You have patches for 19 severe flaws, use them!
Update Intel Windows graphics drivers, and stop using Intel Matrix Storage Manager and USB 3.0 Creator Utility.

Patching software flaws is often a time-consuming and tedious job, but organisations need to have a clear strategy in place which minimises the potential risks involved with deciding when, or even if, to update vital enterprise systems.

Cyber attackers will regularly look to take advantage of systems that haven’t received the latest security updates by deploying malware with exploits that target those particular flaws. That might be as part of an intentional attack on a particular company, or the organisation could be caught in the cross-fire of a more general attack that takes advantage of a particular exploit. 

For example, WannaCry exploited EternalBlue, a vulnerability that organisations across the globe had yet to patch when the campaign hit in May 2017. If all the organisations affected by the attack had patched their systems when it was issued – rather than ignoring the warnings to to so – it’s likely that WannaCry would have had a much smaller impact.

SEE: A winning strategy for cybersecurity (ZDNet special report) | Download the report as a PDF (TechRepublic)  

Working out which systems need to be updated and when is a challenge for tech chiefs.

“There are some things you clearly need to be patching straight away. There may be others where you need to take a really robust analysis and you need to make a decision on this,” said Jonathan Kidd, CISO at Hargreaves Lansdown.

There’s also the issue of some of these patches potentially causing inadvertent issues or disruption when applied – something which may dissuade organisations from applying them, especially to critical business systems.

“Your patching cycle will be driven by the risks on your estate, in some cases, the risk of disruption from installing it can be greater,” Kidd said, speaking during a panel session at Infosecurity Europe 2019 in London.

But for some systems, even the idea of applying a patch can be a challenge – it’s not unknown for some organisations to be running applications and operations they fear taking offline, because they are concerned they may not come back online if updated.

“There are some cyber legacies which can’t be patched where systems are so old they’ve on for 20 years with a note – ‘please don’t touch, because we don’t know what will happen,” said Ewa Pilat, Global CISO for Jaguar Land Rover, although she made it clear this wasn’t an issue for the vehicle manufacturer.

“For these, you can have some additional security controls, but not all systems are patchable, so the risk needs a proper analysis and assessment to decide what, when and how,” she added.

Taking the time to make that assessment can go a long way to determining the ‘crown jewels’ and what action needs to be taken immediately – as opposed to action which can be delayed, or in some cases, not taken – should the system be entirely isolated, for example.

“This is why it’s important to have that risk assessment. If you’ve got a new estate, you should be patching straight away. But if you have legacy systems, you might take a more cautious approach,” said Kidd.

SEE: 10 tips for new cybersecurity pros (free PDF)

However, the IT and security teams must be careful not to rush into these judgements alone: the business must be consulted in order to ensure the best results.

“We have to have engaging conversations with our business partners who understand what’s the most critical business system – because we can’t define business-critical, only the business can define business-critical,” said Bobby Ford, VP & global CISO at Unilever. 

“Once we understand that, we have to prioritize – if we want to be successful as professional security risk managers, we have to be able to prioritize; we cannot secure all systems, so we have to work with the business to identify critical systems and then secure those,” said Ford.

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Managing Vulnerabilities in a Cloud Native World

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This free 1-hour webinar from GigaOm Research brings together experts in Cloud Native Vulnerability Management, featuring analyst Iben Rodriguez and special guest from Palo Alto Networks, John Morello. The discussion will focus on optimizing cloud security posture and integration with enterprise tool sets.

We will review platforms delivering Security Posture Management and Workload Protection for Microservice based and Hybrid Cloud Workloads.

Registrants will learn how new customers can benefit from Prisma Cloud to better secure their complex multi-cloud environments. Existing customers will learn about new features they can take advantage of and how to optimize their limited resources.

Register now to join GigaOm and Palo Alto Networks for this free expert webinar.

The post Managing Vulnerabilities in a Cloud Native World appeared first on Gigaom.

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Security Tools Help Bring Dev and Security Teams Together

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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.

The post Security Tools Help Bring Dev and Security Teams Together appeared first on Gigaom.

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Key Criteria for Evaluating User and Entity Behavior Analytics (UEBA)

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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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