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Equifax rating outlook decimated over cybersecurity breach



Apple and Cisco team up on cybersecurity insurance
Apple and Cisco are now offering insurance policies to companies to protect them financially against cyber attacks.

Moody’s has cut its rating outlook for Equifax in consideration of a disastrous security breach which led to the theft of over 146 million user records.

The capital markets and investment firm decided to reduce its Equifax outlook from stable to negative this week, as first reported by CNBC.

A 2017 data breach is the cause of the financial fallout. Individuals from the US, Canada, and the United Kingdom were informed that their information had been exposed, potentially including the theft of names, social security numbers, birthdates, home addresses, and partial driving license details.

A well-known vulnerability in Apache Struts, CVE-2017-5638, was blamed for the intrusion.

See also: Equifax, FICO launch Data Decision Cloud as credit scores meld with marketing, compliance, customer experience

The Apache Struts Project Management Committee said at the time the attackers behind the breach “either used an earlier announced vulnerability on an unpatched Equifax server or exploited a vulnerability not known at this point in time.” Equifax revealed an unpatched system was at fault, despite the bug’s disclosure and a patch being made available two months before the data breach occurred.

In other words, the data breach was preventable, a fact that haunts Equifax to this day.

The failure to patch the problem has been an expensive lesson for the company, not just in terms of its battered reputation, but in cold, hard cash and results on the balance sheet.

Moody’s cited a legal expenditure charge of $690 million in the first quarter as a reason for the downgrade. However, the cost to Equifax is far more substantial, with Q1 2019 earnings also revealing $786.8 million in general costs due to the data breach, $82.8 million in data security costs, $12.5 million in legal fees, and $1.5 million in product liability charges, as noted by IT Pro.

CNET: Instagram website leaked phone numbers and emails for months, researcher says

“We are treating this with more significance because it is the first time that cyber has been a named factor in an outlook change,” Joe Mielenhausen, a Moody’s spokesperson told CNBC. “This is the first time the fallout from a breach has moved the needle enough to contribute to the change.”

The financial ramifications of lax patch processes are now proving to be an ongoing strain and burden on Equifax. The company is also facing class-action lawsuits and regulatory scrutiny — which may, in turn, lead to additional fines and penalties in the future.

These problems have a knock-on impact which has now entered investor territory, as traders and shareholders will often examine rating outlooks and creditworthiness reports provided by companies such as Moody’s to ascertain the long-term prospects of an organization.

Cyber risk and cyber insurance are relatively new entrants to investor considerations but ones that cannot be ignored.

TechRepublic: Arm suspends cooperation with Huawei, endangering mobile and server business

The consequences of a major security incident or data breach can now have a long-term financial impact for a victim company and so the responsibility now lies on corporations to strengthen their security practices as much as possible to mitigate the risk of attack — as well as reduce the risk to investors.

Equifax serves as a lesson in why boards should sign up to proactive security defense rather than consider security as a budgetary afterthought. However, despite the credit rating company’s efforts to improve its security and prevent such a data breach from ever happening again, the millions of dollars now spent on shoring up security is also a financial burden and one that Moody’s cannot ignore.

“Beyond 2020, infrastructure investments are likely to remain higher than they had been before the 2017 breach,” the company added.

ZDNet has reached out to Equifax and will update if we hear back. 

Previous and related coverage

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Managing Vulnerabilities in a Cloud Native World



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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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