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Google releases Chrome 71 with a focus on security features

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Google has published today Chrome 71, the latest version of its web browser, a release that is primarily focused on bolstering Chrome’s security posture.

There are quite a few updates on the security front in this new Chrome version, but one of the most important is the one made to Chrome’s built-in ad filtering system.

Announced at the start of November, last month, this update will improve Chrome’s ability to detect websites that show overly aggressive or misleading ads and popups –which, Google said, creates “abusive experiences” for Chrome users. We won’t go over these modifications in fine details again, but for more details, readers can check out ZDNet’s previous coverage, here.

Secondly, also starting with Chrome 71, Google also announced its intention to crack down on websites that use shady tricks to fool users into subscribing to mobile subscription plans.

Google plans to show a full-page warning –similar to the ones shown for HTTPS errors– before users access these types of sites.


Image: Google

But there’s more. To prevent tech support scam websites from using the Speech Synthesis API to scare users into calling shady tech support call centers and paying for unnecessary tech support services, Google has also restricted websites’ ability to “speak” after a page has loaded.

Starting with Chrome 71, users must first interact with a web page before a site can trigger a “speak” event. Google has been working on fixing this problem for at least ten months, and while it won’t completely stop tech support sites from playing audio, it will seriously hinder their efforts.

Further, another security-related change is the final removal of the Inline Install API, a Chrome feature that allowed users to install Chrome extensions hosted on the official Web Store, but while navigating other websites.

Google previously disabled inline installations in Chrome 69, in September. The company’s engineers are now just finishing the API’s deprecation process by removing the actual code responsible for this feature. This is a necessary last step to prevent sites from exploiting Chrome bugs to initiate unauthorized inline installations.

And last but not least, Chrome 71 also includes fixes for 43 security issues, detailed in more depth here.

But besides security improvements, Chrome 71 also shipped with many updates to the browser’s underlying Web APIs and CSS features. A summary of the most important changes are available below:

  • Chrome now supports relative date formats by default, without site owners needing to use a third-party JavaScript library. The relative time format refers to dates expressed such as “4 seconds ago,” “today,” “two years ago,” etc..
  • Chrome now supports Microsoft’s COLR/CPAL font format. This is the third “color font” format that Chrome will support, after CBDT/CBLC and SBIX. Color fonts are a new way of creating and rendering vector-based interactive fonts.
  • The Web Audio API now follows user-set audio autoplay settings. This means that when a user mutes a website, Chrome will actually respect the user’s wish. Google initially rolled out audio autoplay muting earlier this year, but engineers rolled back the change almost immediately because the new policy also broke many old web games. After giving developers time to adjust their sites and old web games, Google has now re-enabled that feature.

The full details about all the developer-centric changes are available in these two Google blog posts [1, 2], but also summarized in the video below:

With today’s release, Chrome’s new version number is 71.0.3578.80. Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android users should be able to install the update using Chrome’s built-in updater. The full Chrome 71 changelog is available here (slow-loading link).

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Security

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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