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IoT botnet targeting your enterprise? Nope. Just a kid with an ExploitDB account

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Image: Citrix

Headlines like “IoT botnet targets enterprise devices” sound very scary, but the reality is that many of these botnets are the work of kids playing around with random exploits they found online, and many of these botnets die out in a matter of weeks as the authors get bored or move on to other projects.

The prime example of this is Kepler, an IoT botnet that made the news last month because of its ability to infect signage TVs and presentation systems, two types of devices found in enterprise networks.

On a first read, any report on Kepler would seem like the botnet author was intentionally aiming to get a foothold on corporate networks so they could later deploy more potent malware.

Kepler authors: We were just having fun!

However, things aren’t actually so. In a recorded interview with Ankit Anubhav, security researcher for NewSky Security, and published on Soundcloud, the botnet’s two authors admitted that they built the botnet for fun, adding exploits taken from the ExploitDB website at random.

“We’re just a couple of friends having fun,” the two said before admitting that this was actually the second botnet they put together, after also creating one last year.

Despite Kepler generating some scary headlines, the duo didn’t take the work on their botnet seriously, admitting that they didn’t even bother counting the number of devices their botnet infected.

Further, the botnet didn’t use 27 exploits, as Palo Alto Networks initially reported, but 43, according to Nipsu, one of the Kepler authors –all, of course, chosen at random.

According to the interview, the two hackers, one of which is a minor, were just testing random vulnerability exploits, wanting to see which one gathered more bots.

The two said they have no current plans to sell the Kepler botnet to other cybercrime gangs or rent it for DDoS attacks –a common practice and a source of profit for many IoT botnet authors.

Kepler is a trend, not an edge case

These revelations aren’t just an isolated edge case in the IoT botnet scene. Many botnet authors are just kids taking their first steps in the world of programming and cybersecurity, playing around with exploits, before realizing the legal problem they could be in, and moving on to other careers –or getting arrested [1, 2].

A large part of the IoT botnet operators listed on this Top 20 IoT Blackhat Hackers list have now moved on from running IoT botnets.

One of them, Switch (#15 on the list), offered his insights on the current IoT botnet scene. Asked how easy it would be to integrate code taken from ExploitDB into a botnet, Switch, who is the author of many YouTube tutorials on building IoT malware, provided the following answer.

“If you’re talking auto scanners such as [the ones looking for] Huawei, Realtek, ThinkPHP etc., it’s VERY easy,” Switch said. “There is only a few lines of code to it. I have made a tutorial before on how to do it as it only takes a few minutes.”

“I have seen a few people write scanners [for vulnerable devices] into sources before, and by what I can see it’s mainly copying and pasting,” he said.

Anubhav, a security researcher who spends his whole day looking at IoT botnets, also shares Switch’s opinion.

“The majority of IoT exploit code is heavily borrowed from ExploitDB,” Anubhav said.

“In many cases, the vulnerabilities are not able to infect a lot of devices, hence the attackers are trying as many vulnerabilities as they can to further assess which one is going to reap maximum benefits.”

It’s a Mirai/Gafgyt party

But besides Kepler, another recent example of an IoT botnet that is not as dangerous as it looks is the one documented by Trend Micro this week.

This botnet, which has no particular name, runs on a variant of the Bashlite (Gafgyt) IoT malware, which is used as a skeleton and customized with several ExploitDB exploits on top –which in this case targeted Belkin WeMo devices.

The anatomy of this botnet is representative of the whole IoT malware scene these days. Botnet operators use the source code of IoT malware that previously leaked online in past years as a wireframe for the delivery of random exploits they’ve copied from ExploitDB.

In most cases, these botnets are built on the Bashlite (Gafgyt) or Mirai IoT malware strains, and only very rarely does a true malware coder come around to innovate and create new malware strains –such as hackers like Wicked or the Janit0r (the BrickerBot author).

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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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GigaOm Radar for Developer Security Tools

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As we learned in the associated GigaOm report, “Key Criteria for Evaluating Developer Security Tools,” the most cost-effective method for reducing risk in software development is to identify and fix issues as close to the developer as possible. As the number of software developers continues to vastly outnumber the number of security professionals allocated to any software project, organizations need to invest in security tooling and automation that can help software developers consider and mitigate security risks in a proactive manner.

Add to this situation an appreciation for how the role of the developer has changed vastly over the last few years: Developers aren’t just responsible for software components; they can write infrastructure components, security controls, automations/integrations, and so forth. This has blended the worlds of the traditional software developers and the infrastructure and operations teams responsible for the environments that software components are deployed to. A much wider range of job titles can be incorporated into the developer role now, which requires the same security tooling and process oversight as does traditional software development.

As we consider how to evaluate vendors for developer security tools, we need to take these points into account:

  • All vendors involved in improving application security can contribute to an organization’s overall enhanced security posture.
  • “Shift-left” mindsets do not imply that the work of reducing risk is simply shifted to the developer, but rather that adding a focus on security early in the process will reduce risk and rework as software moves through the delivery pipeline.
  • Security throughout the entire software development lifecycle (SDLC) is key for any organization that is focused on reducing risk.

In this report we have identified a number of vendors that address the specific need to catch and remediate security issues earlier in the software development lifecycle, which we articulate in the report as table stakes, key criteria, and evaluation metrics. While we review 12 vendor solutions here, we ruled out many more, including several offering capabilities focused on runtime protection, which merit review in upcoming GigaOm Key Criteria and Radar Reports.

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 GigaOm Radar for Developer Security Tools appeared first on Gigaom.

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