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New TLS encryption-busting attack also impacts the newer TLS 1.3

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A team of academics has revealed a new cryptographic attack this week that can break encrypted TLS traffic, allowing attackers to intercept and steal data previously considered safe & secure.

This new downgrade attack –which doesn’t have a fancy name like most cryptography attacks tend to have– works even against the latest version of the TLS protocol, TLS 1.3, released last spring and considered to be secure.

The new cryptographic attack isn’t new, per-se. It’s yet another variation of the original Bleichenbacher oracle attack.

The original attack was named after Swiss cryptographer Daniel Bleichenbacher, who in 1998 demonstrated a first practical attack against systems using RSA encryption in concert with the PKCS#1 v1 encoding function.

Over the years, cryptographers have come up with variations on the original attack, such as in 2003, 2012, 2012, 2014, 2014, 2014, 2015, 2016 (DROWN), 2017 (ROBOT), and 2018.

The reason for all these attack variations is because the authors of the TLS encryption protocol decided to add countermeasures to make attempts to guess the RSA decryption key harder, instead of replacing the insecure RSA algorithm.

These countermeasures have been defined in Section 7.4.7.1 of the TLS standard (RFC 5246), which many hardware and software vendors across the years have misinterpreted or failed to follow to the letter of the law.

These failure in regards to implementing proper mitigations has resulted in many TLS-capable servers, routers, firewalls, VPNs, and coding libraries still being vulnerable to Bleichenbacher attack variations, which found and exploited problems in the incorrect mitigation procedures.

The latest Bleichenbacher attack variations was described in a technical paper published on Wednesday, this week, and entitled “The 9 Lives of Bleichenbacher’s CAT: New Cache ATtacks on TLS Implementations.”

Seven researchers from all over the world found –yet again– another way to break RSA PKCS#1 v1.5, the most common RSA configuration used to encrypt TLS connections nowadays. Besides TLS, this new Bleichenbacher attack also works against Google’s new QUIC encryption protocol as well.

“The attack leverages a side-channel leak via cache access timings of these implementations in order to break the RSA key exchanges of TLS implementations,” researchers said.

Even the newer version of the TLS 1.3 protocol, where RSA usage has been kept to a minimum, can be downgraded in some scenarios to TLS 1.2, where the new Bleichenbacher attack variation works.

“We tested nine different TLS implementations against cache attacks and seven were found to be vulnerable: OpenSSL, Amazon s2n, MbedTLS, Apple CoreTLS, Mozilla NSS, WolfSSL, and GnuTLS,” researchers said.

Updated versions of all the affected libraries were published concurrently in November 2018, when researchers published an initial draft of their research paper.

For more details, the following CVE identifiers have been assigned to the security bugs enabling this new Bleichenbacher attack: CVE-2018-12404, CVE-2018-19608, CVE-2018-16868, CVE-2018-16869, and CVE-2018-16870.

The two libraries that were not vulnerable were BearSSL and Google’s BoringSSL.

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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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