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Warning: Cisco Webex, Zoom meetings are open to snoopers, so use passwords

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Cisco has warned users of its Webex enterprise conferencing system about an automated online attack technique that would allow anyone to join a meeting and listen in on what should be a private conversation. 

The company has published an ‘informational advisory‘ about a Cisco Webex Meetings ‘enumeration attack’, referring to a method where an attacker can essentially guess the numerical identifier that allows intended participants to join a Webex meeting.

The attack method was identified by Cequence Security, which warned Cisco that one of its Webex application protocol interface (API) calls allows an attacker to enumerate meeting numbers for access to ongoing or future meetings. 

The impact on the user is that an attacker could tell when a certain meeting number is in use and whether the meeting requires a password to join. 

That could be bad news for anyone expecting a conversation to be private. However, Cisco hasn’t released a patch to address the issue, suggesting it’s not a vulnerability but a configuration issue. However, it has offered recommendations to ensure attackers can abuse this API. 

Cequence Security, a US company focusing on application security, has detailed what it calls the ‘Prying-Eye vulnerability’, which also affects video collaboration company Zoom. 

Zoom had its IPO in April and in July caused a stir after it appeared to ignore a legitimate bug report that its web server exposed Mac users to remote attacks. 

“The Prying-Eye vulnerability is an example of an enumeration attack that targets web-conferencing APIs with a bot that cycles through (enumerates) and discovers valid numeric meeting IDs,” Cequence explained in a blogpost. 

“If the common user practice of disabling security functionality or not assigning a password is followed, then the bad actor would be able to view or listen to an active meeting.” 

To make it easier for participants to join, those setting up a meeting often don’t require them to use a password. But if companies know a conversation could involve the exchange of sensitive information, it could be wise for them to protect the meeting with a password.  

In Cisco’s case, Webex Meetings uses a nine-digit identifier that participants can use to join a meeting from smartphones and desktops. It notes the potential security issue mostly affects meetings that aren’t password-protected. 

“If the attacker was to join the meeting using this information, they would still be listed as a participant and could be expelled by the host,” Cisco says.  

“For password-protected meetings, the attacker could recover the meeting number, but would not be able to uncover the meeting title, schedule or host name, or join the meeting.”

The company notes that the default configuration makes it mandatory to use a password when users are setting up a meeting. 

Webex also offers a default, randomly generated password when setting up a meeting in sites that do not mandate password protection. Customers can ditch the randomly generated one and share an easier, user-created password or disable password protection if the site allows it.



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The Five Pillars of (Azure) Cloud-based Application Security

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This 1-hour webinar from GigaOm brings together experts in Azure cloud application migration and security, featuring GigaOm analyst Jon Collins and special guests from Fortinet, Director of Product Marketing for Public Cloud, Daniel Schrader, and Global Director of Public Cloud Architecture and Engineering, Aidan Walden.

These interesting times have accelerated the drive towards digital transformation, application rationalization, and migration to cloud-based architectures. Enterprise organizations are looking to increase efficiency, but without impacting performance or increasing risk, either from infrastructure resilience or end-user behaviors.

Success requires a combination of best practice and appropriate use of technology, depending on where the organization is on its cloud journey. Elements such as zero-trust access and security-driven networking need to be deployed in parallel with security-first operations, breach prevention and response.

If you are looking to migrate applications to the cloud and want to be sure your approach maximizes delivery whilst minimizing risk, this webinar is for you.

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Data Management and Secure Data Storage for the Enterprise

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This free 1-hour webinar from GigaOm Research brings together experts in data management and security, featuring GigaOm Analyst Enrico Signoretti and special guest from RackTop Systems, Jonathan Halstuch. The discussion will focus on data storage and how to protect data against cyberattacks.

Most of the recent news coverage and analysis of cyberattacks focus on hackers getting access and control of critical systems. Yet rarely is it mentioned that the most valuable asset for the organizations under attack is the data contained in these systems.

In this webinar, you will learn about the risks and costs of a poor data security management approach, and how to improve your data storage to prevent and mitigate the consequences of a compromised infrastructure.

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CISO Podcast: Talking Anti-Phishing Solutions

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Simon Gibson earlier this year published the report, “GigaOm Radar for Phishing Prevention and Detection,” which assessed more than a dozen security solutions focused on detecting and mitigating email-borne threats and vulnerabilities. As Gibson noted in his report, email remains a prime vector for attack, reflecting the strategic role it plays in corporate communications.

Earlier this week, Gibson’s report was a featured topic of discussions on David Spark’s popular CISO Security Vendor Relationship Podcast. In it, Spark interviewed a pair of chief information security officers—Mike Johnson, CISO for SalesForce, and James Dolph, CISO for Guidewire Software—to get their take on the role of anti-phishing solutions.

“I want to first give GigaOm some credit here for really pointing out the need to decide what to do with detections,” Johnson said when asked for his thoughts about selecting an anti-phishing tool. “I think a lot of companies charge into a solution for anti-phishing without thinking about what they are going to do when the thing triggers.”

As Johnson noted, the needs and vulnerabilities of a large organization aligned on Microsoft 365 are very different from those of a smaller outfit working with GSuite. A malicious Excel macro-laden file, for example, poses a credible threat to a Microsoft shop and therefore argues for a detonation solution to detect and neutralize malicious payloads before they can spread and morph. On the other hand, a smaller company is more exposed to business email compromise (BEC) attacks, since spending authority is often spread among many employees in these businesses.

Gibson’s radar report describes both in-line and out-of-band solutions, but Johnson said cloud-aligned infrastructures argue against traditional in-line schemes.

“If you put an in-line solution in front of [Microsoft] 365 or in front of GSuite, you are likely decreasing your reliability, because you’ve now introduced this single point of failure. Google and Microsoft have this massive amount of reliability that is built in,” Johnson said.

So how should IT decision makers go about selecting an anti-phishing solution? Dolph answered that question with a series of questions of his own:

“Does it nail the basics? Does it fit with the technologies we have in place? And then secondarily, is it reliable, is it tunable, is it manageable?” he asked. “Because it can add a lot overhead, especially if you have a small team if these tools are really disruptive to the email flow.”

Dolph concluded by noting that it’s important for solutions to provide insight that can help organizations target their protections, as well as support both training and awareness around threats. Finally, he urged organizations to consider how they can measure the effectiveness of solutions.

“I may look at other solutions in the future and how do I compare those solutions to the benchmark of what we have in place?”

Listen to the Podcast: CISO Podcast

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