Security researchers discovered a Java vulnerability (documented in IntelliShield alert 26751) that attackers are using to install malicious software on a victim’s systems. No software updates are available that correct the vulnerability (Updates are now available, see Part 2 of the blog). The attacks are currently limited in nature. There have been few reports of attacks that rely on the vulnerability. Now that Metasploit developed a functional exploit, continued attacks that leverage this vulnerability increase in likelihood as time goes on. US-CERT has issued a related vulnerability note. Administrators can monitor this and other ongoing activity at the Cisco Security Intelligence Operations portal.
It is not yet clear what attackers hope to gain out of the attacks observed in the wild. Goals may differ between individual attacks. Current exploits appear to install a malicious software dropper that may install other malicious software, but to what end is unknown. Attackers may attempt to install malicious software that monitors keyboard input and network communication, hoping to gain user credentials for either external resources to aid in fraudulent activity or to access other internal systems within the targeted site.
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Tags: client side attacks, java, java security, security
The practice of using Open Source Software (OSS) and other third-party software (TPS) to build products and services is well established. Not only can it create tremendous efficiency–why build an operating system or web server if you don’t need to?–it also allows individual products to leverage best-of-breed functionality. This best-of-breed functionality can be critical on today’s Internet as security and scalability are often difficult or even patently ignored until it is too late.
The use of TPS to build things has been so successful and is so widespread that many products may even be assembled from a majority of software written by unknown third parties. This practice is not without its challenges. One of those challenges is security.
How does the security of a product’s constituent TPS affect its own security? How does the creator of the product learn of, manage and ultimately resolve security issues that originate in the relevant TPS packages?
These are the types of questions I attempted to address during a recent presentation at O’Reilly OSCON 2012. During that session I touched on seven challenges and offered five tools that I believe can make a difference.
Our friends on the Cisco Security Marketing team have posted the slides from that presentation online at slideshare.net.
Is this an area of concern for you? If it is, I’d like to know how you are tackling it. What is working well? What is working not-so well?
Tags: open source, product security, security, third party software
The realm of Network security encompasses many perspectives and interests as is evident from the wealth of articles prevalent across the media and availability of various proactive protection measures. One particular technology recognized as integral to securing a network is the Intrusion Prevention System (IPS), which is used to detect and prevent suspected malicious network traffic or behavior. However, an IPS is not just a ‘set-it-and-forget-it’ type of solution. This is because of the necessity of employing current Cisco IPS signatures, which are the lifeblood of the IPS and are essential for it to identify and block attacks against specific vulnerabilities or certain types of threats. Because new threats and vulnerabilities are constantly being discovered, the IPS signature database for an IPS-capable device needs to be kept current to maximize the level of protection that it can provide. If you already use Cisco IPS technology, then you might already be familiar how crucial it is to use the most current IPS signatures. Otherwise, the IPS solution cannot provide optimal protection against new threats and attacks. Cisco IPS owners with a Cisco IPS Services License understand this fact and can receive signature updates as they become available. Signature updates can be installed manually or downloaded and installed automatically using native Cisco IPS capabilities or management tools such as Cisco Security Manager. For those inclined to write their own signatures, Cisco has published documentation on how to write customer signatures for the IPS.
And while the signatures are the “lifeblood” of the IPS and keeping them current is paramount, it is also important to make sure that the underlying operating system is kept up to date on the sensor as well. The underlying operating system and engines decompose and analyze the traffic as it passes through the device. Things like protocol decoding, features, and evasion resistance are handled here. The engines work but do not alert without the signature set as the signatures provide the matching framework for an alert to fire. The same can be said about the signatures. They do not work without the engines. Each requires the other to function and therefore keeping them both current is important.
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Tags: botnet, botnets, DDoS, IOS. IPS, IPS signatures, malware, security, vulnerability
Payment Card Industry (PCI) compliance can often be overwhelming for all enterprises, let alone small and medium businesses (SMBs). Given limited budgets and IT resources, SMBs face an even greater challenge than large enterprises.
The PCI Data Security Standard (DSS) 2.0 is complex on several levels:
- It requires expertise on a range of network systems and security technologies.
- It requires continual monitoring and management of access to cardholder data.
- There is no “silver bullet” technology that can address a growing list of detailed standards and requirements. Technologies such as encryption, tokenization, as well as Europay, MasterCard, and Visa (EMV) smartcards address portions of your infrastructure, but none provide a single compliance solution.
- It’s dynamic and requires ongoing diligence. Being compliant at the time of your audit is a snapshot in time that requires simplified maintenance.
These requirements take time, effort and funding, which are all in short supply in SMBs.
Help is at hand. Cisco and many of its partners offer cost-effective PCI compliance services–including assistance for SMBs as they complete their self-assessment questionnaire or assess PCI readiness. In a recent article authored by Cisco and partners Verizon Business and Presidio, we examine ways to simplify compliance for small and medium businesses. Learn the 5 key strategies to securing your customer information while incorporating security best practices from Aaron Renolds, QSA and Principal Consultant at Verizon Enterprise Solutions and Sean Wallis, Senior Security Consultant at Presidio Networked Solutions.
Advice to Managers: Five Ways to Simplify Your PCI 2.0 Compliance:
Tags: compliance, cred card, mastercard, pci, PCI Compliance, pci-dss, security, via
I have a thing for metaphors. I wrote my dissertation on them. And they have helped me enormously as a non-engineer working in IT security.
Metaphors are powerful tools (that’s a metaphor, by the way). Literally referring to something as something else enables us to make mental connections between concepts that are not really the same. War and weapons have proven historically useful metaphors. In wartime, everything changes. We look at the situation, our opponents, and even ourselves very differently (I like the image of a noble warrior on the battlefield more than that of a guy who spends most of his day sitting and typing…)
But metaphors also cause trouble, especially when we use them to over-simplify. I am skeptical of “security as war” metaphors, including that of the arms race. The metaphor detracts from the very real threats of cyber- and information warfare. War doesn’t define security any more than war defines firearms. Unless we are specifically talking about threats from nation states (and a few other actors) using information technology as part of armed conflict, we are not talking about war. And this is not what we are usually talking about in information security.
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Tags: cyber crime, cyber security, cyber warfare, information security, security