Cisco Blogs


Cisco Blog > Security

A Programmatic Approach to Using Cisco’s Security Intelligence Feed

If you’re an end-user or manager of software that has publicly known security vulnerabilities, wouldn’t you want to know about it? If you’re a software developer, wouldn’t you want to know if there are third-party software vulnerabilities that may impact your applications or products?  Do you have a patch management compliance requirement for managing software vulnerabilities? I presume the answer is a resounding “Yes” to each question that applies to you. Anything we, as cyber security professionals, can do to help automate the vulnerability management process, while integrating security intelligence into that process from both an end-user and developer perspective, is a good thing. In this post, I will discuss Cisco’s Application Programming Interface (API) that exposes security intelligence as a direct data feed into applications or portals. The API is known as the IntelliShield Security Information Service (ISIS) and has proven effective to answering these leading questions.

“Continuous improvement in vulnerability management practices is imperative to keeping pace with the changing security environment as a result of evolving threats as well as new products and technologies” Russell Smoak, Cisco Systems, Cisco 2013 Annual Security Report

The above quote underscores the importance of striving to raise the bar in protecting against vulnerabilities, which may be exploited in your environment, or in the case of a developer, the products you provide to your customers. Cisco uses ISIS several ways, both internally and externally. Internally, Cisco takes advantage of custom-built tooling that uses vulnerability data from Cisco IntelliShield to notify the product development teams when a security issue originating in third-party software may impact a Cisco product. This tool has greatly increased the ability to manage security issues that originate in non-Cisco code. Externally, ISIS is used to provide the content to several sections accessible through the Cisco SIO portal. A couple of examples include:

  1. IOS Software Checker: this tool is used to query Cisco IOS Software Releases against published Cisco Security Advisories.
  2. Security Alerts: this tool provides an “At-A-Glance” type of view of security events such as vulnerability exposures.

Technically, ISIS provides a set of services that support application-to-application interaction using SOAP over the HTTPS protocol, allowing clients to develop ISIS-dependent applications that are not dependent on the technologies used to implement ISIS. The only dependency is for the client to have the ability to produce a SOAP message, send it to ISIS over HTTPS, and ultimately decompose the SOAP response. These services also allow clients to filter the security intelligence based on various inputs, enabling clients to align IntelliShield security intelligence with the unique business needs of their environment. Read More »

Tags: , , , ,

Tips and Tricks: Nmap is still relevant

Anecdotally, it would take about a week for a single machine to ping sweep the Internet. That would be approximately 4 billion IP addresses, essentially the whole Internet. In theory, this includes every single military address, every single ISP, every home user, and every mobile device. Such a port sweep does not include all options, UDP, and Nmap Scripts, as that would take too long. But what if I want to run the same scan to my home IPv6 range? It will have a /64 allocated to it, or about 18 quintillion addresses. Let’s compare a sweep of the entire Internet with my home IPv6 range:

  • The Internet: 2^32 = 4,294,967,296 [1]
  • The home range from my ISP: 2^64 = 18,446,744,073,709,551,616 [2]

A stark difference! So, how will I scan this? Is that just one network? I am Moses Hernandez, and this is one of my tips and tricks in this series. This post is about the venerable Nmap. Read More »

Tags: , , ,

Cisco Live 2013 Orlando: Security Training and Breakout Sessions

April 8, 2013 at 6:00 am PST

Cisco Live Orlando, June 23-27, 2013, is quickly approaching and registration is open. The Security track this year includes 72 breakout sessions, 74 hours of labs and seminars, and 3 Product Solution Overview sessions, accounting for about 15 percent of all the content delivered at Cisco Live. New for this year we will have several talks aimed at the network engineer in the role of a data analyst, helping them to better utilize and understand the data that comes from their networks (BRKSEC-2001, BRKSEC-2006, BRKSEC-2011, BRKSEC-2062, BRKSEC-3031, and BRKSEC-3062).

Read More »

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Cross-Site Request Forgery Attacks and Mitigations

Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF) attacks: there are already enough articles out there that can explain what a CSRF attack is and provide potential examples. There are also plenty of security alerts that have been released by various vendors whose products are affected by CSRF-related vulnerabilities.

CSRF attacks usually target web applications and attempt to make unwanted changes on server data or extract sensitive information from a web application. Attackers do this by luring an authenticated user into making a specially crafted web request. It’s important, regardless of role, for everyone to have a basic understanding of CSRF attacks and the available options to protect against them.

For more information about basic CSRF concepts and potential mitigations, see our new Applied Mitigation Bulletin Understanding Cross-Site Request Forgery Threat Vectors. Although this document does not attempt to provide all the technical details associated with CSRF, it does aim to summarize the CSRF technique and provide methods that can be potentially used by developers, network administrators and users to protect against CSRF attacks.

For all things related to Security don’t forget to visit the Cisco Security Intelligence Operations (SIO) Portal—the primary outlet for Cisco’s security intelligence and the public home to all of our security-related content. Just go to cisco.com/security.

Tags: , , , , , ,

Consider the Best Approach for Your BYOD Mobility Environment

MDM Today and the Future

Mobile devices have quickly become a mainstay in enterprise environments and continue to be consumer driven, and yet they find their way into our day-to-day business lives. As these new devices are being brought into the work environment by employees, enterprise IT is increasingly being forced to accommodate for business use. This is not new news. We observe this pattern through our customers today and live this phenomenon within our own everyday work environment at Cisco. Here at Cisco, employees have the flexibility to choose their device and to securely connect to voice, video and data services from anywhere under an Any Device policy. Cisco manages over 64,000 mobile devices today.

Read More »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,