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:
- IOS Software Checker: this tool is used to query Cisco IOS Software Releases against published Cisco Security Advisories.
- 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: Cisco Security, intellishield, ISIS API, SOAP request, SOAP response
“Change is inevitable—except from a vending machine.”
In the spirit of Robert C. Gallagher’s famous quote—and in our quest to never be a vending machine—we’ve rolled out several updates to Cisco’s Security Intelligence Operations (SIO) Portal which I trust you will find useful. Thanks to your feedback, we continue to evolve the Portal to ensure that relevant security content is where you need it, when you need it. Providing timely information to our customers requires not only a global team of Cisco security experts to pipeline the latest information, but a complementary team who ensures that the most significant issues are also the most visible. In fact, that’s the most exciting change we made: a new ‘Security Highlights’ tab which allows a cross-functional group, led by our content managers, to call out the most important issues to our customers. That way, instead of looking at IntelliShield alerts, Cisco Security Notices, or Event Responses individually when time is scarce, this new tab gives you an at-a-glance view of Cisco security content our experts feel is most pressing given all of the events into which we have a view.
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Tags: Applied Mitigation Bulletins, blog, intellishield, IPS signatures, security, security advisories, Security Intelligence Operations (SIO)
Cisco SecCon 2012 brought together hundreds of engineers, live and virtually, from Cisco offices around the globe with one common goal: to share their knowledge and learn best practices about how to increase the overall security posture of Cisco products.
It is amazing to see how many definitions the word “hack” has out on the Internet. Just look at Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hack. In short, the word “hack” does not always mean a “bad” or “malicious” action.
I’ve had the opportunity and honor to present at SecCon several times, 2012 being my fourth year. My session this year was titled “Cisco PSIRT Vulnerability Analysis: What Has Changed Since Last SecCon”. As you probably already know (or might have guessed), I’m part of Cisco’s Product Security Incident Response Team (PSIRT). During my talk I went over an analysis of the vulnerabilities that were discovered, driven to resolution, and disclosed during this past year, as well as lessons learned from them. I also highlighted several key accomplishments Cisco has achieved during the last few years. For example, Cisco now has the ability to correlate and patch third-party software vulnerabilities. Additionally, we have grown Cisco’s Secure Development Lifecycle (CSDL) into a robust, repeatable and measurable process. As Graham Holmes mentioned in a recent blog post:
Our development processes leverage product security baseline requirements, threat modeling in design or static analysis and fuzzing in validation, and registration of third-party software to better address vulnerabilities when they are disclosed. In the innermost layer of our products, security is built-in to devices in both silicon and software. The use of runtime assurance and protection capabilities such as Address Space Layout Randomization (ASLR), Object Size Checking, and execution space protections coupled with secure boot, image signing, and common crypto modules are leading to even more resilient products in an increasingly threatening environment. Read More »
Tags: Cisco Security, cisco-seccon-2012, CSDL, intellishield, product security, psirt, SecCon, security, third party software
The past few weeks have had many on heightened alert from the initial threats to the ongoing attacks surrounding U.S.-based financial institutions; to say folks have been busy would be quite the understatement.
These events spawned a collaborative effort throughout the Cisco Security Intelligence Operations (Cisco SIO) organization, as depicted in the diagram below.
* Note: As Cisco products have not been found to be vulnerable to these attacks the Cisco PSIRT (Product Security Incident Response Team) provides feedback and peer-review, hence the reason that no Cisco Security Advisory (SA) is present for this activity.
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Tags: Attack, Cisco Security, DDoS, dns, DNS Server, intellishield, IPS, security, Security Intelligence Operations (SIO), targeted attacks
Security events, such as vulnerabilities and threats, that are detected globally continue to grow and evolve in scale, impact, diversity, and complexity. Compounded with this is the other side of the coin, the unreported or undetected events waiting in the wings, hovering below the radar in a stealthy state. With all of the security technologies at our disposal, are they sufficient enough to provide effective protection? Well, it is certainly a good start when applied correctly. At a summary level, Cisco’s Security Intelligence Operations (SIO) approach to this challenge was covered in the Network World feature article, “Inside Cisco Security Intelligence Operations.” However, one of the core human elements, which I will introduce, that deserves closer attention is the role of security analyst. In addition, this article provides those of you with career interests some additional insight into working in the IT security field.
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Tags: advisories, Cisco, cyber security, cybersecurity, exploits, intellishield, secure software, security, security management, vulnerability