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Ensuring Security and Trust Stewardship and Accountability

In our increasingly interconnected world, the Internet of Everything is making trust a critical element of how people use network-connected devices to work, play, live, and learn. The relentless rise in information security breaches underscores the deep need for enterprises and governments alike to trust that their systems, data, business partners, customers, and citizens are safe.

Consequently, I see an evolution taking place regarding accountability in cybersecurity moving up to the boardroom level, an issue I discussed earlier this year in Fortune. In a recent Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA) report, 55 percent of corporate directors revealed that they have to personally understand and manage cyber as a risk area. The National Association of Corporate Directors recently published a document on corporate directors’ ownership and management of risk in cyber for public companies. In March of this year, an SEC commissioner said that the SEC plans to create a requirement for corporate directors regarding managing cybersecurity as a risk.

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ASA now with FirePower Services?

October 29, 2014 at 1:08 pm PST
ASA and SourceFire

ASA and SourceFire

Traditional network security solutions have been built from disparate point technologies that create gaps in traditional defenses that sophisticated attackers exploit. With an integrated approach, organizations gain the full contextual awareness and dynamic controls necessary to automatically assess all threats, correlate intelligence, and optimize defenses to protect modern enterprise networks. An integrated threat defense also considers both network and endpoint perspective across the extended enterprise. Contrast this with point solutions that lack the visibility needed to spot multi-vector threats and to see what users, applications, content and devices are on the network and what each are doing.

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In today’s dynamic network environment, point solutions lack the visibility and control required to implement effective security policy to accelerate threat detection and response. In addition, disparate solutions add to capital and operating costs and administrative complexity. They also result in higher implementation costs to integrate with the existing IT environment, work stream, and network fabric.  By integrating defense layers, organizations can enhance visibility, enable dynamic controls, and provide advanced threat protection that address the entire attack continuum – before, during, and after an attack

Cisco ASA with FirePOWER Services is a new, adaptive, threat-focused next-generation firewall that delivers superior, multi-layered protection, improves visibility, and reduces security costs and complexity. It provides integrated threat defense for the entire attack continuum by combining proven ASA firewall skills with industry- leading Sourcefire next-generation IPS and advanced malware protection.

But haven’t we heard this all before? 

 

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The Value of Endpoint and Network Protection Together

As I’ve discussed in past blog posts, advanced malware and sophisticated attacks are relentless as they compromise environments using new and stealthy techniques. Modern malware is dynamic and exists in an interconnected ecosystem that is constantly in motion. It will use an array of attack vectors, take endless form factors, and launch attacks over time.

In contrast, most security tools today are stuck in time – a point in time to be exact. They scan files once at the point of entry to determine if they are malicious, letting the supposedly “good” files in, and kicking the known “bad” files out. If the malicious file isn’t caught at point of entry, or if it evolves and becomes malicious AFTER entering the environment, point-in-time detection technologies give us little recourse after an infection occurs.

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ISE and IOE

At a recent offsite, the Identity Services Engine (ISE) project team, and our InfoSec and Mobility teams spoke at length about how we will tackle the challenge of getting all Internet of Everything (IoE) devices securely on the network. Cisco IT has an aggressive schedule for the deployment of ISE capabilities in our FY15 (Fiscal Years in Cisco start on August 1 and go to the following calendar year July 30). Read More »

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Threat Spotlight: Group 72, Opening the ZxShell

This post was authored by Andrea Allievi, Douglas Goddard, Shaun Hurley, and Alain Zidouemba.

Recently, there was a blog post on the takedown of a botnet used by threat actor group known as Group 72 and their involvement in Operation SMN.  This group is sophisticated, well funded, and exclusively targets high profile organizations with high value intellectual property in the manufacturing, industrial, aerospace, defense, and media sector. The primary attack vectors are watering-hole, spear phishing, and other web-based attacks.

Frequently, a remote administration tool (RAT) is used to maintain persistence within a victim’s organization. These tools are used to further compromise the organization by attacking other hosts inside the targets network.

ZxShell (aka Sensocode) is a Remote Administration Tool (RAT) used by Group 72 to conduct cyber-espionage operations. Once the RAT is installed on the host it will be used to administer the client, exfiltrate data, or leverage the client as a pivot to attack an organization’s internal infrastructure.  Here is a short list of the types of tools included with ZxShell:

  • Keylogger (used to capture passwords and other interesting data)
  • Command line shell for remote administration
  • Remote desktop
  • Various network attack tools used to fingerprint and compromise other hosts on the network
  • Local user account creation tools

For a complete list of tools please see the MainConnectionIo section.

The following paper is a technical analysis on the functionality of ZxShell. The analysts involved were able to identify command and control (C2) servers, dropper and installation methods, means of persistence, and identify the attack tools that are core to the RAT’s purpose. In addition, the researchers used their analysis to provide detection coverage for Snort, Fireamp, and ClamAV.

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