Cyber Security Solutions
2017
Cyber Security Solutions
Guneet Pahwa,B.Tech (IT)
Project Manager
CMAI TEMA
Prof N K GOYAL
President CMAI
Chairman Emeritus TEMA
www.cmai.asia
www.tematelecom.in
Contents
Acknowledgement ...................................................................................................................... 3
Digital India.................................................................................................................................... 4
Cashless India................................................................................................................................ 5
Introduction ................................................................................................................................... 8
Major Cyber Attacks Past One Year ........................................................................................ 14
Cyber-Security Solutions ............................................................................................................ 30
Antivirus & Mobile App Security................................................................................................ 31
Authentication ............................................................................................................................ 41
Biometrics..................................................................................................................................... 50
Cryptography.............................................................................................................................. 57
Data Breach ................................................................................................................................ 63
Data Loss Prevention (DLP) ....................................................................................................... 72
DDOS Attack Protection ............................................................................................................ 84
Embedded System Security ...................................................................................................... 94
Firewall.......................................................................................................................................... 98
Fraud Detection and Prevention ........................................................................................... 105
IAM- Identity & Access Management ................................................................................... 113
Incident Response .................................................................................................................... 121
Intrusion Detection ................................................................................................................... 128
Log Analysis & Management.................................................................................................. 135
Mainframe Security .................................................................................................................. 140
Machine Learning Security- Adversarial Learning ............................................................... 142
Network Security Monitoring ................................................................................................... 147
Next Generation Firewall ......................................................................................................... 154
Password Management .......................................................................................................... 159
Patch Management ................................................................................................................ 163
Penetration testing ................................................................................................................... 167
Privileged Access Management (PAM) ................................................................................ 178
Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) ................................................................................................. 186
Risk Analysis................................................................................................................................ 193
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SAP ERP Security........................................................................................................................ 200
Software Development Security............................................................................................. 205
Unified Threat Management................................................................................................... 212
Web App & Website Security.................................................................................................. 215
WAF- Web Application Firewall .............................................................................................. 225
Wireless/Wi-Fi Security .............................................................................................................. 230
Conclusion ................................................................................................................................. 241
Recommendations................................................................................................................... 242
References ................................................................................................................................ 244
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Acknowledgement
“It is impossible to prepare a project report without the assistance & encouragement of
other people. This one is certainly no exception.”
We acknowledge information, data, and inputs from various sources of industry,
government and media.
Cyber security is the need of the hour in India and this report is dedicated to the citizens
of India.
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Digital India
Digital India is a campaign launched by the Government of India to ensure that
Government services are made available to citizens electronically by improved online
infrastructure and by increasing Internet connectivity or by making the country digitally
empowered in the field of technology.
It was launched on 2 July 2015 by Honorable Prime Minister Dr Narendra Modi. The
initiative includes plans to connect rural areas with high-speed internet networks. Digital
India consists of three core components. They are:



The creation of digital infrastructure
Delivery of services digitally
Digital literacy
Digital Technologies which include Cloud Computing and Mobile Applications have
emerged as catalysts for rapid economic growth and citizen empowerment across the
globe. Digital technologies are being increasingly used by us in everyday lives from
retail stores to government offices. They help us to connect with each other and also to
share information on issues and concerns faced by us. In some cases they also enable
resolution of those issues in near real time.
The objective of the Digital India Group is to come out with innovative ideas and
practical solutions to realise Prime Minister Modi’s vision of a digital India. Prime Minister
Modi envisions transforming our nation and creating opportunities for all citizens by
harnessing digital technologies. His vision is to empower every citizen with access to
digital services, knowledge and information. This Group will come up with policies and
best practices from around the world to make this vision of a digital India a reality.
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Cashless India
The Digital India program is a flagship program of the Government of India with a vision
to transform India into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy.
“Faceless, Paperless, Cashless” is one of professed role of Digital India.
As part of promoting cashless transactions and converting India into less-cash society,
various modes of digital payments are available.
These modes are:
Banking Cards (DEBIT / CREDIT / CASH / TRAVEL / OTHERS)
Banking cards offer consumers more security, convenience, and control than any other
payment method. The wide variety of cards available – including credit, debit and
prepaid – offers enormous flexibility, as well. These cards provide 2 factor authentication
for secure payments e.g. secure PIN and OTP. RuPay, Visa, MasterCard are some of the
example of card payment systems. Payment cards give people the power to purchase
items in stores, on the Internet, through mail-order catalogues and over the telephone.
They save both customers and merchants’ time and money, and thus enable them for
ease of transaction.
USSD
The innovative payment service *99# works on Unstructured Supplementary Service
Data (USSD) channel. This service allows mobile banking transactions using basic
feature mobile phone, there is no need to have mobile internet data facility for using
USSD based mobile banking. It is envisioned to provide financial deepening and
inclusion of underbanked society in the mainstream banking services.
*99# service has been launched to take the banking services to every common man
across the country. Banking customers can avail this service by dialling *99#, a
“Common number across all Telecom Service Providers (TSPs)” on their mobile phone
and transact through an interactive menu displayed on the mobile screen. Key services
offered under *99# service include, interbank account to account fund transfer,
balance enquiry, mini statement besides host of other services. *99# service is currently
offered by 51 leading banks & all GSM service providers and can be accessed in 12
different languages including Hindi & English as on 30.11.2016 (Source: NPCI). *99#
service is a unique interoperable direct to consumer service that brings together the
diverse ecosystem partners such as Banks & TSPs (Telecom Service Providers).
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Aadhaar Enabled Payment System (AEPS)
AEPS is a bank led model which allows online interoperable financial transaction at PoS
(Point of Sale / Micro ATM) through the Business Correspondent (BC)/Bank Mitra of any
bank using the Aadhaar authentication.
UPI
Unified Payments Interface (UPI) is a system that powers multiple bank accounts into a
single mobile application (of any participating bank), merging several banking
features, seamless fund routing & merchant payments into one hood. It also caters to
the “Peer to Peer” collect request which can be scheduled and paid as per
requirement and convenience. Each Bank provides its own UPI App for Android,
Windows and iOS mobile platform(s).
Mobile Wallets
A mobile wallet is a way to carry cash in digital format. You can link your credit card or
debit card information in mobile device to mobile wallet application or you can
transfer money online to mobile wallet. Instead of using your physical plastic card to
make purchases, you can pay with your smartphone, tablet, or smart watch. An
individual's account is required to be linked to the digital wallet to load money in it.
Most banks have their e-wallets and some private companies. e.g. Paytm, Freecharge,
Mobikwik, Oxigen, mRuppee, Airtel Money, Jio Money, SBI Buddy, itz Cash, Citrus Pay,
Vodafone M-Pesa, Axis Bank Lime, ICICI Pockets, SpeedPay etc.
Banks pre-paid cards
A card issued by a financial institution that is preloaded with funds and is used like a
normal credit card. A prepaid credit card works in the opposite way of a normal credit
card, because instead of buying something with borrowed funds (through credit), you
buy things with funds that have already been paid. This card functions like a gift card.
Point of sale
A point of sale (PoS) is the place where sales are made. On a macro level, a PoS may
be a mall, a market or a city. On a micro level, retailers consider a PoS to be the area
where a customer completes a transaction, such as a checkout counter. It is also
known as a point of purchase.
Internet Banking
Internet banking, also known as online banking, e-banking or virtual banking, is an
electronic payment system that enables customers of a bank or other financial
institution to conduct a range of financial transactions through the financial institution's
website.
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Mobile Banking
Mobile banking is a service provided by a bank or other financial institution that allows
its customers to conduct different types of financial transactions remotely using a
mobile device such as a mobile phone or tablet. It uses software, usually called an app,
provided by the banks or financial institution for the purpose. Each Bank provides its
own mobile banking App for Android, Windows and iOS mobile platform(s).
Micro ATMs
Micro ATM meant to be a device that is used by a million Business Correspondents (BC)
to deliver basic banking services. The platform will enable Business Correspondents
(who could be a local kirana shop owner and will act as ‘micro ATM’) to conduct
instant transactions.
The micro platform will enable function through low cost devices (micro ATMs) that will
be connected to banks across the country. This would enable a person to instantly
deposit or withdraw funds regardless of the bank associated with a particular BC. This
device will be based on a mobile phone connection and would be made available at
every BC. Customers would just have to get their identity authenticated and withdraw
or put money into their bank accounts. This money will come from the cash drawer of
the BC. Essentially, BCs will act as bank for the customers and all they need to do is
verify the authenticity of customer using customers’ UID. The basic transaction types, to
be supported by micro ATM, are Deposit, Withdrawal, Fund transfer and Balance
enquiry.
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Introduction
This report is in continuation to the report titled “Cyber Business Security-Threats and
Solutions”, available at
http://cmai.asia/cybersecurity/docs/CyberBusinessSecurityTheatsSolutions.pdf ,
published in November 2015.
Abstract from the above report:
“CYBER INSECURITY a major threat to businesses today:
Along with the world, which continues to embrace the ever evolving technology and its
advantages, businesses have also started relying on technology extensively for storing
great amount of sensitive data electronically. The ease in storing and accessing
information has led to its increasing popularity. Along with the efficiencies the computer
brings to the life of many, it has inadvertently created a new area of risk. The storage of
sensitive information on computers opens business up to cyber-attacks, with hackers
looking to acquire company or customer information such as passwords or credit card
numbers. The hackers can then use or sell this information, harming businesses,
consumers, and company reputations.
Many high profile security breaches have highlighted the issue of Cyber-Attacks. These
attacks have left companies struggling to improvise on these issues, but what becomes
an even major problem is regaining the trust of the customers and reassuring them that
their sites and accounts are safe from any further attacks.
Cyber-crime today, has become a business, and the hackers are looking for real
dollars, & this business is expanding day by day. Various businesses, big or small fall into
this trap every day.”
In this part of the report, the topic at hand is, all the solutions available in the market as
of now to safeguard ourselves against cyber-attacks, the solutions individuals as well as
organizations can use before, during and after the cyber-attacks to curb the effects of
cyber-attacks since eliminating it all together is not possible.
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Spread of cyber-crime across nations
The popularity of internet has been growing day by day and today it is no more a luxury
but a necessity. Agreeing to this fact, Internet brings along with it consequences, cybercrime that affect everyone across the globe. Top 20 countries, worst affected by cyberattacks are:
Most popular cyber attacks
2016 saw many cyber-attacks and the statistics go like:
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Cyber-attack No. 1: Socially engineered Trojans
Socially engineered Trojans provide the No. 1 method of attack (not an exploit or a
misconfiguration or a buffer overflow). An end-user browses to a website usually trusted
-- which prompts him or her to run a Trojan. Most of the time the website is a legitimate,
innocent victim that has been temporarily compromised by hackers.
Usually, the website tells users they are infected by viruses and need to run fake antivirus
software. Also, they're nearly out of free disk space and need a fake disk defragger.
Finally, they must install an otherwise unnecessary program, often a fake Adobe Reader
or an equally well-known program. The user executes the malware, clicking past
browser warnings that the program could possibly be harmful. Voilà, exploit
accomplished! Socially engineered Trojans are responsible for hundreds of millions of
successful hacks each year. Against those numbers, all other hacking types are just
noise.
Countermeasure: Social engineered Trojans are best handled through end-user
education that's informed by today's threats (such as trusted websites prompting users
to run Trojans). Enterprises can further protect themselves by not allowing elevated users
to surf the Web or answer email. An up-to-date antimalware program can't hurt, but
strong end-user education provides better bang for the buck.
Cyber-attack No. 2: Unpatched software
Coming in a distant second is software with known, but unpatched exploits. The most
common unpatched and exploited programs are Java, Adobe Reader, and Adobe
Flash. It's been this way for a few years now. But strangely, not a single company I've
ever audited has ever had these three programs perfectly patched. I just don't get it.
Countermeasure: Stop what you're doing right now and make sure your patching is
perfect. If you can't, make sure it's perfect around the top most exploited products,
including Java, Adobe, browser admins, OS patches, and more. Everyone knows that
better patching is a great way to decrease risk. Become one of the few organizations
that actually does it.
Cyber-attack No. 3: Phishing attacks
Approximately 70 percent of email is spam. Fortunately, antispam vendors have made
great strides, so most of us have reasonably clean inboxes. Nonetheless, I get several
spam emails each day, and a least a few of them each week are darned good
phishing replicas of legitimate emails.
I think of an effective phishing email as a corrupted work of art: Everything looks great; it
even warns the reader not to fall for fraudulent emails. The only thing that gives them
away is the rogue link asking for confidential information.
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Countermeasure: Decreasing risk from phishing attacks is mostly accomplished through
better end-user education -- and with better antiphishing tools. Make sure your browser
has antiphishing capabilities. I also love browsers that highlight the domain name of a
host in a URL string.
Cyber-attack No. 4: Network-traveling worms
Computer viruses aren't much of a threat anymore, but their network-traveling worm
cousins are. Most organizations have had to fight worms like Conficker and Zeus. We
don't see the massive outbreaks of the past with email attachment worms, but the
network-traveling variety is able to hide far better than its email relatives.
Countermeasure: Network-traveling worms can be defeated by blocking executables
in email, better patching, disabling autorun capabilities, and strong password policies.
Many network worms, like Conficker, will try to exploit network shares by logging on
using a list of built-in, bad passwords: 12345, password2, qwerty, and the like. If any of
your passwords are listed in the password manifest inside of a worm, you do not have
a strong password policy.
Cyber attack No. 5: Advanced persistent threats
Lastly, I only know of one major corporation that has not suffered a major compromise
due to an APT (advanced persistent threat) stealing intellectual property. APTs usually
gain a foothold using socially engineered Trojans or phishing attacks.
A very popular method is for APT attackers to send a very specific phishing campaign -known as spearphishing -- to multiple employee email addresses. The phishing email
contains a Trojan attachment, which at least one employee is tricked into running. After
the initial execution and first computer takeover, APT attackers can compromise an
entire enterprise in a matter of hours. It's easy to accomplish, but a royal pain to clean
up.
Countermeasure: Detecting and preventing an APT can be difficult, especially in the
face of a determined adversary. All the previous advice applies, but you must also
learn to understand the legitimate network traffic patterns in your network and alert on
unexpected flows. An APT doesn't understand which computers normally talk to which
other computers, but you do. Take the time now to start tracking your network flows
and get a good handle of what traffic should going from where to where. An APT will
mess up and attempt to copy large amounts of data from a server to some other
computer where that server does not normally communicate. When they do, you can
catch them.
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Types of attackers
Name: The Hacker Apprentice
PROFILE: The Hacker Apprentice is likely to be young, perhaps mid to late teens and
male, perhaps an introvert. I am sure more females will enter this field as we see more
females enter programming in general.
MOTIVATION: They will be interested in programming; probably learning to write code
since their early childhood. Being a hacker seems glamourous and a way of ‘showing
off’ their skills. Invariably, they aren’t too technically savvy (yet) and their hacking
expertise is low grade, only being able to hack weakly guarded systems. They’ll use
YouTube hacking videos to learn their trade. But don’t be complacent. They can work
their way up the cybercriminal ladder as they get older and more experienced if they
are that way inclined. Most however, will mature out of this stage and move into
working in computer or network focused professions.
Name: The Phisherman
PROFILE: It seems that phishers are Chinese, Indonesian or American, according to
Akamai research. But the profile is a mixed one. On the one hand you have phishers
such as the Nigerian phishers who run bank phishing scams and have done so for years
and then on the other hand, research by Verizon for their Data Breach Investigations
Report 2015 has stated that 95% of incidents can be attributed to state sponsored
actors. The reason for the wide profile of the Phisherman is because of the success of
this vector. It is used as both a general method of getting data like login credentials,
but also a way directly into company resources using spear phishing methods.
MOTIVATION: Motivation is mixed too. General phishers are after financial gain. They
want login credentials, or to get you to download malware that ultimately steals bank
credentials. Spear phishers are after intellectual property, they can be part of the cyber
espionage crew which are detailed below.
Name: My name is Bond, Hacker Bond
PROFILE: This cybercriminal is a spy. They may work alone or as a group which may be
sponsored by a company or even a state. The general way into your organization is via
spear phishing (see The Phisherman above) and the use of APTs to persistently steal
data. This cybercriminal is a very experienced programmer and architect. They should
not be underestimated as they are at the top of their game. Often these types of
cybercriminals work as part of a highly skilled group. A recent finding by security firm
Kaspersky is of a group called the Equation Group. This group is one of the most highly
sophisticated hacking groups of all time. Using highly specialized tools to perpetrate
their crime, they are linked to malware infections across 30 countries and attack
industries as diverse as government, mass media and aerospace.
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MOTIVATION: This cybercriminal is after information and often also to create havoc,
even potentially, warfare. Information on your business, such as company account
details, manufacturing information, intellectual property, schematics and so on is all
game for Mr. Bond. But this cybercriminal becomes most sinister when they are state
sponsored and attack critical infrastructures, which can affect not only digital
resources, but real world ones too. Probably the most famous cyberespionage attack is
Stuxnet where Iranian nuclear facilities were targeted with the intention of taking them
over. The cost of cyberespionage to the U.S. is massive. MacAfee in their 2013 report
on The Economic Impact of Cybercrime and Cyberespionage has placed estimates of
Intellectual Property losses of up to $140 billion, so this must be one of the most
successful and profitable cybercriminal personas.
Name: The Less Than Perfect Employee
PROFILE: An employee, ex-employee, contractor or even customer who has an axe to
grind. Insider threats are the most prevalent cyber threats organizations face.
MOTIVATION: The motivations behind an insider doing damage to your organization is
varied, but includes, revenge, cyberespionage (see above), for the fun of it, honest
mistake, and for pure financial gain. We mentioned in a previous blog post
about Insider Threats, that the costs incurred by these type of attacks far outweighs
those incurred from phishing attacks, being on average, $213,542 and $45,959
respectively.
Name: The Hacktivist
PROFILE: An individual or group that wants to make a stand against something they
think is wrong or for something they believe in. They have taken activism in the real
world and placed it online. There are a number of groups that carry out attacks against
targets that they have a grievance with. For example, the international group,
Anonymous, carry out Denial of Service (DDOS) attacks against, mainly, government
and religious websites.
MOTIVATION: To carry out political acts of defiance. Just like real world activists take on
issues that they believe need to be addressed, such as climate change, animal rights
and so on. Hacktivists do the same thing, but using digital methods to spread their word
and that often comes in the form of a cyber-attack. Motivation can be for good and
bad. Sometimes hacktivism is used to attack foreign government policy. For example,
Chinese hackers attacked U.S. government sites to protest against perceived U.S.
Government wrongdoing against China (you can read more here in a previous blog
post). Other times it is used to make a stand. Anonymous have recently targeted IS
sympathisers by hijacking their Twitter accounts and either shutting them down, or
flooding them with images of Japanese anime characters to alter search engine results
for the word IS. Sometimes hacktivism is used as an excuse for hacking certain types of
websites. For example, the recent attack on the customer accounts of the adultery
website, Ashley Madison, was said to have been carried out to shame the users of the
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site (rather than sell on their user account details – we shall wait and see how that pans
out).
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Major Cyber Attacks past One Year
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
Ashley Madison Data Breach
“Hacking Team” Hacked
John Brennan’s Email ID Hacked
TalkTalk Hacked
Vodafone Hacked
Russian Hackers Spy in Germany
Air India’s Loyalty Scheme Hacked
Social networking accounts hacked by OurMine (more on “OurMine’s Unique
way of selling its Security Products”), possibly 2012 LinkedIn breach lead to the
compromised.
9. TATA assets management CEO’s email account hacked
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Ashley Madison Data Breach
Ashley Madison, or The Ashley Madison Agency, is a Canada-based online dating
service and social networking service marketed to people who are married or in a
committed relationship. It was founded in 2002 by Darren Morgenstern.
The company received attention on July 15, 2015, after hackers, “The Impact
Group”, stole all of its customer data and threatened to post all the data online if
Ashley Madison and fellow Avid Life Media site EstablishedMen.com were not
permanently closed.
How big was the breach?
The Ashley Madison breach included usernames, first and last names and hashed
passwords for 33 million accounts, as well as partial credit card data, street names and
phone numbers for a huge number of users. There were also records documenting 9.6
million transactions and 36 million email addresses.
The leak included PayPal accounts used by Ashley Madison executives, Windows
domain credentials for employees and numerous proprietary internal documents.
Passwords were protected by the bcrypt hashing algorithm and were considered
secure — but were they?
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Lessons to be learnt:
 Storage is cheap and the data is very valuable. Since we have unlimited storage
on the clouds, doesn’t mean all of it is secure, even though it is encrypted. Thus if
there is no privacy, there is no business.
 Putting all the data in one place is not a very good idea. That is exactly what
happened here. If the data collected by the site would have been split and
stored, the hacker would not have been able to access all storage points
leading to exposure of large amount of data.
 As soon as a security related problem is found, it should immediately be sorted
without any delay. The passwords of 11 million users were compromised days
after the breach. The company did change its encryptions for the password but
only for those who were singing up new. The encryption techniques for the old
passwords were left as it is and they got compromised.
 When we know we are living in a not so secure cyber world, it is our prime duty to
stay alert and aware of the new developments in the field so that we can
safeguard ourselves.
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“Hacking Team” Hacked
Hacking Team is a Milan-based information technology company that sells offensive
intrusion and surveillance capabilities to governments, law enforcement agencies and
corporations. Hacking Team describes its lawful interception products as "offensive
technology" and has been called into question over deliveries to Morocco and the
United Arab Emirates. The company’s "Remote Control System," called DaVinci, is able,
it says, to break encryption on emails, files and Internet telephony protocols.
Phineas Fisher, the hacker who claimed responsibility for breaching Hacking Team last
year published an explainer guide detailing his process in executing the attack. In July
2015, the hacker breached 400GB of Hacking Team's confidential documents, emails,
and source code, which exposed the company's client list, which included the FBI and
the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency.
The leaked documents also demonstrated that the company sold its surveillance tools
to several countries have been cited for human rights abuses, including Egypt,
Bahrain, Morocco, Russia Uganda, among others.
The hacker was also linked to hacking Gamma International, a U.K. company that sold
a spyware product similar in functionally similar to the exploits used by Hacking Team.
Lessons to be learnt:
 Given the opportunity, the right amount of offence and the lack of the right
amount of defence; anybody could be vulnerable. The hacker user zero day
attack developed for the embedded systems of the server to get to the
information, also the uninstalled updates for MangoDB, were a plus for the
hacker.
 All the software updates should be timely installed to avoid any sort risks.
 Security shouldn’t be taken lightly. When a company deals with high profile
clients which for for some purpose kept mysterious, the company should be very
careful regarding the privacy they provide to their customers.
 One should be aware of the new developments and the activities on the server
should be regularly monitored for any unauthorized or illegal accesses.
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 The data was stored in decrypted form, which is not a legal way to store
encrypted data, the poses a greater threat. Data stored in decrypted form, and
encrypted using weak encryption techniques are equally bad for such an
organisation.
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John Brennan’s Email ID Hacked
John Brennan became the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency in March 2013,
replacing General David Petraeus who was forced to step down after becoming
embroiled in a classified information mishandling scandal.
In July 2015, a self-proclaimed high school student employed social engineering as a
tool to compromise the email ID. Emails contained sensitive information including Social
Security Numbers and passport numbers of his family.
The teen, working with a group called “Crackas With Attitude,” said he fooled Verizon
into providing him with Brennan’s personal data. The hacker said he used a reverse
phone-number lookup to determine that Brennan has a Verizon Wireless account. He
then called the company, posing as a technician whose “tools were down” to get
details about the account, including Brennan’s AOL email address. With that
information, the teen called AOL and convinced a representative to reset the
password, using Brennan’s personal details provided by Verizon.
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Lessons to be learnt:
 First, if one company is a weak link in the security chain, it can bring down other
companies with it. In this case, it was Verizon failing to authenticate the attackers
properly that eventually led to them being able to access the AOL email
account.
 Do not send any sensitive information out over email if at all possible. With each
document that John Brennan sent to his personal account, he effectively
increased the odds that the document would be compromised. Corporate
environment is very safe, secured with all the firewalls and latest technologies to
avoid any data breach, by sending the sensitive data to a personal email id,
takes the information outside the safe environment.
 When you set up an account and a company asks you to supply answers to
those annoying questions, take an extra moment to make it hard on1 a hacker.
Answers to easy questions can always be gained though some or the other
ways, so the answers should be tricky, maybe a false answer.
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TalkTalk Hacked
TalkTalk Telecom Group is a company which provides television,
telecommunications, Internet access, and mobile network services to businesses and
consumers in the United Kingdom. It was founded in 2003 as a subsidiary of Carphone
Warehouse and was demerged as a standalone company in March 2010. Its
headquarters are in London.
On 21st Oct, 2015 Wednesday morning TalkTalk customers experienced difficulty
accessing its website. Fearing it was under attack, the company shut down its internal
systems. The next day it revealed that customer details may have accessed by
intruders.
TalkTalk had come under a Distributed Denial of Service (DDOS) attack, where hackers
flooded the company’s site with internet traffic in an effort to overload digital systems
and take them offline. But security analysts said that because customer information was
taken it appears that a second attack may have been occurring at the same time,
with intruders going after TalkTalk’s customer database, which is a common tactic, with
a DDOS attack used as a distraction to enact a more specific data breach.
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Lessons to be learnt:
 One should periodically investigate and identify potential threats and then
eliminate them time to time so that they do not become the reason for a big
disaster in future. TalkTalk didn’t correct security measures in place, such as
firewalls that could detect the basic SQL vulnerabilities that lead to the attack.
Companies need to ensure their Web applications are coded in a secure
manner and that they are regularly tested for potential vulnerabilities.
 TalkTalk didn’t have proper data storage methods in place too. They didn’t
tokenize the Credit Card details removing the initial 6 digits. The customer and
bank account information were not encrypted and were stored in plaintext
instead, which is considered as the worst practice when you have a lot of
customers and you have to store their personally identifiable information. These
mistakes often lead the company to come short of their goal to remain safe.
 More laws will not prevent criminals from attacking websites and systems. Nor will
more laws make companies necessarily more secure, particularly if the focus in
those companies is on being compliant with laws and regulations. What is
required is a cultural change by consumers, regulators, and governments to
ensure companies take a risk-based approach to security.
 A few companies fail to understand that data breaches can be expensive. The
company cannot run on its name alone, every customer today demands
security if the share their sensitive information with you.
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Vodafone Hacked
Vodafone Group a British multinational telecommunications company has its
headquarters in London and with its registered office in Newbury, Berkshire.
Among mobile operator groups globally, Vodafone ranked fifth by revenue and
second (behind China Mobile) in the number of connections (435.9 million) as of 2014.
The criminals got access to the user data from external sources, and the internal
systems were not compromised, though after the incident. The company said that the
banks of the affected customers were notified. The company also tried contacting the
affected customers and helped them change the account details to regain control.
The only prevailing threat that remained was of phishing attacks.
Vodafone on its part was very alert and immediately came to the rescue, preventing a
huge data breach. The users were warned well in time before any big incident could
take place and all precautionary steps were taken.
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Russian Hackers Spy in Germany
Germany's domestic secret service declared that it had evidence that Russia was
behind a series of cyber-attacks, including one that targeted the German parliament in
2015.
The operations cited by the BfV intelligence agency ranged from an aggressive attack
called Sofacy or APT 28 that hit NATO members and knocked French TV station
TV5Monde off air, to a hacking campaign called Sandstorm that brought down part of
Ukraine's power grid last year.
Cyberspace is a place for hybrid warfare. The campaigns BfV monitored, were
generally about obtaining information i.e., spying, however, Russian secret services had
also shown a readiness to carry out sabotage.
2015 attack on the German lower house of the parliament was when Germany itself fell
victim to one of these rogue operations, with the Sofacy attack.
Chancellor Angela Merkel's CDU party confirmed it had been targeted in April, adding
that "we have adapted our IT infrastructure as a result".
The BfV said the that, the cyber-attacks carried out by Russian secret services are part
of multi-year international operations that are aimed at obtaining strategic information.
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Air India’s Loyalty Scheme Hacked
A gang generated 20 email ids and diverted reward points earned by passengers, with
possible help from some airline employees. The months-long investigation revealed that
about 170 tickets were purchased by unfair means using driving licenses as ID, while
many of them had the same signature, said Dhananjay Kumar, a senior manager with
the national carrier. He said that as boarding passes were issued directly in these
instances and driving licenses are not considered valid proof, the likelihood of insider
involvement is strong.
Tickets worth almost Rs. 16 were sold on the basis of the stolen miles, say sources,
adding that the probe may have merely scratched the surface as almost 20 lakh
passengers are beneficiaries of AI’s flying-returns program. The loot was first noticed in
June’16 during the verification of “know your customer” documents uploaded by a
member. The passenger submitted a driving license as identity proof, which is not
legitimate, but the account was still approved.
On further investigation it was found out that these suspect user IDs had hacked various
membership accounts and redeemed miles of genuine Flying Returns members. The
details of the number of miles redeemed from each such account as well as the tickets
issued along with ticket number, name has been retrieved.
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Lessons to be learnt:
 Disgruntled employees can be a great threat to any company and past many
years Air India has been unable to keep its employees happy. As claimed, this
incident would not have been possible due to any insider involvement; it clearly
indicates any company needs to take proper care of its employees. Keeping
employees happy is one thing, but making sure they abide by the company
regulations is another which is equally important.
 Moreover, regular audits are very important for timely reporting of any unwanted
activities. The loss would not have been this large, if it would have been
detected earlier. Moreover, this had been happening from a long time,
indicating that Air India never aware that such a thing could happen.
 Learning from past and being alert for the future is very important. Air India and
other airlines have faced such hacks earlier. This time the detection was just by
chance during a Know you Customer Survey, leaving the possibility that if this
would not have happened, the damage would have been bigger. If Air India
would have been alert this incident would have been avoided.
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OurMine’s Unique way of selling its Security Products
Be whatever company, selling whichever product, to sell their product, they need to
market it. Today every company is looking for an innovative idea to showcase their
products and OurMine has outpaced them all.
OurMine as the Wired calls them are: hackers whose black hats are covered in the
thinnest coat of white paint, or so patchwork that even they don’t seem to remember
which color they’re wearing.
OurMine told Wired, “We don’t need money, but we are selling security services
because there is a lot [of] people [who] want to check their security…We are not black
hat hackers, we are just a security group…we are just trying to tell people that nobody
is safe.”
They are right, no one as of today is safe be it online or offline.
The group has its own social networking accounts on which they are quite active,
showcasing their work and polling for the next hack, though not many people follow
them.
Also, many have come forward in protest of the group, describing the groups’ activities
to be unethical. Why? Because they hacked your Icon’s Social Networking account?
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OurMine is exploiting the database stolen in LinkedIn 2011 data breach which was sold
to the dark web.
A lot said and done, why do we not blame the victims for such attacks. The Tech Heads
of today, to which people look up to, are not being able to implement enough security.
Using 4 year old data to hack their accounts today says enough about how seriously
Cyber Crime is been taken today. Being famous, puts you on a greater risk of being
attacked, because people want to overshadow you.
Cyber-crimes are not a joke, and it’s high time that we pay close attention to the
matter and be safe on the internet which is no longer a luxury.
Social networking accounts compromised by OurMine include:
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Google CEO Sundar Pichai’s quora account
UBER CEO, Travis Kalanick’s twitter account
Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg’s twitter and pin-interest accounts
The Twitter account of the microblogging site’s co-founder and former CEO Evan
Williams
 Spotify’s Daniel Ek was also their target
 Amazon CTO Werner Vogels
 “Magic Mike” star Channing Tatum
But not to forget, marketing strategy developed by OurMine was undoubtedly eyeopening.
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TATA assets management CEO’s email account hacked
On June 14, the finance head of the firm received a mail from the 'CEO', asking him to
transfer money to an account number. They had supposedly tried to reach the CEO to
confirm, but he wasn't reachable as he was in the US, the company said.
Due to the pressure created by the hacker through subsequent mails, the finance
official transferred Rs 7 lakh into the account without being aware that the sender was
a hacker. The fraud came to fore when the firm sent the bank's settlement report of the
wired money to the CEO's email ID and he claimed ignorance about having made any
such request or receiving any money.
Then on June 15, another email reached the finance head from the same ID, this time
demanding Rs 20 lakh be wired to another account with ICICI Bank, Allahabad. It was
clear that the company had been conned.
The fact that the mails first came in when the CEO was abroad indicates that the
hacker was aware that he could be out of reach and the firm might wire the money if
there was any distress communication.
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Cyber-Security Solutions
The cyber space is increasing every day and so is the Dark web growing and imposing
a greater threat to the development of Cyber Space. To protect the same, various
technologies have been developed to detect the threats and safeguard systems
against the evolving cyber-crimes. The technologies are:
1. Antivirus and Mobile app security
2. Authentication
3. Biometrics
4. Cryptography
5. Data Breach
6. DLP- Data Loss Prevention
7. DDoS attack protection
8. Embedded system security
9. Firewall
10. Fraud detection and prevention
11. IAM- Identity & Access Management
12. Incident Response
13. Intrusion Detection
14. Log Analysis & Management
15. Mainframe Security
16. Machine Learning Security
17. Network Security Monitoring
18. Next Generation Firewall
19. Password Management
20. Patch Management
21. Penetration Testing
22. Privileged Access Management
23. PKI-Public Key Infrastructure
24. Risk Analysis
25. SAP/ERP Security
26. Software Development Security
27. Unified Threat Management
28. Web App and Website Security
29. Web Application Firewall
30. Wireless/Wi-Fi Security
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Antivirus & Mobile App Security
What are Malware?
"Malware" short for Malicious Software is a term for any software that gets installed on
your machine and performs unwanted tasks, often for some third party's benefit.
Malware programs can range from being simple annoyances (pop-up advertising) to
causing serious computer invasion and damage (e.g., stealing passwords and data or
infecting other machines on the network). Additionally, some malware programs are
designed to transmit information about victim’s web-browsing habits to advertisers or
other third party interests without his knowledge.
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Types of Malware:
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Virus –
Software that can replicate itself and spreads to other computers or are
programmed to damage a computer by deleting files, reformatting the hard
disk, or using up computer memory.
Adware –
Software that is financially supported (or financially supports another program)
by displaying ads when you're connected to the Internet.
Spyware –
Spyware is software that surreptitiously gathers information and transmits it to
interested parties. A type of information that is gathered includes the Websites
visited, browser and system information, and your computer IP address.
Browser hijacking software –
Advertising software that modifies the browser settings (e.g., default home page,
search bars, toolbars), creates desktop shortcuts, and displays intermittent
advertising pop-ups comes under this. Once a browser is hijacked, the software
may also redirect links to other sites that advertise, or sites that collect Web
usage information.
Trojan HorsesA Trojan horse or Trojan is a type of malware that is often disguised as legitimate
software. Trojans can be employed by cyber-thieves and hackers trying to gain
access to users' systems. Users are typically tricked by some form of social
engineering into loading and executing Trojans on their systems. Once
activated, Trojans can enable cyber-criminals to spy on you, steal your sensitive
data, and gain backdoor access to your system. These actions can include
deleting data, blocking data, modifying data, copying data, disrupting the
performance of computers or computer networks.
RootkitsRootkits are designed to conceal certain objects or activities in your
system. Often their main purpose is to prevent malicious programs being
detected – in order to extend the period in which programs can run on an
infected computer.
BackdoorsA backdoor Trojan gives malicious users remote control over the infected
computer. They enable the author to do anything they wish on the infected
computer – including sending, receiving, launching, and deleting files, displaying
data, and rebooting the computer. Backdoor Trojans are often used to unite a
group of victim computers to form a botnet or zombie network that can be used
for criminal purposes.
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RansomwareThis type of Trojan can modify data on your computer – so that your computer
doesn’t run correctly or you can no longer use specific data. The criminal will
only restore your computer’s performance or unblock your data, after you have
paid them the ransom money that they demand.
How does Malware spread?
The ways in which malware attacks include:
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Email malware attacks which comes through infected email attachments
Instant messaging attacks through IM attachments similar to email attachments
File sharing is another way of malware attack, in which malware attacks through
file sharing programs.
Social networks: When you are surfing the internet, be cautious about third party
software and applications. Even when you use social networking sites be careful
to give consent to third-party applications for using your profile.
Pirated software: malicious codes also spread in a system through pirated
software. In majority cases, software seems to be legitimate when you download
them, but they may be a big trouble for your system.
E-mails: When you read emails malware spread through attachments, so it is
always better to scan them prior to downloading.
Removable media: USB sticks are another common way by which malware
attack and spread in a system. Even systems in a computer lab might be
infected with malware and when you transfer files from an infected system to
your system with USB stick, the infection enters your system as well.
Websites: There are many sites, which are infested with different malwares and
these malwares enter your computer when you visit them.
Once malware makes its way into a system, they begin to damage a system’s boot
sector, data files; software installed in it and even the system BIOS. This further corrupts
your files and your system might shut down as well. The main problem is that these
malicious software programs are designed to spread in a system.
There is no end to the channels through which malware can attack your computer and
once inside your system, these spread automatically and disrupts internet traffic as well.
Some of these even give access to your computer. Malware like Trojan horses does not
replicate themselves, but they can damage a system badly and these generally come
in the form of screensavers or free games. Fortunately, there are ways through which
you can protect your system from these malware attacks and you just need to be a
little vigilant to avoid such attacks.
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What is Antivirus?
Anti-virus software is a program or set of programs that are designed to prevent, search
for, detect, and remove software viruses, and other malicious software like worms,
trojans, adware, and more.
These tools are critical for users to have installed and up-to-date because a computer
without anti-virus software installed will be infected within minutes of connecting to the
internet. The bombardment is constant, with anti-virus companies update their
detection tools constantly to deal with the more than 60,000 new pieces of malware
created daily.
There are several different companies that build and offer anti-virus software and what
each offers can vary but all perform some basic functions:
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Scan specific files or directories for any malware or known malicious patterns
Allow you to schedule scans to automatically run for you
Allow you to initiate a scan of a specific file or of your computer, or of a CD or
flash drive at any time.
Remove any malicious code detected –sometimes you will be notified of an
infection and asked if you want to clean the file, other programs will
automatically do this behind the scenes.
Show you the ‘health’ of your computer
Always be sure you have the best, up-to-date security software installed to protect your
computers, laptops, tablets and smartphones.
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Features of Antivirus Software
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Background Scanning
Full System Scans
Virus Definitions
Background Scanning
Antivirus software scans all the files that you open from the back-end; this is also termed
as on access scanning. It gives a real time protection safeguarding the computer from
threats and other malicious attacks.
Full System Scans
Full system scans are essential when you install antivirus software for the first time or you
have updated your antivirus software recently. This is done to make sure that there are
no viruses present hidden on your system. Full system scans are also useful when you
repair your infected computer.
Virus Definitions
Antivirus software depends on the virus definitions to identify malware. That is the reason
it updates on the new viruses definitions. Malware definitions contain signatures for any
new viruses and other malware that has been classified as wild. If the antivirus software
scans any application or file and if it finds the file infected by a malware that is similar to
the malware in the malware definition. Then antivirus software terminates the file from
executing pushing it to the quarantine. The malware is processed accordingly
corresponding to the type of antivirus software.
It is really essential for all the antivirus companies to update the definitions with the latest
malware to ensure PC protection combating even the latest form of malicious threat.
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Methods used to identify Malware
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Signature-based detection
Heuristic-based detection
Behavioral-based detection
Sandbox detection
Data mining techniques
Signature-based detection
This is most common in Traditional antivirus software that checks all the .EXE files and
validates it with the known list of viruses and other types of malware. Or it checks if the
unknown executable files shows any misbehavior as a sign of unknown viruses.
Files, programs and applications are basically scanned when they in use. Once an
executable file is downloaded, it is scanned for any malware instantly. Antivirus
software can also be used without the background on access scanning, but it is always
advisable to use on access scanning because it is complex to remove malware once it
infects your system
Heuristic-based detection
This type of detection is most commonly used in combination with signature-based
detection. Heuristic technology is deployed in most of the antivirus programs. This helps
the antivirus software to detect new or a variant or an altered version of malware, even
in the absence of the latest virus definitions.
Antivirus programs use heuristics, by running susceptible programs or applications with
suspicious code on it, within a runtime virtual environment. This keeps the vulnerable
code from infecting the real world environment.
Behavioral-based detection
This type of detection is used in Intrusion Detection mechanism. This concentrates more
in detecting the characteristics of the malware during execution. This mechanism
detects malware only while the malware performs malware actions.
Sandbox detection
It functions most likely to that of behavioral based detection method. It executes any
applications in the virtual environment to track what kind of actions it performs.
Verifying the actions of the program that are logged in, the antivirus software can
identify if the program is malicious or not.
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Data mining techniques
This is of the latest trends in detecting a malware. With a set of program features, Data
mining helps to find if the program is malicious or not.
Features of Antiviruses:
PROTECTION FROM VIRUSES
Malware Blocker
An industry first, the Malware Blocker feature blocks threats on Google Play before
they can be installed and damage your device or data
App Virus Scanner
Scans every app you have installed and every one you download to filter out virus
and malicious apps that can steal your information and cost you money
Unlimited Updates
Automatically updates virus protection files
Cloud Scanner
Features unlimited cloud scanning connections to ensure continuous protection
Malware Cleaner
Downloads a dedicated removal tool in accordance with the type of malware threat
detected. Removes and restores the smartphone back to its normal settings
DATA THEFT PREVENTION
Privacy Scanner
Detects spyware by scanning all apps with Trend Micro Mobile App Reputation to
identify ones that collect and potentially steal private information
NEW: Billing Security
Provides an extra layer of protection against fake monetary apps (banking, shopping,
financial) that seek to steal your money or identity by deceiving you into believing
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they are legitimate
SAFE SURFING
Malicious Website Blocker
Uses the Trend Micro Smart Protection Network to block malicious websites
Parental Controls
Filters inappropriate websites with age-based restrictions
CALL & TEXT BLOCKING
Call and Text Blocker
Filters unwanted calls and texts based on keywords, anonymous callers, whitelists,
and blacklists
LOST DEVICE PROTECTION
Remote Locate
Helps you find your device on a Google map using GPS, Cell Towers, or Wi-Fi
Remote Scream
Enables you to trigger an alarm on your device - even if it is on silent
Remote Lock
Enables you to remotely lock your device (Accessing the phone again will require
that you insert your Trend Micro password or a unique unlock code)
Remote Wipe
Allows you to perform a factory reset of the device from the web portal to wipe all
your personal data
SIM Card Protection
Automatically locks if the SIM card is removed (Accessing the phone again will
require that you insert your Trend Micro password or a unique unlock code)
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Last Known Location
Automatically locates your device when the following actions take place: SIM
removal, SIM replacement, Phone Restart
Low Power Location
The location of your device will be recorded just before it runs out of power
ONLINE STORAGE
Backup and Restore
Backup your contacts, photos, videos, calendar, call and text history, and music (5
GB of storage can be purchased separately)
Cross-Platform Contacts Backup and Restore
Copies and saves contact information between your iOS and Android devices
SOCIAL NETWORKING PRIVACY
Scan Facebook
Protects your privacy on Facebook by checking settings and recommending
enhancements
SYSTEM OPTIMIZATION
NEW: App Manager
Allows you to recover space from unused or rarely used applications. Additionally,
may increase performance due to fewer apps running in the background
Battery Optimizer and Status
Maximizes your battery life by killing non-essential background processes. It also shows
how much time remains and how much time is needed to fully charge your battery
Smart Power Saver
Intelligently manages and disables the network connection when it is not in use to
maximize your battery's life
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Just-a-Phone
Turns off power draining features not required for phone and text message use,
including 3G/4G, WiFi, Bluetooth, and running apps
Auto Just-a-Phone
Automatically turns on Just-a-Phone feature guided by a set schedule or a
percentage of battery power remaining
Memory Status and Optimizer
Kills tasks to free up memory and CPU to maximize device performance. Also, shows
the amount of free memory and the percentage remaining
SUPPORT & MORE
Online Technical Support
Offers support provided via online forums, knowledge base, and email
Uninstall Protection
Prevents unauthorized removal of the app (Uninstalling Mobile Security will require
that you insert your Trend Micro password)
No Advertising
Does not allow third-party advertising to be displayed in the app
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Authentication
Computer/network security hinges on two very simple goals:
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Keeping unauthorized persons from gaining access to resources
Ensuring that authorized persons can access the resources they need
There are a number of components involved in accomplishing these objectives. One
way is to assign access permissions to resources that specify which users can or cannot
access those resources and under what circumstances. (For example, you may want a
specific user or group of users to have access when logged on from a computer that is
physically on-site but not from a remote dial-up connection.)
Access permissions, however, work only if you are able to verify the identity of the user
who is attempting to access the resources. That’s where authentication comes in. In this
Daily Drill Down, we will look at the role played by authentication in a network security
plan, popular types of authentication, how authentication works, and the most
commonly used authentication methods and protocols.
Authentication and security
Authentication is an absolutely essential element of a typical security model. It is the
process of confirming the identification of a user (or in some cases, a machine) that is
trying to log on or access resources. There are a number of different authentication
mechanisms, but all serve this same purpose.
Authentication vs. authorization
It is easy to confuse authentication with another element of the security plan:
authorization. While authentication verifies the user’s identity, authorization verifies that
the user in question has the correct permissions and rights to access the requested
resource. As you can see, the two work together. Authentication occurs first, then
authorization.
For example, when a user who belongs to a Windows domain logs onto the network, his
or her identity is verified via one of several authentication types. Then the user is issued
an access token, which contains information about the security groups to which the
user belongs. When the user tries to access a network resource (open a file, print to a
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printer, etc.), the access control list (ACL) associated with that resource is checked
against the access token. If the ACL shows that members of the Managers group have
permission to access the resource, and the user’s access token shows that he or she is a
member of the Managers group, that user will be granted access (unless the user’s
account, or a group to which the user belongs, has been explicitly denied access to
the resource).
Another example of authorization is the Dialed Number Identification Service (DNIS),
which authorizes a dial-in connection based on the number called.
Logon authentication
Most network operating systems require that a user be authenticated in order to log
onto the network. This can be done by entering a password, inserting a smart card and
entering the associated PIN, providing a fingerprint, voice pattern sample, or retinal
scan, or using some other means to prove to the system that you are who you claim to
be.
Network access authentication
Network access authentication verifies the user’s identity to each network service that
the user attempts to access. It differs in that this authentication process is, in most cases,
transparent to the user once he or she has logged on. Otherwise, the user would have
to reenter the password or provide other credentials every time he or she wanted to
access another network service or resource.
IPSec authentication
IP Security (IPSec) provides a means for users to encrypt and/or sign messages that are
sent across the network to guarantee confidentiality, integrity, and authenticity. IPSec
transmissions can use a variety of authentication methods, including the Kerberos
protocol, public key certificates issued by a trusted certificate authority (CA), or a
simple pre-shared secret key (a string of characters known to both the sender and the
recipient).
An important consideration is that both the sending and receiving computers must be
configured to use a common authentication method or they will not be able to
engage in secured communications.
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IPSec configuration
If IPSec policies have been configured to require that communications be secured, the
sending and receiving computers will not be able to communicate at all if they do not
support a common authentication method.
Remote authentication
There are a number of authentication methods that can be used to confirm the identity
of users who connect to the network via a remote connection such as dial-up or VPN.
These include:
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The Password Authentication Protocol (PAP)
The Shiva PAP (SPAP)
Challenge Handshake Authentication Protocol (CHAP)
Microsoft CHAP (MS-CHAP)
The Extensible Authentication Protocol (EAP)
Remote users can be authenticated via a Remote Authentication Dial-In User Service
(RADIUS) or the Internet Authentication Service (IAS). Each of these will be discussed in
more detail in the section titled Authentication Methods and Protocols.
It is especially important that remote users be properly authenticated, as they generally
pose a greater security risk than on-site users.
Single Sign-On (SSO)
Single Sign-On (SSO) is a feature that allows a user to use one password (or smart card)
to authenticate to multiple servers on a network without reentering credentials. This is an
obvious convenience for users, who don’t have to remember multiple passwords or
keep going through the authentication process over and over to access different
resources.
There are a number of SSO products on the market that allow for single sign-on in a
mixed (hybrid) environment that incorporates, for example, Microsoft Windows servers,
Novell NetWare, and UNIX.
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Authentication types
There are several physical means by which you can provide your authentication
credentials to the system. The most common—but not the most secure—is password
authentication. Today’s competitive business environment demands options that offer
more protection when network resources include highly sensitive data. Smart cards and
biometric authentication types provide this extra protection.
Password authentication
Most of us are familiar with password authentication. To log onto a computer or
network, you enter a user account name and the password assigned to that account.
This password is checked against a database that contains all authorized users and
their passwords. In a Windows 2000 network, for example, this information is contained
in Active Directory.
To preserve the security of the network, passwords must be “strong,” that is, they should
contain a combination of alpha and numeric characters and symbols, they should not
be words that are found in a dictionary, and they should be relatively long (eight
characters or more). In short, they should not be easily guessed.
Password authentication is vulnerable to a password “cracker” who uses a brute force
attack (trying every possible combination until hitting upon the right one) or who uses a
protocol “sniffer” to capture packets if passwords are not encrypted when they are
sent over the network.
Smart card authentication
Smart cards are credit card-sized devices that hold a small computer chip, which is
used to store public and private keys and other personal information used to identify a
person and authenticate him or her to the system. Logging onto the network with a
smart card requires that you physically insert the card into (or slide it through) a reader
and then enter a Personal Identification Number (PIN) in much the same way that you
use an ATM card to access an automatic teller machine.
Smart cards use cryptography-based authentication and provide stronger security than
a password because in order to gain access, the user must be in physical possession of
the card and must know the PIN.
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Biometric authentication
An even more secure type of authentication than smart cards, biometric
authentication involves the use of biological statistics that show that the probability of
two people having identical biological characteristics such as fingerprints is
infinitesimally small; thus, these biological traits can be used to positively identify a
person.
In addition to fingerprints, voice, retinal, and iris patterns are virtually unique to each
individual and can be used for authentication purposes. This method of proving one’s
identity is very difficult to falsify, although it requires expensive equipment to input the
fingerprint, voice sample, or eye scan. Another advantage over smart cards is that the
user does not have to remember to carry a device; his or her biological credentials are
never left at home.
How does authentication work?
In theory, authentication is relatively simple: A user provides some sort of credentials—a
password, smart card, fingerprint, digital certificate—which identifies that user as the
person who is authorized to access the system. There are, however, a multiplicity of
methods and protocols that can be used to accomplish this. Regardless of the method,
the basic authentication process remains the same.
The authentication process
In most instances, a user must have a valid user account configured by the network
administrator that specifies the user’s permissions and rights. User credentials must be
associated with this account—a password is assigned, a smart card certificate is issued,
or a biometric scan is entered into the database against which future readings will be
compared.
When the user wants to log on, he or she provides the credentials and the system
checks the database for the original entry and makes the comparison. If the credentials
provided by the user match those in the database, access is granted.
Advantages of multilayered authentication
In a high-security environment, multilayered authentication adds extra protection. In
other words, you can require that the user provide more than one type of credential,
such as both a fingerprint and a logon password. This further decreases the chances of
an unauthorized person circumventing the security system.
Authentication methods and protocols
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There are a large number of authentication methods and protocols that can be used,
depending on the application and security requirements. In the following sections, we
will discuss:
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Kerberos
SSL
Microsoft NTLM
PAP and SPAP
CHAP and MS-CHAP
EAP
RADIUS
Certificate services
These are by no means the only authentication methods in existence, but they are
some of the most common.
Kerberos
Kerberos was developed at MIT to provide secure authentication for UNIX networks. It
has become an Internet standard and is supported by Microsoft’s latest network
operating system, Windows 2000. Kerberos uses temporary certificates called tickets,
which contain the credentials that identify the user to the servers on the network. In the
current version of Kerberos, v5, the data contained in the tickets is encrypted, including
the user’s password.
A Key Distribution Center (KDC) is a service that runs on a network server, which issues a
ticket called a Ticket Granting Ticket (TGT) to the clients that authenticates to the Ticket
Granting Service (TGS). The client uses this TGT to access the TGS (which can run on the
same computer as the KDC). The TGS issues a service or session ticket, which is used to
access a network service or resource.
Secure Sockets Layer (SSL)
The SSL protocol is another Internet standard, often used to provide secure access to
Web sites, using a combination of public key technology and secret key technology.
Secret key encryption (also called symmetric encryption) is faster, but asymmetric
public key encryption provides for better authentication, so SSL is designed to benefit
from the advantages of both. It is supported by Microsoft, Netscape, and other major
browsers, and by most Web server software, such as IIS and Apache.
SSL operates at the application layer of the DoD networking model. This means
applications must be written to use it, unlike other security protocols (such as IPSec) that
operate at lower layers. The Transport Layer Security (TLS) Internet standard is based on
SSL.
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SSL authentication is based on digital certificates that allow Web servers and clients to
verify each other’s identities before they establish a connection. (This is called mutual
authentication.) Thus, two types of certificates are used: client certificates and server
certificates.
Microsoft NTLM (NT LAN Manager)
NTLM authentication is used by Windows NT servers to authenticate clients to an NT
domain. Windows 2000 uses Kerberos authentication by default but retains support for
NTLM for authentication of pre-Windows 2000 Microsoft servers and clients on the
network. UNIX machines connecting to Microsoft networks via an SMB client also use
NTLM to authenticate.
Native mode
If you convert your Windows 2000 domain’s status to native mode, NTLM support will be
disabled.
NTLM uses a method called challenge/response, using the credentials that were
provided when the user logged on each time that user tries to access a resource. This
means the user’s credentials do not get transferred across the network when resources
are accessed, which increases security. The client and server must reside in the same
domain or there must be a trust relationship established between their domains in order
for authentication to succeed.
PAP
PAP is used for authenticating a user over a remote access control. An important
characteristic of PAP is that it sends user passwords across the network to the
authenticating server in plain text. This poses a significant security risk, as an
unauthorized user could capture the data packets using a protocol analyzer (sniffer)
and obtain the password.
The advantage of PAP is that it is compatible with many server types running different
operating systems. PAP should be used only when necessary for compatibility purposes.
SPAP
SPAP is an improvement over PAP in terms of the security level, as it uses an encryption
method (used by Shiva remote access servers, thus the name).
The client sends the user name along with the encrypted password, and the remote
server decrypts the password. If the username and password match the information in
the server’s database, the remote server sends an Acknowledgment (ACK) message
and allows the connection. If not, a Negative Acknowledgment (NAK) is sent, and the
connection is refused.
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CHAP and MS-CHAP
CHAP is another authentication protocol used for remote access security. It is an
Internet standard that uses MD5, a one-way encryption method, which performs a hash
operation on the password and transmits the hash result—instead of the password
itself—over the network.
This has obvious security advantages over PAP/SPAP, as the password does not go
across the network and cannot be captured.
The hash algorithm ensures that the operation cannot be reverse engineered to obtain
the original password from the hash results. CHAP is, however, vulnerable to remote
server impersonation.
MS-CHAP is Microsoft’s version of CHAP. MS-CHAPv2 uses two-way authentication so
that the identity of the server, as well as the client, is verified. This protects against server
impersonation. MS-CHAP also increases security by using separate cryptographic keys
for transmitted and received data.
EAP
EAP is a means of authenticating a Point-to-Point Protocol (PPP) connection that allows
the communicating computers to negotiate a specific authentication scheme (called
an EAP type).
A key characteristic of EAP is its extensibility, indicated by its name. Plug-in modules can
be added at both client and server sides to support new EAP types.
EAP can be used with TLS (called EAP-TLS) to provide mutual authentication via the
exchange of user and machine certificates.
EAP can also be used with RADIUS (see below).
RADIUS
RADIUS is often used by Internet service providers (ISPs) to authenticate and authorize
dial-up or VPN users. The standards for RADIUS are defined in RFCs 2138 and 2139. A
RADIUS server receives user credentials and connection information from dial-up clients
and authenticates them to the network.
RADIUS can also perform accounting services, and EAP messages can be passed to a
RADIUS server for authentication. EAP only needs to be installed on the RADIUS server;
it’s not required on the client machine.
Windows 2000 Server includes a RADIUS server service called Internet Authentication
Services (IAS), which implements the RADIUS standards and allows the use of PAP,
CHAP, or MS-CHAP, as well as EAP.
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Certificate services
Digital certificates consist of data that is used for authentication and securing of
communications, especially on unsecured networks (for example, the Internet).
Certificates associate a public key to a user or other entity (a computer or service) that
has the corresponding private key.
Certificates are issued by certification authorities (CAs), which are trusted entities that
“vouch for” the identity of the user or computer. The CA digitally signs the certificates it
issues, using its private key. The certificates are only valid for a specified time period;
when a certificate expires, a new one must be issued. The issuing authority can also
revoke certificates.
Certificate services are part of a network’s Public Key Infrastructure (PKI). Standards for
the most commonly used certificates are based on the X.509 specifications.
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Biometrics
Biometrics is the measurement and statistical analysis of people's physical and
behavioral characteristics. The technology is mainly used for identification and access
control, or for identifying individuals that are under surveillance. The basic premise
of biometric authentication is that everyone is unique and an individual can be
identified by his or her intrinsic physical or behavioral traits.
There are two main types of biometric identifiers:


Physiological characteristics: The shape or composition of the body.
Behavioral characteristics: The behavior of a person.
Examples of physiological characteristics used for biometric authentication
include fingerprints; DNA; face, hand, retina or ear features; and odor.
Behavioral characteristics are related to the pattern of the behavior of a person, such
as typing rhythm, gait, gestures and voice. Certain biometric identifiers, such as
monitoring keystrokes or gait in real time, can be used to provide continuous
authentication instead of a single one-off authentication check.
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Characteristics of Biometrics
A number of biometric characteristics may be captured in the first phase of processing.
However, automated capturing and automated comparison with previously stored
data requires that the biometric characteristics satisfy the following characteristics:
Universal
Every person must possess the characteristic/attribute. The attribute must be one that is
universal and seldom lost to accident or disease.
Invariance of properties
They should be constant over a long period of time. The attribute should not be subject
to significant differences based on age either episodic or chronic disease.
Measurability
The properties should be suitable for capture without waiting time and must be easy to
gather the attribute data passively.
Singularity
Each expression of the attribute must be unique to the individual. The characteristics
should have sufficient unique properties to distinguish one person from any other.
Height, weight, hair and eye color are all attributes that are unique assuming a
particularly precise measure, but do not offer enough points of differentiation to be
useful for more than categorizing.
Acceptance
The capturing should be possible in a way acceptable to a large percentage of the
population. Excluded are particularly invasive technologies, i.e. technologies which
require a part of the human body to be taken or which (apparently) impair the human
body.
Reducibility
The captured data should be capable of being reduced to a file which is easy to
handle.
Reliability and tamper-resistance
The attribute should be impractical to mask or manipulate. The process should ensure
high reliability and reproducibility.
Privacy
The process should not violate the privacy of the person.
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Comparable
Should be able to reduce the attribute to a state that makes it digitally comparable to
others. The less probabilistic the matching involved, the more authoritative the
identification.
Inimitable
The attribute must be irreproducible by other means. The less reproducible the attribute,
the more likely it will be authoritative.
Among the various biometric technologies being considered, the attributes which
satisfy the above requirements are fingerprint, facial features, hand geometry, voice,
iris, retina, vein patterns, palm print, DNA, keystroke dynamics, ear shape, odor,
signature etc.
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Biometric System Modules
Biometric systems are made up of five integrated modules.

A sensor collects the raw biometric data and converts the information to a
digital format. The quality of the data captured typically depends on the
intuitiveness of the interface and the characteristics of the sensor itself.

Signal processing algorithms perform quality control activities, extract features,
and develop the biometric template. Quality control typically consists of three
steps:
o Quality assessment (determining the suitability of the sample),
o Segmentation (separating the biometric data from “background noise”),
o Enhancement (improving the quality of the sample and further reducing
noise).
o The outcome is a biometric template which contains only the
discriminatory information necessary for recognizing the person.

A data storage component (either centralized or decentralized) keeps information
that new biometric templates will be compared to.

A matching algorithm compares the new biometric template (the query) to one
or more templates kept in data storage and creates a “match score.” A large
match score indicates a greater similarity between the query and the stored
template. In some cases, the goal is to measure the dissimilarity in which case
the score is referred to as a “distance score.”

Lastly, a decision process uses the results from the matching component to
make a system-level decision. This can either be automated or human-assisted.
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Multimodal Biometric Systems
Multimodal biometric systems are those that utilize more than one physiological or
behavioral characteristic for enrollment, verification, or identification. In applications
such as border entry/exit, access control, civil identification, and network security, multimodal biometric systems are looked to as a means of



Reducing false non-match and false match rates,
Providing a secondary means of enrollment, verification, and identification if
sufficient data cannot be acquired from a given biometric sample, and
Combating attempts to fool biometric systems through fraudulent data sources
such as fake fingers.
A multimodal biometric verification system can be considered as a classical information
fusion problem i.e. can be thought to combine evidence provided by different
biometrics to improve the overall decision accuracy. Generally, multiple evidences can
be integrated at one of the following three levels.
Abstract level
The output from each module is only a set of possible labels without any
confidence value associated with the labels; in this case a simple majority rule
may be used to reach a more reliable decision.
Rank level
The output from each module is a set of possible labels ranked by decreasing
confidence values, but the confidence values themselves are not specified.
Measurement level
The output from each module is a set of possible labels with associated
confidence values; in this case, more accurate decisions can be made by
integrating different confidence values.
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Biometric Authentication Systems
Looking at biometric systems in a more general way will reveal certain things all
biometric-based authentication systems have in common. In general such systems work
in two modes:
• Enrollment mode
In this mode biometric user data is acquired. This is mostly done with some type of
biometric reader. Afterwards the gathered information is stored in a database where it
is labeled with a user identity (e.g. name, identification number) to facilitate
authentication.
• Authentication mode
Again biometric user data is acquired first and used by the system to either verify the
users claimed identity or to identify who the user is. While identification involves the
process of comparing the user’s biometric data against all users in the database, the
process of verification compares the biometric data against only those entries in the
database which are corresponding to the users claimed identity.
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Biometric verification becoming common
Authentication by biometric verification is becoming increasingly common in corporate
and public security systems, consumer electronics, and point-of-sale applications. In
addition to security, the driving force behind biometric verification has been
convenience, as there are no passwords to remember or security tokens to carry.
Measuring someone’s gait doesn’t even require a contact with the person.
Biometric devices, such as fingerprint readers, consist of:



A reader or scanning device.
Software that converts the scanned information into digital form and compares
match points.
A database that stores the biometric data for comparison.
Accuracy of biometrics
The accuracy and cost of readers has until recently been a limiting factor in the
adoption of biometric authentication solutions but the presence of high quality
cameras, microphones, and fingerprint readers in many of today’s mobile devices
means biometrics is likely to become a considerably more common method of
authenticating users, particularly as the new FIDO specification means that two-factor
authentication using biometrics is finally becoming cost effective and in a position to
be rolled out to the consumer market.
The quality of biometric readers is improving all the time, but they can still produce false
negatives and false positives. One problem with fingerprints is that people inadvertently
leave their fingerprints on many surfaces they touch, and it’s fairly easy to copy them
and create a replica in silicone. People also leave DNA everywhere they go and
someone’s voice is also easily captured. Dynamic biometrics like gestures and facial
expressions can change, but they can be captured by HD cameras and copied. Also,
whatever biometric is being measured, if the measurement data is exposed at any
point during the authentication process, there is always the possibility it can be
intercepted. This is a big problem, as people can’t change their physical attributes as
they can a password. While limitations in biometric authentication schemes are real,
biometrics is a great improvement over passwords as a means of authenticating an
individual.
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Cryptography
Cryptography is closely related to the disciplines of cryptology and cryptanalysis.
Cryptography includes techniques such as microdots, merging words with images, and
other ways to hide information in storage or transit. However, in today's computercentric world, cryptography is most often associated with scrambling plaintext (ordinary
text, sometimes referred to as clear text) into cipher text (a process called encryption),
then back again (known as decryption). Individuals who practice this field are known
as cryptographers.
Modern cryptography concerns itself with the following four objectives:
1) Confidentiality (the information cannot be understood by anyone for whom it was
unintended)
2) Integrity (the information cannot be altered in storage or transit between sender and
intended receiver without the alteration being detected)
3) Non-repudiation (the creator/sender of the information cannot deny at a later stage
his or her intentions in the creation or transmission of the information)
4) Authentication (the sender and receiver can confirm each other’s identity and the
origin/destination of the information)
Procedures and protocols that meet some or all of the above criteria are known as
cryptosystems. Cryptosystems are often thought to refer only to mathematical
procedures and computer programs; however, they also include the regulation of
human behavior, such as choosing hard-to-guess passwords, logging off unused
systems, and not discussing sensitive procedures with outsiders.
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Types of Cryptosystems
Fundamentally, there are two types of cryptosystems based on the manner in which
encryption-decryption is carried out in the system −


Symmetric Key Encryption
Asymmetric Key Encryption
The main difference between these cryptosystems is the relationship between the
encryption and the decryption key. Logically, in any cryptosystem, both the keys are
closely associated. It is practically impossible to decrypt the cipher text with the key
that is unrelated to the encryption key.
Symmetric Key Encryption
The encryption process where same keys are used for encrypting and decrypting the
information is known as Symmetric Key Encryption.
The study of symmetric cryptosystems is referred to as symmetric cryptography.
Symmetric cryptosystems are also sometimes referred to as secret key cryptosystems.
A few well-known examples of symmetric key encryption methods are − Digital
Encryption Standard (DES), Triple-DES (3DES), IDEA, and BLOWFISH.
Prior to 1970, all cryptosystems employed symmetric key encryption. Even today, its
relevance is very high and it is being used extensively in many cryptosystems. It is very
unlikely that this encryption will fade away, as it has certain advantages over
asymmetric key encryption.
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The salient features of cryptosystem based on symmetric key encryption are −






Persons using symmetric key encryption must share a common key prior to
exchange of information.
Keys are recommended to be changed regularly to prevent any attack on the
system.
A robust mechanism needs to exist to exchange the key between the
communicating parties. As keys are required to be changed regularly, this
mechanism becomes expensive and cumbersome.
In a group of n people, to enable two-party communication between any two
persons, the number of keys required for group is n × (n – 1)/2.
Length of Key (number of bits) in this encryption is smaller and hence, process of
encryption-decryption is faster than asymmetric key encryption.
Processing power of computer system required to run symmetric algorithm is less.
Challenge of Symmetric Key Cryptosystem
There are two restrictive challenges of employing symmetric key cryptography.
KEY ESTABLISHMENT
Before any communication, both the sender and the receiver need to agree on a
secret symmetric key. It requires a secure key establishment mechanism in place.
TRUST ISSUE
Since the sender and the receiver use the same symmetric key, there is an implicit
requirement that the sender and the receiver ‘trust’ each other. For example, it may
happen that the receiver has lost the key to an attacker and the sender is not informed.
These two challenges are highly restraining for modern day communication. Today,
people need to exchange information with non-familiar and non-trusted parties. For
example, a communication between online seller and customer. These limitations of
symmetric key encryption gave rise to asymmetric key encryption schemes.
Asymmetric Key Encryption
The encryption process where different keys are used for encrypting and decrypting the
information is known as Asymmetric Key Encryption. Though the keys are different, they
are mathematically related and hence, retrieving the plaintext by decrypting cipher
text is feasible. The process is depicted in the following illustration −
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Asymmetric Key Encryption was invented in the 20th century to come over the
necessity of pre-shared secret key between communicating persons. The salient
features of this encryption scheme are as follows −
Every user in this system needs to have a pair of dissimilar keys, private key and public
key. These keys are mathematically related − when one key is used for encryption, the
other can decrypt the cipher text back to the original plaintext.
It requires to put the public key in public repository and the private key as a wellguarded secret. Hence, this scheme of encryption is also called Public Key Encryption.
Though public and private keys of the user are related, it is computationally not feasible
to find one from another. This is a strength of this scheme.
When Host1 needs to send data to Host2, he obtains the public key ofHost2 from
repository, encrypts the data, and transmits.
Host2 uses his private key to extract the plaintext.
Length of Keys (number of bits) in this encryption is large and hence, the process of
encryption-decryption is slower than symmetric key encryption.
Processing power of computer system required to run asymmetric algorithm is higher.
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Symmetric cryptosystems are a natural concept. In contrast, public-key cryptosystems
are quite difficult to comprehend.
You may think, how can the encryption key and the decryption key are ‘related’, and
yet it is impossible to determine the decryption key from the encryption key? The
answer lies in the mathematical concepts. It is possible to design a cryptosystem whose
keys have this property. The concept of public-key cryptography is relatively new. There
are fewer public-key algorithms known than symmetric algorithms.
Challenge of Public Key Cryptosystem
Public-key cryptosystems have one significant challenge − the user needs to trust that
the public key that he is using in communications with a person really is the public key
of that person and has not been spoofed by a malicious third party.
This is usually accomplished through a Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) consisting a trusted
third party. The third party securely manages and attests to the authenticity of public
keys. When the third party is requested to provide the public key for any
communicating person X, they are trusted to provide the correct public key.
The third party satisfies itself about user identity by the process of attestation,
notarization, or some other process − that X is the one and only, or globally unique, X.
The most common method of making the verified public keys available is to embed
them in a certificate which is digitally signed by the trusted third party.
Relation between Encryption Schemes
A summary of basic key properties of two types of cryptosystems is given below −
Symmetric Cryptosystems
Public Key Cryptosystems
Relation between Keys
Same
Different, but mathematically related
Encryption Key
Symmetric
Public
Decryption Key
Symmetric
Private
Due to the advantages and disadvantage of both the systems, symmetric key and
public-key cryptosystems are often used together in the practical information security
systems.
Now, we get to the basic types of cryptography. While reading about these types of
cryptography, it may be helpful to think of a key as a key to a door.
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One Time Pad
A one time pad is considered the only perfect encryption in the world. The sender and
receiver must each have a copy of the same pad (a bunch of completely random
numbers), which must be transmitted over a secure line. The pad is used as a symmetric
key; however, once the pad is used, it is destroyed. This makes it perfect for extremely
high security situations (for example, national secrets), but virtually unusable for
everyday use (such as email).
Steganography
Steganography is actually the science of hiding information from people who would
snoop on you. The difference between this and encryption is that the would-be
snoopers may not be able to tell there's any hidden information in the first place. As an
example, picture files typically have a lot of unused space in them. This space could be
used to send hidden messages. If you do research on encryption, you may see the term
steganography used on occasion. It is not, however, true encryption (though it can still
be quite effective), and as such, we only mention it here for completeness.
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Data Breach
A data breach is an incident where information is stolen or taken from a system without
the knowledge or authorization of the system’s owner. Victims of data breaches are
usually large companies or organizations, and the data stolen may typically be
sensitive, proprietary or confidential in nature (such as credit card numbers, customer
data, trade secrets or matters of national security). Damage created by such incidents
often presents itself as loss to the target company’s reputation with their customer, due
to a perceived ‘betrayal of trust’. The damage may also involve the company’s
finances as well as that of their customers’ should financial records be part of the
information stolen.
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Background
Data breaches may be a result of cybercriminal activity (targeted attacks) or by complete
accident/human error (misplaced business laptop/smartphone).
A typical data breach occurs in three phases:





Research. The cybercriminal, having picked his target, looks for weaknesses that he
can exploit: the target’s employees, its systems, or its networks. This entails long hours
of research on the cybercriminal’s part, and may involve stalking employees’ social
networking profiles to finding what sort of infrastructure the company has.
Attack. Having scoped out his target’s weaknesses, the cybercriminal makes initial
contact through either a network-based attack or through a social attacks
In a network attack, the cybercriminal uses the weaknesses in the target’s
infrastructure to get into its network. These weaknesses may include (but are not
limited to) SQL injection, vulnerability exploitation, and/or session hijacking.
In a social attack, the cybercriminal uses social engineering in order to infiltrate the
target’s network. This may involve a maliciously-crafted email to one of the
employees, tailor-made to catch that specific employee’s attention. The mail could
be a phishing mail, where the reader is fooled into supplying personal information to
the sender, or one that comes with attached malware set to execute once
accessed.
Either attack, if successful, allows the cybercriminal to:
Exfiltrate. Once inside the network, the cybercriminal is free to extract the data he
needs from the company’s infrastructure and transmit it back to himself. This data
may be used for either blackmail or black propaganda. It may also result in the
cybercriminal having enough data for a more damaging attack on the
infrastructure as well.
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Other Causes of Data Breaches

Disgruntled employees. Employees who mean to do harm to their employers by willingly
stealing information from the company.

Lost or stolen devices. Company devices that may be lost or stolen by employees who
bring them home.

Malware-infected personal or network devices. Company devices that may be infected
with information-stealing malware.

Unintentional sharing. Employees may accidentally share work-critical information, details
and files with friends either through negligent file-handling practices or idle conversation.
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Record Data Breaches
YEAR
ORGANIZATION
INDUSTRY
RECORDS STOLEN
2016
Myspace
Web
164000000
2016
VK
Web
100544934
2016
Turkish citizenship database
government
49611709
2016
Tumblr
Web
65,000,000
2016
LinkedIn
Web
117000000
2015
Voter Database
Web
191000000
2015
Anthem
Healthcare
80000000
2015
Securus Technologies
Web
70000000
2015
AshleyMadison.com
Web
37000000
2014
Ebay
Web
145000000
2014
JP Morgan Chase
Financial
76000000
2014
Home Depot
Retail
56000000
2013
Target
Retail
70000000
2013
UbiSoft
Gaming
58000000
2013
Evernote
Web
50000000
2013
Living Social
Web
50000000
2013
Adobe
Tech
36000000
2013
Court Ventures
Financial
200000000
2013
Massive American business hack
Financial
160000000
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Best practices
For enterprises
Patch systems and networks accordingly.
IT administrators should make sure all systems in the network are patched and updated
to prevent cybercriminals from exploiting vulnerabilities in unpatched/outdated
software.
Educate and enforce.
Inform your employees about the threats, train them to watch out for social engineering
tactics, and introduce and/or enforce guidelines on how to handle a threat situation if
encountered.
Implement security measures.
Create a process to identify vulnerabilities and address threats in your network.
Regularly perform security audits and make sure all of the systems connected to your
company network are accounted for.
Create contingencies.
Put an effective disaster recovery plan in place. In the event of a data breach,
minimize confusion by being ready with contact persons, disclosure strategies, actual
mitigation steps, and the like. Make sure that your employees are made aware of this
plan for proper mobilization once a breach is discovered.
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For employees
Keep track of your banking receipts.
The first sign of being compromised by a cybercriminal is finding strange charges on
your account that you did not make.
Don’t believe everything you see.
Social engineering preys on the gullible. Be skeptical and vigilant.
Be careful of what you share on social media.
Don’t get carried away by social media. If possible, don’t list down too many details of
yourself on your profile.
Secure all your devices.
Devices such as laptops, mobile devices, desktops should be secured. Ensure that they
are protected by security software that is always updated.
Secure your accounts.
Use different email addresses and passwords for each account you have. You may opt
to use a password manager to automate the process.
Do not open emails from unfamiliar senders.
If in doubt, delete them without opening it. Always try to verify who the sender is and
the contents of the email first before opening any attachments.
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The 8 Most Common Causes of Data Breach
It seems as though not a day goes by without a headline screaming that some
organization has experienced a data breach, putting the business — and its customers
and partners — at risk. To keep your own organization out of the news, it’s important to
understand the most common causes of data breaches and what you can do to
mitigate the threats they present.
Weak and Stolen Credentials, a.k.a. Passwords
Hacking attacks may well be the most common cause of a data breach but it is often
a weak or lost password that is the vulnerability that is being exploited by the
opportunist hacker. Stats show that 4 in 5 breaches classified as a “hack” in 2012 were
in-part caused by weak or lost (stolen) passwords!
Simple Solution: Use complex passwords and never share passwords.
Back Doors, Application Vulnerabilities
Why bother breaking the door down when the door is already open? Hackers love to
exploit software applications which are poorly written or network systems which are
poorly designed or implemented, they leave holes that they can crawl straight through
to get directly at your data.
Simple Solution:
date.
Keep all software and hardware solutions fully patched and up to
Malware
The use of both direct and in-direct Malware is on the rise. Malware is by definition,
malicious software; software loaded without intention that opens up access for a
hacker to exploit a system and potentially other connected systems.
Simple Solution: Be wary of accessing web sites which are not what they seem or
opening emails where you are suspicious of their origin, both of which are popular
methods of spreading malware!
Social Engineering
As a hacker, why go to the hassle of creating your own access point to exploit when
you can persuade others with a more legitimate claim to the much sought after data,
to create it for you?
Simple Solution: If it looks too good to be true then it probably is too good to be true.
Recognising which mail is genuine and which is not is very important.
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Too Many Permissions
Overly complex access permissions are a gift to a hacker. Businesses that don’t keep a
tight rein on who has access to what within their organisation are likely to have either
given the wrong permissions to the wrong people or have left out of date permissions
around for a smiling hacker to exploit!
Simple Solution: Keep it Simple.
Insider Threats
The phrase “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer” could not be any more
relevant. The rouge employee, the disgruntled contractor or simply those not bright
enough to know better have already been given permission to access your data,
what’s stopping them copying, altering or stealing it?
Simple Solution: Know who you are dealing with, act swiftly when there is a hint of a
problem and cover everything with process and procedure backed up with training.
Physical Attacks
Is your building safe and secure? Hackers don’t just sit in back bedrooms in far off lands,
they have high visibility jackets and a strong line in plausible patter to enable them to
work their way into your building and onto your computer systems.
Simple Solution: Be vigilant, look out for anything suspicious and report it.
Improper Configuration, User Error
Mistakes happen and errors are made.
Simple Solution: With the correct professionals in charge of securing your data and the
relevant and robust processes and procedures in place to prevent user error then
mistakes and errors can be kept to a minimum and kept to those areas where they are
less likely to lead to a major data breach.
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Data Loss Prevention (DLP)
Data loss prevention (DLP) is a strategy for making sure that end users do not send
sensitive or critical information outside the corporate network. The term is also used to
describe software products that help a network administrator control what data end
users can transfer.
DLP software products use business rules to classify and protect confidential and critical
information so that unauthorized end users cannot accidentally or maliciously share
data whose disclosure could put the organization at risk. For example, if an employee
tried to forward a business email outside the corporate domain or upload a corporate
file to a consumer cloud storage service like Dropbox, the employee would be denied
permission.
Adoption of DLP is being driven by insider threats and by more rigorous
state privacy laws, many of which have stringent data
protection or access components. In addition to being able to monitor and control
endpoint activities, some DLP tools can also be used to filter data streams on the
corporate network and protect data in motion.
DLP products may also be referred to as data leak prevention, information loss
prevention or extrusion prevention products.
Overview
Every organization fears losing its critical, confidential, highly restricted or restricted
data. Fear of losing data amplifies for an organization if their critical data is hosted
outside their premises, say onto a cloud model. To address this fear or issue that
organizations face, a security concept known as “Data Loss Prevention” has evolved,
and it comes in product flavors in the market. The most famous among them are
Symantec, McAfee, Web-sense, etc. Each DLP product is designed to detect and
prevent data from being leaked. These products are applied to prevent all channels
through which data can be leaked.
Data is classified in the category of in-store, in-use and in-transit. We will lean about
these classifications later in this article. Before starting the article, we have to keep in
mind that the information is leaking from within the organization.
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Types of Data to Protect
First of all we need to understand what type of data is needed to be protected. In DLP,
data is classified in three categories:
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

Data in motion: Data that needs to be protected when in transit i.e. data on the
wire. This includes channels like HTTP/S, FTP, IM, P2P, SMTP.
Data in use: Data that resides on the end user workstation and needs to be
protected from being leaked through removable media devices like USB, DVD,
CD’s etc. will fall under this category.
Data at rest: Data that resides on file servers and DBs and needs to be monitored
from being getting leaked will fall under this category.
DLP Strategy
DLP products come with inbuilt policies that are already compliant with compliance
standards like PCI, HIPPA, SOX, etc. Organizations just need to tune these policies with
their organizational footprint. But the most important thing in DLP strategy is to identify
the data to protect, because if an organization simply puts DLP across the whole
organization, then a large number of false positives will result. The below section covers
the data classification exercise.
Identify Sensitive Data
The first thing every organization should do is to identify all the confidential, restricted,
and highly restricted data across the whole organization and across the three channels,
i.e. for data in-transit, in-store and in-use. DLP products work with signatures to identify
any restricted data when it is crossing boundaries. To identify the critical data and
develop its signatures, there is a term in DLP products known as fingerprinting. Data is
stored in various forms at various locations in an organization and it requires identifying
and fingerprinting. Various products comes with a discovery engine which crawl all the
data, index it and made it accessible though an intuitive interface which allows quick
searching on data to find its sensitivity and ownership details.
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Defining Policies
Once the sensitive data is discovered, an organization should build policies to protect
the sensitive data. Every policy must consist of some rules, such as to protect credit card
numbers, PII, and social security numbers. If there is a requirement for an organization to
protect sensitive information and the DLP product does not support it out of the box,
then organizations should create rules using regular expressions (regex). It should be
noted that DLP policies at this stage should only be defined and not applied.
Determining Information Flow
It is very important for an organization to identify their business information flow. An
organization should prepare a questionnaire to identify and extract all the useful
information. A sample questionnaire is provided below:



What should be the source and destination of the identified data?
What are all the egress points present in the network?
What processes are in place to govern the informational flow?
Identifying Business Owners of Data
Identification of business owners of data is also an important step in the planning
strategy of DLP, so a list should be prepared of whom to send the notifications to in
case any sensitive data is lost.
Deployment Scenarios
As discussed earlier, sensitive data falls under three categories, i.e. data in motion, data
at rest and data in use. After identifying the sensitive data and defining policies, the
stage is then set up for the deployment of the DLP product. The below section covers
the DLP deployment scenario of all three types:

Data in motion: Data that needs to be protected when in transit, i.e. data on the
wire. This includes channel like HTTP/S, FTP, IM, P2P, SMTP etc. The below diagram
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shows the common implementation of DLP.
As in the above diagram, it is clear that DLP is not put in inline mode but rather
put on a span port. It is very important to not put DLP protector appliance or
software directly inline with the traffic, as every organization should start with a
minimal basis and if put inline, it would result in huge number of false positives. In
addition, if the DLP appliance is put in place, there is always a fear of network
outage if the inline device fails. So the best approach is to deploy the DLP
appliance in a span port first, and then after the DLP strategy is mature, then put
into inline mode.
To mitigate the second risk, there can be two options. First, deploy DLP in High
Availability mode, and second, configure the inline DLP product in bypass mode,
which will enable the traffic to bypass the inline DLP product in case the DLP
product is down.


Data in Use: Data that resides on the end user workstation and needs to be
protected from being leaked through removable media devices like USB, DVD,
CDs, etc. will fall under this category. In Data in Use, an agent is installed in every
endpoint device like laptop, desktop, etc. which is loaded with policies and is
managed by the centralized DLP management server. Agents can be
distributed on the endpoints via pushing strategies like SMS, GPO, etc. Since a
DLP agent on the endpoint needs to interact with the centralized DLP
management server in order to report incidents and get refreshed policies, the
communication port must be added as an exception in the local firewall list.
Data in Store: Data that resides on file servers and DBs and needs to be
monitored from being getting leaked will fall under this category. All the data
that resides in storage servers or devices are crawled using a DLP crawling agent.
After crawling, data is fingerprinted to see any unstructured data is present or
not.
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DLP Operations
Deployment of security components is of no use if they cannot be monitored, and a
DLP product is no exception. Below is an overview of what a DLP operation of an
organization can be. First of all, the DLP product needs to be created with the right set
of policies on the identified data among data at rest, in motion or in transit categories. I
have tried to split the DLP operations into three phases, namely: triaging phase,
reporting and escalation phase, and tuning phase. Let’s understand these phases in
detail.
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
Triaging phase: In this phase, the security operation’s team will monitor the alert
fired or triggered by the policies set up in the DLP product. As mentioned earlier,
DLP first should be put in observation mode to see and remove all the false
positives. So when the security team receives the alert, the team will triage that
event against various conditions like what type of data has been leaked, who
has leaked it, through which channel it got leaked, any policy mis-configuration,
etc. After performing this triaging, the team will declare the alert as an incident
and start the incident classification phase where the team will process the
incident with a risk profile. A risk profile is a text-based sheet which includes
important information about the incident like type of policy, data type, channel
type, severity type (low, medium, and high), etc. After processing and updating
the risk profile, the security team will assign the incident to the respective team.

Incident Reporting and Escalation phase: In this phase, the security team will
assign the incident to the respective team. First, the security team will consult
with the respective team to check whether the loss is a business acceptable risk
or not. This can be due to reasons like change in policies at the backend, etc. If
yes, the incident will be considered a false positive and moved to the tuning
phase. If not, then the security team will escalate the incident along with proofs
to the respective team. After escalating, security team will prepare the report as
a part of monthly deliverable or for audit, and after this, the security team will
close the incident and archive the incident. Archiving is important as some
compliance requires it during a forensic investigation.

Tuning phase: In this phase, all the incidents which are considered to be false
positive are passed here. The security team’s responsibility is to fine tune the
policies as a result of some mis-configurations earlier or due to some business
change and apply the changes to the DLP product as a draft version. To check
whether the applied changes are fine, the incident is replicated and then
checked whether the alert is generated or not. If not, then the changes are
made final and applied, but if yes then fine tuning is required in the policies
which are set up in the DLP product.
It should be noted that in DLP, there is no incident resolution phase, since any
reported incident is a data loss (if it is not a false positive) and is thus escalated and
then corresponding action is taken.
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Best Practices for a Successful DLP Implementation
Below are some of the best practices that should be adopted in order to have a
successful pre and post DLP deployment.







Before choosing a DLP product, organizations should identify the business need
for DLP.
Organizations should identify sensitive data prior to DLP deployment.
While choosing a DLP product, organizations should check whether the DLP
product supports the data formats in which data is stored in their environment.
After choosing a DLP product, DLP implementation should start with a minimal
base to handle false positives and the base should be increasing with more
identification of critical or sensitive data.
DLP operations should be effective in triaging to eliminate false positives and fine
tuning of DLP policies.
A RACI matrix should be setup to draw out the responsibilities of DLP policies,
implementation etc.
A regular updating of risk profiles and a thorough documentation of the DLP
incidents
Data Loss Prevention can provide some powerful protection for your sensitive
information. It can be used to discover Personal Information (PI) within your
environment, identify various forms of PI from names and phone numbers to
government identifiers and credit card numbers, assemble multiple subsets of PI to
accurately identify a whole record, and even do all of this in multiple languages.
It can also discover and identify Intellectual Property (IP), and even be trained to learn
the difference between your IP and the IP of your business partners. It can alert you
when someone tries to copy or share PI or IP. It can block or encrypt attempts to email,
IM, blog, copy, or print this sensitive data. DLP can also "fingerprint" certain documents
that you specifically want to protect or ignore.
DLP provides a strong set of capabilities, but it is primarily used to protect against
unauthorized movements of sensitive data (e.g., the various ways you may transmit,
copy or print sensitive data from one location to another). And, it is intended to provide
this protection in one direction (inside-out). It is not intended to protect you from
receiving sensitive data, but rather it is intended to protect the data you already have.
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Pre-Installation Research
By implementing DLP you are about to invest a substantial amount of the company's
money, time and resources. As a first step, research is important. Consult with research
analysts such as Forrester or Gartner and gain a basic to intermediate understanding of
the industry, the vendors and solutions available, and their particular strengths and
weaknesses. Some DLP solutions offer robust features and support while others offer
much less (i.e. "DLP Lite"). Understand company’s environment and the ways in which
sensitive data moves about before undertaking DLP.
Also, leverage your professional network. Ask what your peers are doing with DLP and
what success or pains they've had. Talk to several vendors and narrow the field to a
few. After narrowing the field, request preliminary pricing estimates — you will need this
information for budgetary planning.
Note that far and away, most companies buy too much DLP. Plan to start small, pilot
test in key areas, and grow into it. You will find that it will take you far longer to install,
configure, optimize and find a way to effectively manage than you could have
imagined. It does you, nor your company, no good to spend money on product or
subscription licenses that go unused or are poorly deployed.
Give some thought to where DLP will be needed, and what it must accomplish to be
successful.
Don't apply a shotgun approach unless it makes sense for your organization. Installing
DLP on everything, everywhere can be very expensive and difficult to maintain. Think
about the key applications and teams within your business that really need DLP
technology due to the sensitivity of the data they have access to. You may find that
you are able to apply an envelope of DLP protection around just your high-risk teams.
One way to think about this is to consider Pareto's "Law of the Vital Few" (or 80/20 rule).
This principle states that 80% of your risks come from 20% of your sources. By focusing
your DLP protections in your high-risk areas, you will make a significant positive impact
on your company's risk profile and be able to share attractive ROI figures with senior
management at the same time.
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Identifying business requirements
Before diving into the technology and available vendor solutions, you should first build a
good understanding of what your business requirements for DLP will be. Be sure that
your business requirements include the following:
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


Transparency: Requirements for transparency should be addressed so that it is
clear what users may expect post installation. Think about how their use of data
and information systems may change after the introduction of DLP into your
environment. Will DLP complicate or simplify their lives?
Performance: Consider the performance impact that your DLP solution may
have on your environment. Performance of laptops and desktops may be
impacted due to DLP endpoint client software, or large policies enforced at
endpoints. The performance of your network and servers may also be impacted
if DLP is used to aggressively discover the locations of sensitive data within your
environment.
Compatibility: Consider what operating systems and applications you will need
DLP to support within your environment. Some DLP vendors provide support for
Mac OS, but most don't for example.
Availability: Consider whether your DLP solution will need to be highly available,
or if best effort is good enough. If your DLP solution stops working for some
reason, what will be the impact?
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Define security requirements
After identifying your business requirements, next sketch out a set of security
requirements to support them. You may decide you need to encrypt any PI when
someone attempts to copy it to USB, or whenever someone attempts to move it off disk
in any way. Perhaps you only care about large quantities of PI, so above a certain
threshold you choose to block it from being moved. Or maybe you simply want DLP to
alert support staff without blocking or encrypting anything. Each business has a different
set of requirements. Define a set of security requirements that fit your specific business
needs.
Communications
If you are pitching DLP to leadership, think "safety net" rather than "big brother." DLP
should be considered a collaborative solution. Sell it in a positive light explaining how it
can protect your sensitive data, keep your business out of the media (for the wrong
reasons), and afford you a competitive advantage. Plan to involve key stakeholders
from across the company early on. These key groups typically include IT, HR, Finance,
Legal and Internal Audit. Later when you are ready to implement DLP, you will want
and need support from these business leaders.
When you are ready to implement DLP, ensure that you apply good communications
practices. Keep business leaders, stakeholders and users appropriately informed of your
plans and timelines. The rule of thumb I follow for communications is:



Tell them that you're going to tell them
Tell them
Then tell them that you told them
It seems redundant, but you will find this approach is highly effective in getting your
message across. You will want to develop different communications for each segment
of your business community; one for executive leadership; one for team leadership; and
one for the end user population. Don't surprise anyone with DLP. Surprise in this case
can quickly appear like "big brother" just moved in, and that is likely not the image you
want.
Review architecture options
DLP solutions come in various forms including software, hardware or cloud-based
solutions. Several DLP vendors offer a mixture of one or more of these. Depending on
what sensitive data you wish to protect, where it resides, and how it is accessed, the
DLP solution that is a best fit for your business may include any one or more of these.
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Software-based DLP solutions include perpetual or subscription based licenses for
endpoint clients and the management server. You will need to separately provide for
the underlying computer hardware, operating system and virtualization software (if
appropriate), a database server and management server.
Hardware based solutions include one or more DLP appliances. Minimally you will need
to separately provide one or more Mail Transfer Agents (if you intend to encrypt or
block emails), a database server and management server.
Cloud based DLP solutions typically represent a zero footprint subscription solution.
Endpoint users are directed to your DLP cloud provider via either Web Cache
Communication Protocol (WCCP) configurations on your routers, or a PAC file that is
installed on each endpoint to redirect their outbound traffic to the DLP provider's cloud.
Roles & responsibilities
After you have a good idea which of the DLP architectures may best suit your needs,
start to define the roles and responsibilities you will follow. Build a RACI chart which
details who is responsible, who is accountable, who needs to be consulted and who is
informed for each activity related to the care and feeding of your DLP solution. Doing
so will clearly spell out who owns and does what. This will help you avoid conflicts with
other support groups that manage DLP, or any of its underlying components, later on.
Each RACI entry is important, however, there are two particular items that you should
include. First, ensure that you build in a segregation of duties to help prevent misuse. Do
this by assigning rights to the security team allowing them to create DLP policies but not
the ability to implement them. Then, assign rights to your support team (IT for example)
allowing them to implement the DLP policies developed by the security team but not
the ability to create policies. By applying this check and balance, we prevent a single
team from subverting the solution or in causing harm by implementing something that
should not have been implemented.
Secondly, it is very important to note that DLP will collect and report on the most
sensitive information traversing your systems or networks. Think of all of the sensitive
email discussions and documents shared between business leaders and board
members, and HR for example. Allowing your support teams to be able to see this data
is clearly inappropriate. You will therefore want to restrict access to the content of the
DLP event (i.e., John Smith copied 1,000 names and social security numbers to a USB
thumb drive and here are all of the social security numbers and names he copied).
On the other hand, the context of the DLP event should be available to support teams
so they can address the event (i.e., John Smith copied 1,000 names and social security
numbers to a USB thumb drive). Many DLP solutions provide for these distinctions. In fact,
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it should be a showstopper if this capability does not exist in the solution you are
considering.
Deploy cautiously & develop documentation
Deploy cautiously and consciously. Keep in mind that DLP is powerful technology, and if
deployed improperly can impact key components of your communications. Keep your
DLP deployments small at first. Then, as confidence with the solution grows expand into
additional groups. Think about deploying to some of the highest risk areas of your
business early on; you wouldn't want an otherwise preventable breach to have
occurred while you were busy deploying to lower risk areas of the business, and you will
learn more at the same time.
Begin by enabling monitoring only. Don't start out with blocking or auto-encrypting
data until you are truly ready and understand the implications of getting any of this
wrong. Expect help desk calls, and prepare your support teams so they are able to
respond to them effectively. Determine what you will do when you learn of a given
policy violation and gain alignment with stakeholders (Legal, HR, IT) for each scenario
that is likely to occur.
Ensure that you document everything related to the architecture and deployment of
DLP. If you were to burn it all to the ground, your documentation should be able to
guide you through full re-deployment. If it cannot, then your documentation is
insufficient. Lastly, share reports and metrics with leadership that illustrate the positive
impact DLP is having on your ability to protect sensitive information. They will want to
know how effectively their organization's money and resources have been spent.
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DDOS Attack Protection
A distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack is one in which a multitude of
compromised systems attack a single target, thereby causing denial of service for users
of the targeted system. The flood of incoming messages to the target system essentially
forces it to shut down, thereby denying service to the system to legitimate users.
In a typical DDoS attack, the assailant begins by exploiting a vulnerability in one
computer system and making it the DDoS master. The attack master, also known as the
botmaster, identifies and identifies and infects other vulnerable systems with malware.
Eventually, the assailant instructs the controlled machines to launch an attack against a
specified target.
Denial of Service Attack Types
DoS attacks can be divided into two general categories:
1. Application layer attacks (a.k.a., layer 7 attacks) can be either DoS or DDoS threats
that seek to overload a server by sending a large number of requests requiring
resource-intensive handling and processing. Among other attack vectors, this category
includes HTTP floods, slow attacks (e.g.,Slowloris or RUDY) and DNS query flood attacks.
Gaming website hit with a massive DNS flood, peaking at over 25 million packets per second
The size of application layer attacks is typically measured in requests per second (RPS),
with no more than 50 to 100 RPS being required to cripple most mid-sized websites.
2. Network layer attacks (a.k.a., layer 3–4 attacks) are almost always DDoS assaults set
up to clog the “pipelines” connecting your network. Attack vectors in this category
include UDP flood, SYN flood, NTP amplification and DNS amplification attacks, and
more.
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Any of these can be used to prevent access to your servers, while also causing severe
operational damages, such as account suspension and massive overage charges.
DDoS attacks are almost always high-traffic events, commonly measured in gigabits per
second (Gbps) or packets per second (PPS). The largest network layer assaults can
exceed 200 Gbps; however, 20 to 40 Gbps are enough to completely shut down most
network infrastructures.
Attacker Motivations
DoS attacks are launched by individuals, businesses and even nation-states, each with
their own particular motivation:
Hacktivism – Hacktivists use DoS attacks as a means to express their criticism of
everything from governments and politicians, including “big business” and current
events. If they disagree with you, your site is going to go down (a.k.a., “tango down”).
Less technically-savvy than other types of attackers, hactivists tend to use premade
tools to wage assaults against their targets. Anonymous is perhaps one of the best
known hacktivist groups. They’re responsible for the cyberattack in February
2015 against ISIS, following the latter’s terrorist attack against the Paris offices of Charlie
Hebdo, as well as the attack against the Brazilian government and World Cup sponsors
in June 2014.
Typical assault method: DoS and DDoS
Cyber vandalism – Cyber vandals are often referred to as “script kiddies”—for their
reliance on premade scripts and tools to cause grief to their fellow Internet citizens.
These vandals are often bored teenagers looking for an adrenaline rush, or seeking to
vent their anger or frustration against an institution (e.g., school) or person they feel has
wronged them. Some are, of course, just looking for attention and the respect of their
peers.
Alongside premade tools and scripts, cyber vandals will also result to using DDoS-for-hire
services (a.k.a., booters or stressers), which can purchased online for as little as $19 a
pop.
Typical assault method: DoS and DDoS
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Example of booter advertised prices and capacities.
Extortion – An increasingly popular motivation for DDoS attacks is extortion, by which a
cybercriminal demands money in exchange for stopping (or not carrying out) a
crippling DDoS attack. Several prominent online software companies—including
MeetUp, Bitly, Vimeo, and Basecamp—have been on the receiving end of these DDoS
notes, some going offline after refusing to succumb to the extortionists’ threats.
Similar to cyber vandalism, this type of attack is enabled by the existence of stresser
and booter services.
Typical assault method: DDoS
Personal rivalry – DoS attacks can be used to settle personal scores or to disrupt online
competitions. Such assaults often occur in the context of multiplayer online games,
where players launch DDoS barrages against one another, and even against gaming
servers, to gain an edge or to avoid imminent defeat by “flipping the table.”
Attacks against players are often DoS assaults, executed with widely available
malicious software. Conversely, attacks against gaming servers are likely to be DDoS
assaults, launched from stressers and booters .
Typical assault method: DoS, DDoS
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Business competition – DDoS attacks are increasingly being used as a competitive
business tool. Some of these assaults are designed to keep a competitor from
participating in a significant event (e.g., Cyber Monday), while others are launched
with a goal of completely shutting down online businesses for months.
One way or another, the idea is to cause disruption that will encourage your customers
to flock to the competitor while also causing financial and reputational damage. An
average cost of a DDoS attack to an organization can run $40,000 per hour.
Business-feud attacks are often well-funded and executed by professional "hired guns,"
who conduct early reconnaissance and use proprietary tools and resources to sustain
extremely aggressive and persistent DDoS attacks .
Typical assault method: DDoS
Cyberwarfare – State-sponsored DDoS attacks are being used to silence government
critics and internal opposition, as well as a means to disrupt critical financial, health and
infrastructure services in enemy countries.
Backed by nation-states, these well-funded and orchestrated campaigns are executed
by tech-savvy professionals.
Typical assault method: DDoS
Preparing for DoS Attacks
The fact is that cybercrimes cannot be stooped, cybercriminals are going to attack.
They will hit their targets, regardless of the defenses in place.
However, there are steps you can take to spot a brewing storm, including:




Monitoring your traffic to look for abnormalities, including unexplained traffic
spikes and visits from suspect IP address and geolocations. All of these could be
signs of attackers performing “dry runs” to test your defenses before committing
to a full-fledged attack. Recognizing these for what they are can help you
prepare for the onslaught to follow.
Keep an eye on social media (particularly Twitter) and public wastebins (e.g.,
Pastebin.com) for threats, conversations and boasts that may hint on an
incoming attack.
Consider using third-party DDoS testing (i.e., pen testing) to simulate an attack
against your IT infrastructure so you can be prepared when the moment of truth
arrives. When you undertake this, test against a wide variety of attacks, not just
those with which you are familiar.
Create a response plan and a rapid response team, whose job is to minimize the
impact of an assault. When you plan, put in place procedures for your customer
support and communication teams, not just for your IT professionals.
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Four common categories of attacks
TCP Connection Attacks - Occupying connections
These attempt to use up all the available connections to
infrastructure devices such as load-balancers, firewalls and
application servers. Even devices capable of maintaining
state on millions of connections can be taken down by
these attacks.
Volumetric Attacks - Using up bandwidth
These attempt to consume the bandwidth either within the
target network/service, or between the target
network/service and the rest of the Internet. These attacks
are simply about causing congestion.
Fragmentation Attacks - Pieces of packets
These send a flood of TCP or UDP fragments to a victim,
overwhelming the victim's ability to re-assemble the streams
and severely reducing performance.
Application Attacks - Targeting applications
These attempt to overwhelm a specific aspect of an
application or service and can be effective even with very
few attacking machines generating a low traffic rate
(making them difficult to detect and mitigate).
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Two ways attacks can multiply traffic they can send.
DNS Reflection - Small request, big reply.
By forging a victim's IP address, an attacker can send small
requests to a DNS server and ask it to send the victim a
large reply. This allows the attacker to have every request
from its botnet amplified as much as 70x in size, making it
much easier to overwhelm the target.
Chargen Reflection - Steady streams of text
Most computers and internet connected printers support
an outdated testing service called Chargen, which allows
someone to ask a device to reply with a stream of random
characters. Chargen can be used as a means for
amplifying attacks similar to DNS attacks above
Well-Known DDoS Attacks
This article would be incomplete without reference to some of the most well-known
DDoS attacks. Some of the most famous documented DDoS attacks [12] [13] are
summarized in the following:
Apache2
This attack is mounted against an Apache Web server where the client asks for a
service by sending a request with many HTTP headers. However, when an Apache
Web server receives many such requests, it cannot confront the load and it crashes.
ARP Poison: Address Resolution Protocol (ARP)
Poison attacks require the attacker to have access to the victim's LAN. The attacker
deludes the hosts of a specific LAN by providing them with wrong MAC addresses for
hosts with already-known IP addresses. This can be achieved by the attacker through
the following process: The network is monitored for "arp who-has" requests. As soon as
such a request is received, the malevolent attacker tries to respond as quickly as
possible to the questioning host in order to mislead it for the requested address.
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Back
This attack is launched against an apache Web server, which is flooded with requests
containing a large number of front-slash ( / ) characters in the URL description. As the
server tries to process all these requests, it becomes unable to process other
legitimate requests and hence it denies service to its customers.
CrashIIS
The victim of a CrashIIS attack is commonly a Microsoft Windows NT IIS Web server.
The attacker sends the victim a malformed GET request, which can crash the Web
server.
DoSNuke
In this kind of attack, the Microsoft Windows NT victim is inundated with "out-of-band"
data (MSG_OOB). The packets being sent by the attacking machines are flagged
"urg" because of the MSG_OOB flag. As a result, the target is weighed down, and the
victim's machine could display a "blue screen of death."
Land
In Land attacks, the attacker sends the victim a TCP SYN packet that contains the
same IP address as the source and destination addresses. Such a packet completely
locks the victim's system.
Mailbomb
In a Mailbomb attack, the victim's mail queue is flooded by an abundance of
messages, causing system failure.
SYN Flood
A SYN flood attack occurs during the three-way handshake that marks the onset of a
TCP connection. In the three-way handshake, a client requests a new connection by
sending a TCP SYN packet to a server. After that, the server sends a SYN/ACK packet
back to the client and places the connection request in a queue. Finally, the client
acknowledges the SYN/ACK packet. If an attack occurs, however, the attacker sends
an abundance of TCP SYN packets to the victim, obliging it both to open a lot of TCP
connections and to respond to them. Then the attacker does not execute the third
step of the three-way handshake that follows, rendering the victim unable to accept
any new incoming connections, because its queue is full of half-open TCP
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connections.
Ping of Death
In Ping of Death attacks, the attacker creates a packet that contains more than
65,536 bytes, which is the limit that the IP protocol defines. This packet can cause
different kinds of damage to the machine that receives it, such as crashing and
rebooting.
Process Table
This attack exploits the feature of some network services to generate a new process
each time a new TCP/IP connection is set up. The attacker tries to make as many
uncompleted connections to the victim as possible in order to force the victim's
system to generate an abundance of processes. Hence, because the number of
processes that are running on the system cannot be boundlessly large, the attack
renders the victim unable to serve any other request.
Smurf Attack
In a "smurf" attack, the victim is flooded with Internet Control Message
Protocol (ICMP) "echo-reply" packets. The attacker sends numerous ICMP "echorequest" packets to the broadcast address of many subnets. These packets contain
the victim's address as the source IP address. Every machine that belongs to any of
these subnets responds by sending ICMP "echo-reply" packets to the victim. Smurf
attacks are very dangerous, because they are strongly distributed attacks.
SSH Process Table
Like the Process Table attack, this attack makes hundreds of connections to the
victim with the Secure Shell(SSH) Protocol without completing the login process. In this
way, the daemon contacted by the SSH on the victim's system is obliged to start so
many SSH processes that it is exhausted.
Syslogd
The Syslogd attack crashes the syslogd program on a Solaris 2.5 server by sending it a
message with an invalid source IP address.
TCP Reset
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In TCP Reset attacks, the network is monitored for "tcpconnection" requests to the
victim. As soon as such a request is found, the malevolent attacker sends a spoofed
TCP RESET packet to the victim and obliges it to terminate the TCP connection.
Teardrop
While a packet is traveling from the source machine to the destination machine, it
may be broken up into smaller fragments, through the process of fragmentation. A
Teardrop attack creates a stream of IP fragments with their offset field overloaded.
The destination host that tries to reassemble these malformed fragments eventually
crashes or reboots.
UDP Storm
In a User Datagram Protocol (UDP) connection, a character generation ("chargen")
service generates a series of characters each time it receives a UDP packet, while an
echo service echoes any character it receives. Exploiting these two services, the
attacker sends a packet with the source spoofed to be that of the victim to another
machine. Then, the echo service of the former machine echoes the data of that
packet back to the victim's machine and the victim's machine, in turn, responds in
the same way. Hence, a constant stream of useless load is created that burdens the
network.
Tools against DDoS Attack
Some of the best tools to help protect against DDoS attacks are:
1.Cloudflare
Cloudfare's layer 3 and 4 protection absorbs an attack before it reaches a server,
which load balancers, firewalls, and routers do not.
Its layer 7 protection differentiates between beneficial and harmful traffic. Cloudflare
clients include Cisco, Nasdaq, MIT and...the Eurovision song contest.
2. F5 Networks
F5 Networks Silverline has a huge traffic scrubbing capacity, and offers protection either
onsite, in the cloud, or a combination of the two.
It offers protection across levels 3 to 7. Silverline can prevent high volume networks,
stopping them reaching a company's network. 24/7 support is available.
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3. Black Lotus
The firm's Protection for Networks service was designed with a focus on the hosting
industry, and can be white labelled for their use.
Its protection for Services tool can be filtered and proxied at Layer 4, and requests are
mitigated at layer 7. It also has a patent pending on Human Behaviour Analysis
technology, to improve its service.
4. Arbor networks
From the security division of Netscout, Arbor Cloud offers both on site cloud protection
for state-exhausting attacks against security infrastructure.
It also offers a multi-terabit, on-demand traffic scrubbing service, and 24/7 DDoS
support via its Security Operations Center.
5. Incapsula
The Top Ten Reviews listing site gave Incapsula a gold award for its DDoS protection
service this year. It has a global network of data centres, so can provide more
scrubbing centres than many other providers.
It offers blanket protection against DDoS either as an always on service or on demand,
and a 24/7 security team.
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Embedded System Security
Embedded system security is the reduction of vulnerabilities and protection against
threats in software running on embedded devices.
Like security in most IT fields, embedded system security involves a conscientious
approach to hardware design and coding as well as added security software, an
adherence to best practices and consultation with experts.
In the past, the large number of embedded operating systems and the fact that these
systems did not typically have direct Internet communication provided some degree of
security, both through obscurity and the fact that they were not convenient targets.
Traditionally, many of the hardware and hardware systems controlled by embedded
software have not been easily interfaced with as they had little need to be exposed.
Trends like machine-to-machine (M2M) communication, the Internet of Things and
remotely-controlled industrial systems, however, have increased the number of
connected devices and simultaneously made these devices targets.
The similarities between embedded OSes and live firmware updating in conjunction
with the increased number of communication points create a large increase in
the attack surface: Each communication point is a potential point of entry for hackers.
A device’s firmware may be hacked to spy on and take control of everything from
Internet and wireless access points, USB accessories, IP cameras and security systems to
pace makers, drones and industrial control systems.
Secure embedded system design challenges
Designers of a large and increasing number of embedded systems need to support
various security solutions in order to deal with one or more of the security requirements
described earlier. These requirements present significant bottlenecks during the
embedded system design process, which are briefly described below:
1. Processing Gap
Existing embedded system architectures are not capable of keeping up with the
computational demands of security processing, due to increasing data rates and
complexity of security protocols. These shortcomings are most felt in systems that need
to process very high data rates or a large number of transactions (e.g., network routers,
firewalls, and web servers), and in systems with modest processing and memory
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2. Battery Gap
The energy consumption overheads of supporting security on battery-constrained
embedded systems are very high. Slow growth rates in battery capacities (5–8% per
year) are easily outpaced by the increasing energy requirements of security processing,
leading to a battery gap. Various studies [Carman et al. 2000; Perrig et al. 2002;
Potlapally et al. 2003] show that the widening battery gap would require designers to
make energy-aware design choices (such as optimized security protocols, custom
security hardware, and so on) for security.
3. Flexibility
An embedded system is often required to execute multiple and diverse security
protocols and standards in order to support (i) multiple security objectives (e.g., secure
communications, DRM, and so on), (ii) interoperability in different environments (e.g., a
handset that needs to work in both 3G cellular and wireless LAN environments), and (iii)
security processing in different layers of the network protocol stack (e.g., a wireless LAN
enabled PDA that needs to connect to a virtual private network, and support secure
web browsing may need to execute WEP, IPSec, and SSL). Furthermore, with security
protocols being constantly targeted by hackers, it is not surprising that they keep
continuously evolving (see also Section 5.4). It is, therefore, desirable to allow the
security architecture to be flexible (programmable) enough to adapt easily to
changing requirements. However, flexibility may also make it more difficult to gain
assurance of a design’s security.
4. Tamper Resistance
Attacks due to malicious software such as viruses and trojan horses are the most
common threats to any embedded system that is capable of executing downloaded
applications [Howard and LeBlanc 2002; Hoglund and McGraw 2004; Ravi et al. 2004].
These attacks can exploit vulnerabilities in the operating system (OS) or application
software, procure access to system internals, and disrupt its normal functioning.
Because these attacks manipulate sensitive data or processes (integrity attacks),
disclose confidential information (privacy attacks), and/or deny access to system
resources (availability attacks), it is necessary to develop and deploy various HW/SW
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countermeasures against these attacks. In many embedded systems such as
smartcards, new and sophisticated attack techniques, such as bus probing, timing
analysis, fault induction, power analysis, electromagnetic analysis, and so on, have
been demonstrated to be successful in easily breaking their security [Ravi et al. 2004;
Anderson and Kuhn 1996, 1997; Kommerling and Kuhn 1999; Rankl and Effing; Hess et al.
2000; Quisquater and Samyde 2002; Kelsey et al. 1998]. Tamper resistance measures
must, therefore, secure the system implementation when it is subject to various physical
and side-channel attacks. Later in this paper (see Section 6), we will discuss some
examples of embedded system attacks and related countermeasures.
5. Assurance Gap
It is well known that truly reliable systems are much more difficult to build than those that
merely work most of the time. Reliable ACM Transactions on Embedded Computing
Systems, Vol. 3, No. 3, August 2004. 468 • S. Ravi et al. systems must be able to handle
the wide range of situations that may occur by chance. Secure systems face an even
greater challenge: they must continue to operate reliably despite attacks from
intelligent adversaries who intentionally seek out undesirable failure modes. As systems
become more complicated, there are inevitably more possible failure modes that need
to be addressed. Increases in embedded system complexity are making it more and
more difficult for embedded system designers to be confident that they have not
overlooked a serious weakness.
6. Cost
One of the fundamental factors that influence the security architecture of an
embedded system is cost. To understand the implications of a securityrelated design
choice on the overall system cost, consider the decision of incorporating physical
security mechanisms in a single-chip cryptographic module. The Federal Information
Processing Standard (FIPS 140-2) [FIPS] specifies four increasing levels of physical (as well
as other) security requirements that can be satisfied by a secure system. Security Level 1
requires minimum physical protection, Level 2 requires the addition of tamper-evident
mechanisms such as a seal or enclosure, while Level 3 specifies stronger detection and
response mechanisms. Finally, Level 4 mandates environmental failure protection and
testing (EFP and EFT), as well as highly rigorous design processes. Thus, we can choose
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to provide increasing levels of security using increasingly advanced measures, albeit at
higher system costs, design effort, and design time. It is the designer’s responsibility to
balance the security requirements of an embedded system against the cost of
implementing the corresponding security measures.
Use of Embedded Systems
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Firewall
A firewall is a hardware or software system that prevents unauthorized access to or
from a network. It can be implemented in both hardware and software, or a
combination of both. Firewalls are frequently used to prevent unauthorized Internet
users from accessing private networks connected to the Internet. All data entering or
leaving the intranet pass through the firewall, which examines each packet and blocks
those that do not meet the specified security criteria.
Generally, firewalls are configured to protect against unauthenticated interactive
logins from the outside world. This helps prevent hackers from logging into machines on
your network. More sophisticated firewalls block traffic from the outside to the inside,
but permit users on the inside to communicate a little more freely with the outside.
Firewalls are essential since they provide a single block point, where security and
auditing can be imposed. Firewalls provide an important logging and auditing function;
often, they provide summaries to the administrator about what type/volume of
traffic has been processed through it. This is an important benefit: Providing this block
point can serve the same purpose on your network as an armed guard does for your
physical premises.
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Types of firewalls
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) 800-10 divides firewalls into
three basic types:
Packet filters
Stateful inspection
Proxys
These three categories, however, are not mutually exclusive, as most modern firewalls
have a mix of abilities that may place them in more than one of the three.
One way to compare firewalls is to look at the Transmission Control Protocol/Internet
Protocol (TCP/IP) layers that each is able to examine. TCP/IP communications are
composed of four layers; they work together to transfer data between hosts. When
data transfers across networks, it travels from the highest layer through intermediate
layers to the lowest layer; each layer adds more information. Then the lowest layer
sends the accumulated data through the physical network; the data next moves
upward, through the layers, to its destination. Simply put, the data a layer produces is
encapsulated in a larger container by the layer below it. The four TCP/IP layers, from
highest to lowest, are described further in the figure below.
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Firewall implementation
The firewall remains a vital component in any network security architecture, and today's
organizations have several types to choose from. It's essential that IT
professionals identify the type of firewall that best suits the organization's network
security needs.
Once selected, one of the key questions that shapes a protection strategy is "Where
should the firewall be placed?" There are three common firewall topologies: the bastion
host, screened subnet and dual-firewall architectures. Enterprise security depends on
choosing the right firewall topology.
The next decision to be made, after the topology chosen, is where to place individual
firewall systems in it. At this point, there are several types to consider, such as bastion
host, screened subnet and multi-homed firewalls.
Remember that firewall configurations do change quickly and often, so it is difficult to
keep on top of routine firewall maintenance tasks. Firewall activity, therefore, must be
continuously audited to help keep the network secure from ever-evolving threats.
Network layer firewalls
Network layer firewalls generally make their decisions based on the source address,
destination address and ports in individual IP packets. A simple router is the traditional
network layer firewall, since it is not able to make particularly complicated decisions
about what a packet is actually talking to or where it actually came from.
One important distinction many network layer firewalls possess is that they route traffic
directly through them, which means in order to use one, you either need to have a
validly assigned IP address block or a private Internet address block. Network layer
firewalls tend to be very fast and almost transparent to their users.
Application layer firewalls
Application layer firewalls are hosts that run proxy servers, which permit no traffic
directly between networks, and they perform elaborate logging and examination of
traffic passing through them. Since proxy applications are simply software running on
the firewall, it is a good place to do logging and access control. Application layer
firewalls can be used as network address translators, since traffic goes in one side and
out the other after having passed through an application that effectively masks the
origin of the initiating connection.
In some cases, having an application in the way may impact performance and make
the firewall less transparent. Older application layer firewalls that are still in use are not
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particularly transparent to end users and may require some user training. However,
more modern application layer firewalls are often totally transparent. Application layer
firewalls tend to provide more detailed audit reports and tend to enforce more
conservative security models than network layer firewalls.
Proxy firewalls
Proxy firewalls offer more security than other types of firewalls, but at the expense of
speed and functionality, as they can limit which applications the network supports.
Unlike stateful firewalls or application layer firewalls, which allow or block network
packets from passing to and from a protected network, traffic does not flow through a
proxy. Instead, computers establish a connection to the proxy, which serves as an
intermediary, and initiate a new network connection on behalf of the request. This
prevents direct connections between systems on either side of the firewall and makes it
harder for an attacker to discover where the network is, because they don't receive
packets created directly by their target system.
Proxy firewalls also provide comprehensive, protocol-aware security analysis for the
protocols they support. This allows them to make better security decisions than products
that focus purely on packet header information.
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Placement of a firewall
When developing a perimeter protection strategy for an organization, one of the most
common questions is "Where should I place firewalls for maximum effectiveness?"
Security expert Mike Chapple breaks up firewall placement into three basic topology
options: bastion host, screened subnetand dual firewalls.
The first, bastion host topology, is the most basic option, and is well suited for relatively
simple networks. This topology would work well if you're merely using the firewall to
protect a corporate network that is used mainly for surfing the Internet, but it is
probably not sufficient if you host a website or email server.
The screened subnet option provides a solution that allows organizations to offer
services securely to Internet users. Any servers that host public services are placed in the
demilitarized zone (DMZ), which is separated from both the Internet and the trusted
network by the firewall. Therefore, if a malicious user does manage to compromise the
firewall, he or she does not have access to the Intranet (providing that the firewall is
properly configured).
The most secure (and most expensive) option is to implement a screened subnet using
two firewalls. The use of two firewalls still allows the organization to offer services to
Internet users through the use of a DMZ, but provides an added layer of protection.
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Are two firewalls better than one?
Most enterprises use a combination of firewalls, virtual private networks (VPNs) and
intrusion detection/prevention systems (IDS/IPS) to limit access to internal networks.
Generally speaking, there isn't much work to do in these areas; it's about maintaining
these controls and adapting them as dynamic infrastructures change. The maturity of
the technology offers the opportunity to focus limited financial and human resources
on more challenging problems, such as endpoint/server management and application
security.
Two firewalls from different vendors may not cause processing delays, but if not used
and arranged correctly, the devices can become a hassle for IT teams. If you're
experiencing network latency by adding an additional firewall, consider the placement
of the firewalls. Are they both directly connected to each other with nothing else in
between? If that's the case, consider using a different firewall topology that will get the
most out of the two firewalls.
Firewall implementation precautions
Many people think that as long as their SAN or NAS is behind a firewall then everything
is protected. This is a myth of network security. Most storage environments span across
multiple networks, both private and public.
Storage devices are serving up multiple network segments and creating a virtual bridge
that basically negates any sort of firewall put in place. This can provide a conduit into
the storage environment, especially when a system is attacked and taken control of in
the DMZ or public segment. The storage back end can then be fully accessible to the
attacker because there is a path for the attack.
Firewall management and maintenance
We can only dream that once you've made it through the challenging phases of
firewall selection and architecture design, you're finished setting up a DMZ. In the real
world of firewall management, we're faced with balancing a continuous stream of
change requests and vendor patches against the operational management of our
firewalls. Configurations change quickly and often, making it difficult to keep on top of
routine maintenance tasks.
According to the Network security, expert Michael Chapple four practical areas where
some basic log analysis can provide valuable firewall management data are:
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Monitor rule activity
System administrators tend to be quick on the trigger to ask for new rules, but not quite
so eager to let you know when a rule is no longer necessary. Monitoring rule activity
can provide some valuable insight to assist you with managing the rulebase. If a rule
that was once heavily used suddenly goes quiet, you should investigate whether the
rule is still needed. If it's no longer necessary, trim it from your rulebase. Legacy rules
have a way of piling up and adding unnecessary complexity.
Over the years, Chapple had a chance to analyze the rulebases of many production
firewalls, and estimates that at least 20% of the average firewall's rulebase is
unnecessary. There are systems where this ratio is as high as 60%.
Traffic flows
Monitor logs for abnormal traffic patterns. If servers that normally receive a low volume
of traffic are suddenly responsible for a significant portion of traffic passing through the
firewall (either in total connections or bytes passed), then you have a situation worthy of
further investigation. While flash crowds are to be expected in some situations (such as
a Web server during a period of unusual interest), they are also often signs of
misconfigured systems or attacks in progress.
Rule violations
Looking at traffic denied by your firewall may lead to interesting findings. This is
especially true for traffic that originates from inside your network. The most common
cause of this activity is a misconfigured system or a user who isn't aware of traffic
restrictions, but analysis of rule violations may also uncover attempts at passing
malicious traffic through the device.
Denied probes
If you've ever analyzed the log of a firewall that's connected to the Internet, you know
that it's futile to investigate probes directed at your network from the Internet. They're
far too frequent and often represent dead ends. However, you may not have
considered analyzing logs for probes originating from inside the trusted network. These
are extremely interesting, as they most likely represent either a compromised internal
system seeking to scan Internet hosts or an internal user running a scanning tool -- both
scenarios that merit attention.
Firewall audit logs are a veritable goldmine of network security intelligence whose
advantage the organization can take.
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Fraud Detection and Prevention
Risk and Materiality are two concepts that are well known and understood by auditors.
In the area of fraud these concepts apply to the risk of experiencing a fraud and the
materiality of the losses to fraud. The assessment of the importance of these factors will,
to some degree, determine how serious the company treats the prevention and
detection of fraud. It will also affect the resources devoted to fraud related tasks by
audit, so it is important for all auditors to given proper consideration to the risk and
material of fraud in their organization.
What is Fraud?
There are many definitions for fraud and a number of possible criminal charges,
including: fraud, theft, embezzlement, and larceny. The legal definition usually refers to
a situation where:
• A person makes a material false statement
• The victim relies on that statement
• The criminal benefits
It should be noted that persons inside the organization or external to it could commit
fraud. Further, it can be to the benefit of an individual; to part of an organization; or to
the whole organization itself.
However, the most expensive and most difficult fraud for auditors to deal with is one
that is committed by senior management - particularly if it is ‘for’ the benefit of the
organization.
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Why Does Fraud Happen?
Interviews with persons who committed fraud have shown that most people do not
originally set out to commit fraud. Often they simply took advantage of an opportunity;
many times the first fraudulent act was an accident – perhaps they mistakenly
processed the same invoice twice. But when they realized that it wasn’t noticed, the
fraudulent acts became deliberate and more frequent. Fraud investigators talk about
the 10 - 80 - 10 law which states that 10% of people will never commit fraud; 80% of
people will commit fraud under the right circumstances; and 10% actively seek out
opportunities for fraud. So we need to be vigilant for the 10% who are out to get us and
we should try to protect the 80% from making a mistake that could ruin their lives.
Generally, fraud occurs because of a combination of opportunity, pressure and
rationalization. An opportunity arises, the person feels that the act is not entirely wrong,
and has pressure pushing them to commit the fraud.
Opportunity
An opportunity is likely to occur when there are weaknesses in the internal control
framework or when a person abuses a position of trust. For example:
• Organizational expediency – ‘it was a high profile rush project and we had to cut
corners’
• Downsizing meant that there were fewer people and separation of duties no longer
existed
• Business re-engineering brought in new application systems that changed the control
framework, removing some of the key checks and balances
Pressure
The pressures are usually financial in nature, but this is not always true. For example,
unrealistic corporate targets can encourage a salesperson or production manager to
commit fraud. The desire for revenge – to get back at the organization for some
perceived wrong; or poor self-esteem - the need to be seen as the top salesman, at
any cost; are also examples of non-financial pressures that can lead to fraud.
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Rationalization
In the criminal’s mind rationalization usually includes the belief that the activity is not
criminal. The often feel that everyone else is doing it; or that no one will get hurt; or it’s
just a temporary loan, I’ll pay it back, and so on.
Interestingly, studies have shown that the removal of the pressure is not sufficient to stop
an ongoing fraud. Also, the first act of fraud requires more rationalization than the
second act, and so on. But, as it becomes easier to justify, the acts occur more often
and the amounts involved increase in value. This means that, left alone, fraud will
continue and the losses will only increase. I have heard it said that ‘There is no such
thing as a fraud that has reached maturity’. Fraud, ultimately, is fed by greed, and
greed is never satisfied.
Who is responsible for the prevention and detection of
fraud?
There are two main views - one states that management has the responsibility for the
prevention and for the detection of fraud.
Management
• is responsible for the day to day business operations
• is responsible for developing and implementing controls
• has authority over the people, systems, and records
• has the knowledge, and authority to make changes
Therefore, fraud prevention and detection is their problem.
Audit
• has expertise in the evaluation and design of controls
• reviews and evaluates operations and controls
• has a requirement to exercise ‘Due Diligence’
Therefore, fraud prevention and detection is audit’s problem.
The reality is that both management and audit have roles to play in the prevention and
detection of fraud. The best scenario is one where management, employees, and
internal and external auditors work together to combat fraud. Furthermore, internal
controls alone are not sufficient, corporate culture, the attitudes of senior management
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and all employees, must be such that the company is fraud resistant. Unfortunately,
many auditors feel that corporate culture is beyond their sphere of influence. However,
audit can take steps to ensure that senior management is aware of the risk and
materiality of fraud and that all instances of fraud are made known to all employees.
Also audit call encourage management to develop Fraud Awareness Training and a
Fraud Policy to help combat fraud. Finally, audit can review and comment on
organizational goals and objectives to reduce the existence of unrealistic performance
measures. So, there are a number of things auditors can do to help create a fraud
resistant corporate culture.
FRAUD AWARENESS TRAINING
Fraud Awareness Training is a critical step in deterring fraud. It emphasizes the role that
all employees have in preventing and detecting fraud - not just auditors. Often it is tied
to a corporate ethics program, laying the foundation for all aspects of employee
behavior.
CORPORATE FRAUD POLICY
A Corporate Fraud Policy sets out what employees are to do when fraud is suspected. It
defines a consistent course of action and sets the tone for how the company will deal
with fraud. In particular, it must clearly convey the message that no one has the
authority to commit illegal acts - even to the benefit of the company.
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Types of Fraud
Fraud comes in many forms but can be broken down into three categories: asset
misappropriation, corruption and financial statement fraud. Asset misappropriation,
although least costly, made up 90% of all fraud cases studied. These are schemes in
which an employee steals or exploits its organization’s resources. Examples of asset
misappropriation are stealing cash before or after it’s been recorded, making a
fictitious expense reimbursement claim and/or stealing non-cash assets of the
organization.
Financial statement fraud comprised less than five percent of cases but caused the
most median loss. These are schemes that involve omitting or intentionally misstating
information in the company’s financial reports. This can be in the form of fictitious
revenues, hidden liabilities or inflated assets.
Corruption fell in the middle and made up less than one-third of cases. Corruption
schemes happen when employees use their influence in business transactions for their
own benefit while violating their duty to the employer. Examples of corruption are
bribery, extortion and conflict of interest.
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Fraud Prevention
It is vital to an organization, large or small, to have a fraud prevention plan in place. The
fraud cases studied in the ACFE 2014 Report revealed that the fraudulent activities
studied lasted an average of 18 months before being detected. Imagine the type of
loss your company could suffer with an employee committing fraud for a year and a
half. Luckily, there are ways you can minimize fraud occurrences by implementing
different procedures and controls.
Know Your Employees
Fraud perpetrators often display behavioral traits that can indicate the intention to
commit fraud. Observing and listening to employees can help identify potential fraud
risk. It is important for management to be involved with their employees and take time
to get to know them. Often, an attitude change can clue you in to a risk. This can also
reveal internal issues that need to be addressed. For example, if an employee feels a
lack of appreciation from the business owner or anger at their boss, this could lead him
or her to commit fraud as a way of revenge. Any attitude change should cause you to
pay close attention to that employee. This may not only minimize a loss from fraud, but
can make the organization a better, more efficient place with happier employees.
Listening to employees may also reveal other clues.
Make Employees Aware/Set Up Reporting System
Awareness affects all employees. Everyone within the organization should be aware of
the fraud risk policy including types of fraud and the consequences associated with
them. Those who are planning to commit fraud will know that management is watching
and will hopefully be deterred by this. Honest employees who are not tempted to
commit fraud will also be made aware of possible signs of fraud or theft. These
employees are assets in the fight against fraud. According to the ACFE 2014 Report,
most occupational fraud (over 40%) is detected because of a tip. While most tips come
from employees of the organization, other important sources of tips are customers,
vendors, competitors and acquaintances of the fraudster. Since many employees are
hesitant to report incidents to their employers, consider setting up an anonymous
reporting system. Employees can report fraudulent activity through a website keeping
their identity safe or by using a tip hotline.
Implement Internal Controls
Internal controls are the plans and/or programs implemented to safeguard your
company’s assets, ensure the integrity of its accounting records, and deter and detect
fraud and theft. Segregation of duties is an important component of internal control
that can reduce the risk of fraud from occurring. For example, a retail store has one
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cash register employee, one salesperson, and one manager. The cash and check
register receipts should be tallied by one employee while another prepares the deposit
slip and the third brings the deposit to the bank. This can help reveal any discrepancies
in the collections.
Documentation is another internal control that can help reduce fraud. Consider the
example above; if sales receipts and preparation of the bank deposit are documented
in the books, the business owner can look at the documentation daily or weekly to
verify that the receipts were deposited into the bank. In addition, make sure all checks,
purchase orders and invoices are numbered consecutively. Also, be alert to new
vendors as billing-scheme embezzlers’ setup and make payments to fictitious vendors,
usually mailed to a P.O. Box.
Internal control programs should be monitored and revised on a consistent basis to
ensure they are effective and current with technological and other advances. If you do
not have an internal control process or fraud prevention program in place, then you
should hire a professional with experience in this area. An expert will analyze the
company’s policies and procedures, recommend appropriate programs and assist with
implementation.
Monitor Vacation Balances
You might be impressed by the employees who haven’t missed a day of work in years.
While these may sound like loyal employees, it could be a sign that these employees
have something to hide and are worried that someone will detect their fraud if they
were out of the office for a period of time. It is also a good idea to rotate employees to
various jobs within a company. This may also reveal fraudulent activity as it allows a
second employee to review the activities of the first.
Hire Experts
Certified Fraud Examiners (CFE), Certified Public Accountants (CPA) and CPAs who are
certified in Financial Forensics (CFF) can help you in establishing antifraud policies and
procedures. These professionals can provide a wide range of services from complete
internal control audits and forensic analysis to general and basic consultations.
Live the Corporate Culture
A positive work environment can prevent employee fraud and theft. There should be a
clear organizational structure, written policies and procedures and fair employment
practices. An open-door policy can also provide a great fraud prevention system as it
gives employees open lines of communication with management. Business owners and
senior management should lead by example and hold every employee accountable
for their actions, regardless of position.
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Fraud Detection
In addition to prevention strategies, you should also have detection methods in place
and make them visible to the employees. According to Managing the Business Risk of
Fraud: A Practical Guide, published by Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE),
the visibility of these controls acts as one of the best deterrents to fraudulent behavior. It
is important to continuously monitor and update your fraud detection strategies to
ensure they are effective. Detection plans usually occur during the regularly scheduled
business day. These plans take external information into consideration to link with
internal data. The results of your fraud detection plans should enhance your prevention
controls. It is important to document your fraud detection strategies including the
individuals or teams responsible for each task. Once the final fraud detection plan has
been finalized, all employees should be made aware of the plan and how it will be
implemented. Communicating this to employees is a prevention method in itself.
Knowing the company is watching and will take disciplinary action can hinder
employees’ plans to commit fraud.
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IAM- Identity & Access Management
An identity access management (IAM) system is a framework for business processes
that facilitates the management of electronic identities. The framework includes the
technology needed to support identity management.
An identity access management (IAM) system is a framework for business processes
that facilitates the management of electronic identities. The framework includes the
technology needed to support identity management.
IAM technology can be used to initiate, capture, record and manage user identities
and their related access permissions in an automated fashion. This ensures that access
privileges are granted according to one interpretation of policy and all individuals and
services are properly authenticated, authorized and audited.
Poorly controlled IAM processes may lead to regulatory non-compliance because if the
organization is audited, management will not be able to prove that company data is
not at risk for being misused.
The list of technologies that fall under this category includes password-management
tools, provisioning software, security-policy enforcement applications, reporting and
monitoring apps, and identity repositories. Nowadays, these technologies tend to be
grouped into software suites with assortments of additional capabilities, from enterprisewide credential administration to automated smart-card and digital-certificates
management.
The ID management buzz phrase of the moment is "identity lifecycle management." The
concept encompasses the processes and technologies required for provisioning, deprovisioning, managing and synchronizing digital IDs, as well as features that support
compliance with government regulations. Technologies that fall under the ID lifecyclemanagement rubric include tools for security principal creation, attribute management,
identity synchronization, aggregation and deletion.
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Identity Management Concepts
Authentication vs. Authorization
Authentication determines whether the user is who they claim to be. Authorization
determines whether an authenticated user is allowed to access a specific resource or
take a specific action. While these concepts are closely related, they are distinct.
Accounts, Identifiers, and Identities
An account is the representation of a user within a particular system. An identifier is how
a user is labeled. In a system that uses UT EID-based single sign-on, the user account will
be accessed using the UT EID as an identifier. An identity is the collection of accounts
and identifiers associated with a particular person (or sometimes a non-person entity).
An identity can be associated with multiple accounts and identifiers. For example, you
may have multiple email accounts but all of those accounts belong to one identity
(you).
Provisioning and Deprovisioning
The process of how user accounts are created when they are needed and how they
are deleted, archived, or made inactive when no longer needed.
Identity Lifecycle
Like the real-world entities they represent, identities have a lifecycle. Their connection to
the University will change over time and the accounts and authorizations they have will
also change accordingly. However, the identity itself does not go away. When a user
leaves the University (e.g. graduation, separation) their identity persists and they will
continue to be able to authenticate using their UT EID. This allows individuals to later
come back and apply for jobs, request transcripts, etc. Systems must take into account
the current status of a user in their authorization schemes and change account
authorizations when that status changes. So, for example, if a student or employee
leaves the university, the wireless network will note the change in affiliation and remove
authorizations for wireless access.
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Need for IAM
It can be difficult to get funding for IAM projects because they don’t directly increase
either profitability or functionality. However, a lack of effective identity and access
management poses significant risks not only to compliance but also an organization’s
overall security. These mismanagement issues increase the risk of greater damages from
both external and inside threats.
Keeping the required flow of business data going while simultaneously managing its
access has always required administrative attention. The business IT environment is ever
evolving and the difficulties have only become greater with recent disruptive trends like
bring-your-own-device (BYOD), cloud computing, mobile apps and an increasingly
mobile workforce. There are more devices and services to be managed than ever
before, with diverse requirements for associated access privileges.
With so much more to keep track of as employees migrate through different roles in an
organization, it becomes more difficult to manage identity and access. A common
problem is that privileges are granted as needed when employee duties change but
the access level escalation is not revoked when it is no longer required.
This situation and request like having access like another employee rather than specific
access needs leads to an accumulation of privileges known as privilege creep.
Privilege creep creates security risk in two different ways. An employee with privileges
beyond what is warranted may access applications and data in an unauthorized and
potentially unsafe manner. Furthermore, if an intruder gains access to the account of a
user with excessive privileges, he may automatically be able to do more harm. Data
loss or theft can result from either scenario.
Typically, this accumulation of privilege is of little real use to the employee or the
organization. At best, it might be a convenience in situations when the employee is
asked to do unexpected tasks. On the other hand, it might make things much easier for
an attacker who manages to compromise an over-privileged employee identity. Poor
identity access management also often leads to individuals retaining privileges after
they are no longer employees.
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IAM Features
Double Down on Security: Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)
By now, it should go without saying that two-factor authentication is essential. Having
one strong password to log into all of your accounts is convenient, but it's not enough,
especially if that one password gets compromised. Two-factor authentication randomly
generates and sends a unique verification code or a push notification to the user's
phone, making the login process much more secure than one that uses passwords
alone.
Set It and Forget It: Dynamic Password Management
People are notoriously bad at creating and then remembering multiple strong
passwords, and as Intermedia's research shows, employees often take passwords with
them – putting their previous employer at real risk. In light of that, IT teams should take
the responsibility of creating passwords out of the employees' hands and in fact not
even let employees know their corporate web application passwords, beyond their one
master password.
Dynamic password management technology creates a unique, strong password for
each of a user's corporate web applications and changes it on a pre-defined
scheduled basis. Employees never know what those passwords are — they simply log
into their SSO solution and the system logs them into all their web applications. This
ensures that employees cannot log into those systems outside of work and take
confidential information without the company's knowledge. And, most importantly, it
means they can't take their passwords to corporate web applications with them when
they leave the organization.
The Best of Both Worlds: App Shaping
Most IAM solutions give IT complete control over which corporate applications
employees can access. However, it's growing increasingly important to have even
more granular control than that.
Application shaping is new technology that gives IT complete control over what each
employee or groups of employees can see and do within web applications. For
example, you could redact certain data fields within these web applications for certain
types of employees, disable certain features or even make web applications entirely
read-only.
By removing high-risk features (e.g., exporting files, ability to mass delete, etc.), a
company can increase its security, without limiting its workforce's flexibility.
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See the Whole Picture: Capture Visuals for the Audit Trail
With compliance an ongoing concern for most businesses, any IAM solution should
maintain an audit trail. However, just knowing who logged in and out and when they
did it is no longer adequate. Advanced IAM solutions allow for IT teams to monitor the
use of specific features within web applications, send alerts for unusual activity and
even provide the option to capture screen shots when certain online behaviors occur.
This provides visual evidence of exactly what the user was doing.
Get Smarter Restrictions: User-Empowered Identity
Digital identities need to be protected and who better than individual users to identify
suspicious account activity? Premium IAM solutions now offer users with real-time
notifications when suspicious events occur and empower users to perform immediate
and appropriate responses.
For instance, if an attacker were to attempt to log in with a user's identity from a
different country, the user would be presented with a security notification in the browser
or via an SMS text message instead of an operations team being alerted, as they may
not be aware of the individual's location. The user can then issue a response to disable
the account or immediately change a password. This gives companies a higher level of
assurance that their data and user accounts are protected.
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The IAM Strategy
IAM is a combination of processes, technologies, and policies enabled by software to
manage user identities throughout their life cycle. More specifically, the goal of IAM is to
initiate, capture, record, and manage user identities and their related access
permissions to proprietary information and other company resources. User identities can
extend beyond corporate employees and include vendors, customers, floor machines,
generic administrator accounts, and electronic access badges. As a result, improving
access to network resources and managing an identity's life cycle can provide
significant dividends for organizations, such as:
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A lower total cost of ownership through the increased efficiency and
consolidation of identification and authorization procedures.
Security improvements that reduce the risk of internal and external attacks.
Greater access to information by partners, employees, and customers, thus
leading to increased productivity, satisfaction, and revenue.
Higher levels of regulatory compliance through the implementation of
comprehensive security, audit, and access policies.
Greater business agility during events such as mergers and acquisitions.
Here are some general strategies auditors can recommend for IT departments to
consider when aligning the organization's IAM program to existing business strategies
and regulatory compliance requirements:
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Obtain senior management support prior to designing and implementing an IAM
program as the program will be an important part of companywide information
security efforts.
Understand the organization's IAM needs and define corresponding processes
first.
Automate the identity provisioning process to allow for the central administration
of user identities.
Consider the acquisition of directory servers, Meta directories (i.e., techniques for
providing directory integration), virtual directory servers, and administration
products (e.g., directory and public key infrastructure management tools and
provisioning products).
Build access layer and workflow processes. The access layer is used to mediate
access to the shared media and other network resources, while workflow
processes define and track the exchange of work among users.
Lay out business requirements as much as possible before starting the integration
of IAM processes.
Before signing a contract with a vendor, check out references and foster a good
partner relationship.
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Integrate the components and processes above, but realize that not all
components might be needed at first based on the organization's strategic plan,
business needs, and IAM project scope.
IAM Challenges
A chain is a strong as its weakest link, and when it comes to IT security, IAM is the
weakest link in many organizations. For example, many IT departments store identity
credentials as data objects in different data repositories. Because these organizations
can have hundreds of discrete identity stores containing overlapping and conflicting
data, synchronizing this information among multiple data repositories turns into a
challenging, time consuming, and expensive ordeal, especially if the data is managed
through the use of manual processes or custom scripts.
Another key challenge is related to cost. As a general rule, the costs of managing user
identities should be as low as possible to ensure a reasonable return on investment in
the IAM project. Too often, identity management projects become too large or
cumbersome to finish on schedule; after all, there will always be more applications to
integrate into the system. This can be accomplished by scaling identity life cycle
management activities efficiently across various applications and network resources
and employing as little staff as possible to manage IT applications.
Besides the challenges stemming from the use of manual processes to manage multiple
data repositories, other identity synchronization issues include:
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Reducing the costs associated with managing large numbers of identity stores.
Providing the ability to expand the organization's people and IT resources
without a corresponding increase in IT staff.
Increasing employee productivity by being able to find the right information
about other users.
Meeting regulatory requirements associated with privacy and access controls.
Remembering to use more than one user ID.
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Total Cost of Ownership of Identity and Access
Management
IAM is an expensive investment. Besides the recommendations above, auditors can
share the following tips with their IT department to help reduce the total cost of
ownership of IAM activities:
Follow the rule of economy of scale
If more people use the same tool or application, its unit cost will decrease.
Therefore, IT departments should search for and use the most popular off-theshelf IAM solution first. Custom building an IAM application should be a last
alternative (i.e., when no other commercial tool is available that can meet the
organization's needs) due to the amount of time and resources required to
create the tool.
Outsource IAM operations
If IT staff is based in North America or Europe, auditors can recommend that the
organization consider outsourcing its tier 1 (i.e., help desk) or tier 2 (i.e., the
person or company the employee calls when the help desk is not available) IAM
support activities. The company also should consider outsourcing its tier 3 (i.e.,
the person or company that the tier 2 organization calls when they don't know
the solution) IAM support activities and its architecture and integration work to a
larger IT service company, such Microsoft Corp., IBM, or Hewlett Packard, to
reduce the amount of service down time.
Support costs are usually the largest portion of total ownership costs, followed by
software and hardware costs.
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Incident Response
Incident response is an organized approach to addressing and managing the aftermath of a
security breach or attack (also known as an incident). The goal is to handle the situation in a
way that limits damage and reduces recovery time and costs. An incident response plan
includes a policy that defines, in specific terms, what constitutes an incident and provides a
step-by-step process that should be followed when an incident occurs.
An organization's incident response is conducted by the computer incident response team, a
carefully selected group that, in addition to security and general IT staff, may include
representatives from legal, human resources, and public relations departments.
According to the SANS Institute, there are six steps to handling an incident most effectively:
1. Preparation: The organization educates users and IT staff of the importance of updated
security measures and trains them to respond to computer and network security incidents
quickly and correctly.
2. Identification: The response team is activated to decide whether a particular event is, in fact,
a security incident. The team may contact the CERT Coordination Center, which tracks
Internet security activity and has the most current information on viruses and worms.
3. Containment: The team determines how far the problem has spread and contains the
problem by disconnecting all affected systems and devices to prevent further damage.
4. Eradication: The team investigates to discover the origin of the incident. The root cause of
the problem and all traces of malicious code are removed.
5. Recovery: Data and software are restored from clean backup files, ensuring that no
vulnerabilities remain. Systems are monitored for any sign of weakness or recurrence.
6. Lessons learned: The team analyzes the incident and how it was handled, making
recommendations for better future response and for preventing a recurrence.
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Incident Response Plan
An incident response plan (IRP) is a set of written instructions for detecting, responding
to and limiting the effects of an information security event.
Incident response plans provide instructions for responding to a number of potential
scenarios, including data breaches, denial of service/distributed denial of service
attacks, firewall breaches, virus or malware outbreaks or insider threats. Without an
incident response plan in place, organizations may either not detect the attack in the
first place, or not follow proper protocol to contain the threat and recover from it when
a breach is detected.
An incident response plan can benefit an enterprise by outlining how to minimize the
duration of and damage from a security incident, identifying participating stakeholders,
streamlining forensic analysis, hastening recovery time, reducing negative publicity and
ultimately increasing the confidence of corporate executives, owners and
shareholders. The plan should identify and describe the roles/responsibilities of the
incident response team members who are responsible for testing the plan and putting it
into action. The plan should also specify the tools, technologies and physical resources
that must be in place to recover breached information.
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Cyber Security Incident Response Team
A Computer Security Incident Response Team is an organization that receives reports of
security breaches, conducts analyses of the reports and responds to the senders. A
CSIRT may be an established group or an ad hoc assembly.
There are various types of CSIRTS. An internal CSIRTs is assembled as part of a parent
organization, such as a government, a corporation, a university or a research network.
National CSIRTs (one type of internal CSIRT), for example, oversee incident handling for
an entire country. Typically, internal CSIRTS gather periodically throughout the year for
proactive tasks such as DR testing, and on an as-needed basis in the event of a security
breach. External CSIRTs provide paid services on either an on-going or as-needed basis.
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CERT (Computer Emergency Readiness Team) lists the following among the roles of
CSIRT members:
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Manager or team lead
Assistant managers, supervisors, or group leaders
Hotline, help desk, or triage staff
Incident handlers
Vulnerability handlers
Artifact analysis staff
Platform specialists
Trainers
Technology watch
As teams increased their capability and scope, they began to expand their activities to
include more proactive efforts. These efforts included looking for ways to
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prevent incidents and attacks from happening in the first place by securing and
hardening their infrastructure
training and educating staff and users on security issues and response strategies
actively monitoring and testing their infrastructure for weaknesses and
vulnerabilities
sharing data where and when appropriate with other teams
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As organizations become more complex and incident management capabilities such
as CSIRTs become more integrated into organizational business functions, it is clear that
incident management is not just the application of technology to resolve computer
security events. It is also the development of a plan of action, a set of processes that
are consistent, repeatable, of high quality, measurable, and understood within the
constituency. To be successful this plan should
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integrate into the existing processes and organizational structures so that it
enables rather than hinders critical business functions
strengthen and improve the capability of the constituency to effectively
manage security events and thereby keep intact the availability, integrity, and
confidentiality of an organization’s systems and critical assets, where required
support, complement, and link to any existing business continuity or disaster
recovery plans where and when appropriate
support, complement, and provide input into existing business and IT policies that
impact the security of an organization’s infrastructure
implement a command and control structure, clearly defining responsibilities and
accountability for decisions and actions
be part of an overall strategy to protect and secure critical business functions
and assets
include the establishment of processes for
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o
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notification and communication
analysis and response
collaboration and coordination
maintenance and tracking of records
The OODA Loop
Developed by US Air Force military strategist John Boyd, the OODA loop stands for
Observe, Orient, Decide, and Act.
Observe
Tools and Tactics – Vulnerability Analysis; SIEM Alerts; Application Performance
Monitoring; IDS Alerts; Netflow Tools; Traffic Analysis; Log Analysis
Questions to Ask – What does normal activity look like on my network? How can I find
and categorize events or user activity that aren’t normal? And which require my
attention now? Finally, how can I fine-tune my security monitoring infrastructure?
Key Takeaways – In this phase of incident response methodology, the more
observations you can make, and document, around your business operations and
network, the more successful you’ll be at response and defense
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Orient
Tools and Tactics – Security Research; Incident Triage; Situational Awareness; Security
Research
Questions to Ask – Is your company preparing for a new software package or planning
layoffs? Have you or anyone else in the wild seen attacks from this particular IP address
before? Do you know what the root cause is? How large is the scope and impact?
Key Takeaways – In this phase of incident response methodology, it’s important to try
and think like the attacker so that you can orient your defense strategies against the
latest attack tools and tactics. These are always changing so make sure you have the
latest threat intelligence for your security monitoring tools. This will ensure that your tools
are capturing the right information and providing accurate context.
Decide
Tools and Tactics – Hard copy documentation (pen, notebook and clock), your
company’s corporate security policy
Questions to Ask – Once you have all the facts, then it’s time to ask yourself and your
team how to act.
Key Takeaways – In this phase of incident response methodology, catalog all areas of
your incident response process. Perhaps one of the most important areas to document
here are communications around data collection and the decision-making process.
Act
Tools and Tactics – System backup and recovery tools; data capture and forensics
analysis tools; patch management and other systems management, security awareness
training tools and programs
Questions to Ask – How can I quickly remedy the affected systems and get them back
online? How can this be prevented in the future? What are ways that we can educate
users so these things don’t happen again? Should we fine-tune our business process
based on these lessons?
Key Takeaways – In this phase of incident response methodology, training,
communication, and frequent improvement are important to success in reacting
effectively during an incident. Everyone on your team should know their roles and what
is expected of them also, it’s recommended to keep up to date on security best
practices and empower team members to speak up when they identify areas for
improvement in your incident response methodology.
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Intrusion Detection
Intrusion detection (ID) is a type of security management system for computers and
networks. An ID system gathers and analyzes information from various areas within a
computer or a network to identify possible security breaches, which include both
intrusions (attacks from outside the organization) and misuse (attacks from within the
organization). ID uses vulnerability assessment (sometimes referred to as scanning),
which is a technology developed to assess the security of a computer system or
network.
Intrusion detection functions include:
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Monitoring and analyzing both user and system activities
Analyzing system configurations and vulnerabilities
Assessing system and file integrity
Ability to recognize patterns typical of attacks
Analysis of abnormal activity patterns
Tracking user policy violations
ID systems are being developed in response to the increasing number of attacks on
major sites and networks, including those of the Pentagon, the White House, NATO, and
the U.S. Defence Department. The safeguarding of security is becoming increasingly
difficult, because the possible technologies of attack are becoming ever more
sophisticated; at the same time, less technical ability is required for the novice attacker,
because proven past methods are easily accessed through the Web.
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Types of Intrusion Detection
Common types of Intrusion Detection:
Network Based IDS
Network based intrusion detection attempts to identify unauthorized, illicit, and
anomalous behavior based solely on network traffic. A network IDS, using either a
network tap, span port, or hub collects packets that traverse a given network. Using the
captured data, the IDS system processes and flags any suspicious traffic. Unlike an
intrusion prevention system, an intrusion detection system does not actively block
network traffic. The role of a network IDS is passive, only gathering, identifying, logging
and alerting. Example of Network IDS is SNORT.
Host Based IDS
Often referred to as HIDS, host based intrusion detection attempts to identify
unauthorized, illicit, and anomalous behavior on a specific device. HIDS generally
involves an agent installed on each system, monitoring and alerting on local OS and
application activity. The installed agent uses a combination of signatures, rules, and
heuristics to identify unauthorized activity. The role of a host IDS is passive, only
gathering, identifying, logging, and alerting. Examples of HIDS are OSSEC - Open Source
Host-based Intrusion Detection System; Tripwire; AIDE - Advanced Intrusion Detection
Environment; Prelude Hybrid IDS
Physical IDS
Physical intrusion detection is the act of identifying threats to physical systems. Physical
intrusion detection is most often seen as physical controls put in place to ensure CIA. In
many cases physical intrusion detection systems act as prevention systems as well.
Examples of Physical intrusion detections are Security Guards; Security Cameras; Access
Control Systems (Card, Biometric); Firewalls; Man Traps; Motion Sensors
Signature Based IDS
A signature based IDS will monitor packets on the network and compare them against
a database of signatures or attributes from known malicious threats.
This is similar to the way most antivirus software detects malware. The issue is that there
will be a lag between a new threat being discovered in the wild and the signature for
detecting that threat being applied to your IDS. During that lag time your IDS would be
unable to detect the new threat.
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Anomaly Based IDS
An IDS which is anomaly based will monitor network traffic and compare it against an
established baseline. The baseline will identify what is “normal” for that network- what
sort of bandwidth is generally used, what protocols are used, what ports and devices
generally connect to each other- and alert the administrator or user when traffic is
detected which is anomalous, or significantly different, than the baseline.
Passive IDS
A passive IDS simply detects and alerts. When suspicious or malicious traffic is detected
an alert is generated and sent to the administrator or user and it is up to them to take
action to block the activity or respond in some way.
Reactive IDS
A reactive IDS will not only detect suspicious or malicious traffic and alert the
administrator, but will take pre-defined proactive actions to respond to the threat.
Typically this means blocking any further network traffic from the source IP address or
user.
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Intrusion Prevention System
Intrusion Prevention Systems (IPS) extended IDS solutions by adding the ability to block
threats in addition to detecting them and has become the dominant deployment
option for IDS/IPS technologies.
An Intrusion Prevention System (IPS) is a network security/threat prevention technology
that examines network traffic flows to detect and prevent vulnerability exploits.
Vulnerability exploits usually come in the form of malicious inputs to a target application
or service that attackers use to interrupt and gain control of an application or machine.
Following a successful exploit, the attacker can disable the target application (resulting
in a denial-of-service state), or can potentially access to all the rights and permissions
available to the compromised application.
Unlike IDS, IPS performs two functions, first it tries to prevent and intrusion and if by
chance it fails at it, IPS also detects the intrusion:
Prevention
The IPS often sits directly behind the firewall and it provides a complementary layer of
analysis that negatively selects for dangerous content. Unlike its predecessor
the Intrusion Detection System (IDS)—which is a passive system that scans traffic and
reports back on threats—the IPS is placed inline (in the direct communication path
between source and destination), actively analyzing and taking automated actions on
all traffic flows that enter the network. Specifically, these actions include:
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Sending an alarm to the administrator (as would be seen in an IDS)
Dropping the malicious packets
Blocking traffic from the source address
Resetting the connection
As an inline security component, the IPS must work efficiently to avoid degrading
network performance. It must also work fast because exploits can happen in near realtime. The IPS must also detect and respond accurately, so as to eliminate threats and
false positives (legitimate packets misread as threats).
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Detection
The IPS has a number of detection methods for finding exploits, but signature-based
detection and statistical anomaly-based detection are the two dominant mechanisms.
Signature-based detection is based on a dictionary of uniquely identifiable patterns (or
signatures) in the code of each exploit. As an exploit is discovered, its signature is
recorded and stored in a continuously growing dictionary of signatures. Signature
detection for IPS breaks down into two types:
Exploit-facing signatures identify individual exploits by triggering on the unique patterns
of a particular exploit attempt. The IPS can identify specific exploits by finding a match
with an exploit-facing signature in the traffic stream
Vulnerability-facing signatures are broader signatures that target the underlying
vulnerability in the system that is being targeted. These signatures allow networks to be
protected from variants of an exploit that may not have been directly observed in the
wild, but also raise the risk of false-positives.
Statistical anomaly detection takes samples of network traffic at random and
compares them to a pre-calculated baseline performance level. When the sample of
network traffic activity is outside the parameters of baseline performance, the IPS takes
action to handle the situation.
IPS was originally built and released as a standalone device in the mid-2000s. This
however, was in the advent of today’s implementations, which are now commonly
integrated into Unified Threat Management (UTM) solutions (for small and medium size
companies) and next-generation firewalls (at the enterprise level).
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How IDS works
IDS systems can use different methods for detecting suspected intrusions. The two most
common broad categories are by pattern matching and detection of statistical
anomalies.
Pattern matching
Pattern matching is used to detect known attacks by their "signatures," or the specific
actions that they perform. It is also known as signature-based IDS or misuse detection.
The IDS looks for traffic and behavior that matches the patterns of known attacks. The
effectiveness is dependent on the signature database, which must be kept up to date.
Pattern matching is analogous to identifying a criminal who committed a particular
crime by finding his fingerprint at the scene. Fingerprint analysis is a type of pattern
matching.
The biggest problem with pattern matching is that it fails to catch new attacks for which
the software doesn't have a defined signature in its database.
Statistical anomaly
Anomaly-based detection watches for deviations from normal usage patterns. This
requires first establishing a baseline profile to determine what the norm is, then
monitoring for actions that are outside of those normal parameters. This allows you to
catch new intrusions or attacks that don't yet have a known signature.
Anomaly detection is analogous to a police officer who walks or drives a particular
beat every day and knows what is "normal" for that area. When he sees something
that's out of the ordinary, it creates reasonable suspicion that criminal activity may be
going on, even though he may not know exactly what crime is being committed or
who is responsible.
There are several different anomaly detection methods, including:
•
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Metric model
Neural network
Machine learning classification
A problem with anomaly-based IDS is the higher incidence of false positives, because
behavior that is unusual will be flagged as a possible attack even if it's not.
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Where the IDS fits in your security plan
Edge or Front-end firewall is the first line of defense in protecting the network against
intruders, and it will likely have its own intrusion detection capability, although it may
detect and prevent only a limited number of known attacks/intrusions. A networkbased IDS is often placed between the edge firewall and a back-end firewall that
protects the internal network from the publicly accessible network in between.
Placing the IDS in this location allows it to do its job on all traffic that gets through the
edge firewall and provides an extra layer of protection for the DMZ, which is the most
vulnerable part of your network since it contains your public servers such as Internetaccessible Web servers, DNS servers, front-end mail servers, etc.
Putting the IDS in front of the edge firewall would result in a greater load on the IDS,
since it would respond to many scans, probes and attack attempts that could
otherwise be filtered out by the firewall. Also, the huge number of alerts might lead to
an "IDS who cried wolf" situation in which administrators would start ignoring the alerts
when many of them don't lead to real attacks.
IDS can also be placed behind the back-end firewall to detect intrusions on the internal
LAN.
A multi-layered approach
The best security is afforded by using one than one IDS (for example, an IDS in the DMZ
and another on the internal network) and by using both network and host-based IDS.
Host-based IDS can
be installed on critical servers for multi-layered protection.
Incident response
The detection of intrusions is only the first step in making an organization more secure
and protecting against intruders. The real key is what happens after the intrusion is
detected: your incident response plan.
To be effective, response must be as immediate as possible. That's why your IDS needs
to include notification features and you need to set them up so that the alerts get to
the proper people as quickly as possible after an intrusion is detected.
Incident response team should practice the following incident response procedures
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Preventing damage (or further damage)
Tracking/identifying the intruder
Preserving evidence in case the incident leads to criminal prosecution and/or
civil litigation
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Log Analysis & Management
Hackers are inventing new and increasingly sophisticated ways to break into corporate
information systems, and companies must respond with more effective ways to protect
their vital corporate information systems, networks, and data. Among the most reliable,
accurate, and proactive tools in the security arsenal are the event and audit logs
created by network devices.
Requirements for cyber security event logging:
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Management of event logging (eg. setting policy, defining roles and
responsibilities, and reporting)
Identification of business applications and technical infrastructure systems on
which event logging should be enabled, including those that have been
outsourced or are ‘in the cloud’
Configuration of information systems to generate the right cyber security-related
events
Regular ‘tuning’ and review to reduce the number of false positives to an
acceptable level
Storage of security-related events within event logs (eg. using local systems,
central servers, SIEMs or by using storage provided by an external service
provider)
Analysis of security-related event logs (including normalization, aggregation and
correlation)
Synchronization of time stamps in event logs to a common, trusted source
Protection of security-related event logs (eg. via encryption, access control and
backup)
Defined retention requirements and/or log rotation periods
Taking necessary actions to remediate any issues identified and respond to
cyber security incidents in a fast, effective manner
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Advantages of Logging
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Logs provide clues about performance issues, application function problems,
intrusion and attack attempts etc.
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The logs provide vital inputs for managing the computer security incidents, both
for Incident Prevention and Incident Response Benefits
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When responding to computer security incident, logs provide leads to the
activities performed over the system
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Facilitates cybercrime investigation
o Determine the activity
o Determine the origin of attack
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Types of Event Logs
Event Log Type
Description
Application Log Any event logged by an application. These are determined by the
developers while developing the application. E.g.: An error while
starting an application gets recorded in Application Log.
System Log
Any event logged by the Operating System. E.g.: Failure to start a
drive during start-up is logged under System Logs
Security Log
Any event that matters about the security of the system. E.g. valid
and invalid Logins and logoffs, any file deletion etc. are logged under
this category.
Directory
Service log
Records events of AD. This log is available only on domain controllers.
DNS Server log
Records events for DNS servers and name resolutions. This log is
available only for DNS servers
File replication
service log
Records events of domain controller replication This log is available
only on domain controllers.
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Key to a successful Log Analysis
Findings from project research revealed that effective logging can save time and
money in case of a cyber security incident – and that it can also be very helpful as part
of a defense (or prosecution) in a court case. Therefore key to a successful Log Analysis
and maintenance is:
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Establish cyber security-related logging standards and procedures
Configure systems to record the most important cyber-security related events
and monitor these events for specified purposes
Respond to alerts correctly (eg. to avoid overlooking indicative alerts or overreacting to benign alerts)
Aggregate what may seem like benign alerts into what is a coherent threat
message
Make appropriate event logs available to investigators in a suitable format
Retain logs according to retention standards/procedures, storing them securely
for possible forensic analysis at a later date.
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Logging Challenges
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Struggling to understand the purpose, importance and effectiveness of the full
range of data sources (putting them into some sort of ‘pecking order’ of
importance)
Suffering from the sheer volume of log management tasks such as: o Turning on
relevant logs, logging them correctly and keeping them long enough to
Prioritization, storage, correlation and protection of logs
Failing to examine alerts in an effective manner (eg. handling false positives,
performing situational analysis and remediating issues)
Being unsure as to which logs they need to pay most (and least) attention or the
implications of the events that they record
Not being able to find the right tools and people to help them easily, effectively
and at the right price.
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Mainframe Security
A mainframe is a computer that is capable of performing large-scale data processing
in a self-contained structure, as opposed to having many individual (usually smaller)
computers.
Mainframes typically have multiple processors. And they can be connected in a cluster
and operate in a distributed computing system. However, the distinguishing feature of a
mainframe is that it can run independently as a “centralized cluster” by dividing itself
internally to work on problems in a parallel or multi-tasking way for extended periods of
time, even years.
Mainframes offer virtualization. Virtualization allows you to create multiple logical
computers within a single mainframe. Connecting several of those logical computers
(also called logical partitions or LPARs) to work together is known as creating a cluster or
sysplex. When multiple physical entities (mainframes) are physically connected, they
are called sysplexes. Together, using virtualization, LPARS, and sysplexes offers
enhanced horizontal scalability.
An important benefit offered by this design is that expensive reliability features are
needed in only one server (as compared to being built in to many smaller servers). Also,
the physical “footprint” of a mainframe is much smaller than that of a distributed server
farm, and therefore is less expensive from an environmental perspective (that is, the
amount of power, cooling, and floor space needed is much less). Mainframes can
therefore be more cost-effective in solving the same business problems over the long
term.
Mainframes are usually larger than most servers because of the necessary redundancy
of design and components that allow the computer to deliver high availability as well
as vertical and horizontal scalability (the ability to increase the capacity of the
computer without replacing the entire unit). Also, mainframe components such as hotpluggable processors, disks, interface adapters such as network cards or cryptographic
engines, and even the power supply, can all be replaced or upgraded without taking
the server offline.
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Why mainframe security?
Barry Schrager, the founder of Mainframe Data Security, has written numerous pieces
on the subject. He cites these statistics in a recent LinkedIn article:
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71% of all Fortune 500 companies have their core business on the mainframe.
23 of the world’s top 25 retailers use a mainframe.
92% of the top 100 banks use a mainframe.
10 out of 10 of the top insurers use a mainframe.
More than 225 state and local governments worldwide rely on a mainframe.
9 of the top 10 global life and health insurance providers process their highvolume transactions on mainframe.
With the widespread use of mainframes today, it is absolutely necessary that they have
excellent security. Everyday millions of transactions pass through mainframes; with poor
security, this can lead to the loss of massive amounts of money and data. Mainframe
security is a must for business continuity and has continuously evolved over the years to
where it is today. When the mainframe became more networked with other devices
and connected to end users on computers other than the original “dumb terminal,” its
security really broadened as the traditional physical security was no longer enough.
One rarely hears about a mainframe being involved in a major data security breach,
but there was the infamous TJX Companies Inc. hacking case, the largest data security
breach to date. In 2007, the retailer announced the discovery of a computer system's
breach and the possible loss of millions of credit card records. As the world would learn
later, the breach involved more than 45 million customer records and had gone
undetected for a number of years.
Mainframes are so impenetrable that no one knows for sure what goes on inside them.
Since the advent of mainframes, security paradigms have changed dramatically. With
the inclusion of privacy considerations in the information security discipline, the new
paradigm forces us to deal with risks that apply to any and all computing platforms
including mainframes.
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Machine Learning Security- Adversarial Learning
Adversarial learning is a novel research field that lies at the intersection of machine
learning and computer security. It aims at enabling the safe adoption of machine
learning techniques in adversarial settings like spam filtering, computer security,
and biometric recognition.
The problem is motivated by the fact that machine learning techniques have not been
originally designed to cope with intelligent and adaptive adversaries, and, thus, in
principle, the whole system security may be compromised by exploiting specific
vulnerabilities of learning algorithms through a careful manipulation of the input data.
Accordingly, to improve the security of learning algorithms, the field of adversarial
learning addresses the following main open issues:
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Identifying potential vulnerabilities of machine learning algorithms during
learning and classification;
Devising the corresponding attacks and evaluating their impact on the attacked
system;
Proposing countermeasures to improve the security of machine learning
algorithms against the considered attacks.
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Types of attacks:
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Evasion attacks
Evasion attacks are the most popular kind of attack that may be incurred in
adversarial settings during system operation. For instance, spammers and hackers
often attempt to evade detection by obfuscating the content of spam emails and
malware code. In the evasion setting, malicious samples are modified at test time to
evade detection, that is, to be misclassified as legitimate. No influence over the
training data is possible.
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Poisoning
Machine learning algorithms are often re-trained on data collected during
operation to adapt to changes in the underlying data distribution. For instance, an
Intrusion Detection System (IDS) may be re-trained on a set of samples (TR) collected
during network operation. Within this scenario, an attacker may poison the training
data by injecting carefully designed samples to eventually compromise the whole
learning process. Poisoning may thus be regarded as an adversarial contamination
of the training data.
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Machine Learning In Cyber Security
According to Matt Wolff, Chief Data Scientist at Cylance, when it comes to cyber
security, there are two reasons why Machine Learning is a growing trend in this field:
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Lack of qualified, experienced individuals to successfully defend vital infrastructure
and systems. The defensive game is complex and never ending; and one slip up by
a security team can be enough to open the door for a security incident. In addition,
the projected demand for excellent security professionals will continue to grow,
compounding the current challenges around the dearth of talent.
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The collection and storage of large amounts of useful data points is already well
underway in cyber security. It would be difficult to find a security analyst who is not
currently overwhelmed by the vast amount of raw data that is collected every day
in mature environments. There even exist a plethora of tools designed to help sort,
slice, and mine this data in a somewhat automated fashion to help the analyst
along in their day-to-day activities.
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Advantages of machine learning
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With a machine learning approach, many of these tasks can be automated, and
even deployed in real time to catch these activities before any damage is done. For
example, a well-trained machine learning model will be able to identify unusual
traffic on the network, and shut down these connections as they occur. A welltrained model would also be able to identify new samples of malware that can
evade human generated signatures, and perhaps quarantine these samples before
they can even execute. In addition, a machine learning model trained on the
standard operating procedure of a given endpoint may be able to identify when
the endpoint itself is engaging in odd behavior, perhaps at the request of a
malicious insider attempting to steal or destroy sensitive information.
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In particular, applying machine learning to behavioral analytics is profoundly improving
our ability to make sense of the volumes of data generated by security products in the
average enterprise. When machine learning concepts like automated and iterative
algorithms are used to learn patterns in data, we can probe data for structure, even if
we do not know what that structure looks like.

In the past, security products attempted to ‘correlate’ data to discern patterns and
meaning. Instead, today we perform link analysis to evaluate relationships or
connections between data nodes. Key relationships can be identified among various
types of data nodes or objects, things we might think of as organizations, people,
transactions, and so on.
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Machine learning is what enables us to bring together huge volumes of data that is
generated by normal user activity from disparate, even obscure, sets of data -- to
identify relationships that span time, place and actions. Since machine learning can be
simultaneously applied to hundreds of thousands of discrete events from multiple data
sets, “meaning” can be derived from behaviors and used an early warning detection
or prevention system.
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The ultimate test for a machine-learning model is validation error on new data. In other
words, machine learning is looking to match new data with what it’s seen before, and
not to test it to disprove, reject or nullify an expected outcome. Since machine learning
uses an iterative, automated approach, it can reprocess data until a robust pattern is
found. This allows it to go beyond looking for “known” or “common” patterns.

Machine learning’s ability to automatically detect changes over time that inform
network behavioural profiles of what is and isn’t normal traffic also makes it wellsuited to helping the enterprise adapt to new forms of attacks without requiring
human intervention. In conjunction with neural network machine learning models
and their evolutionary programming adaptation process it is possible to iteratively
create networks that become stronger at adapting to new problems, including
aggressive automated invasions.
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There is more value in using multistage machine-learning analysis and actual data in an
effort to determine which machine learning model will work best for detecting real
security events on any one particular network. Processing data streams from various
subsystems (data transmission frequency measurements over time, for instance, or
protocols in a network stream that identify affiliated applications and infrastructure
devices) using a variety of machine learning models, and then comparing the learned
data to the original raw data, lets an enterprise grade each data stream to reveal
which models provide the highest predictability of anomaly detection for that distinct
network. Machine learning models may run the gamut from associated rules learning,
to sparse dictionary learning, to Bayesian fields and artificial neural networks.
Ideally, a data stream can be mastered using unsupervised learning techniques. This
approach learns the features of a data set, and classifies it into a “cluster” of similar
data–either normal or abnormal. This is in contrast to supervised learning, which requires
that sample data for which the outcome already is known be used for training.
The industry really is just at the start of applying machine learning to the growing cybersecurity challenges of detecting and analysing increasingly sophisticated and targeted
threats. The future will see neural networks trained in one data set become the input to
others, thereby creating deep networks by extending the knowledge of high-level
networks. The industry also will increase its use of hard AI–the simulation of biologic
thinking in computers–in detection engines.
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Network Security Monitoring
NMS (Network Security Monitoring) is the collection, analysis and escalation of
indications and warnings to detect and respond to intrusions.
NMS is not an IDS, although it relies on IDS-like products as part of an integrated data
collection and analysis suite. NMS involves collecting the full spectrum of data types
(event, session, full content and statistical) needed to identify and validate intrusions.
The NSM model tries to give more control to the analyst by providing enough
background to make independent decisions.
NSM is more concerned with network auditing than with real-time identification of
intrusions. Although encryption denies the analyst the ability to see packet contents, it
doesn't deny analysts the ability to see traffic patterns. Simply knowing who talked to
whom, and when, is more information and that’s how NSM handles encryption.
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NSM Cycle
Collection is a function of hardware and software used to generate, organize, and
store data to be used for detection and analysis. Detection is the process by which
collected data is examined and alerts are generated based on observed events and
data that are unexpected. This is typically accomplished through some form of
signature, anomaly, or statistically based detection. Analysis occurs when a human
interprets and investigates alert data to make a determination if malicious activity has
occurred. Each of these processes feed into each other, with analysis feeding back into
a collection strategy at the end of the cycle, which constantly repeats. This is what
makes it a cycle. If that last part didn’t happen, it would simply be a linear process.
While the NSM cycle flows from collection to detection and then analysis, this is not how
the emphasis we as an industry has placed on these items has evolved. Looking back,
the industry began its foray into what is now known as network security monitoring with
a focus on detection. In this era came the rise of intrusion detection systems such as
Snort that are still in use today. Organizations began to recognize that the ability to
detect the presence of intruders on their network, and to quickly respond to the
intrusions, was just as important as trying to prevent the intruder from breaching the
network perimeter in the first place. These organizations believed that you should
attempt to collect all of the data you can so that you could perform robust detection
across the network. Thus, detection went forth and prospered, for a while.
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As the size, speed, and function of computer networks grew, organizations on the
leading edge began to recognize that it was no longer feasible to collect 100% of
network data. Rather, effective detection relies on selectively gathering data relevant
to your detection mission. This ushered in the era of collection, where organizations
began to really assess the value received from ingesting certain types of data. For
instance, while organizations had previously attempted to perform detection against
full packet capture data for every network egress point, now these same organizations
begin to selectively filter out traffic to and from specific protocols, ports, and services. In
addition, these organizations are now assessing the value of data types that come with
a decreased resource requirement, such as network flow data. This all worked towards
performing more efficient detection through smarter collection. This brings us up to
speed on where we stand in the modern day.
The goal of an analyst is to digest the alerts generated by various detection
mechanisms and investigate multiple data sources to perform relevant tests and
research to see if a network security breach has happened.
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Best practices for successful NSM
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Perform network performance measurement before deploying the security
monitoring solution. This is essential because security monitoring can have its own
footprint on the network, especially if the monitoring solution is software-based,
running on the servers.
If possible and affordable, deploy more than one anti-virus solution. Many antivirus software solutions don’t offer spyware detection, or don’t do it right; hence,
a combination is always helpful.
Deploy at least one FOSS packet-capturing software on the network. Though the
IDS systems do this job partially, there can be situations where the IDS could be
too busy to be used as a packet viewer, and a FOSS utility can come in handy
for daily chores.
Gather monitoring data at a secure place. It is often a mistake to gather security
data on a desktop or a server which is easily accessible, making the network
vulnerable at that point. Since security applies to the monitoring process too, the
data captured must be stored in a secure manner.
Monitor all layers; don’t leave anything to chance. Usually, the data link layer is
omitted from monitoring; however, since a new wave of attacks can exploit
Ethernet frames too, it is important to take this layer into account. The same
applies to the network layer, as most internal attacks can easily use it to exploit
vulnerabilities.
Deploy the IDS behind the firewall, since the firewall filters out everything that is
not meant to enter the LAN. This improves the IDS’ efficiency by keeping the
clutter away.
Capture VLANs separately. Since VLANs are separate TCP broadcast domains,
separately gathering and analysing data for each can help detect internal and
external security problems quickly.
Consider all protocols. Many firms still use NetBIOS internally along with TCP/IP;
such a situation demands monitoring all protocols on the wire. There are a few
legacy types of attacks based on the NetBEUI protocol, which could be
captured.
Enable optimal auditing levels on the monitoring devices. Setting up too many
audit event captures can easily confuse monitoring solutions while detecting an
anomaly, whereas having very few audit logs can render security monitoring
useless.
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Types of monitoring
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Network tap – physical device which relays a copy of packets to an NSM server
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SPAN or mirrored ports – switch configuration which sends copies of packets to a
separate port where NSM can connect
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Host NIC – configured to watch all network traffic flowing on its segment
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Serial port tap – physical device which relays serial traffic to another port, usually
requires additional software to interpret data
Types of Data Collected
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Full content data – unfiltered collection of packets
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Extracted content – data streams, files, Web pages, etc.
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Session data – conversation between nodes
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Transaction data – requests and replies between nodes
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Statistical data – description of traffic, such as protocol and volume
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Metadata – aspects of data, e.g. who owns this IP address
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Alert/log data – triggers from IDS tools, tracking user logins, etc.
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Challenges in Network Monitoring
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For starters, each of the seven layers of the OSI networking model has its own
responsibilities, which call for separate methods of monitoring and security for
each layer. Network monitoring is seemingly simple — but in reality, it’s a very
complex process. Mixing traditional network monitoring with security monitoring
further complicates things from the design perspective, for network architects,
network operations teams, and the systems administrators who manage it.
The most important in network monitoring is the vast amount of data gathered
by the monitoring tool, and the amount of time required to assimilate the
information and apply intelligence to it, in order to achieve actionable decisions.
Another challenge is caused by the unprecedented growth of a network, a
result of the organisation’s growth due to business expansion or company
mergers. The bigger the network, the tougher it is to visualise the scale of network
infrastructure. This can result in performance bottlenecks as well as security
vulnerabilities. Finally, failure to incorporate proper monitoring tools is also a
challenge to be addressed by senior IT management staff. It has been observed
that relying purely on commercial products actually limits a firm’s ability to bring
diversification into the network monitoring process.
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Challenges in Network Security
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From the infrastructure scaling point of view, irrespective of the size of an
organisation, network security is often a complex area to deal with. Since
network infrastructure contains components like firewalls, routers, managed
switches, etc., the configurations and settings for each of these components
further add to the complexity.
Also, when faced with the choices of multiple devices offered by many vendors,
it is easy for a network architect to get distracted from considering an
appropriate solution customised to the network. As the network grows, it can be
more prone to vulnerabilities and loopholes, needing tight security policies and
careful designs, using cutting-edge technology devices and solutions.
From the security point of view, a new breed of viruses and spyware has
emerged recently, which exploits the operating system as well as the networking
device’s vulnerabilities, and can take control to cause enough damage. Though
there are multiple security solutions available, hackers are often one step ahead
of the cyber cops.
It is often the case that an organisation is more prone to internal attacks than to
attacks originating from outside the firm’s network infrastructure. Preventing such
attacks needs the latest techniques, such as the deployment of intrusion
detection systems, unified threat management systems (UTMs), etc.
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Next Generation Firewall
A next-generation firewall (NGFW) is a hardware- or software-based network security
system that is able to detect and block sophisticated attacks by enforcing security
policies at the application level, as well as at the port and protocol level.
Next-generation firewalls integrate three key assets: enterprise firewall capabilities, an
intrusion prevention system (IPS) and application control. Like the introduction of stateful
inspection in first-generation firewalls, NGFWs bring additional context to the firewall’s
decision-making process by providing it with the ability to understand the details of the
Web application traffic passing through it and taking action to block traffic that might
exploit vulnerabilities.
Next-generation firewalls combine the capabilities of traditional firewalls – including
packet filtering, network address translation (NAT), URL blocking and virtual private
networks (VPNs) -- with Quality of Service (QoS) functionality and features not
traditionally found in firewall products. These include intrusion prevention, SSL and SSH
inspection, deep-packet inspection and reputation-based malware detection as well
as application awareness. The application-specific capabilities are meant to thwart the
growing number of application attacks taking place on layers 4-7 of the OSI network
stack.
NGFWs are integrated network security platforms that consist of in-line deep packet
inspection (DPI) firewalls, IPS, application inspection and
control, SSL/SSH inspection, website filtering and quality of service (QoS)/bandwidth
management to protect networks against the latest in sophisticated network attacks
and intrusion.
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NGFWs are not traditional firewalls
Enterprises need to make an NGFW purchase decision based on need, risk and future
growth. Don't buy a Cadillac if a Chevy pickup truck will do the job.
Unlike NGFWs, traditional packet-filtering firewalls only provide protection at Layer 3
(network) and Layer 4 (transport) of the OSI model. They include metrics to allow and
deny packets by discriminating the source IP address of incoming packets, destination
IP addresses, the type of Internet protocols the packet may contain -- e.g., normal data
carrying IP packets, ICMP (Internet Control Message Protocol), ARP (Address Resolution
Protocol), RARP (Reverse Address Resolution Protocol), BOOTP (Bootstrap Protocol) and
DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol) -- and routing features.
Although firewalls are placed between the Internet and an internal network inside
the DMZ, attackers have found ways to circumvent these controls and cause
considerable damage before detection. Meanwhile, traditional firewalls often
necessitate having to install separate IPS, Web application firewalls (WAFs), secure
coding standards based on the Open Web Application Security Project's (OWASP) Top
10 vulnerabilities, strong encryption at the Web layer (SSL/TLS), and antivirus and
malware prevention.
Having to deploy, manage and monitor this unwieldy number of network security
products to mitigate multiple heterogeneous attack vectors is challenging, to say the
least. In addition, this diverse array of security products can compromise each other's
functionality at the expense of broadband resource usage, response times, and
monitoring and maintenance requirements.
NGFWs address these issues by providing a single-vendor product with a common
management process that includes multiple security services. It is, for the most part, a
more cost-effective and pragmatic approach to network security.
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NGFWs are not UTMs
Unified threat management systems (UTMs) are all-in-one network security platforms
that are meant to provide simplicity, streamlined installation and use, as well as the
ability to concurrently update all security functions. These systems, like NGFWs, clearly
have a major advantage over acquiring a variety of network security technologies, as
there's no need to maintain disparate security products and figure out how they all
work together.
UTMs were originally designed for small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs), not large
organizations, however. NGFWs, on the other hand, are generally more expansive and
work to secure the networks of businesses from the size of an SMB to large enterprise
environments. Unlike UTMs, most NGFWs, for example, offer threat intelligence, a degree
of mobile device security, data loss prevention and an open architecture that allow
clients to use regular expressions (regex) to tailor application control and even some
firewall rule definitions.
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Optimizing NGFW functionality
Optimal NGFW products must have three characteristics: be comprehensive, flexible
and easy to use. Yes, this sounds oxymoronic, but achieving this trifecta is very doable
for NGFW vendors.
First, NGFWs must be comprehensive, so that they include IPS, antivirus/malware
prevention, application control, deep packet inspection and stateful firewalls (the
former inspects incoming packets, the latter, outgoing), encryption, compression, QoS,
and other capabilities. One drawback NGFWs need to overcome is the reluctance
many enterprises have of relying on a single point of failure for network security.
Second, NFGWs must be flexible, which also means scalable, so that features can be
modularized and activated based on need.
And third, NFGWs must be easy to use, with a fairly intuitive management interface that
provides a clean and easy-to-read dashboard, feature activations, rule set definitions,
configuration analysis, vulnerability assessments, activity reports and alerts.
Today's NGFWs make up a cadre of network security products that purport to offer
these three characteristics. Although NGFW services are listed with commonly named
features (e.g., DLP, application control and threat intelligence), a close look shows
some variation between NGFW vendor products. For example, those NGFWs that offer
mobile device security will admit this is not a mobile device management (MDM)
product. They can identify mobile devices and operating systems, provide policy
enforcement based on apps, users and content, and even extend a VPN tunnel to
prevent malware, but they do not provide total device management as offered by
MDM products.
Meanwhile, some NGFW features are more robust and advanced than others. So it is
incumbent upon customers to carefully vet the features of individual NGFW products to
determine the best fit for them. For example, not all NGFWs provide two-factor
authentication or mobile device security, but then, not every customer needs those
features. And while there are those NGFWs that say they support such features, some
might require additional modules or products to make them work.
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How NGFWs are sold
Most NFGWs are appliance-based, but some are available as virtual products
(software) -- where enterprises can install them on their own servers -- and some
delivered over the cloud as a software as a service. Most are modular, such that an
enterprise can choose to purchase and activate features commensurate with their
specific needs and risks.
Another important point about NFGWs: Never pay retail price. NFGW vendors want the
business, and their job is to demonstrate the differentiators that set them apart from
competitors.
Enterprises should also never buy the best or most technologically advanced product.
They need to make an NGFW purchase decision based on need, risk and future growth.
Don't buy a Cadillac if a Chevy pickup truck will do the job. Just make sure to know
how long that pickup truck is needed, and ensure it'll be sufficient to maintain the
organization's anticipated pace of growth.
The future of NGFWs
We live in exciting times. In speaking with top NGFW vendors, there are features under
development that will make the IT department's life easier while further strengthening
network security. These companies are also resolved to develop NGFW products that
are better tailored to the network security requirements of SMBs, large enterprises and
everything in between.
NGFW vendors are also spending a considerable amount of time and expense in R&D to keep
pace with today's sophisticated attacks and meet the comprehensive, flexible and easy-to-use
requirements outlined above. One of the major differentiators that, ironically, all of these major
NGFW companies purport to be working on is threat intelligence that is current, open,
continuous, adaptive and automatic.
In addition, all of today's NGFW vendors resolve to provide as comprehensive a coverage
package to customers as possible without sacrificing performance.
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Password Management
The majority of people use very weak passwords and reuse them on different websites.
Passwords -- especially those not supported by two-step verification -- are last lines of
defence against prying eyes.
A few ways in which account passwords can be compromised are:

Someone's out to get the password.
There are many people who might want to take a peek into someone else’s
personal life. If these people know them well, they might be able to guess their email password and use password recovery options to access the other accounts.

One can become the victim of a brute-force attack.
Whether a hacker attempts to access a group of user accounts or just some specific
person’s, brute-force attacks are the go-to strategy for cracking passwords. These
attacks work by systematically checking all possible passphrases until the correct
one is found. If the hacker already has an idea of the guidelines used to create the
password, this process becomes easier to execute.

There's a data breach.
Every few months it seems another huge company reports a hacking resulting in
millions of people's account information being compromised. And with the
recent Heart bleed bug, many popular websites were affected directly.
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Common ways of steeling Password
Applying passwords at various steps to access the data is not sufficient to safeguard the
data today. Keeping default passwords or easy passwords result in creating a threat to
the data. Many people realize that to avoid hacking, strong passwords are a must, but
they fail to understand that the hackers/crackers are becoming sophisticated day by
day.
Through social engineering or by guessing the passwords, they can easily break into the
systems. One should therefore keep changing the passwords frequently and should be
up to date with the latest techniques in use.
Methods to crack passwords:

Guessing-
Various programs have been developed to guess a person’s password, with any sort
of personal information gained regarding him, from names, DOB, pet’s name,
license number etc. These programs are capable of searching a word spelled
backwards. That is why it is advised to clear any personal information from one’s
password.

Dictionary based attacks-
Certain programs have been developed, which run each and every word of the
dictionary against a username in hope of finding a perfect match. Therefore it is
advised to keep away from dictionary words of even the remotest language.

Brute-Force attack-
By trying every conceivable combination of the keystrokes against a user name,
Brute-Force attack is the most successful attack, and many programs can run this
attack very quickly. Therefore it is advised to use a combination of upper and lower
case words along with numbers and special characters and punctuation marks.

Phishing-
Phishing scams are aimed to trick the person through IM or e-mails to provide their
personal information. They might excite the recipient to respond. The best way to
avoid being fooled is to not click on any such suspicious links.
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
Shoulder surfing
Passwords are not always stolen online. The hacker may be standing behind you
peeping in when you type your password. One should be careful and develop a
habit of typing the password fast and by not looking at the keyboard.
Cyber security is based on the “weakest link”, and usually the password becomes that
part of the chain which can be easily broken. Hence to create and maintain a strong
password is very necessary.
What can be done with the stolen passwords?

One can use charged services without victim’s knowledge, resulting in them being
charged for services which they have never used.

Others can send spam mail using their name.

Others can gain access to their email.
Strong Password is Necessary
While creating a password, a few points should be kept in the mind:






Passwords are case sensitive, so a mixture of upper and lower case letters should
be used
The password should contain numerals & special characters randomly to make it
strong. Put digits, symbols, and capital letters spread throughout the middle of
your password, not at the beginning or end.
A longer password is usually better than a more random password as long as the
password is at least 12-15 characters long.
Avoiding common sports and pop culture regardless of length is suggested. The
more common a password is, the less secure it will be, so something no one else
would be a better choice.
Passwords are only as secure as the sites to which they are entrusted with. Limit
the potential fallout by using a unique password everywhere. Or use a password
manager.
Admins who set password policies are better off requiring longer passwords and
letting users keep them for longer, rather than requiring them to change
passwords every one or two month. This encourages users to have stronger
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



passwords and avoids simple schemes like incrementing a number at the end of
the password each time they have to reset it.
Never give passwords to friends, even if they’re really good friends. A friend can
– maybe even accidentally – pass your password along to others or even
become an ex-friend and abuse it.
If password is in the dictionary, there is a chance someone will guess it. There’s
even software that criminals use that can guess words used in dictionaries.
Programs or web services let you create a different very strong password for
each of your sites. But you only have to remember the one password to access
the program or secure site that stores your passwords for you.
The best password in the world might not do you any good if someone is looking
over your shoulder while you type or if you forget to log out on a cybercafé
computer. Malicious software, including “keyboard loggers” that record all of
your keystrokes, has been used to steal passwords and other information. To
increase security, make sure you’re using up-to-date anti-malware software and
that your operating system is up-to-date.
In his guide to “mastering the art of passwords”, Dennis O'Reilly suggests creating a
system that both allows you to create complex passwords and remember them.
For example, create a phrase like "I hope the Giants will win the World Series in 2016!"
Then, take the initials of each word and all numbers and symbols to create your
password. So, that phrase would result in this: IhtGwwtWSi2016!
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Patch Management
The rise of widespread worms and malicious code targeting known vulnerabilities on
unpatched systems, and the resultant downtime and expense they bring, is probably
the biggest reason so many organizations are focusing on patch management. Along
with these threats, increasing concern around governance and regulatory compliance
has pushed enterprises to gain better control and oversight of their information assets.
It's obvious that patch management is a critical issue. What is also clear is the main
objective of a patch management program: to create a consistently configured
environment that is secure against known vulnerabilities in operating system and
application software.
The process used for patch management differs depending on the IT infrastructure of a
company. In most cases, a large company with a large infrastructure typically
automates patch management. This reduces the need for manual implementation.
Small to mid-sized companies often choose to outsource their patch management to a
managed IT services provider. A managed service provider can perform patches
remotely.
There are a number of vulnerabilities that can endanger your network at any time.
Patch management is a form of preventative maintenance that helps ensure your
infrastructure’s security. In some cases, there is a vulnerability in which a patch has not
yet been released. A patch management system monitors your network and alerts
technicians of exploits so that they can take action to prevent an attack even while a
patch is in the process of being created.
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Automated Patch Management
Patch management is very critical to business operations however it also tends to be
considered a responsibility of the IT department. While this is partially true patch
management within an organization’s infrastructure cannot be successful without the
understanding and support of the senior management.
Instead of waiting for the issue to be addressed when a problem occurs it is important
to implement and plan for patch management in advance. The key concerns for
many companies are in the number of patches and the manpower needed to deploy
them. However, new technologies along with enterprises which offer patch
management services have made patch management implementation and
distribution easier and more cost effective.
Patch management services can help to keep your network secure while reducing
costs.
An automated patch management solution involves the following processes:
Assess the vulnerability
Audit software in your production environment, evaluate potential security threats,
vulnerabilities and non-compliances. This requires accurate inventory of IT assets to
assess exposures.
Automated patch management relies on the Inventory component of Configuration
Manager to perform scans that use the Windows® Update Agent (WUA) to scan
endpoints and report information about found and missing patches.
Patch identification and download
Determine a reliable, timely source of information on software updates and a
documented and secure download process.
Automated patch management uses Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) for
downloading fixes for Windows operating systems and applications.
Patch testing
Validate a given patch in a test environment, provide the assurance that all necessary
packages, pre-requisites, co-requisites, conflicts have been identified before deploying
to production.
Patches can be deployed in a test environment to troubleshoot problems before
patches are deployed in the enterprise.
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Patch approval
Maintain strict control over what is being changed, which vulnerability the fix addresses,
what services and applications are being impacted, and priority. Requires an approval
process.
You use the WSUS interface to approve patches so that the automated patch
management solution automatically creates software packages only for patches that
have been approved.
Patch deployment
Prioritize the urgency of the patch deployment, schedule the deployment, build the
installable unit, and deploy the patch.
An automated process generates software packages and activity plans, and then
notifies the Administrator when they are ready to be submitted. The process relies on
IBM Tivoli Configuration Manager Components and services, such as, Software
Distribution and Activity Planner.
Patch verification
Validate that the patch was successfully applied on all eligible endpoints.
The automated patch management command line can be used to retrieve patch
status information. Patch installations can also be monitored from the Activity Plan
Monitor graphical user interface where activity plans are submitted.
Compliance management
Update the configuration baseline definitions to include the new patches, regularly
analyse to assure that all endpoints remain in compliance, identify improvements and
customize the patch management process accordingly.
Automated patch management is a dynamic process designed to identify any missing
patches in your environment and to automatically create patches to cover the current
vulnerabilities.
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6 steps to an effective Patch Management System
1. Develop an up-to-date inventory of all production systems, including OS types (and
versions), IP addresses, physical location, custodian and function. Commercial tools
ranging from general network scanners to automated discovery products can
expedite the process (see Resources, below). You should inventory your network
periodically.
2. Devise a plan for standardizing production systems to the same version of OS and
application software. The smaller the number of versions you have running, the
easier your job will be later.
3. Make a list of all the security controls you have in place--routers, firewalls, IDSes, AV,
etc.--as well as their configurations. Don't forget to include system hardening or
nonstandard configurations in your list of controls. This list will help you decide how
to respond to a vulnerability alert (if at all).
4. Compare reported vulnerabilities against your inventory/control list. There are two
key components to this. First, you need a reliable system for collecting vulnerability
alerts. And second, you need to separate the vulnerabilities that affect your systems
from those that don't.
5. Classify the risk. Assess the vulnerability and likelihood of an attack in your
environment.
6. Apply the patch! You've determined which patches you need to install. Now comes
the hard part: deploying them without disrupting uptime or production.
Information security is everybody’s business and an effective patching process cannot
be implemented without the cooperation and participation of end-users across the
organization. Users should be made aware of the importance of IT security and patch
management as part of their daily work process. If sufficient training is provided to endusers, they can often perform lightweight patching on their own workstations, which will
reduce the workload on system administrators around basic patch management. User
awareness is especially important in organizations that allow remote access to a
corporate network, as a vulnerability exploited through a computer system in
someone’s home can threaten the security of the entire organization.
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Penetration testing
Penetration testing is a type of security testing used to test the insecure areas of the
system or application. The goal of this testing is to find all security vulnerabilities that are
present in the system being tested. Vulnerability is the risk that an attacker can disrupt
or gain authorized access to the system or any data contained within it
Vulnerabilities are usually introduced by accident during software development and
implementation phase. Common vulnerabilities include design errors, configuration
errors, software bugs etc.
Need of a Penetration testing:
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Role and Responsibilities of Penetration Testers:
Penetration Testers job is to:







Testers should collect required information from the Organization to enable
penetration tests
Find flaws that could allow hackers to attack a target machine
Pen Testers should think & act like real hackers albeit ethically.
Work done by Penetration testers should be reproducible so that it will be easy for
developers to fix it
Start date and End date of test execution should be defined in advance.
Tester should be responsible for any loss in the system or information during the
testing
Tester should keep data and information confidential
Penetration is essential in an enterprise because 


Financial sectors like Banks, Investment Banking , Stock Trading Exchanges want their
data to be secured , and penetration testing is essential to ensure security
In case if the software system is already hacked and organization wants to
determine whether any threats are still present in the system to avoid future hacks.
Proactive Penetration Testing is the best safeguard against hackers
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Types of Penetration testing:
The type of penetration test selected usually depends on the scope and whether the
organization wants to simulate an attack by an employee, Network Admin (Internal
Sources) or by External Sources .There are three types of Penetration testing and they
are



Black Box Testing
White Box Penetration testing
Grey Box Penetration Testing
In black box penetration testing, tester has no knowledge about the systems to be
tested .He is responsible to collect information about the target network or system.
In a white-box penetration testing, the tester is usually provided with a complete
information about the network or systems to be tested including the IP address schema,
source code, OS details, etc. This can be considered as a simulation of an attack by
any Internal sources (Employees of an Organization).
In a grey box penetration testing, tester is provided with partial knowledge of the
system. It can be considered as an attack by an external hacker who had gained
illegitimate access to an organization's network infrastructure documents.
Steps in Penetration testing:
Following are activities needs to be performed to execute Penetration Test -
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Planning phase


Scope & Strategy of the assignment is determined
Existing security policies, standards are used for defining the scope
Discovery phase



Collect as much information as possible about the system including data in the
system, user names and even passwords. This is also called as FINGERPRINTING
Scan and Probe into the ports
Check for vulnerabilities of the system
Attack Phase

Find exploits for various vulnerabilities You need necessary security Privileges to
exploit the system
Reporting Phase



Report must contain detailed findings
Risks of vulnerabilities found and their Impact on business
Recommendations and solutions, if any
The prime task in penetration testing is to gather system information. There are two ways
to gather information 

'One to one' or 'one to many' model with respect to host: A tester performs
techniques in a linear way against either one target host or a logical grouping of
target hosts (e.g. a subnet).
'Many to one' or 'many to many' model :The tester utilizes multiple hosts to execute
information gathering techniques in a random, rate-limited, and in non-linear.
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Manual Penetration vs. automated penetration testing

Manual testing requires expert professionals to run the tests whereas Automated test
tools provides clear reports with less experienced professionals

Manual Testing requires excel and other tools to track it , but automation has
centralized and standard tools

In Manual testing, results vary from test to test but not in the case of Automated tests

Memory Cleaning up should be remembered by users, but automated testing will
have comprehensive clean ups.
Limitations of Penetration testing
Penetration Testing cannot find all vulnerabilities in the system .There are limitations of
time, budget, scope, skills of Penetration Testers
Following will be side effects when we are doing penetration testing:
Data Loss and Corruption
Down Time
Increase costs



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Pen test strategies include
External testing strategy
External testing refers to attacks on the organization's network perimeter using
procedures performed from outside the organization's systems, that is, from the Internet
or Extranet. This test may be performed with non-or full disclosure of the environment in
question. The test typically begins with publicly accessible information about the client,
followed by network enumeration, targeting the company's externally visible servers or
devices, such as the domain name server (DNS), e-mail server, Web server or firewall.
Internal testing strategy
Internal testing is performed from within the organization's technology environment. This
test mimics an attack on the internal network by a disgruntled employee or an
authorized visitor having standard access privileges. The focus is to understand what
could happen if the network perimeter were successfully penetrated or what an
authorized user could do to penetrate specific information resources within the
organization's network. The techniques employed are similar in both types of testing
although the results can vary greatly.
Blind testing strategy
A blind testing strategy aims at simulating the actions and procedures of a real hacker.
Just like a real hacking attempt, the testing team is provided with only limited or no
information concerning the organization, prior to conducting the test. The penetration
testing team uses publicly available information (such as corporate Web site, domain
name registry, Internet discussion board, USENET and other places of information) to
gather information about the target and conduct its penetration tests. Though blind
testing can provide a lot of information about the organization (so called inside
information) that may have been otherwise unknown -- for example, a blind
penetration may uncover such issues as additional Internet access points, directly
connected networks, publicly available confidential/proprietary information, etc. But it
is more time consuming and expensive because of the effort required by the testing
team to research the target.
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Double blind testing strategy
A double-blind test is an extension of the blind testing strategy. In this exercise, the
organization's IT and security staff are not notified or informed beforehand and are
"blind" to the planned testing activities. Double-blind testing is an important component
of testing, as it can test the organization's security monitoring and incident
identification, escalation and response procedures. As clear from the objective of this
test, only a few people within the organization are made aware of the testing. Normally
it's only the project manager who carefully watches the whole exercise to ensure that
the testing procedures and the organization's incident response procedures can be
terminated when the objectives of the test have been achieved.
Targeted testing strategy
Targeted testing or the lights-turned-on approach as it is often referred to, involves both
the organization's IT team and the penetration testing team to carry out the test. There
is a clear understanding of the testing activities and information concerning the target
and the network design. A targeted testing approach may be more efficient and costeffective when the objective of the test is focused more on the technical setting, or on
the design of the network, than on the organization's incident response and other
operational procedures. Unlike blind testing, a targeted test can be executed in less
time and effort, the only difference being that it may not provide as complete a picture
of an organization's security vulnerabilities and response capabilities.
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Methods used in a penetration test
Passive research
As the name suggests, a passive research is a method used to gather as much
information about an organization's systems configuration from public domain sources
such as:
DNS (domain name service)
RIPE (Réseaux IP Européens)
USENET (newsgroups)
ARIN (American Registry for Internet Numbers)
*Passive research is generally performed at the beginning of an external penetration
test.
Open source monitoring
This service is an associated technique that utilizes Internet meta-searches (multiple
searches of Web sites, newswires, newsgroups and other sources) targeted on keyword
that are important to the organization. The data is collected and discoveries are
highlighted to the organization. This helps identify whether organization's confidential
information has been leaked or whether an electronic conversation involving them has
taken place. This enables an organization to take necessary measures to ensure
confidentiality and integrity.
Network mapping and OS fingerprinting
Visualization of network configuration is an important part of penetration testing.
Network mapping is used to create a picture of the configuration of the network being
tested. A network diagram can be created which infers the logical locations and IP
addresses of routers, firewalls, Web servers and other border devices.
Additionally, this examination can assist in identifying or "fingerprinting" operating
systems. A combination of results from passive research and tools such as ping,
traceroute and nmap, can help create a reasonably accurate network map.
An extension of network mapping is Port Scanning. This technique is aimed at identifying
the type of services available on the target machine. The scan result reveals important
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information such as function of a computer (whether it is a Web server, mail server etc)
as well as revealing ports that may be serious security risks such as telnet. Port scans
should include number of individual tests, including:
TCP (Transmission Control Protocol) scan
Connect scan
SYN (or half open) scan
RST (or Xmas-tree) scan
UDP (User Datagram Protocol) and ICMP (Internet Control Message Protocol) scans.
Tools such as nmap can perform this type of scan.
Dynamic ports used by RPC (Remote Procedure Call) should be scanned using tool
such as RPCinfo.
Spoofing
Spoofing involves creation of TCP/IP packets using somebody else's Internet addresses
and then sending the same to the targeted computer making it believe that it came
from a trusted source. It is the act of using one machine to impersonate another.
Routers use the "destination IP" address in order to forward packets through the Internet,
but ignore the "source IP" address. The destination machine only uses that source IP
address when it responds back to the source. This technique is used in internal and
external penetration testing to access computers that have been instructed to only
reply to specific computers. This can result in sensitive information be released to
unauthorised systems. IP spoofing is also an integral part of many network attacks that
do not need to see responses (blind spoofing).
Network sniffing
Sniffing is technique used to capture data as it travels across a network. Sniffing is an
important information gathering technique that enables capturing of specific
information, such as passwords and also an entire conversation between specific
computers, if required. To perform sniffing, the network card of computer needs to be
put in promiscuous mode, so that it captures all data being sent across the network.
Sniffing is extensively used in internal testing where the sniffer or the computer in
promiscuous mode is directly attached to the network enabling capturing of a great
deal of information. Sniffing can be performed by a number of commercial tools such
as Ethereal, Network Associates SnifferPro and Network Instruments Observer.
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Trojan attack
Trojans are malicious programs that are typically sent into network as e-mail
attachments or transferred via IM chat rooms. These programs run in stealth mode and
get installed on the client computer without the users’ knowledge. Once installed, they
can open remote control channels to attackers or capture information. A penetration
test aims at attempting to send specially prepared Trojans into a network.
Brute force attack
A brute force attack involves trying a huge number of alphanumeric combinations and
exhaustive trial and error methods in order find legitimate authentication credentials.
The objective behind this time consuming exercise is to gain access to the target
system. Brute force attacks can overload a system and can possibly stop it from
responding to legitimate requests. Additionally, if account lockout is being used, brute
force attacks may close the account to legitimate users.
Vulnerability scanning/analysis
Vulnerability scanning/analysis is an exhaustive examination of targeted areas of an
organization's network infrastructure aimed at determining their current state. The
targets range from a single system or only critical systems to scanning the entire
network. It is usually performed using automated tools that test for a multitude of
potential weaknesses in a system against a database of known vulnerabilities and
report potential security holes. And although they don't actively prevent attacks, many
scanners provide additional tools to help fix found vulnerabilities. Some of the
commonly used vulnerability scanners include: the open-source Nessus Project's Nessus,
ISS Internet Scanner, GFI Software's GFI LANguard Network Security Scanner, eEye
Digital Security's Retina Network Security Scanner, the BindView RMS vulnerabilitymanagement solutions and Network Associates CyberCop.
Scenario analysis
Once a vulnerability scanning has been done and weaknesses identified, the next step
is to perform Scenario testing. This testing aims at exploiting identified security
weaknesses to perform a system penetration that will produce a measurable result,
such as stolen information, stolen usernames and passwords or system alteration. This
level of testing assures that no false positives are reported and makes risk assessment of
vulnerabilities much more accurate. Many tools exist to assist exploit testing, although
the process is often highly manual. Exploit testing tends to be the final stage of
penetration testing.
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Privileged Access Management (PAM)
A privileged user is someone who has administrative access to critical systems. For
instance, the individual who can set up and delete email accounts on Microsoft
Exchange Server is a privileged user. The word is not accidental. Like any privilege, it
should only be extended to trusted people. Only those seen as responsible can be
trusted with “root” privileges like the ability to change system configurations, install
software, change user accounts or access secure data. Of course, from a security
perspective, it never makes sense to unconditionally trust anyone. That’s why even
trusted access needs to be controlled and monitored. And, of course, privileges can be
revoked at any time.
Privileged accounts represent the largest security vulnerability an organization faces
today. In the hands of an external attacker or malicious insider, privileged accounts
allow attackers to take full control of an organization’s IT infrastructure, disable security
controls, steal confidential information, commit financial fraud and disrupt operations.
Stolen, abused or misused privileged credentials are used in nearly all breaches. With
this growing threat, organizations need controls put in place to proactively protect
against, detect and respond to in-progress cyber-attacks before they strike vital systems
and compromise sensitive data.
PAM makes it harder for attackers to penetrate a network and obtain privileged
account access. PAM adds protection to privileged groups that control access across
a range of domain-joined computers and applications on those computers. It also adds
more monitoring, more visibility, and more fine-grained controls so that organizations
can see who their privileged administrators are and what are they doing. PAM gives
organizations more insight into how administrative accounts are used in the
environment.
A PAM solution offers a secure, streamlined way to authorize and monitor all privileged
users for all relevant systems. PAM lets you:
•
•
•
•
•
Grant privileges to users only for systems on which they are authorized.
Grant access only when it’s needed and revoke access when the need expires.
Avoid the need for privileged users to have or need local/direct system
passwords.
Centrally and quickly manage access over a disparate set of heterogeneous
systems.
Create an unalterable audit trail for any privileged operation.
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Types of Privileged Accounts
Privileged accounts are broadly classified as:
•
•
•
Administrative accounts: A non-generic personal (named) user account that is
assigned to an administrative role or assumes elevated privileges in the process,
and therefore has access to all standard user and privileged operations.
System accounts: These are built into systems or applications, such as root on
Unix/Linux systems or Administrator on Windows systems.
Operational accounts: This type of account falls into two subcategories and may
have elevated privileges:
o Shared accounts set up to be used for administration and software
installation. These accounts were not created for the exclusive use of a
particular user, and may be shared by multiple users. They may also
include emergency accounts, often known as "Firecall" or "break-glass"
accounts, used in the event of an emergency that requires privileged
access on a temporary basis.
o Service accounts or application accounts that are used to allow remote
(software-to-software) interactions with other systems, or to run system
services.
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Types of PAM Tools
Although it is theoretically possible to use manual processes to manage privileged
access, in practice it is too cumbersome to do so, and virtually impossible to enforce
such practices without specialized privileged access management (PAM) tools. PAM is
a set of technologies designed to help organizations address the inherent problems
related to privileged accounts. Gartner classifies the available PAM technologies in four
main categories:
•
Shared-account password management (SAPM) tools: Control use of (usually
privileged) shared accounts
•
Application-to-application password management (AAPM) tools: Control use of
(usually privileged) application accounts for programmatic access
•
Super user privilege management (SUPM) tools: Allow users granular, contextdriven and/or time-limited use of super user privileges
•
Privileged session management (PSM) tools: Manage privileged sessions to
target systems and provide detailed privileged activity logging and monitoring
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Components of PAM solutions
Privileged Access Management solutions vary in their architectures, but most offer the
following components working in concert:
Access Manager
This PAM module governs access to privileged accounts. It is a single point of policy
definition and policy enforcement for privileged access management. A privileged user
requests access to a system through the Access Manager. The Access Manager knows
which systems the user can access and at what level of privilege. A super admin can
add/modify/delete privileged user accounts on the Access Manager. This approach
reduces the risk that a former employee will retain access to a critical system.
Password Vault
The best PAM systems prevent privileged users from knowing the actual passwords to
critical systems. This prevents a manual override on a physical device, for example.
Instead, the PAM system keeps these password in a secure vault and opens access to a
system for the privileged user once he has cleared the Access Manager.
Session Manager
Access control is not enough. You need to know what a privileged user actually did
during an administrative session. A Session Manager tracks actions taken during a
privileged account session.
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Challenges faced with Privileged Accounts
•
Management of privileged access is a major challenge for most organizations.
Regulators and auditors are increasingly aware of the need to control and
monitor access to privileged accounts.
•
Many organizations allow unrestricted and unmonitored use of privileged
credentials that are shared among users, and thereby severely limiting the
possibility of personal accountability.
•
Many organizations assign full super user privileges to application developers,
DBAs and others, which is an egregious violation of the principle of least privilege.
•
Effective procedures around managing privileged access and shared accounts
are cumbersome without specialized tools.
•
A lack of access governance model for privileged accounts in most
organizations leads to governance issues, such as accumulation of privileged
access, orphaned accounts, ownership conflicts and others.
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PAM Setup
PAM setup and operation has four steps:
Prepare:
Identify which groups in your existing forest have significant privileges. Recreate these
groups without members in the bastion forest.
Protect:
Set up lifecycle and authentication protection, such as Multi-Factor Authentication
(MFA), for when users request just-in-time administration. MFA helps prevent
programmatic attacks from malicious software or following credential theft.
Operate:
After authentication requirements are met and a request is approved, a user account
gets added temporarily to a privileged group in the bastion forest. For a pre-set amount
of time, the administrator has all privileges and access permissions that are assigned to
that group. After that time, the account is removed from the group.
Monitor:
PAM adds auditing, alerts, and reports of privileged access requests. You can review
the history of privileged access, and see who performed an activity. You can decide
whether the activity is valid or not and easily identify unauthorized activity, such as an
attempt to add a user directly to a privileged group in the original forest. This step is
important not only to identify malicious software but also for tracking "inside" attackers.
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Advantages of PAM
PAM offers the following advantages:
•
Isolation/scoping of privileges: Users do not hold privileges on accounts that are
also used for non-privileged tasks like checking email or browsing the Internet.
Users need to request privileges. Requests are approved or denied based on
MIM policies defined by a PAM administrator. Until a request is approved,
privileged access is not available.
•
Step-up and proof-up: These are new authentication and authorization
challenges to help manage the lifecycle of separate administrative accounts.
The user can request the elevation of an administrative account and that
request goes through MIM workflows.
•
Additional logging: Along with the built-in MIM workflows, there is additional
logging for PAM that identifies the request, how it was authorized, and any
events that occur after approval.
•
Customizable workflow: The MIM workflows can be configured for different
scenarios, and multiple workflows can be used, based on the parameters of the
requesting user or requested roles.
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PAM Best Practices
•
Identify all privileged accounts and their owners in your IT infrastructure. Review
business, operational and regulatory requirements to classify these accounts
based on the level of risk they present in your environment.
•
Do not allow passwords for privileged accounts to be shared. Establish processes
and controls for managing and monitoring the use of shared accounts and their
passwords.
•
Grant only the minimum level of privileges required to carry out a task, and limit
the time when they can be used whenever possible.
•
Evaluate and implement appropriate PAM tools and compensating controls,
including risk-appropriate authentication methods for access to PAM tools.
•
Establish privileged access governance by extending identity governance
controls, such as automated provisioning, entitlements cataloguing and access
certification, to privileged accounts and administrator access.
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Public Key Infrastructure (PKI)
A public key infrastructure (PKI) supports the distribution and identification of public
encryption keys, enabling users and computers to both securely exchange data
over networks such as the Internet and verify the identity of the other party.
Without PKI, sensitive information can still be encrypted (ensuring confidentiality) and
exchanged, but there would be no assurance of the identity (authentication) of the
other party. Any form of sensitive data exchanged over the Internet is reliant on PKI for
security.
Elements of PKI
A typical PKI consists of hardware, software, policies and standards to manage the
creation, administration, distribution and revocation of keys and digital certificates.
Digital certificates are at the heart of PKI as they affirm the identity of the certificate
subject and bind that identity to the public key contained in the certificate.
A typical PKI includes the following key elements:
•
•
•
•
A trusted party, called a certificate authority (CA), acts as the root of trust and
provides services that authenticate the identity of individuals, computers and
other entities
A registration authority, often called a subordinate CA, certified by a root CA to
issue certificates for specific uses permitted by the root
A certificate database, which stores certificate requests and issues and revokes
certificates
A certificate store, which resides on a local computer as a place to store issued
certificates and private keys
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Certificates and Certification Authorities
For public-key cryptography to be valuable, users must be assured that the other
parties with whom they communicate are “safe”—that is, their identities and keys are
valid and trustworthy. To provide this assurance, all users of a PKI must have a registered
identity. These identities are stored in a digital format known as a public key certificate.
Certification Authorities (CAs) represent the people, processes, and tools to create
digital certificates that securely bind the names of users to their public keys. In creating
certificates, CAs act as agents of trust in a PKI. As long as users trust a CA and its
business policies for issuing and managing certificates, they can trust certificates issued
by the CA. This is known as third-party trust. CAs create certificates for users by digitally
signing a set of data that includes the following information (and additional items):
•
•
•
•
The user’s name in the format of a distinguished name (DN). The DN specifies the
user’s name and any additional attributes required to uniquely identify the user
(for example, the DN could contain the user’s employee number).
A public key of the user. The public key is required so that others can encrypt for
the user or verify the user’s digital signature.
The validity period (or lifetime) of the certificate (a start date and an end date).
The specific operations for which the public key is to be used (whether for
encrypting data, verifying digital signatures, or both).
The CA’s signature on a certificate allows any tampering with the contents of the
certificate to be easily detected. (The CA’s signature on a certificate is like a tamperdetection seal on a bottle of pills—any tampering with the contents of a certificate is
easily detected) As long as the CA’s signature on a certificate can be verified, the
certificate has integrity. Since the integrity of a certificate can be determined by
verifying the CA’s signature, certificates are inherently secure and can be distributed in
a completely public manner (for example, through publicly-accessible directory
systems).
Users retrieving a public key from a certificate can be assured that the public key is
valid. That is, users can trust that the certificate and its associated public key belong to
the entity specified by the distinguished name. Users also trust that the public key is still
within its defined validity period. In addition, users are assured that the public key may
be used safely in the manner for which it was certified by the CA.
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Digital Signature
For analogy, a certificate can be considered as the ID card issued to the person.
People use ID cards such as a driver's license, passport to prove their identity. A digital
certificate does the same basic thing in the electronic world, but with one difference.
Digital Certificates are not only issued to people but they can be issued to computers,
software packages or anything else that need to prove the identity in the electronic
world.
•
•
•
Digital certificates are based on the ITU standard X.509 which defines a standard
certificate format for public key certificates and certification validation. Hence
digital certificates are sometimes also referred to as X.509 certificates.
Public key pertaining to the user client is stored in digital certificates by The
Certification Authority (CA) along with other relevant information such as client
information, expiration date, usage, issuer etc.
CA digitally signs this entire information and includes digital signature in the
certificate.
Anyone who needs the assurance about the public key and associated information of
client, he carries out the signature validation process using CA’s public key. Successful
validation assures that the public key given in the certificate belongs to the person whose
details are given in the certificate.
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Certificate repositories and certificate distribution
As mentioned earlier in this paper, the CA acts as a trusted third-party issuing
certificates to users. Businesses also must distribute those certificates so they can be
used by applications. Certificate repositories store certificates so that applications can
retrieve them on behalf of users. The term repository refers to a network service that
allows for distribution of certificates. Over the past few years, the consensus in the
information technology industry is that the best technology for certificate repositories is
provided by directory systems that are LDAP (Lightweight Directory Access Protocol)compliant. LDAP defines the standard protocol to access directory systems. Several
factors drive this consensus position:
•
•
storing certificates in directories and having applications retrieve certificates on
behalf of users provides the transparency required for use in most businesses
many directory technologies supporting LDAP can be scaled to:
o support a very large number of entries
o respond efficiently to search requests due to their information storage and
retrieval methods, and
o be distributed throughout the network to meet the requirements of even
the most highly-distributed organizations
In addition, the directories that support certificate distribution can store other
organizational information. As discussed in the next section, the PKI can also use the
directory to distribute certificate revocation information.
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Support for Non-Repudiation
Repudiation occurs when an individual denies involvement in a transaction. (For
instance, when someone claims a credit card is stolen, this means that he or she is
repudiating liability for transactions that occur with that card any time after reporting
the theft). Non-repudiation means that an individual cannot successfully deny
involvement in a transaction. In the paper-world, individuals’ signatures legally bind
them to their transactions (for example, credit card charges, and business contracts).
The signature prevents repudiation of those transactions. In the electronic world, the
replacement for the pen-based signature is a digital signature. All types of electronic
commerce require digital signatures because electronic commerce makes traditional
pen-based signatures obsolete.
The signing private key
The most basic requirement for non-repudiation is that the key used to create digital
signatures and signing be generated and securely stored in a manner under the sole
control of the user at all times. It is not acceptable to back up the signing key. Unlike
encryption key pairs, there is no technical or business requirement to backup or restore
previous signing key pairs when users forget their passwords or lose, break, or corrupt
their signing keys. In such cases, it is acceptable for users to generate new signing key
pairs and continue using them from that time forward.
The need for two key pairs
It is difficult to simultaneously support key backup and recovery and non-repudiation.
To support key backup and recovery the decryption keys must be backed up securely.
To support non-repudiation, the keys used for digital signature cannot be backed up
and must be under the sole control of the user at all times. To meet these requirements,
a PKI must support two key pairs for each user. At any point in time, a user must have
one current key pair for encryption and decryption, and a second key pair for digital
signature and signature verification. Over time, users will have numerous key pairs that
must be managed appropriately.
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Client-side softwares
When discussing requirements for PKIs, businesses often neglect the requirement for
client-side software. (For instance, many people only focus on the CA component
when discussing PKIs). Ultimately, however, the value of a PKI is tied to the ability of users
to use encryption and digital signatures. For this reason, the PKI must include client-side
software that operates consistently and transparently across applications on the
desktop (for example, email, Web browsing, e-forms, file/folder encryption). A
consistent, easy-to-use PKI implementation within client-side software lowers PKI
operating costs. In addition, client-side software must be technologically enabled to
support all of the elements of a PKI discussed earlier in this paper. The following list
summarizes the requirements client-side software must meet to ensure that users in a
business receive a usable, transparent (and thus, acceptable) PKI.
Public key certificates
To provide third-party trust, all PKI-enabled applications must use certificates in a
consistent, trustworthy manner. The client-side software must validate the CA’s signature
on certificates and ensure that the certificates are within their validity periods
Key backup and recovery
To ensure users are protected against loss of data, the PKI must support a system for
backup and recovery of decryption keys. With respect to administrative costs, it is
unacceptable for each application to provide its own key backup and recovery.
Instead, all PKI-enabled client applications should interact with a single key backup
and recovery system. The interactions between the client-side software and the key
backup and recovery system must be secure, and the interaction method must be
consistent across all PKI-enabled applications.
Support for non-repudiation
To provide basic support for non-repudiation, the client-side software must generate
the key pairs used for digital signature. In addition, the client-side software must ensure
that the signing keys are never backed up and remain under the users’ control at all
times. This type of support must be consistent across all PKI-enabled applications.
Automatic update of key pairs
To enable transparency, client-side applications must automatically initiate updating of
users’ key pairs. This activity must be done in accordance with the security policies of
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the organization. It is unacceptable for users to have to know that their key pairs require
updating. To meet this requirement across all PKI-enabled applications, the client-side
software must update key pairs transparently and consistently.
Management of key histories
To enable users to easily access all data encrypted for them (regardless of when it was
encrypted), PKI-enabled applications must have access to users key histories. The clientside software must be able to securely recover users’ key histories.
A scalable certificate repository
To minimize the costs of distributing certificates, all PKI-enabled applications must use a
common, scalable certificate repository.
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Risk Analysis
Risk analysis is the process of defining and analyzing the dangers to individuals,
businesses and government agencies posed by potential natural and human-caused
adverse events. In IT, a risk analysis report can be used to align technology-related
objectives with a company's business objectives. A risk analysis report can be either
quantitative or qualitative.
In quantitative risk analysis, an attempt is made to numerically determine the
probabilities of various adverse events and the likely extent of the losses if a particular
event takes place.
Qualitative risk analysis, which is used more often, does not involve numerical
probabilities or predictions of loss. Instead, the qualitative method involves defining the
various threats, determining the extent of vulnerabilities and devising countermeasures
should an attack occur.
Risk analysis, which is a tool for risk management, is a method of identifying
vulnerabilities and threats, and assessing the possible damage to determine where to
implement security safeguards. Risk analysis is used to ensure that security is cost
effective, relevant, timely and responsive to threats. Security can be quite complex,
even for well-versed security professionals, and it is easy to apply too much security, not
enough security or the wrong security components, and spend too much money in the
process without attaining the necessary objectives. Risk analysis helps companies
prioritize their risks and shows management the amount of money that should be
applied to protecting against those risks in a sensible manner.
A risk analysis has four main goals:
•
•
•
•
Identify assets and their values
Identify vulnerabilities and threats
Quantify the probability and business impact of these potential threats
Provide an economic balance between the impact of the threat and the cost of
the countermeasure
The process of conducting a risk analysis is very similar to identifying an acceptable risk
level. Essentially, you do a risk analysis on the organization as a whole to determine the
acceptable risk level. This is then your baseline to compare all other identified risks to
determine whether the risk is too high or if it is under the established acceptable risk
level.
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Why Risk Analytics?
Today, risk analytics techniques make it possible to measure, quantify, and even predict
risk with more certainty than ever before. That’s a big deal for organizations that have
relied heavily on the opinions of leaders at the business unit level to monitor, assess, and
report risk. Even for executives with sound intuition, it was virtually impossible to construct
an enterprise level view of risk spanning many different parts of the business.
This is where analytics excels. It helps establish a baseline for measuring risk across the
organization by pulling together many strands of risk into one unified system and
offering executive’s clarity in identifying, viewing, understanding, and managing risk.
Taking a unified approach to risk management is a key component of becoming what
we call a Risk Intelligent Enterprise™—one in which boards and executives integrate risk
considerations into strategic decision making, and where business units and functions
incorporate risk intelligence into the many actions they take.
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Steps to conduct Risk Analysis
Step one: Identify assets and their values
Risk analysis provides a cost/benefit comparison, which compares the annualized cost
of safeguards to protect against threats with the potential cost of loss. A safeguard, in
most cases, should not be implemented unless the annualized cost of loss exceeds the
annualized cost of the safeguard itself. This means that if a facility is worth $100,000, it
does not make sense to spend $150,000 trying to protect it.
The value placed on assets (including information) is relative to the parties involved,
what work was required to develop it, how much it costs to maintain, what damage
would result if it were lost or destroyed, and what benefit another party would gain if it
were to obtain it. If a company does not know the value of the information and the
other assets it is trying to protect, it does not know how much money and time it should
spend on protecting them.
The value of an asset should reflect all identifiable costs that would arise if there were
an actual impairment of the asset. If a server costs $4,000 to purchase, this value should
not be input as the value of the asset in a business risk assessment. Rather, the cost of
replacing or repairing it, the loss of productivity and the value of any data that may be
corrupted or lost, need to be accounted for to properly capture the amount the
company would lose if the server were to fail for one reason or another.
The following issues should be considered when assigning values to assets:
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
Cost to acquire or develop the asset
Cost to maintain and protect the asset
Value of the asset to owners and users
Value of the asset to adversaries
Value of intellectual property that went into developing the information
Price others are willing to pay for the asset
Cost to replace the asset if lost
Operational and production activities that are affected if the asset is unavailable
Liability issues if the asset is compromised
Usefulness and role of the asset in the organization
Understanding the value of an asset is the first step to understanding what security
mechanisms should be put in place and what funds should go toward protecting it. A
very important question is how much it could cost the company to not protect the
asset.
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Step two: Identify vulnerabilities and threats
Once the assets have been identified and assigned values, all of the vulnerabilities and
associated threats need to be identified for each asset or group of assets. The IRM team
needs to identify the vulnerabilities that could affect each asset's integrity, availability or
confidentiality requirements. All of the relevant vulnerabilities need to be identified and
documented so that the necessary countermeasures can be implemented.
Since there is a large amount of vulnerabilities and threats that can affect the different
assets, it is important to be able to properly categorize them. The goal is to determine
which threats and vulnerabilities could cause the most damage so that the most critical
items can be taken care of first.
Step three: Quantify the probability and business impact of these
potential threats
The team carrying out the risk assessment needs to figure out the business impact for
the identified threats.
To estimate potential losses posed by threats, answer the following questions:
What physical damage could the threat cause, and how much would that cost?
How much productivity loss could the threat cause, and how much would that cost?
What is the value lost if confidential information is disclosed?
What is the cost of recovering from a virus attack?
What is the cost of recovering from a hacker attack?
What is the value lost if critical devices were to fail?
What is the single loss expectancy (SLE) for each asset and each threat?
This is just a small list of questions that should be answered. The specific questions will
depend upon the types of threats the team uncovers.
The team then needs to calculate the probability and frequency of the identified
vulnerabilities being exploited. The team will need to gather information about the
likelihood of each threat taking place from people in each department, past records
and official security resources. If the team is using a quantitative approach, then they
will calculate the annualized rate of occurrence (ARO), which is how many times the
threat can take place in a 12-month period.
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Step four: Identify countermeasures and determine cost/benefit
The team then needs to identify countermeasures and solutions to reduce the potential
damages from the identified threats.
A security countermeasure must make good business sense, meaning that it is costeffective and that its benefit outweighs its cost. This requires another type of analysis:
a cost/benefit analysis.
A commonly used cost/benefit calculation for a given safeguard is:
(ALE before implementing safeguard) – (ALE after implementing safeguard) –
(annual cost of safeguard) = value of safeguard to the company
For example, if the ALE of the threat of a hacker bringing down a Web server is $12,000
prior to implementing the suggested safeguard, $3,000 after implementing the
safeguard, and the annual cost of maintenance and operation of the safeguard is
$650, then the value of this safeguard to the company is $8,350 each year.
The cost of a countermeasure is more than just the amount that is filled out on the
purchase order. The following items need to be considered and evaluated when
deriving the full cost of a countermeasure:
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
Product costs
Design/planning costs
Implementation costs
Environment modifications
Compatibility with other countermeasures
Maintenance requirements
Testing requirements
Repair, replacement or update costs
Operating and support costs
Effects on productivity
So, for example, the cost of this countermeasure could be:
$5,500 for the product
$2,500 for training
$3,400 for the lab and testing time
$2,600 for the loss in user productivity once the product was introduced into
production
$4,000 in labor for router reconfiguration, product installation, troubleshooting, and
installation of the two service patches.
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The real cost of this countermeasure is $18,000. If our total potential loss was calculated
at $9,000, we went over budget by 100% when applying this countermeasure for the
identified risk. Some of these costs may be hard or impossible to identify before they are
acquired, but an experienced risk analyst would account for many of these possibilities.
It is important that the team knows how to calculate the actual cost of a
countermeasure to properly weigh it against the benefit and savings the
countermeasure is supposed to provide.
Goals of risk analysis
The risk analysis team should have clearly defined goals that it is seeking. The following is
a short list of what generally is expected from the results of a risk analysis:
•
•
•
•
•
Monetary values assigned to assets
Comprehensive list of all possible and significant threats
Probability of the occurrence rate of each threat
Loss potential the company can endure per threat in a 12-month time span
Recommended safeguards, countermeasures and actions
Although this list looks short, there is usually an incredible amount of detail under each
bullet item. This report is presented to senior management, which will be concerned
with possible monetary losses and the necessary costs to mitigate these risks. Although
the reports should be as detailed as possible, there should be executive abstracts so
that senior management may quickly understand the overall findings of the analysis.
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Benefits of Risk Analytics
Get the details
Risk analytics helps take the guesswork out of managing risk-related issues by using a
range of techniques and technologies to extrapolate insights, calculate likely scenarios,
and predict future events.
Understand the complexity
An organization’s exposure to risk is influenced by increasing volumes of structured
data—such as databases—and unstructured data—such as websites, social media,
and blogs—that are available to an organization internally and externally. Risk analytics
can be leveraged to integrate this data into a single, unified view, gather valuable
information, and enable actionable insights.
Cross the divide
In their scramble to build effective risk strategies, teams often fail to consider the overall
impact to the organization. Risk analytics pulls data across the organization into one
central platform, helping create a truly enterprise-wide approach.
Lay the groundwork
Risk is such a wide-ranging issue, spilling across organizational barriers, that it can be
hard to know exactly what to do with risk-related insights. Risk analytics is instrumental in
this scenario, allowing organizations to develop foresight with respect to potential risks
and zero in on “crunchy” questions that lay the groundwork for action.
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SAP ERP Security
SAP Enterprise Central Component (also known as SAP ERP, earlier – as SAP R/3) is a
heart of Enterprise Resource Management. It is undoubtedly one of the major elements
of any business as it enables effective management, storage and processing of such
critical information as personal data of employees, financial and tax reports information
about material resources and more, depending on the modules enabled. Unauthorized
access to this system can result in disruption of key business processes and data
corruption.
Enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems are the backbone of many large
organizations and are critical to successfully running business operations.
However, many ERP systems are very complex with a diverse set of stakeholders
throughout the enterprise. They have also been in place for decades in some
enterprises and may have accumulated many years of technical debt -- making ERP
security difficult and costly to maintain.
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SAP ERP Security Risks
There are multiple risks related to SAP ERP systems. Some of them are:
Misappropriation of material resources (Fraud)
Having access to the Material Management (MM) module enables an attacker to
modify material recourses data in any way that’s beneficial, for example one can
manipulate any data that has to do with the quantity of material resources in stock or
being delivered; or pilfer from warehouses in collusion with organization’s employees.
Embezzlement of funds (Fraud)
By means of VD01 transaction in Sales and Distribution (SD) module an attacker can
create fake vendor to generate sales orders on behalf of this vendor via VA01
transaction. The outcome would most probably be money embezzlement.
Manipulation of credit limits (Sabotage)
Access to Sales and Distribution module would give an attacker the opportunity to
change limits for credit operations by using FD32 or F.34 transactions. Thus, when there
would be no limits for purchasing on credit it could cause an organization to fall into a
money pit.
Product cost manipulation (Sabotage, Fraud)
Using access to Sales and Distribution module an attacker can also substitute the data
used for product cost assignment. Products pricing in SAP is processed automatically by
measuring multiple criteria: monetary value of the transaction, customer type, season,
discount availability, markups, etc. These actions are managed by VK11, VK12 and
VK14 transactions. Due to the fact that the price is calculated automatically, pricing
determination processes may be incomprehensible to an executor. Thus, actions of
product cost manipulation may even remain unnoticed.
Credit card data theft (espionage)
There are many tables in Sales and Distribution module that store credit card data:
VCKUN, VCNUM, CCARDEC and more than 50 others. Besides material losses to your
organization, stealing credit card data would jeopardize business credibility.
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SAP vulnerabilities
In its report, Onapsis researchers found more than 95% of SAP systems are exposed to
vulnerabilities that could lead to a detrimental compromise of enterprise data and
processes.
These issues were identified through hundreds of security assessments of SAP systems.
Researchers stated there appears to be a disconnect between enterprise information
security teams and SAP operations teams; the SAP vulnerabilities identified support this
assertion given the vulnerabilities are basic information security issues that have likely
been addressed in other parts of an enterprise's information security program.
According to the Onapsis report, the top three most common attack vectors on SAP
systems that threaten ERP security are:
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A low-security customer Web portal;
Malicious accounts being used in customer or supplier portals; and
Vulnerabilities in the underlying database protocols.
All three of these issues contribute to the technical debt in securing an SAP system.
In the first vector, for example, a lower-security customer Web portal that is exposed to
the Internet could be set up to allow customers to connect from anywhere to place
orders. However, this customer Web portal can be used as part of an attack, with the
attacker pivoting from the lower-security system to other more critical systems, and
eventually the entire SAP system.
In the second attack vector, customer and supplier portals could potentially be
infiltrated; backdoor users could pivot the SAP portals and other platforms to continue
on and attack the internal network.
In the third attack vector, an attacker can exploit insecure database protocol
configurations that would allow them to execute commands on the operating system.
At this point, the attacker has complete access to the operating system and can
potentially modify or disrupt any information stored in the database.
Note that these are all common attack methods and should not be surprising to any
information security professional.
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SAP Security audit checklist
Checks conducted during security assessment:
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Security assessment of network, OS, DBMS related to SAP
SAP vulnerability assessment
Whitebox security configuration checks
Critical access control checks
SAP custom code security review
SAP segregation of duties analysis
Best practices for SAP and ERP security
While enterprises need to include all systems in an information security program, the
specific resources devoted to securing a particular asset should correspond to the
system's value to the organization. These value assets should be established through
a business impact analysis.
In addition, though enterprises might be hesitant to make any changes to production
systems, all systems must have basic information security hygiene in place to prevent
security incidents. These basic steps are necessary to prevent, mitigate, defend and
monitor for security incidents. SAP has a security guide and SearchSAP has many
resources on the basic security controls necessary for a SAP system -- including
vulnerability management, patch management and role-based access control.
Vulnerability management can be implemented in an SAP system by periodically
scanning application, Web, database and other associated servers, and then feeding
that data into a patch management program for testing and deployment. And while
role-based access control is critical for application security, it should also extend to
other aspects of the system so proper separation of duties is upheld to limit the risk of
rogue use.
Given the critical nature of SAP systems, one major concern for ongoing security
controls has been the potential for downtime from security. If an SAP system can't be
"down" for business reasons, plans should be in place on how to apply patches or make
other security changes without disrupting operations. This might include ensuring a highavailability system is in place, such as a backup system that automatically takes over
when the primary system is being patched or is having changes made.
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Another consideration to keep in mind is that other security technologies -- such as
an intrusion detection system, monitoring tools, among others -- which should be in
place, can be specifically tuned to monitor an SAP system.
Additionally, monitoring SAP application logs is necessary to identify compromised
accounts or other malicious activity at the application level. Using the concept of least
privilege -- including restricted network access throughout -- will make it more difficult
for an attacker to find an exploitable vulnerability to gain complete access or to easily
identify other systems to attack.
Again, enterprises need to ensure all systems are part of their information security
program -- including SAP systems. Excluding SAP systems in the past is what has allowed
for these basic security vulnerabilities to still be present in SAP systems today.
Some of these vulnerabilities have been well known in the information security
community for decades, so applying the processes and fixes found outside SAP systems
can significantly improve SAP security and prevent more severe incidents from affecting
critical business operations.
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Software Development Security
The software development life cycle
The software development life cycle, or SDLC, encompasses all of the steps that an
organization follows when it develops software tools or applications. Organizations that
incorporate security in the SDLC benefit from products and applications that are secure
by design.
In an organization that's been around for several years or more, the SDLC is welldocumented and usually includes the steps that are followed and in what order, the
business functions and/or individuals responsible for carrying out the steps and
information about where records are kept.
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A typical SDLC model contains the following main functions:
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Conceptual definition. This is a basic description of the new product or program
being developed, so that anyone reading it can understand the proposed
project.
Functional requirements and specifications. This is a list of requirements and
specifications from a business function perspective.
Technical requirements and specifications. This is a detailed description of
technical requirements and specifications in technical terms.
Design. This is where the formal detailed design of the product or program is
developed.
Coding. The actual development of software.
Test. This is the formal testing phase.
Deployment. This is where the software or product is installed in production.
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Getting the right security information to the right people
Many people in the entire development process need all kinds of information, including
security information, in a form that is useful to them. Here is the type of information that
is required during each phase of the SDLC.
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Conceptual -- Organization information security principles and strategies
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Functional requirements and specifications -- Information security requirements
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Technical requirements and specifications -- Information security requirements
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Design -- Enterprise security architecture and security product standards
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Coding -- Development standards, practices, libraries and coding examples
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Testing -- Test plans that show how to verify each security requirement
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Deployment -- Procedures for integrating existing authentication, access
controls, encryption, backup, etc.
If you are wondering why maintenance is omitted from the life cycle example here, it is
because maintenance is just an iteration of the life cycle: when a change is needed,
the entire process starts all over again. All of the validations that are present the first
time through the life cycle are needed every time thereafter.
Finally, one may say that these changes represent a lot of extra work in a development
project. This is not the case – these additions do not present that much extra time. These
are but small additions that reap large benefits later on.
Fix it now or pay the price later
Organizations that fail to involve information security in the life cycle will pay the price in
the form of costly and disruptive events. Many bad things can happen to information
systems that lack the required security interfaces and characteristics. Some examples
include:
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Orphan user accounts (still-active accounts that belong to employees or
contractors who have left the organization) that exist because the information
system does not integrate with an organization's identity management or single
sign-on solution.
Defaced Web sites as a result of systems that were not built to security standards
and, therefore, include easily exploited weaknesses.
Fraudulent transactions that occur because an application lacked adequate
audit trails and/or the processes required to ensure they are examined and issues
dealt with.
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Secure SDLC
A Secure SDLC process ensures that security assurance activities such as penetration
testing, code review, and architecture analysis are an integral part of the development
effort. The primary advantages of pursuing a Secure SDLC approach are:
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More secure software as security is a continuous concern
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Awareness of security considerations by stakeholders
Early detection of flaws in the system
Cost reduction as a result of early detection and resolution of issues
Overall reduction of intrinsic business risks for the organization
A Secure SDLC is set up by adding security-related activities to an existing development
process. For example, writing security requirements alongside the collection of
functional requirements, or performing an architecture risk analysis during the design
phase of the SDLC.
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Many Secure SDLC models have been proposed, for example:
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MS Security Development Lifecycle (MS SDL): One of the first of its kind,
the MS SDL was proposed by Microsoft in association with the phases of a classic
SDLC.
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NIST 800-64: Provides security considerations within the SDLC. Standards were
developed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology to be
observed by US federal agencies.
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OWASP CLASP (Comprehensive, Lightweight Application Security
Process): Simple to implement and based on the MS SDL. It also maps the
security activities to roles in an organization.
Implementing Security at each level
The idea is to have security built in rather than bolted on, maintaining the security
paradigm during every phase, to ensure a secure SDLC.
Phase 1: Requirements gathering and analysis
The software development process typically starts with requirements gathering and
systems analysis, the results of which are then used to create the design. The business
analysts and other personnel putting together requirements and functional
specifications need to be clued in to security needs, or better still, someone who
understands security from a product life cycle perspective should be on the team.
During requirements gathering for a secure SDLC, the first step is to identify applicable
policies and standards and the mandates that the software will need to follow;
compliance is an important factor to incorporate a standard framework, as well as to
ensure audit requirements are met. Next, the compliance requirements can be
mapped to the security controls.
This is followed up by developing a confidentiality, integrity and availability (CIA) matrix
that helps define the foundation of security controls, and is instrumental in creating a
secure software design. At this point security ’toll gates‘ are set, which are essentially
criteria that need to be met for the project to move on to the coding phase.
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Phase 2: Design
An architectural blueprint is now created, taking all the security requirements into
consideration. This defines the entry and exit points in addition to defining how the
business logic would interact with the different layers of the software.
In keeping with the secure SDLC paradigm, threat modeling is performed, which puts
the software through various scenarios of misuse to assess the security robustness. In the
process, various avenues to tackle potential problems emerge. One must keep in mind
that the application communicates in a distributed environment rather than just a single
system.
Phase 3: Coding
The best practices in the coding phase of a secure SDLC revolve around educating the
developers. Instead of focusing only on language- or platform-specific problems,
developers need an insight into how security vulnerabilities are created. These include
not just technical vulnerabilities, but also problems from a business logic perspective.
It is necessary to establish secure coding practices among developers through
guidelines and awareness campaigns. A source code review helps in making sure the
coding quality is maintained, in addition to meeting secure coding standards.
Organizations can also procure automatic code review tools to ensure security.
Phase 4: Quality assurance
The three pillars of quality are performance, functionality and security. Without
embedded security, the quality of the software is questionable, thus making security
a de facto quality vector. Tools to measure technical vulnerabilities are all very well, but
the human factor cannot be underestimated, especially when it comes to business
logic.
For a secure SDLC, outsourcing of software testing is a good idea, for cost savings
definitely, but more so to leverage the specialized testing knowledge, skills and
experience of the experts in the company being outsourced to.
When outsourcing, legalities like data sensitivity must be considered, and access to
production databases should be avoided. Data should be masked or sanitized and the
scope of the testing pre-defined.
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Phase 5: Deployment
In the final deployment phase of a secure SDLC, the different components of the
platform interact with each other. Platform security cannot be ignored, for while the
application itself might be secure, the platform it operates on might have exploitable
flaws. Platforms thus need to be made secure by turning off unwanted services, running
the machines on the least privilege principle, and making sure there are security
safeguards such as IDS, firewalls, and so on.
Development, as the very name suggests, is an on-going process. Updates, patches
and enhancements to the application code are constantly required. It is a cycle that
repeats itself, but security, even at the time of these modifications, must always be in
focus to ensure a robust and secure SDLC.
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Unified Threat Management
A new category of network security products -- called unified threat management
(UTM) -- promises integration, convenience and protection from pretty much every
threat out there; these are especially valuable for enterprise use. As Mike
Rothman explains, the evolution of UTM technology and vendor offerings make these
products even more valuable to enterprises.
Security expert Karen Scarfone defines UTM products as firewall appliances that not
only guard against intrusion but also perform content filtering, spam filtering,
application control, Web content filtering, intrusion detection and antivirus duties; in
other words, a UTM device combines functions traditionally handled by multiple
systems. These devices are designed to combat all levels of malicious activity on the
computer network.
An effective UTM solution delivers a network security platform comprised of robust and
fully integrated security and networking functions along with other features, such as
security management and policy management by a group or user. It is designed to
protect against next generation application layer threats and offers a centralized
management through a single console, all without impairing the performance of the
network.
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Advantages of using UTM
Convenience and ease of installation are the two key advantages of unified threat
management security appliances. There is also much less human intervention required
to install and configure them appliances. Other advantages of UTM are listed below:
Reduced complexity
The integrated all-in-one approach simplifies not only product selection but
also product integration, and ongoing support as well.
Ease of deployment
Since there is much less human intervention required, either vendors or the customers
themselves can easily install and maintain these products.
Integration capabilities
UTM appliances can easily be deployed at remote locations without the on-site help of
any security professional. In this scenario a plug-and-play appliance can be installed
and managed remotely. This kind of management is synergistic with large, centralized
software-based firewalls.
Black box character
Users have a tendency to play with things, and the black box nature of a UTM limits the
damage users can do and, thus, reduces help desk calls and improves security.
Troubleshooting ease
When a box fails, it is easier to swap out than troubleshoot. This process gets the node
back online quicker, and a non-technical person can do it, too. This feature is especially
important for remote offices without dedicated technical staff on site.
Some of the leading UTM solution providers are Check Point, Cisco, Dell,
Fortinet, HP, IBM and Juniper Networks.
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Challenges of using UTM
UTM products are not the right solution for every environment. Many organizations
already have a set of point solutions installed that, combined, provide network security
capabilities similar to what UTMs offer, and there can be substantial costs involved in
ripping and replacing the existing technology install a UTM replacement. There are also
advantages to using the individual products together, rather than a UTM. For instance,
when individual point products are combined, the IT staff is able to select the best
product available for each network security capability; a UTM can mean having to
compromise and acquire a single product that has stronger capabilities in some areas
and weaker ones in others.
Another important consideration when evaluating UTM solutions is the size of the organization
in which it would be installed. Smallest organizations might not need all the network security
features of a UTM. There is no need for a smaller firm to tax its budget with a UTM if many of its
functions aren't needed. On the other hand, a UTM may not be right for larger, more cyberdependent organizations either, since these often need a level of scalability and reliability in
their network security that UTM products might not support (or at least not support as well as a
set of point solutions). Also a UTM system creates a single point of failure for most or all
network security capabilities; UTM failure could conceivably shut down an enterprise, with a
catastrophic effect on company security. How much an enterprise is willing to rely on a UTM is a
question that must be asked, and answered.
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Web App & Website Security
As most businesses rely on web sites to deliver content to their customers, interact with
customers, and sell products certain technologies are often deployed to handle the
different tasks of a web site. A content management system like Joomla! or Drupal may
be the solution used to build a robust web site filled with product, or service, related
content. Businesses often turn to blogs using applications like WordPress or forums
running on phpBB that rely on user generated content from the community to give
customers a voice through comments and discussions. ZenCart and Magento are often
the solutions to the e-commerce needs of both small and large businesses who sell
directly on the web. Add in the thousands of proprietary applications that web sites rely
and the reason securing web applications should be a top priority for any web site
owner, no matter how big or small.
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The Foundations of Security
Security relies on the following elements:
AUTHENTICATION
Authentication addresses the question: who are you? It is the process of uniquely
identifying the clients of your applications and services. These might be end users, other
services, processes, or computers. In security parlance, authenticated clients are
referred to as principals.
AUTHORIZATION
Authorization addresses the question: what can you do? It is the process that governs
the resources and operations that the authenticated client is permitted to access.
Resources include files, databases, tables, rows, and so on, together with system-level
resources such as registry keys and configuration data. Operations include performing
transactions such as purchasing a product, transferring money from one account to
another, or increasing a customer's credit rating.
AUDITING
Effective auditing and logging is the key to non-repudiation. Non-repudiation
guarantees that a user cannot deny performing an operation or initiating a transaction.
For example, in an e-commerce system, non-repudiation mechanisms are required to
make sure that a consumer cannot deny ordering 100 copies of a particular book.
CONFIDENTIALITY
Confidentiality, also referred to as privacy, is the process of making sure that data
remains private and confidential, and that it cannot be viewed by unauthorized users
or eavesdroppers who monitor the flow of traffic across a network. Encryption is
frequently used to enforce confidentiality. Access control lists (ACLs) are another means
of enforcing confidentiality.
INTEGRITY
Integrity is the guarantee that data is protected from accidental or deliberate
(malicious) modification. Like privacy, integrity is a key concern, particularly for data
passed across networks. Integrity for data in transit is typically provided by using hashing
techniques and message authentication codes.
AVAILABILITY
From a security perspective, availability means that systems remain available for
legitimate users. The goal for many attackers with denial of service attacks is to crash
an application or to make sure that it is sufficiently overwhelmed so that other users
cannot access the application.
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Risks Associated with Web Applications
Web applications allow visitors access to the most critical resources of a web site, the
web server and the database server. Like any software, developers of web applications
spend a great deal of time on features and functionality and dedicate very little time to
security. Its not that developers don’t care about security, nothing could be further from
the truth. The reason so little time is spent on security is often due to a lack of
understanding of security on the part of the developer or a lack of time dedicated to
security on the part of the project manager.
For whatever reason, applications are often riddled with vulnerabilities that are used by
attackers to gain access to either the web server or the database server. From there
any number of things can happen. They can:
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Deface a web site
Insert spam links directing visitors to another site
Insert malicious code that installs itself onto a visitor’s computer
Insert malicious code that steals session IDs (cookies)
Steal visitor information and browsing habits
Steal account information
Steal information stored in the database
Access restricted content
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Attacks on Web Application
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Code injection: hackers find ways to insert malicious executable code into
legitimate traffic sent to an endpoint
Broken authentication and session management: compromising user identities in
a variety of ways
Cross-site scripting: similar to code injection, but involving scripts instead, drawn
from inappropriate sources
Insecure direct object references: obtaining file access when it’s not actually
authorized
Security misconfiguration: a failure of the admin, sometimes as simple as leaving
passwords as defaults
Sensitive data exposure: failure to shield data in proportion to its business value or
customer sensitivity
Missing function level access control: failure to verify functions are actually
limited by access rights
Cross-site request forgery: compromising an unexpected web application by
leveraging validated authentication information
Components with known vulnerabilities: a vulnerable element, such as a Java
class, hasn’t been patched
Invalidated redirects and forwards: sending web users to unexpected sites that
serve hacker interests
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Web application security testing
There are also many commercial solutions designed to automate some of the testing.
“Black box” solutions don’t try to assess application code per se, but instead just treat
the application in a monolithic way. These are typically known as “web application
security scanners,” “vulnerability scanners,” “penetration testing tools,” etc., and work
by simulating a running, active, environment. Once installed, they then stress-test an
application for flaws in ways that real-world users presumably would. These flaws, once
exposed in the reports the solution generates, can then be addressed by the
development team.
“White box” solutions, on the other hand, do look into the structure and code of the
application itself — evaluating to some extent how well implemented the secure
coding best practices were by the engineers who built the application. For instance,
static analysis (as described above) can be performed to automatically trace process
execution and predict what should happen in an up-and-running application (that isn’t
actually up and running), thus spotting clear application security issues.
Another good testing idea is “fuzzing,” which basically just means hammering an
application with many different kinds of data. That includes data of a completely
inappropriate format for which the application was never designed, as well as random
data that doesn’t make sense because it hasn’t got a format. This is a good way of
revealing web application security flaws in an application via input that a normal
human being (whether working in quality assessment or a typical user) might never
even imagine, let alone carry out — but a hacker might.
In the case of applications that require a secure log-in process, let’s not forget web
application security basics - it’s wise to try password crackers. These can train a spotlight
on predictable issues, such as the strength of the password the application requires,
whether it’s possible to break the authentication code in any of several commonplace
ways, the minimum time interval between password entry attempts, or how many failed
passwords can be entered before a user is locked out.
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The Need to Avoid Attacks
With so many web sites running applications, attackers have taken to creating
automated tools that can launch well-coordinated attacks against a number of
vulnerable web sites at once. With this capability, the targets of these malicious hackers
are no longer limited to large corporate web sites. Smaller web sites are just as easily
caught up in the net cast by these automated attacks.
The repercussion of having your web site compromised can be devastating to any
business, no matter what the industry or size of the company. The after-effects of these
attacks include:
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Stolen data
Compromised user accounts
Loss of trust with customers and/or visitors
Damaged brand reputation
Lost sales revenue
Your site labeled as a malicious site
Loss of search engine rankings
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Ways to Strengthen Web App Security
Building Secure Web Services and AJAX Topics
Web Services
This section deals with the common issues facing web developers as they work to build
secure web apps, whether that includes Java, pHp, AJAX or other web languages
and/or technologies.
Secure Web Application and Secure Coding Topics
Authentication
This section deals with authentication issues associated with secure web apps, such as
basic/digest authentication, form-based authentication, integrated (SSO)
authentication, etc.
Authorization
This section addresses authentication issues, ensuring a user has the appropriate
privileges to view a resource. Topics such as principle of least privilege, client-side
authorization tokens, etc. are addressed here.
Session Management
This section addresses topics such as authenticated users having a robust and
cryptographically secure association with their session, applications enforcing
authorization checks and applications avoiding or preventing common web attacks,
such as replay, request forging and man-in-the-middle.
Data Validation
This section deals with applications being robust against all forms of input data, whether
obtained from the user, infrastructure, external entities or databases.
Interpreter Injection
This section addresses application issues so they are secure from well-known parameter
manipulation attacks against common interpreters.
Canonicalization, Locale and Unicode
This section addresses issues that help to ensure the application is robust when
subjected to encoded, internationalized and Unicode input.
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Error Handling, Auditing and Logging
This section deals with designing well-written applications that have dual-purpose logs
and activity traces for audit and monitoring. This makes it easy to track a transaction
without excessive effort or access to the system. They should possess the ability to easily
track or identify potential fraud or anomalies end-to-end.
Distributed Computing
This section deals with synchronization and remote services to web applications, by
hardening applications against:
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time of check, time of use race conditions
distributed synchronization issues
common multi-programming, multi-threaded and distributed security issues
Buffer Overflow
This section addresses issues such as:
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Applications do not expose themselves to faulty components
Applications create as few buffer overflows as possible
Developers are encouraged to use languages and frameworks that are
relatively immune to buffer overflows.
Administrative Interfaces
This section addresses issues such that:
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Administrator level functions are appropriately segregated from user activity
Users cannot access or utilize administrator functionality
Provide necessary audit and traceability of administrative functionality
Cryptography
This section helps to ensures that cryptography is safely used to protect the
confidentiality and integrity of sensitive user data.
Configuration
This section is focused on creating secure web applications which are as well-built and
secure out-of-the-box as possible.
Software Quality Assurance (QA)
According to the OWASP guide, “The software quality assurance goal is to confirm the
confidentiality and integrity of private user data is protected as the data is handled,
stored, and transmitted. The QA testing should also confirm the application cannot be
hacked, broken, commandeered, overloaded, or blocked by denial of service attacks,
within acceptable risk levels. This implies that the acceptable risk levels and threat
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modeling scenarios are established up front, so the developers and QA engineers know
what to expect and what to work towards.”
Deployment
This section deals with the issues surrounding secure deployment of web applications.
Maintenance
This section addresses issues such as:
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Products are properly maintained post deployment
Minimize the attack surface area throughout the production lifecycle
Security defects are fixed properly and in a timely fashion
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WAF- Web Application Firewall
Over the past few years, a clear trend has emerged within the information security
landscape; web applications are under attack. “Web applications continue to be a
prime vector of attack for criminals, and the trend shows no sign of abating; attackers
increasingly shun network attacks for cross-site scripting, SQL injection, and many other
infiltration techniques aimed at the application layer.” (Sarwate, 2008) Web
application vulnerabilities can be attributed to many things including poor input
validation, insecure session management, improperly configured system settings and
flaws in operating systems and web server software. Certainly writing secure code is the
most effective method for minimizing web application vulnerabilities. However, writing
secure code is much easier said than done and involves several key issues. First of all,
many organizations do not have the staff or budget required to do full code reviews in
order to catch errors. Second, pressure to deliver web applications quickly can cause
errors and encourage less secure development practices. Third, while products used to
analyze web applications are getting better, there is still a large portion of the job that
must be done manually and is susceptible to human error. Securing an organization’s
web infrastructure takes a defense in depth approach and must include input from
various areas of IT including the web development, operations, infrastructure, and
security teams.
One technology that can help in the security of a web application infrastructure is a
web application firewall. A web application firewall (WAF) is an appliance or server
application that watches http/https conversations between a client browser and web
server at layer 7. The WAF then has the ability to enforce security policies based upon a
variety of criteria including signatures of known attacks, protocol standards and
anomalous application traffic.
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WAF Placement
Appliance-based WAF deployments typically sit directly behind an enterprise firewall
and in front of organizational web servers. Deployments are often done in-line with all
traffic flowing through the web application firewall. However, some solutions can be
“out of band” with the use of a network monitoring port. If network based deployments
are not preferred, organizations have another option. Host or server based WAF
applications are installed directly onto corporate web servers and provide similar
feature sets by processing traffic before it reaches the web server or application.
Security Model
A WAF typically follows either a positive or negative security model when it comes to
developing security policies for your applications. A positive security model only allows
traffic to pass which is known to be good, all other traffic is blocked. A negative
security model allows all traffic and attempts to block that which is malicious. Some
WAF implementations attempt to use both models, but generally products use one or
the other. “A WAF using a positive security model typically requires more configuration
and tuning, while a WAF with a negative security model will rely more on behavioral
learning capabilities.” (Young, 2008)
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Operating Modes
Web Application Firewalls can operate in several distinct modes. Vendor names and
support for different modes vary, so check each product for specific details if a
particular mode is desired. Each mode offers various pros and cons which require
organizations to evaluate the correct fit for their organization.
Reverse Proxy
The full reverse proxy mode is the most common and feature rich deployment in the
web application firewall space. While in reverse proxy mode a device sits in line and all
network traffic passes through the WAF. The WAF has published IP addresses and all
incoming connections terminate at these addresses. The WAF then makes requests to
back end web servers on behalf of the originating browser. This mode is often required
for many of the additional features that a WAF may provide due to the requirement for
connection termination. The downside of a reverse proxy mode is that it can increase
latency which could create problems for less forgiving applications.
Transparent Proxy
When used as a transparent proxy, the WAF sits in line between the firewall and web
server and acts similar to a reverse proxy but does not have an IP address. This mode
does not require any changes to the existing infrastructure, but cannot provide some of
the additional services a reverse proxy can.
Layer 2 Bridge
The WAF sits in line between the firewall and web servers and acts just like a layer 2
switch. This mode provides high performance and no significant network changes,
however does not provide the advanced services other WAF modes may provide.
Network Monitor/Out of Band
In this mode, the WAF is not in line and watches network traffic by sniffing from a
monitoring port. This mode is ideal for testing a WAF in your environment without
impacting traffic. If desired, the WAF can still block traffic in this mode by sending TCP
resets to interrupt unwanted traffic.
Host/Server Based
Host or server based WAFs are software applications which are installed on web servers
themselves. Host based WAFs do not provide the additional features which their
network based counterparts may provide. They do, however, have the advantage of
removing a possible point of failure which network based WAFs introduce. Host based
WAFs do increase load on web servers so organizations should be careful when
introducing these applications on heavily used servers.
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WAP Features
WAF appliances are often either add-on components of existing application delivery
controllers or include additional features to improve the reliability and performance of
web applications. These additional features can help make the case for implementing
a WAF for organizations not already taking advantage of such features. Not all WAF
solutions have these features and many are dependent upon the deployment mode
chosen. Typically a reverse-proxy deployment will support each of these features.
Caching
Reducing load on web servers and increasing performance by caching copies of
regularly requested web content on the WAF thus reducing repeated requests to back
end servers.
Compression
In order to provide for more efficient network transport, certain web content can be
automatically compressed by the WAF and then decompressed by the browser.
SSL Acceleration
Use of hardware based SSL decryption in a WAF to speed SSL processing and reduce
the burden on back-end web servers.
Load Balancing
Spreading incoming web requests across multiple back end web servers to improve
performance and reliability.
Connection Pooling
Reduces back end server TCP overhead by allowing multiple requests to use the same
back end connection.
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Implementation, Tuning and Maintenance
Web application firewalls are certainly not a plug and play solution. They require
rigorous testing prior to implementation and regular tuning thereafter.
During the implantation phase, most vendors will have either a learning or passive
mode so that the WAF can be properly tuned before blocking any traffic. A solution
based upon a positive security model will need to learn what “normal” traffic looks like
for your applications. Negative security model solutions will typically be deployed in a
non-blocking mode so that any false positives can be tuned prior to turning on blocking
capabilities. Similarly to intrusion prevention systems, a WAF requires regular monitoring
of log files to detect attacks and tune false positives.
Organizations also need to consider how to incorporate WAF testing and tuning into
their standard development practices so that the impact of new applications can be
evaluated prior to deployment.
PCI Compliance
One of the major reasons organizations have an interested in web application firewalls
is PCI DSS version 1.1. Requirement 6.6 states that organizations need to protect web
applications by either reviewing all custom code for vulnerabilities or installing a web
application firewall. This choice sparked a bit of controversy in the industry over which
was the best practice. There are a myriad of arguments on both sides, but most agree
that the best approach it to implement both methods rather than choosing one over
the other. This requirement, however, has certainly shown a bright spotlight on WAF
technology and, if anything, given vendors fuel to sell their products.
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Wireless/Wi-Fi Security
Wireless networks are forcing organizations to completely rethink how they secure their
networks and devices to prevent attacks and misuse that expose critical assets and
confidential data. By their very nature, wireless networks are difficult to roll out, secure
and manage, even for the most savvy network administrators.
Wireless networks offer great potential for exploitation for two reasons; they use the
airwaves for communication, and wireless-enabled laptops are ubiquitous. To make the
most of their security planning, enterprises need to focus on threats that pose the
greatest risk. Wireless networks are vulnerable in a myriad of ways, some of the most
likely problems being rogue access points (APs) and employee use of mobile
devices without appropriate security precautions, but malicious hacking attempts and
denial-of-service (DoS) attacks are certainly possible as well.
Unlike traditional wired networks in which communications travel along a shielded
copper wire pair or optical cable, wireless radio frequency (RF) signals literally traverse
the open air. As a result, RF signals are completely exposed to anybody within range
and subject to fluctuating environmental factors that can degrade performance and
make management an administrative nightmare. Whether authorized or not, wireless
access points and their users are subject to malicious activity and employee misuse.
Additional wireless access security challenges come through the use of wirelessenabled devices by employees, the growing amount of confidential data residing on
those devices, and the ease with which end users can engage in risky wireless behavior.
The value of connectivity typically outweighs concerns about security, as users need to
get work done while at home or while traveling. Survey data from the leading research
group, Gartner, shows that at least 25 percent of business travelers connect to hotspots,
many of which are unsecure, while traveling. Furthermore, about two-thirds of those
who use hotspots connect to online services via Wi-Fi at least once a day highlighting
the need for extending wireless security outside of the enterprise.
To ensure effective, automated wireless threat protection, companies and government
organizations should implement a complete wireless security solution covering assets
across the enterprise that enables them to discover vulnerabilities, assess threats,
prevent attacks, and ensure ongoing compliance - in the most secure, easy-to-use and
cost-effective manner available.
IT departments must have a pre-emptive plan of action to prevent malicious attacks
and employee misuse which compromise an organization's data privacy and enforce
security policies for wireless use - both inside and outside their facilities. Whether or not a
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company has authorized the use of wireless or has a 'no wireless' policy, their networks,
data, devices and users are exposed and at risk.
Wi-Fi Standards
•
•
•
•
•
802.11a
o Frequency: 5.0 GHz
o Typical Maximum Speed: 54 Mbps
802.11b
o Frequency: 2.4 GHz
o Typical Maximum Speed: 11 Mbps
802.11g
o Frequency: 2.4 GHz
o Typical Maximum Speed: 54 Mbps
802.11n
o Frequency: 2.4 GHz or 5.0 GHz
o Typical Maximum Speed: 600 Mbps
802.11ac
o Frequency: 5.0 GHz
o Typical Maximum Speed: 6 Gbps
Common Wi-Fi Security Standards
Most Wi-Fi devices including computers, routers, and phones support several security
standards. The available security types and even their names vary depending on a
device's capabilities.
WEP: WEP stands for Wired Equivalent Privacy. It is the original wireless security standard
for Wi-Fi and is still commonly used on home computer networks. Some devices support
multiple versions of WEP security
•
•
•
WEP-64-bit key (sometimes called WEP-40)
WEP 128-bit key (sometimes called WEP-104)
WEP 256-bit key
and allow an administrator to choose one, while other devices only support a single
WEP option. WEP should not be used except as a last resort, as it provides very limited
security protection.
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WPA: WAP stands for Wi-Fi Protected Access. This standard was developed to replace
WEP. Wi-Fi devices typically support multiple variations of WPA technology. Traditional
WPA, also known as WPA-Personal and sometimes also called WPA-PSK (for pre-shared
key), is designed for home networking while another version, WPA-Enterprise, is
designed for corporate networks.
WAP2: WAP2 is an improved version of Wi-Fi Protected Access supported by all newer
Wi-Fi equipment. Like WPA, WPA2 also exists in Personal/PSK and Enterprise forms.
802.1X: 802.1X provides network authentication to both Wi-Fi and other types of
networks. It tends to be used by larger businesses as this technology requires additional
expertise to set up and maintain.
802.1X works with both Wi-Fi and other types of networks. In a Wi-Fi configuration,
administrators normally configure 802.1X authentication to work together with
WPA/WPA2-Enterprise encryption. 802.1X is also known as RADIUS.
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Wi-Fi Attacks
War Driving
This is the act of driving around neighborhoods and areas to enumerate what wireless
networks exist, what type of encryption (if any) is used, password (if known), and any
other pertinent information. This information may chalked or painted to the street or side
walk or posted to various websites. Some websites, like SkyHook ask their users for this.
Be cautious when you see various cars sitting outside your house for long periods of time
(unless you live near a Pokemon Gym or a Pokestop).
Cracking Attacks
Just like anything else using Passwords, there are desires and ways to crack those
passwords to gain access. Without password attacks, there would be no
Have I Been
Pwned and other similar sites. Very much like other password attacks, there are the
simplistic attacks (brute force) and the complex attacks. While brute force will
eventually work, there are methods to minimize the impact if compromised. These
mitigating factors are mentioned below in the Wi-Fi Security Tips. One tool, or rather a
suite of tools, used to crack Wi-Fi (WEP, WPA1, and WPA2) passwords is Aircrack-ng. It is
the replacement for Airsnort. You will also need the airmon-ng, airodump-ng, and
aireplay-ng tools (hence the suite) as well as a wireless card set to to "Monitor Mode"
(like promiscuous mode) to steal the handshake file and replay handshake to get the
file to crack. Once you have the file, you can use your favorite password list (mine is a
custom list with rockyou.txt as a base) to attempt to crack the key.
Denial of Service
A Denial of Service (DoS) attack is more of a nuisance than a true technical attack.
Think of it as an extreme brute force attack that overwhelms something, in this case, a
Wi-Fi network or assets/nodes on it. My broad over generalization of it being a nuisance
vice technical is an exaggeration; sometimes the vectors of attack for a DoS are very
technical. Many technologies, namely web servers and websites, have DoS protective
measures, as the internet can connect to them if they are public facing.
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Karma Attacks
Karma was a tool that was used to sniff, probe, and attack wi-fi networks using Man-inthe-Middle (MITM) methods. It has since fell from support as Karma but now exists as
several other products. For the scope of this blog post, I will be focusing on the current
incarnation known as Karmetasploit a portmanteau of Karma and Metasploit. Once the
run control file is obtained and everything properly configured, the attacker will use
airmon-ng and airbase-ng (relative of all the other airX-ng tools) to establish itself as a
wireless access point (AP). This is what perpetrates the Wi-Fi version of the Evil Twin
attack. In perpetrating the actual attack, the attacker will open metasploit and input
the Karma run control file then wait for users to connect. Once they connect, the
attacker has visibility into what the victim is doing and browsing as well as the capability
to interrogate the victim machine and extract cookies, passwords, and hashes. This
could be combined with password attacks like Mimikatz or replay attacks. The attacker
can also establish a meterpreter session with the victim for further exploitation.
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Ways to secure Wi-Fi Network
Change the Network Name
The service set identifier (SSID) is the name that's broadcast from your Wi-Fi to the
outside world so people can find the network. While you probably want to make the
SSID public, using the generic network name/SSID generally gives it away. For example,
routers from Linksys usually say "Linksys" in the name; some list the make and model
number ("NetgearR6700"). That makes it easier for others to ID your router type. Give
your network a more personalized moniker.
It's annoying, but rotating the SSID(s) on the network means that even if someone had
previous access—like a noisy neighbor—you can boot them off with regular changes.
It's usually a moot point if you have encryption in place, but just because you're
paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to use your bandwidth. (Just remember, if you
change the SSID and don't broadcast the SSID, it's on you to remember the new name
all the time and reconnect ALL your devices—computers, phones, tablets, game
consoles, talking robots, cameras, smart home devices, etc.
Activate Encryption
This is the ultimate Wi-Fi no-brainer; no router in the last 10 years has come without
encryption. It's the single most important thing you must do to lock down your wireless
network. Navigate to your router's settings and look for security options. Each router
brand will likely differ; if you're stumped, head to your router maker's support site.
Once there, turn on WPA2 Personal (it may show as WPA2-PSK); if that's not an option
use WPA Personal (but if you can't get WPA2, be smart: go get a modern router). Set
the encryption type to AES (avoid TKIP if that's an option). You'll need to enter a
password, also known as a network key, for the encrypted Wi-Fi.
This is NOT the same password you used for the router—this is what you enter on every
single device when you connect via Wi-Fi. So make it a long nonsense word or phrase
no one can guess, yet something easy enough to type into every weird device you've
got that uses wireless. Using a mix of upper- and lowercase letters, numbers, and special
characters to make it truly strong, but you have to balance that with ease and
memorability.
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Double Up on Firewalls
The router has a firewall built in that should protect your internal network against outside
attacks. Activate it if it's not automatic. It might say SPI (stateful packet inspection) or
NAT (network address translation), but either way, turn it on as an extra layer of
protection.
For full-bore protection—like making sure your own software doesn't send stuff out over
the network or Internet without your permission—install a firewall software on your PC as
well.
Turn Off Guest Networks
It's nice and convenient to provide guests with a network that doesn't have an
encryption password, but what if you can't trust them? Or the neighbors? Or the people
parked out front? If they're close enough to be on your Wi-Fi, they should be close
enough to you that you'd give them the password. (Remember—you can always
change your Wi-Fi encryption password later.)
Use a VPN
A virtual private network (VPN) connection makes a tunnel between your device and
the Internet through a third-party server—it can help mask your identity or make it look
like you're in another country, preventing snoops from seeing your Internet traffic. Some
even block ads. A VPN is a smart bet for all Internet users, even if you're not on Wi-Fi.
Update Router Firmware
Just like with your operating system and browsers and other software, people find
security holes in routers all the time to exploit. When the router manufacturers know
about these exploits, they plug the holes by issuing new software for the router, called
firmware. Go into your router settings every month or so and do a quick check to see if
you need an update, then run their upgrade. New firmware may also come with new
features for the router, so it's a win-win.
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Turn Off WPS
Wi-Fi Protected Setup, or WPS, is the function by which devices can be easily paired
with the router even when encryption is turned on, because you push a button on the
router and the device in question. Voila, they're talking. It's not that hard to crack,
however, and means anyone with quick physical access to your router can instantly
pair their equipment with it. Unless your router is locked away tight, this is a potential
opening to the network you may not have considered.
Don't Broadcast the Network Name
This makes it harder, but not impossible, for friends and family to get on the Wi-Fi; that
means it makes it a lot harder for non-friends to get online. In the router settings for the
SSID, check for a "visibility status" or "enable SSID broadcast" and turn it off. In the future,
when someone wants to get on the Wi-Fi, you'll have to tell them the SSID to type in—so
make that network name something simple enough to remember and type. (Anyone
with a wireless sniffer, however, can pick the SSID out of the air in very little time. The
SSID is not so much as invisible as it is camouflaged.)
Disable DHCP
The Dynamic Host Control Protocol (DHCP) server in your router is what IP addresses are
assigned to each device on the network. For example, if the router has an IP of
192.168.0.1, your router may have a DCHP range of 192.168.0.100 to 192.168.0.125—
that's 26 possible IP addresses it would allow on the network. You can limit the range so
(in theory) the DHCP wouldn't allow more than a certain number of devices—but with
everything from appliances to watches using Wi-Fi, that's hard to justify.
For security you could also just disable DHCP entirely. That means you have to go into
each device—even the appliances and watches—and assign it an IP address that fits
with your router. (And all this on top of just signing into the encrypted Wi-Fi as it is.) If that
sounds daunting, it can be for the layman. Again, keep in mind, anyone one with the
right Wi-Fi hacking tools and a good guess on your router's IP address range can
probably get on the network even if you do disable the DHCP server.
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Filter on MAC Addresses
Every single device that connects to a network has a media access control (MAC)
address that serves as a unique ID. Some with multiple network options—say 2.4GHz WiFi, and 5GHz Wi-Fi, and Ethernet—will have a MAC address for each type. You can go
into your router settings and physically type in the MAC address of only the devices you
want to allow on the network. You can also find the "Access Control" section of your
router to see a list of devices already connected, then select only those you want to
allow or block. If you see items without a name, check its listed MAC addresses against
your known products—MAC addresses are typically printed right on the device.
Anything that doesn't match up may be an interloper. Or it might just be something you
forgot about—there is a lot of Wi-Fi out there.
Offer Separate Wi-Fi for Guests
Never allow an untrusted or unfamiliar person have access to your private Wi-Fi
network. If you want to offer visitors or guests wireless Internet access, make sure that
such access is segregated from your company’s main network so they can’t possibly
get into your computers and files, and eavesdrop on your traffic.
Consider purchasing a separate Internet connection for guests and setting up an
additional wireless router or APs. Some wireless routers, such as D-Link’s Xtreme N
Gigabit Router (DIR-655), offer guest access on another SSID, or network name, that’s
separate from your private network and requires only a single Internet connection. To
see if your router offers this option, check the user manual or log in to the router's Webbased control panel by typing its IP address into a browser and look for a guest feature.
Additionally, most business-class APs offer the same functionality by creating Virtual
LANs (VLANs) and multiple SSIDs.
When configuring guest access, you could even enable separate encryption so you
can still try to control who connects and uses your Internet access. With a wireless
router, you should use the guest access settings.
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Physically Secure Your Network Gear
Besides enabling encryption to secure your private wireless network, you need to think
about the physical security of your network. Make sure that your wireless router or APs
are all secured from visitors. An intruder could easily plug into the network if it’s in reach
or reset it to factory defaults to clear the security. To prevent this, you could, for
instance, mount the hardware high on walls or above a false ceiling. Also, if your office
has Ethernet network ports on the walls, make sure that they aren’t within the reach of
visitors, or disconnect them from the network. If you have a larger network with a wiring
closet, make sure it says locked and secure.
Ensure Websites Are Encrypted Outside the Office
If you don’t use a VPN connection to secure all your traffic when out of the office, at
least ensure that any websites you log in to are encrypted. Highly sensitive websites,
such as banks, use encryption by default, but others, such as social networking sites and
email providers, don’t always do so.
To ensure that a website is using encryption, access it via a Web browser and try to use
SSL/HTTPS encryption. You can see if the site supports SSL encryption by adding the
letter s to its address: https:// instead of http://. If it’s encrypted, you’ll also see some sort
of notification in the browser about the security, such as a padlock or green-colored
address bar. If you don’t see any notification or it shows an error, it may not be secure;
you should therefore consider waiting to access the site until you’re on a private
network at home or in the office.
If you check your email with a client program such as Microsoft Outlook, you should try
enabling SSL encryption for your email server in your account settings (see Figure 6).
However, many email providers don’t support encrypted connections via
client programs. If that’s the case, check your email via the Web browser--using
SSL/HTTPS--if possible.
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Shop for Secure Wi-Fi Gear
When shopping for a Wi-Fi router or access points, keep security in mind. As mentioned,
some consumer-level wireless routers, such as the D-Link Xtreme N Gigabit Router, offer
a wireless guest feature, so you can keep visitors off your private network. And businessclass routers and APs usually offer VLAN and multiple SSID support, which you can
configure to do the same.
Additionally, some business-level routers offer integrated VPN servers. You can use VPN
connections to secure your Wi-FI hotspot sessions, remotely access your network, or link
multiple offices together. Some, such as the ZyXEL 802.11a/b/g/n Business Access Point,
even have an embedded RADIUS server, so you can use the Enterprise mode of
WPA2 security.
When shopping the big-box stores, you’ll find mostly consumer-level wireless routers. You
can check the box for features, but I suggest investigating online before purchasing.
Check the manufacturer’s site and read through the model’s product description
pages to get a better idea of what features it supports.
When shopping online for consumer or business gear, some Web stores include a
lengthy description, but again, check the manufacturer’s site for a full feature list.
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Conclusion
A few years ago cyber-attacks were on the margins of news stories. But after a series of
high-profile attacks against major financial institutions, retailers and health care
providers, people realize that cyber-attacks aren’t going away.
The need to address increasingly sophisticated threats has rapidly gone from an IT issue
to a top priority, and laid back attitude towards cyber security will make the respective
organization pay not only in terms of cash and kind but also in terms of reputation.
There are thousands of cyber security products present in the market today, and each
day hundreds of new products are released. So, it is the responsibility of an individual
and the organizations to employ the solution that best suits its needs and stay safe in
the world of never stopping cyber attacks.
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Recommendations
Government of India is focused on Digital India, make in India, which are being used to
empower the citizens of India. It is expected to result in one trillion economy in next
seven years. Digital Payments is another focus area. It is felt that cyber security needs to
be given priority to secure the digital payments and IT infrastructure of India.
Digital India is the growth engine that has the potential to transform India into
knowledge led economy and society. The digital revolution now stands at the cusp of a
transformation, with the government having laid out its vision of a digitally enabled
India.
The transformation of the cash to cash less society is getting limited because of the love
of cash and currency. We believe that massive efforts are needed to bring about that
change. It is also a fact that the people of India despite the handicap of cyber
education are quick to adopt technology when it affects their living. This was amply
proven by the speed with which the society took to mobile phone and its applications.
CMAI, is Asia’s largest ICT Association with 48,500 members and 54 MOU Partners
worldwide. CMAI is actively engaged in promotion of Digital India and Digital
Payments.
CMAI is dealing with more than one lack Educational institutions and academic
professionals consisting of Universities and technical/engineering colleges/schools etc.
CMAI has initiated free online training programs and large scale education for the use
of e-transaction and transformation of India to a digital economy.
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Cyber security is need of the hour to protect digital payments and ICT infrastructure of
India. The report is an attempt to put together various aspects of cyber security
solutions. The report interlaid suggests:
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
Focus on cyber security aspects
Initiate large scale on line programs for the education of e-transactions and
digital economy.
CMAI also recommends that specialized skill/vocational courses be immediately
started for cyber security and digital payments.
Provide volunteers to help in educating people at the grass root level especially
rural population for the use of ICT and safe e payments over currency.
Involve students from the University network and senior citizens for educating the
rural and low income urban population for the use of IT, safe e payments and
cyber security aspects.
Support Govt. initiative to enhance cyber security and to provide a watch dog
mechanism to control cyber security breach and cyber frauds.
CMAI also recommends that all available options for increasing the connectivity
should be explored including satellite, optical fibre and new technologies such
as White Space etc.
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https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoft-identity-manager/pam/privileged-identitymanagement-for-active-directory-domain-services
http://blog.wallix.com/what-is-privileged-access-management-pam
http://searchsecurity.techtarget.com/definition/PKI
http://searchsecurity.techtarget.com/tip/ERP-security-How-to-defend-against-SAPvulnerabilities
http://searchsecurity.techtarget.com/tip/Security-in-the-software-development-life-cycle
https://www.synopsys.com/blogs/software-security/secure-sdlc/
http://resources.infosecinstitute.com/intro-secure-software-development-life-cycle/#gref
http://in.pcmag.com/networking/81330/feature/12-ways-to-secure-your-wi-fi-network
https://www.alienvault.com/blogs/security-essentials/security-issues-of-wifi-how-it-works
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