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The Tall Tale of Endpoint Security: How Do We get from Nice-to-Have to Need-to-Have

Posted by Tom Bain    Jun 11, 2015 3:01:00 PM

After spending two days at the Gartner Security & Risk Summit in DC this week, a few very interesting topics stood out. (I’ll post more on specific talks from the events later)

First, as if RSA and InfoSec Europe weren’t enough to prove this, its clear that easily 50% of cybersecurity vendors are starting to tell an endpoint story - whether they can actually collect valuable, actionable system-level data or not – they are saying they can.

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Topics: endpoint security, Gartner Security and Risk Management Summit 2015, threat detection and response

Attacker Lateral Movement: Visualize Infiltration and Treat as Behaviors

Posted by Nenad Kreculj    Jun 8, 2015 4:45:54 PM

In the game of whack-a-mole, the player’s objective is to hit a target that keeps popping up in different places. It’s a fun game that exercises one’s reflexes and motor skills.

Unfortunately, similar games are played every day in security operation centers across many organizations, irrespective of their size (which is not fun). What makes it hard for the incident responders is the movement of the adversary – hopping from one endpoint to another, from one workstation to another. This is called lateral movement. There are many reasons why attackers move laterally – they do so to establish another persistence point in the network (the so-called “beachhead”), to steal data from a server, and sometimes to prepare the workstation for the next phase of attack (network enumeration or credentials stealing, for example).

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Topics: endpoint security, endpoint security solutions

Five Hard Truths About Critical Infrastructure Protection: Truth 5

Posted by Tom Bain    Jun 1, 2015 10:13:00 AM

In last week’s blog, we walked through the various reasons why it’s important for critical infrastructure providers to develop and implement cybersecurity countermeasures tailored to the specific needs of physical and digital infrastructure. 

Truth #5: Most critical infrastructure providers lack the tools, skills and mindset to deal with cyberattacks and APTs 

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Topics: Critical Infrastructure

The Thin Line Between the Insider and the Outsider

Posted by Nenad Kreculj    May 18, 2015 10:57:17 AM

Two very recent defining events are helping the industry see the bigger picture of the state of cybersecurity: the Verizon Business’ DBIR report and the RSA conference. Both the report and the conference reinforce the fact that cybersecurity has now reached boardroom level.

This year, yet again, one common denominator between the two was the message that organizations now do understand that being attacked is not a matter of “if” but “when”1. That awakening is good news.

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Topics: endpoint security, RSA Conference 2015, Verizon DBIR Report

Detecting and Remediating Against File Distribution Attacks

Posted by Kirby Kuehl    May 5, 2015 3:23:54 PM

Enterprise teams have varying means to some degree, of how they “see” attacks. There is often incongruence between what events they can detect, what their intelligence means, and the potential impact of an attack. 

At CounterTack, we are developing new technologies to help customers better detect and understand their threat tolerance. We are innovating methods to help customers improve security response by contextualizing threat impact into actionable intelligence.

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Topics: cybersecurity, Sentinel, CounterTack, EDR, endpoint detection and response, Shamoon, file distribution attacks, Kirby Kuehl, cyber attacks

Five Hard Truths About Critical Infrastructure Protection: Truth 4

Posted by Tom Bain    May 1, 2015 10:12:00 AM

In last week’s blog, we discussed why it’s important for critical infrastructure providers to recognize that by solely deploying preventative solutions, they are actually setting themselves up for failure. Cost-effective, scalable, post-intrusion detection solutions will help strengthen overall security strategy through proactive measures. 

Truth #4: Most critical infrastructure providers don’t know what digital vulnerabilities they have, where to find them or how to fix them 

Each critical infrastructure provider must develop and implement cybersecurity countermeasures tailored to its specific physical and digital infrastructure. This is hugely unfamiliar territory for most providers, who have relied on their equipment vendors to handle both ICS/SCADA and IT security. 

Unfortunately, neither traditional critical infrastructure vendors nor IT security vendors are fully equipped to counter the unique hybrid threat of cyber-enabled critical infrastructure attacks: The former aren’t schooled in IT security, while the latter aren’t used to protecting non-IT physical assets. Even worse, sometimes ICS/SCADA vendors don’t reveal vulnerabilities or even purposely install capabilities – such as unremovable backdoors – that attackers could easily co-opt. 

Scared they might overlook dangerous threats already on their systems, providers are reaching out to private forensic analysis companies and government authorities for help. A key, trusted government component is the Industrial Control Systems Cyber Emergency Response Team (ICS-CERT), part of the Control Systems Security Program (CSSP) at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). ICSCERT specializes in forensic incident response and vulnerability assessment throughout the critical infrastructure spectrum, from sectors as a whole to individual owners and operators. 

ICS-CERT’s June 2012 Incident Response Summary Report stated that the organization fielded nine incident reports in 2009, 41 in 2010 and 198 in 2011 – a 2,100-percent increase in only two years. Most incidents were not actual attacks, but of the 17 incidents that warranted on-site assessments: 

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Topics: Critical Infrastructure

The Next Generation Endpoint Is Truly Here

Posted by Tom Bain    Apr 27, 2015 10:09:00 PM

The RSA Conference was an interesting experience, particularly for those in the endpoint security market, or those attempting to break into this emerging market. It seems everyone at this point has some type of endpoint play, regardless of their technology heritage, or prior security focus.

It was at the America’s Growth Capital conference, a simultaneous gathering of investors and security types, that perhaps one of the more interesting panels took place, albeit, the final panel session of the day. With 1 billion endpoints in need of help, its clear this is the hottest market across the broadening security industry. 

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Topics: Cyber Attack, APT, cybersecurity, Tom Bain, Sentinel, endpoint security, CounterTack, Breaches, Zero-day Attack, Neal Creighton, data breach, Big Data Security, EDR, Big Data EDR, RSA Conference 2015, endpoint detection and response, AGC

Five Hard Truths About Critical Infrastructure Protection: Truth 3

Posted by Tom Bain    Apr 1, 2015 10:12:00 AM

In last week’s blog, we discussed why critical infrastructure is a prime target. To recap, targeted attacks to critical infrastructure will continue to occur solely based on the political and economic ramifications that ensue following the incident. Political, economic and financial drivers are all motivating factors behind attacks of this nature. 

Truth #3: No Organization – critical infrastructure providers included – can keep up with the onslaught of new cyberattacks and APTS. 

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Topics: Critical Infrastructure

Endpoint Security Makes Quantum Shift: Part IV - Resolution

Posted by Michael Davis    Mar 18, 2015 12:00:00 PM

Process Matters

Gartner has been the most vocal about the need for a process shift, advocating what it calls an “adaptive security architecture.” The idea is to balance efforts among attempting to predict when a breach will occur, prevent­ing the ones you can, detecting what a suc­cessful attacker has done on the endpoint, and ultimately responding to the attack in some way. You need to be doing all of these, all the time, with a variety of technologies, so you can respond appropriately.

“How you protect yourself from a shotgun blast is very different than how you protect yourself from a sniper’s bullet,” says Neal Mac­Donald, VP distinguished analyst at Gartner.

Let’s look at a real-world example of why you need change now, before you get stuck in the quicksand of a disastrous endpoint breach your prevention tools missed.

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Topics: Cyber Security, endpoint security

Endpoint Security Makes Quantum Shift: Part III - Not Just for Ops

Posted by Michael Davis    Mar 12, 2015 11:00:00 AM

The SANS study asked respondents what percentage of their incident response pro­cesses are automated through the use of purpose-built tools for remediation workflow. Just 16% automate more than 51% of inci­dent response tasks. No wonder attackers go undetected for months or even years. And, no wonder we can’t deliver even the most fundamental answers to what happened in a breach.

Automation tends to spook IT profession­als. But you should be more afraid of what happens without it. We discuss automation in depth in our 2014 DevOps Survey report. DevOps is all about automation, and it can be a boon for security. It opens up architectural discussions and forces entrenched IT constit­uencies into a mature process, getting people to trust in repeatable and reliable automated processes.

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Topics: Cyber Attack, endpoint security

Blog covers topics related to detecting and monitoring in-progress cyber attacks for IT security operations teams.

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