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GUEST ESSAY: Five steps to improving identity management — and reinforcing network security

By Jackson Shaw

The identity management market has grown to $13 billion and counting. While intuition would tell you enterprises have identity under control, that is far from reality.

Related: Taking a zero-trust approach to access management

Current events, such as the global pandemic and ‘The Great Resignation,’ which have accelerated cloud adoption, remote working environments, and the number of business applications and systems in use has complicated matters.

As a result, new solutions and features to address identity challenges have emerged. In a sense, this is a positive trend: change makers are innovating and trying to stay ahead of imminent threats.

On the other hand, there’s a good deal of snake oil on the market, making it hard for organizations to realize the value of their tech investments. Last, and perhaps most significant, many solutions don’t work together harmoniously, making it hard for employees to get work done.

When you consider these points, it’s understandable why businesses end up with too many solutions to effectively manage, or simply default to manual, inefficient processes to address identity- and security-related tasks. But for progress to happen, we must first get to the root of why this is happening.

SHARED INTEL: VCs pumped $21.8 billion into cybersecurity in 2021 — why there’s more to come

By David Magerman

At the start of this year, analysts identified a number of trends driving the growth of cybersecurity. Among them: an expanding digital footprint, growing attack surfaces, and increasing government regulation.

Related: Taking API proliferation seriously

Last year saw an unprecedented $21.8 billion in venture capital poured into cybersecurity companies globally. Investors more than doubled down in 2021, increasing investment by about 145 percent.

Based on the early-stage startup pitches we are seeing at Differential Ventures, that trend isn’t going to let up anytime soon. The top drivers of the continued growth of cybersecurity are: the growing need to protect the API supply chain, the inadequacy of existing identity management systems, and the unfulfilled promise of data-driven AI-powered cybersecurity systems.

Securing APIs

The SolarWinds attack made API supply chain security a front-page story in 2020. Major breaches in Parler, Microsoft Exchange Server, Experian, and LinkedIn increased the intensity of concern about API supply chain attacks in 2021. The Log4j vulnerability reported at the end 2021 heightened concern even more. According to Gartner, 45 percent of organizations worldwide have experienced attacks on their software supply chain in 2022, a threefold increase from 2021.

Given all of this newfound concern for API supply chain security, where are the tools for solving this problem? The current tools are inadequate, brittle, statically rule-based, and require much manual intervention and processing. Every week, we see a new pitch for an API supply chain security startup.

GUEST ESSAY – The role of automation in keeping software from malicious, unintended usage

By Dan Chernov

Writing a code can be compared to writing a letter.

Related: Political apps promote division

When we write a letter, we write it in the language we speak — and the one that the recipient understands. When writing a code, the developer does it in a language that the computer understands, that is, a programing language.  With this language, the developer describes a program scenario that determines what the program is required to do, and under what circumstances.

If we make mistakes or typos in the text of the letter, its content becomes distorted. Our intentions or requests can get misinterpreted. The same thing happens when the developer makes errors in the code, resulting in inadvertent vulnerabilities.

Then the operating scenarios of the system become different from those originally intended by the software developer. As a result, the system can be brought into a non-standard condition, which was not provided for by the software developer. Thus, an attacker can manipulate these non-standard conditions for their own purposes.

As an example, let’s take SQL injection, one of the most well-known methods of hacking online applications. Suppose we have an online service, an online bank, for instance. We enter our login and password to sign in.  In a SQL injection attack the intruder inserts malicious code into the lines that are sent to the server for analysis and execution. With a user account, the attacker can bring the system into an abnormal condition and get access to other users’ accounts.

RSAC insights: ‘CAASM’ tools and practices get into the nitty gritty of closing network security gaps

By Byron V. Acohido

Reducing the attack surface of a company’s network should, by now, be a top priority for all organizations.

Related: Why security teams ought to embrace complexity

As RSA Conference 2022 convenes this week (June 6 -9) in San Francisco, advanced systems to help companies comprehensively inventory their cyber assets for enhanced visibility to improve asset and cloud configurations and close security gaps will be in the spotlight.

As always, the devil is in the details. Connecting the dots and getting everyone on the same page remain daunting challenges. I visited with Erkang Zheng, founder and CEO of JupiterOne, to discuss how an emerging discipline — referred to as “cyber asset attack surface management,” or CAASM – can help with this heavy lifting.

Based in Morrisville, NC, JupiterOne launched in 2020 and last week announced that it has achieved a $1 billion valuation, with a $70 million Series C funding round.

For a full drill down, please give the accompanying podcast a listen. Here are my takeaways:

RSAC insights: Security platforms arise to help companies discover, assess and mitigate cyber risks

By Byron V. Acohido

Pity the poor CISO at any enterprise you care to name.

Related: The rise of ‘XDR’

As their organizations migrate deeper into an intensively interconnected digital ecosystem, CISOs must deal with cyber attacks raining down on all fronts. Many are working with siloed security products from another era that serve as mere speed bumps. Meanwhile, security teams are stretched thin and on a fast track to burn out.

Help is on the way. At RSA Conference 2022, which takes place this week (June 6 – 9) in San Francisco, new security frameworks and advanced, cloud-centric security technologies will be in the spotlight. The overarching theme is to help CISOs gain a clear view of all cyber assets, be able to wisely triage exposures and then also become proficient at swiftly mitigating inevitable breaches.

Easier said than done, of course. I had the chance to discuss this with Lori Smith, director of product marketing at Trend Micro. With $1.7 billion in annual revenue and 7,000 employees, Trend Micro is a prominent leader in the unfolding shift towards a more holistic approach to enterprise security, one that’s a much better fit for the digital age. For a full drill down on our discussion, please give the accompanying podcast a listen. Here are key takeaways.

Beyond silos

It was only a few short years ago that BYOD and Shadow IT exposures were the hot topics at RSA. Employees using their personally-owned smartphones to upload cool new apps presented a nightmare for security teams.

Fast forward to today. Enterprises are driving towards a dramatically scaled-up and increasingly interconnected digital ecosystem. The attack surface of company networks has expanded exponentially, and fresh security gaps are popping up everywhere.

RSAC insights: Malware is now spreading via weaponized files circulating in data lakes, file shares

By Byron V. Acohido

The zero trust approach to enterprise security is well on its way to mainstream adoption. This is a very good thing.

Related: Covid 19 ruses used in email attacks

At RSA Conference 2022, which takes place this week (June 6 – 9) in San Francisco, advanced technologies to help companies implement zero trust principals will be in the spotlight. Lots of innovation has come down the pike with respect to imbuing zero trust into two pillars of security operations: connectivity and authentication.

However, there’s a third pillar of zero trust that hasn’t gotten quite as much attention: directly defending data itself, whether it be at the coding level or in business files circulating in a highly interconnected digital ecosystem. I had a chance to discuss the latter with Ravi Srinivasan, CEO of  Tel Aviv-based Votiro which launched in 2010 and has grown to  .

Votiro has established itself as a leading supplier of advanced technology to cleanse weaponized files. It started with cleansing attachments and weblinks sent via email and has expanded to sanitizing files flowing into data lakes and circulating in file shares. For a full drill down on our discussion, please give the accompanying podcast a listen. Here are key takeaways.

RSAC insights: Software tampering escalates as bad actors take advantage of ‘dependency confusion’

By Byron V. Acohido

It’s not difficult to visualize how companies interconnecting to cloud resources at a breakneck pace contribute to the outward expansion of their networks’ attack surface.

Related: Why ‘SBOM’ is gaining traction

If that wasn’t bad enough, the attack surface companies must defend is expanding inwardly, as well – as software tampering at a deep level escalates.

The Solar Winds breach and the disclosure of the massive Log4J vulnerability have put company decision makers on high alert with respect to this freshly-minted exposure. Findings released this week by ReversingLabs show 87 percent of security and technology professionals view software tampering as a new breach vector of concern, yet only 37 percent say they have a way to detect it across their software supply chain.

I had a chance to discuss software tampering with Tomislav Pericin, co-founder and chief software architect of ReversingLabs, a Cambridge, MA-based vendor that helps companies granularly analyze their software code. For a full drill down on our discussion please give the accompanying podcast a listen. Here are the big takeaways:

‘Dependency confusion’

Much of the discussion at RSA Conference 2022, which convenes this week (June 6 – 9) in San Francisco, will boil down to slowing attack surface expansion. This now includes paying much closer attention to the elite threat actors who are moving inwardly to carve out fresh vectors taking them deep inside software coding.

The perpetrators of the Solar Winds breach, for instance, tampered with a build system of the widely-used Orion network management tool.