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FIRESIDE CHAT: Anchoring security on granular visibility, proactive management of all endpoints

By Byron V. Acohido

Endpoints are where all are the connectivity action is.

Related: Ransomware bombardments

And securing endpoints has once more become mission critical. This was the focal point of presentations at Tanium’s Converge 2022 conference which I had the privilege to attend last week at the Fairmont Austin in the Texas capital.

I had the chance to visit with Peter Constantine, Tanium’s Senior Vice President Product Management. We discussed how companies of all sizes and across all industries today rely on 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.

Guest expert: Peter Constantine, SVP Product Management, Tanium

One fundamental security tenant that must take wider hold is this: companies simply must attain and sustain granular visibility of all of their cyber assets. This is the only way to dial in security in the right measure, to the right assets and at the optimum time.

The technology and data analytics are readily available to accomplish this; and endpoints – specifically servers and user devices – represent a logical starting point.

“We have to make sure that we truly know what and where everything is and take a proactive approach to hardening security controls and reducing the attack surface,” Constantine observes. “And then there is also the need to be able to investigate and respond to the complexities that come up in this world.”

For a full drill down on Tanium’s approach to network security that incorporates granular visibility and real-time management of endpoints please give the accompanying podcast a listen.

Acohido

Pulitzer Prize-winning business journalist Byron V. Acohido is dedicated to fostering public awareness about how to make the Internet as private and secure as it ought to be.

 

 

FIRESIDE CHAT: Timely employee training, targeted testing needed to quell non-stop phishing

By Byron V. Acohido

Humans are rather easily duped. And this is the fundamental reason phishing persists as a predominant cybercriminal activity.

Related: How MSSPs help secure business networks

Tricking someone into clicking to a faked landing page and typing in their personal information has become an ingrained pitfall of digital commerce.

The deleterious impact on large enterprises and small businesses alike has been – and continues to be — profound. A recent survey of 250 IT and security professionals conducted by Osterman Research for Ironscales bears this out.

The poll found that security teams are spending one-third of their time handling phishing threats every week. The battle has sprawled out beyond email; phishing ruses are increasingly getting seeded via messaging apps, cloud-based file sharing platforms and text messaging services.

Guest expert: Ian Thomas, VP of Product Marketing, Ironscales

Some 80 percent of organizations reported that phishing attacks have  worsened or remained the same over the past 12 months, with detection avoidance mechanisms getting ever more sophisticated.

I had the chance to visit with Ian Thomas, vice president of product marketing at  Ironscales, an Atlanta-based email security company.

We discussed advances in cybersecurity training that combine timely content and targeted training to combat the latest phishing campaigns. For a full drill down, please give the accompanying podcast a listen.

Timely, effective security training of all employees clearly must continue to be part of the regimen of defending modern business networks, even more so as cloud migration accelerates. I’ll keep watch and keep reporting.

Acohido

Pulitzer Prize-winning business journalist Byron V. Acohido is dedicated to fostering public awareness about how to make the Internet as private and secure as it ought to be.

(LW provides consulting services to the vendors we cover.)

 

FIRESIDE CHAT: Why ‘digital resiliency’ has arisen as the Holy Grail of IT infrastructure

By Byron V. Acohido

Digital resiliency has arisen as something of a Holy Grail in the current environment.

Related: The big lesson of Log4j

Enterprises are racing to push their digital services out to the far edge of a highly interconnected, cloud-centric operating environment. This has triggered a seismic transition of company networks, one that has put IT teams and security teams under enormous pressure.

It’s at the digital edge where all the innovation is happening – and that’s also where threat actors are taking full advantage of a rapidly expanding attack surface. In this milieu, IT teams and security teams must somehow strike a balance between dialing in a necessary level of security — without unduly hindering agility.

Digital resiliency – in terms of business continuity, and especially when it comes to data security — has become a must have. I had the chance to visit with Paul Nicholson, senior director of product at A10 Networks, a San Jose, Calif.-based supplier of security, cloud and application services.

Guest expert: Paul Nicholson, Senior Director of Product, A10 Networks

We discussed how and why true digital resiliency, at the moment, eludes the vast majority of organizations. That said, advanced security tools and new best practices are gaining traction.

There is every reason to anticipate that emerging security tools and practices will help organizations achieve digital resiliency in terms of supporting work-from-home scenarios, protecting their supply chains and mitigating attack surface expansion. As part of this dynamic, Zero Trust protocols appear to be rapidly taking shape as something of a linchpin.

“When you say Zero Trust, people’s ears perk up and they understand that you’re basically talking about making sure only the right people can get to the digital assets which are required,” Nicholson told me.

For more context on these encouraging developments, please give the accompanying podcast a listen. Meanwhile, I’ll keep watch and keep reporting.

Acohido

Pulitzer Prize-winning business journalist Byron V. Acohido is … more

SHARED INTEL: The cybersecurity sea change coming with the implementation of ‘CMMC’

By Byron V. Acohido

Finally, Uncle Sam is compelling companies to take cybersecurity seriously.

Related: How the Middle East paved the way to CMMC

Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification version 2.0 could  take effect as early as May 2023 mandating detailed audits of the cybersecurity practices of any company that hopes to do business with the Department of Defense.

Make no mistake, CMMC 2.0, which has been under development since 2017, represents a sea change. The DoD is going to require contractors up and down its supply chain to meet the cybersecurity best practices called out in the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s SP 800-171 framework.

I sat down with Elizabeth Jimenez, executive director of market development at NeoSystems, a Washington D.C.-based supplier of back-office management services, to discuss the prominent role managed security services providers (MSSPs) are sure to play as CMMC 2.0 rolls out. For a full drill down, please give the accompanying podcast a listen. Here are my takeaways:

Black Hat Fireside Chat: Taking the fight to the adversaries — with continuous, proactive ‘pen tests’

By Byron V. Acohido

Penetration testing – pen tests – traditionally have been something companies might do once or twice a year.

Related: Cyber espionage is on the rise

Bad news is always anticipated. That’s the whole point. The pen tester’s assignment is to seek out and exploit egregious, latent vulnerabilities – before the bad guys — thereby affording the organization a chance to shore up its network defenses.

Pen testing has limitations, of course. The probes typically take considerable effort to coordinate and often can be more disruptive than planned.

These shortcomings have been exacerbated by digital transformation, which has vastly expanded the network attack surface.

Guest expert: Snehal Antani, CEO, Horizon3.ai

I had the chance at Black Hat 2022 to visit with Snehal Antani and Monti Knode, CEO and director of customer success, respectively, at Horizon3.ai, a San Francisco-based startup, which launched in 2020. Horizon3 supplies “autonomous” vulnerability assessment technology.

Co-founder Antani previously served as the first CTO for the U.S. Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC)  and Knode was a commander in the U.S. Air Force 67th Cyberspace Operations Group. They argue that U.S. businesses need to take a wartime approach the cybersecurity. For a full drill down, please give the accompanying podcast a listen.

Horizon3’s flagship service, NodeZero, is designed to continuously assess an organization’s network attack surface to identify specific scenarios by which an attacker might combine stolen credentials with misconfigurations or software flaws to gain a foothold.

Black Hat Fireside Chat: Doing deep-dive API security — as software gets developed and deployed

By Byron V. Acohido

APIs have come to embody the yin and yang of our digital lives.

Related: Biden moves to protect water facilities

Without application programming interface, all the cool digital services we take for granted would not be possible.

But it’s also true that the way software developers and companies have deployed APIs has contributed greatly to the exponential expansion of the cyber-attack surface. APIs have emerged as a go-to tool used by threat actors in all phases of sophisticated, multi-stage network attacks.

Upon gaining a toehold on a targeted device or server, attackers now quickly turn their attention to locating and manipulating available APIs to hook deeply into company systems. APIs provide paths to move laterally, to implant malware and to steal data.

Guest expert: Sudeep Padiyar, founding member, Traceable.ai

The encouraging news is that API security technology has advanced quite a bit over the past five years or so.

I had the chance at Black Hat 2022 to visit with Sudeep Padiyar, founding member and director of product management, at Traceable, a San Francisco-based supplier of advanced API security systems. Traceable launched in 2018, the brainchild of tech entrepreneurs Jyoti Bansal and Sanjay Nagaraj; it provides deep-dive API management capabilities — as software is being developed and while it is being used in the field.

We discussed the Gordian-knot challenge security teams face getting a grip on the avalanche of APIs hooking into their organizations. For a full drill down, please give the accompanying podcast a listen.

Black Hat Fireside Chat: Deploying ‘AI’ as a weapon to win the ‘attack surface management’ war

By Byron V. Acohido

Short-handed cybersecurity teams face a daunting challenge.

Related: ‘ASM’ is cybersecurity’s new centerpiece

In an intensely complex, highly dynamic operating environment, they must proactively mitigate myriad vulnerabilities and at the same time curtail the harm wrought by a relentless adversary: criminal hacking collectives.

In short, attack surface management has become the main tent pole of cybersecurity. A rock-solid, comprehensive battle plan has been painstakingly laid out, in the form of the NIST Cybersecurity Framework. And now advanced weaponry is arriving that leverages data analytics to tighten up systems and smother attacks.

Guest expert: Justin Fier, VP Tactical Risk and Response, Darktrace

One supplier in the thick of this development is Cambridge, UK-based Darktrace, a supplier of security systems designed to help companies“think like an attacker,’ says Justin Fier, Darktrace vice-president of tactical risk and response, whom I had the chance to visit with at Black Hat 2022.

We discussed how legacy, on-premises cybersecurity systems generate massive amounts of telemetry – data which is perfectly suited for high-scale, automated data analytics. This is why it makes so much sense for artificial intelligence, generally, to be brought to bear in attack surface management.