The State of POS: Protecting Yourself and Your Company from Devastating Data Breaches

by Viewfinity 23. October 2014 10:50

2013 was labeled “The Year of the Mega Breach” as more and more consumer facing companies were ravaged by devastating POS attacks. 2014 has done nothing but prove that these types of attacks are only getting faster, more frequent, and harder to detect.   

Attend our Nov 5th webinar:
 Steps Hackers Take to Infiltrate Windows Infrastructures and Least Privilege Application Control

The fact is that IT professionals are doing everything they can to prevent these breaches. Unfortunately, as quickly as security practices adapt, so do hackers and advanced malware.  Where there is no one-size-fits-all security solution, here are select insights from industry experts sharing their knowledge, and knowledge is power.

Jon Oltsik, Senior Principle Analysts for ESG

  “If Target used some type of application controls (from Bit 9, Kaspersky, McAfee, Viewfinity etc.)… it may have bad a better fighting chance.”

SANS 5 Quick Wins:  #1 Application whitelisting; #5 Reduce the number of users w/ admin privileges

 

Mike Rothman, Securosis, Reducing Attack Surface with Application Control:  

In Reducing Attack Surface with Application Control, we look at the double-edged sword of application control, detail a number of use cases where it fits well, and define selection criteria to consider for the technology.

Paul Ducklin, 2009 winner of the AusCERT Director’s Award for Individual Excellence in Computer Security
Ducklin stresses the importance of ensuring that 3rd party vendors and contractors are amply protected, especially if the POS vendors access your networks remotely. More here.

Steven Norton, The Wall Street Journal
“Rolling out EMV technology in brick-and-mortar stores is a step in the right direction, but it won’t solve the entire security problem. While it can significantly reduce fraud, it doesn’t take in to account online transactions and may not help companies identify larger threats to the point-of-sale systems.”  Steven Norton: Security Breaches Trigger Retail’s Big Players to Call for Major Tech Challenges

Tracy Kitten, Bank Info Security
“By educating merchants about compliance with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard, or, in some cases, even providing network security services to their merchant customers, banking institutions are playing a more aggressive role in ensuring card fraud associated with point-of-sale attacks is contained.” Tracy Kitten: Banks: How to Stop POS Breaches

When it comes to POS and retail security breaches, unfortunately there is no easy button, no simple fix, but the strongest weapon you have is knowledge.  First and foremost organizations should adhere to the principle of least privileges; removing admin rights can eliminate a large number of security loopholes. Application whitelisting on POS devices ensure that only approved applications are running. Finally visibility into these activities with proper monitoring and forensic analysis can help accelerate threat detection and remediation in the event that a breach does occur.       

USE CASE BREAKDOWN: Eradicate Nuisance Help Desk Calls – Movado Group Inc.

by Viewfinity 13. October 2014 16:36

USE CASE BREAKDOWN: Eradicate Nuisance Help Desk Calls – Movado Group Inc.

Movado Group Inc. implemented a corporate initiative to lock down its endpoint environment to improve security.  Once administrator rights had been removed, Movado deployed Viewfinity Privilege Management and use automated policies that resolve the challenges that present due to the removal of  admin rights. In addition to the reduction in time-consuming support related requests that occurred prior to lock down, such as reimaging of malware infected machines, Movado Group Inc. was able to completely eradicate nuisance help desks calls within their environment.

Movado Group Inc. - Use Case Webcast

Movado Group Inc. - Full Case Study

 
   

Fast Facts

Project Scope: Eliminate nuisance calls due to removal of admin rights and improve end user productivity through faster resolution of IT issues.

  • Multiple sales and distribution offices around the world, with over 1300 employees
  • Workforce is comprised of 1100 endpoints 60/40 laptop/desktop
  • 10% of staff are mobile workers and 30% work in retail locations

The Situation Breakdown

Challenge #1: With a locked down environment employees were unable to perform day-to-day tasks like printer installs, application upgrades etc. which were required for their job functions.

Solution: Using Viewfinity, Movado Group Inc., was able to run an audit of their environment for 30 days, identifying applications and processes which required admin privileges.

Result: Within a month of rolling out Viewfinity, Movado Group Inc. realized a complete eradication of nuisance calls. End users were able to be self-reliant, handling day-to-day task such as printer installs and java updates without having to be granted admin rights.

Challenge #2: The Movado Group IT staff spent a great deal of time making desk-side visits to fix small problems, negatively impacting productivity as users waited for tech support to arrive, and taking up valuable time for IT staff.

Solution: Movado Group Inc. was able to establish proactive policies to handle elevation needs automatically. The policies were predefined to fit actual user needs based on the Viewfinity Audit previously run.

Result: Rolling out Viewfinity helped to control unproductive downtime and predict potential problem areas. End users are able to run updates and install necessary applications on their own but the system is streamlined and controlled from the backend. End users maintain the independence and control they require being in regional offices but still receive the security benefits of a locked down environment.

 

USE CASE BREAKDOWN: Increase Security While Decreasing Costs – Process-Based Privilege Management – Apex Companies

by Viewfinity 3. October 2014 16:27

Increase Security While Decreasing Costs – Process-Based Privilege Management

 

Apex Companies uses Viewfinity to increase their IT security and harness the process-based privilege management capabilities to lower desktop management costs for a maximized ROI. Below is a breakdown of their success story as well as a recording to their live use case presentation.

Apex Companies - Use Case Webcast

Apex Companies - Full Case Study

 

 

 

Fast Facts

Project Scope: Remove administrator rights from all employees without impeding user productivity
  • IT staff is very lean, with only three support members responsible for all endpoints spanning 35 geographically disbursed branch offices
  • Apex saves hundreds of thousands of dollars in desktop management costs per year with Viewfinity
  • IT typically performed well over 500 installs on an annual basis, ranging from simple upgrades to full application installs – Viewfinity reversed the previously ineffective and costly method of deploying updates and handling installs

The Situation Breakdown

Challenge #1: Must enforce stringent policies for network and system access

Solution: Move to a fully locked down environment with privilege elevation on the application level, which removes the need for providing individual users or groups access to admin rights.

Result: Viewfinity allows Apex Companies to pre-define policies and granularly manage end-user privileges, thus meeting company compliance requirements.

Challenge #2: Need to ensure all software is installed legally and that all applications have valid licenses

Solution: Application whitelisting to allow control of which processes, applications, versions etc. are allowed to run within the environment.

Result: “Viewfinity’s reporting allows me to quickly ascertain which applications are installed, how many are installed, when they were installed, and on which computers. I use this information to budget as well as to maintain license legality… With Viewfinity I have very accurate, complete information.”

Challenge #3: Need to provide timely support to end users despite lean IT staff and geographically dispersed end users

Solution: Pre-defined policies and application whitelists can enable end users to perform simple tasks (upgrades, installs, settings) without having to contact IT support for help.

Result: Because of Viewfinity’s whitelisting capabilities, users no longer need to contact Apex IT in order to perform routine updates or whitelist installs. Viewfinity allowed Apex to realize a reduction of hundreds of thousands of dollars in desktop management costs per year.

 

  

National Cyber Security Awareness Month - October 2014 – Viewfinity Brings it Back to the Basics

by Viewfinity 1. October 2014 12:46

It’s that time of year again; time to fill your ears with cyber security news, info, and tips… even more than we do already.

 

 

Last year we celebrated the month by introducing a customer use case presentation series; if you missed that you can still see all of the presentations here. This year there seems to be a constant influx of data breaches, hitting companies small and large. With some 75 Million records compromised this year to date, we’ve decided to bring it “back to the basics” this year and share information that will help organizations fortify security foundations with best practices like removing admin rights and monitoring which applications are running in your environment, which will help detect and filter out rogue applications.

Yesterday we kicked off CSA month with a 30 minute webinar which drew in over 500 live attendees – Best Practices for Removing Admin Rights: A Step-by-Step approach. If you didn’t get a chance to see it live you can access the recording here.

Stay tuned.  All through October we will share webcasts, blogs, use case presentations and other programs to help you build a stronger foundation for IT security.

 

 

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Patch Management | Principle of Least Privileges | Privilege Management | Security | Security Protection

Mike Rothman, Securosis, Hindsight For-the-Win

by Mary Rose 25. September 2014 11:25

This week Mike Rothman of Securosis, a premier security analyst firm, delivered a realistic point of view on his daily soapbox related to the hindsight preaching that happens after an IT security breach.  His assessment justly presents a factual take on all the considerations related to business and technology decisions as a company evolves its IT security defenses.  Every day we meet with and talk to IT Security professionals who are faced with multiple decision points, and these folks are working ever so hard to stay ahead and make the best choices.  As Mike states, “It is disingenuous to make assumptions about what they did or didn’t do and why, so I will not.”  We agree.  And, self-servingly, are also here to offer a product that provides whitelisting and management of local admin rights for those who may want to budget for this line of defense in 2015.

 

Image Source: Securosis Blog https://securosis.com/blog/hindsight-ftw
 

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FORBES: $62 million in costs estimated so far in regarding the Home Depot breach

by Viewfinity 19. September 2014 13:31

Forbes reports “With 56 Million Cards Compromised, Home Depot's Breach Is Bigger Than Target's

Home Depot estimates that the breach has cost approximately $62 million, with more costs likely to come. The company believes it will be reimbursed $27 million thanks to its insurance coverage. Last month, Target announced that its breach cost the company $148 million, more than twice the amount Home Depot is estimating.

According to its statement, Home Depot believes it will have a 4.8 percent growth in sales this year, as previously predicted. When Home Depot first began investigating a potential breach, Forbes reporter Samantha Sharf notedthat Home Deport could suffer high financial losses from the breach, with one analyst predicting a loss of 7 cents per share from Home Depot’s 2014 earnings.

 

Read the full article:  http://www.forbes.com/sites/katevinton/2014/09/18/with-56-million-cards-compromised-home-depots-breach-is-bigger-than-targets/

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IT Security Breaches - A Picture Says a Thousand Words

by Viewfinity 17. September 2014 16:29

If a picture says a thousand words, what do you think these say about the state of security breaches today? Here is a quick snap shot of a Google Alert that our VP of Marketing recieved this morning. We wanted to share it because we thought it was a good way to get the point across that no one is immune, and that data breaches are not going away anytime soon. Find out how Viewfinity can help before, during, and after an attack.

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High Profile Data Breaches Have the IT Security Community on Edge

by Viewfinity 4. September 2014 14:12

Financial institutions (JP Morgan Chase and others), Retail Stores (Home Depot, Target, Niemen Marcus), Restaurants (Dairy Queen, PF Chang), Universities (University of Maryland, Iowa State University, Wisconsin State University), Celebrities… If we’ve learned one thing this year it is that no one is safe, no one is immune to sophisticated hackers, malware, advanced persistent threats and zero-day attacks.

Here are some more examples of breaches that you might not know about, but probably should. Many of these breaches are now being attributed to "Backoff" malware, which the Department of Homeland Security has recently issued an alert to businesses on. 

Despite IT teams working endlessly against these threats, they are still getting through. The harder IT security teams work, the more pervasive hackers and malicious bodies get. It seems like a never ending, extremely vicious cycle, and no single approach to security is enough.  Experts in the analyst community do point to the removal of administrative rights as a fundamental step in IT security:

“Run more of your windows users without administrator rights… the single most important way to improve endpoint security” ~ Neil MacDonald, VP & Gartner Fellow

“If target used some type of application controls (from Bit 9, Kaspersky, McAfee, Viewfinity, etc.)… it may have had a better fighting chance.” ~ Jon Oltsik, Senior Principal Analyst for ESG: The Target breach…

The SANS Institute: “The Critical Controls represent the biggest bang for the buck to protect your organization against real security threats… The five quick wins are:”

 

 

 

A smart move.  Close down security loopholes and vulnerabilities by removing admin rights and controlling what applications can run in your environment. Here is a link to a webinar that Viewfinity recently ran with renowned security expert Marcus Murray: How Hackers Exploit Admin Rights to Access Your Systems. The webinar does a great job outlining the different security risks associated with excess admin rights in your environment. It’s definitely worth a watch.

 

Additionally, at the end of this month we’ll be running a webinar: Best Practices for Removing Admin Rights: A Step-by-Step Approach. Keep an eye out for more information regarding this event. We highly recommend this webinar if you have not removed admin rights, or have removed rights but are looking for a streamlined and automated approach to managing privileges and to cut down on IT overload. We know that your security teams are doing everything they can, but they don’t have to do it alone. For more information on the Viewfinity solutions and how we can help you pave the way to better IT security, visit our website.

 

 

Is Your Cyber Security Spending Going to the Right Place?

by Viewfinity 28. August 2014 16:06

It’s pretty common knowledge that the cyber security market is expected to grow steadily in the coming years; every study, analyst, and prediction has pointed this out for a while now. Clearly, organizations now understand the need for increased investment in security. However, with so many different risks, techniques, and advanced malware out there, combined with an endless number of solution providers, it’s difficult to weed through the clutter and determined the best outlets for your spending.

A recent study by HP Security found that internal security within organizations is not where it should be. According to a press release published by HP on August 27, 2014, “Seven out of 10 attacks generated within the network perimeter stem from a malware infected host highlighting the importance of taking a layered approach to security to block suspicious communications at every point on the network – from perimeter to core.” HP has nailed it on the head, organizations need a solution that combats malware and attacks from multiple vantage points. So, if spending is increasing, but protection is still under par, where is the disconnect?

The problem is that there are so many types of threats out there; knowing where to begin and where to spend efforts and budgets can be daunting. Fortunately the SANS Institute offers Critical Security Controls, which simply put, show organizations where they can get the best bang for their buck. While these controls don’t contain answers for every problem out there, they act as an ideal starting point for organizations of any size.

 

 

 

Also, for more information on layered security approached, as described by HP, check out this whitepaper: Layers of Cyber Security.

 

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Principle of Least Privileges | Security | Security Protection | Viewfinity

What it takes for your team to be on top in the cyber security world

by Viewfinity 22. August 2014 15:48

Today we came across a great article with exerpts from security expert Tony Sager, the article focused on the need for a team approach to cyber security. This past spring Viewfinity had the opportunity to have Mr. Sager speak at an intimate dinner event in which he discussed the SANS Institute's top 20 security controls. These top controls are something that we stress for all companies big and small.

In this recent article by Eric Chabrow of Gov Info Security,  Sager goes on to explain the need for a full company approach to today's most advanced malware and hackers. Security challanges come in all shapes and forms, and it really does take a team to combat the risks from every vantage point possible. The stronger the team, the stronger your defenses. This article is definitely worth a read, and if you're looking for more information on the top 20 security controls, you can check out our website as well.


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About Viewfinity

Viewfinity provides privilege management and application control for desktops, laptops and servers, empowering enterprises to meet compliance mandates, reduce security risks, and lower IT costs. The Viewfinity solution allows enterprises to control end user and privileged user rights for applications and systems which require elevated permissions. Viewfinity's granular-level control enables companies to establish and enforce consistent policies for least privilege Windows-based environments based on segregation of duties. For more information, visit www.viewfinity.com.

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