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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Security

Black Hat USA Recap

by Viewfinity 13. August 2014 17:45

What happens in Vegas doesn't always stay in Vegas, and with a show that gets as much buzz as Black Hat, it's nearly impossible to keep anything under wraps. We think that's a good thing though, given the great information that was shared during the show. Experts from all over the world flew in to hear industry experts share new ideas, techniques, and thoughts on the industry, while hundreds of companies gathered to share their latest security innovations.

This year was Viewfinity's first time at the show, and it was quite a success. Below are a few pictures of our staffers sharing the latest news from Viewfinity. 

 

 

Were you at the show this year? Share with us your favorite session, product, booth swag, etc. We want to hear! Obviously the magnifying glasses were our favorite.

 

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What is Pass-the-Hash

by Viewfinity 31. July 2014 16:28

August 12th at 2pm ET we will be running a webinar with Enterprise Security MVP and Microsoft Security Trusted Advisor, Paula Januszkiewicz: Security Vulnerabilities Associated with Having Local Administrator Rights. This webinar will focus on the risks associated with having excess admin rights and how Viewfinity can mitigate these risks. One of the main focuses of the webinar will center on pass-the-hash scenarios; in preparation for the event we wanted to make sure everyone was well versed on this dangerous risk.

So, what is pass-the-hash? … and no it has nothing to do with twitter, or illegal substances. Pass-the-hash is when hackers exploit excessive admin rights to steal the credentials of an admin. It’s a complicated process, which is discussed fully in our white paper: How Viewfinity Mitigates Pass-the-Hash. While we highly recommend reading this whitepaper, we also wanted to share some key information to help get readers more knowledgeable in the subject… after all you must understand the vulnerability in order to protect against it.

The following information comes from Wikipedia:

WHO: Most pass-the-has attacks are done via human speed attacks, not through automated malware, using a remove human controller (remote shell).

WHAT: Pass-the-hash is a technique which enables hackers to use your own systems against you, by using administrator rights to steal admin credentials and then use those credentials to gain access to your infrastructure.

WHERE: Pass-the-hash can infiltrate any server or service that accepts LM or NTLM authentication; it can work against any operating system.

WHEN: Once a user name and password hash is obtained a hacker can then use that information to authenticate to a remote server and have access to an entire infrastructure.

HOW: The hacker uses a user password’s underlying NTLM hash to authenticate to a remote server/service.

 

 

Pretty terrifying huh? The good news is there are ways to reduce the attack surface and stop these hackers in their tracks… the bad news is that you will have to wait until next week to find out how.

Stay tuned for a follow up to our pass-the-hash discussion and make sure to sign up for the webinar on the 12th to learn how you can secure against vulnerabilities that are associated with local admin rights.

 

Summing up a brief history: Data breaches are increasing steadily in the Federal network… and everywhere else.

by Viewfinity 17. July 2014 15:59

We came across a great article that we wanted to share quickly. Josh Hicks and Alice Crites of the Washington Post recently published an article A Brief History of federal network breaches and other information-security problems”. The article gives a good break down of statistics over the past few years and paints a vivid picture of just how many people have been affected by these data breaches and advanced persistent threats: government employees, active military and veterans, the general populous.

Below is a graph they used to exemplify just how rapidly the number of breaches is increasing in recent years. These trends, although centered on the federal government in this article, ring true for all industries.

 

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Solutions for every stage: Where are you with your endpoint security project?

by Viewfinity 27. June 2014 16:02

Improving endpoint security is a difficult, but necessary task. The good news is that Viewfinity offers resources to help you during every stage of your project; whether your head is swimming trying to navigate the ever changing security landscape, you are just learning what application control can do for your organization, you’ve removed admin rights and are ready for the next steps, or you are currently employing all of the top security strategies and are looking for an easier way to manage your processes.

Take some time to check out the resources below that match your needs best, or reach out directly to Viewfinity and we can walk you through the process as smoothly as possible.

  • I am not familiar with application control and would like a high-level overview: IT Security’s 50 Shades of Grey
  • I am thinking about removing admin rights: Viewfinity’s Free Local Admin Discovery tool
  • I have removed admin rights but am experiencing IT help desk overload: Case Study – Fortune 500 Energy & Utilities Company
  • I have a homegrown / Native MS system in place but would like to learn about streamlining the process: Sign up for a One-On-One demo with a Viewfinity Engineer
  • I am making a decision soon and want to see your product: Register for a Trial Eval

Viewfinity offers flexible application control and privilege management solutions to meet whatever cyber security needs your company is currently facing. Let us work with you to make this daunting process as seamless as possible.

 

The Principle of Least Privileges Can Help Thwart Insider Threats

by Viewfinity 11. June 2014 14:07

I came across an article discussing the ways that companies can help prevent insider threats. The article, 360 Advanced Warns About Insider Threats: Is Your Data Already Out There And You Don’t Know It? , outlines some best practices and tips related to preventing and security against insider threats. Within the article David James Smith of 360 Advanced, stresses some suggestions which deserve special attention.

1.       Renew your dedication to the principle of least privilege. Immediately conduct an audit of permissions of access, and cut back. Over time, through the phenomenon of permission creep, too many people have access to information who should not. "The big problem is awareness. My rule is, know they network, and people don't," said Smith. "On several projects, when we point out the dangers of too many permissions, we're told, 'well, nobody could do anything with that data,' and then we'll show them what could be done with that data using the privileges that they thought were safe."

Viewfinity has a free Local Admin Discovery Tool that allows organizations to discover user accounts and groups that are members of the local “Administrators” built-in user group on computers in your Windows domain.  Having detailed information related to which users and groups have administrator rights on corporate desktops allows you to reassess who should have these rights. Once the analysis has been run IT Administrators can take action, if needed, by removing the users or suspicious groups from the Administrators group.  Reports can be scheduled to run regularly to show you where privilege creep is happening.

2.       Beware vendor access. Smith warns that a vital component of the rule of least privilege is to thoroughly and regularly analyze what access you have allowed for your vendors. As increased use of extranets grows, know your vulnerability, and avoid opening the door to a vendor's access to vital company information without a thorough compliance audit. Obviously, your HVAC vendor should not have access directly to the same set of computers where you store your payroll data. Such routes through vendor sharepoints and extranets are favored by hackers, and Smith says he sees that frequently.

For organizations that have outsourced their operations support to a third party or offshore entity, Viewfinity provides the ability to limit and restrict what the administrators who are part of those outsourced teams can run. This way, if the outsourced team is only responsible for maintaining certain operational functions on servers, for example, they only perform software updates, the policy will limit their privilege elevation rights to performing only those functions. You can define exactly which software products they can update via granular-level privilege control by providing the ability to reduce (or elevate) permissions for privileged users based on roles and responsibilities.

Insider threats are a real issue, affecting not just those companies who are breached, but for anyone associated with those organizations, whether it be vendors, customers, partners, or employees. A completely locked down environment benefits everyone.

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Local Admin Discovery Tool | Principle of Least Privileges | Security | Security Protection | Tools

SC Magazine Gives Viewfinity 4.5 Stars!

by Viewfinity 2. June 2014 16:18

Recently, SC Magazine invited Viewfinity to participate in their Risk & Policy Management 2014 group review. We are proud to announce that the test results released today indicate that Viewfinity has received 4.5 out of 5 stars!

Viewfinity scored perfect 5’s in Features, Ease of Use, Performance, and Documentation. Other areas that Viewfinity excelled in were Support and Value for the Money.

You can read the full report on SC Magazine’s website, for a more detailed breakdown of the scoring and reviews.

 

 

 

You can see more information specifically about Viewfinity Application Control here.

 

 

 

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Dave Ostertag’s Critical Steps for Preventing Breaches – Whitelisting is Key

by Viewfinity 30. May 2014 14:57

This week, Meghan Goldschmidt, writer for Bank Info Security published an article which outlines a conversation with Analyst Dave Ostertag, regarding trends in IT security, data breach statistics and steps which organizations can take to help prevent those breaches.

The article includes a transcript from an interview between Ostertag and Information Security Media Group. The interview discusses recent high-profile data breaches, trends in the industry, particular risks, and steps that organizations can take to better secure themselves now. The information discussed centers around the most recent Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report.

The full article links to the Verizon Data Breach Report, as well as the full audio from Ostertag’s interview. It is definitely worth an in-depth read. Outlined below are some key points from the interview that we thought pertinent to share.

  • 2013 saw an increase in the number of POS attacks, after a drop in attacks seen in both 2009 and 2010
  • Espionage is a key factor in many attacks in recent months
  • In most POS attacks, malware is being customized to the particular company
  • A lack of consistent whitelisting on point-of-sales systems and servers and file integrity monitoring are leading to POS vulnerabilities

Read the full Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report to find out more statistics.

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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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