Effective Vulnerability Management - Checks & Controls

Saturday, January 14, 2023

Effective Vulnerability Management

Data from a recently released Security Navigator report shows that companies still need 215 days to fix a reported vulnerability. Even critical vulnerabilities usually take more than 6 months to fix.

 



Good vulnerability management does not mean that all potential data breaches are fixed quickly enough. The goal is to focus on real risk, prioritizing vulnerabilities to fix the most critical bugs and reduce the company's attack surface as much as possible. Business data and threat intelligence must be interconnected and automated. This is necessary so internal teams can focus on resolution. Appropriate techniques may take the form of a global vulnerability intelligence platform. Such a platform can help prioritize vulnerabilities using risk scores and allow companies to focus on their true organizational risk.

 

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Three facts to consider before building an effective vulnerability management program:

 

 1. The number of discovered vulnerabilities increases every year. On average, 50 new security holes are discovered every day, so we can easily understand that it is impossible to fix all of them.

2. Only a few vulnerabilities are actively exploited and pose a very high risk to all organizations. About 6 percent of all vulnerabilities are exploited in the wild. We need to reduce the burden and focus on the real risks.

3. The same vulnerability can have completely different effects on the business operations and infrastructure of two separate companies, so both business exposure and vulnerability severity must be considered. Based on these facts, we understand that there is no point in patching all the security holes. Instead, we should focus on those that pose a real threat based on the threat landscape and organizational context.

 

Risk-Based Vulnerability Management Concept




The goal is to focus on the most critical and higher-risk assets that are targeted by threat actors. To approach a risk-based vulnerability program, we need to look at two environments.

Internal environment: The customer landscape represents the internal environment. As corporate networks grow and diversify, so does their attack surface. The attack surface represents all the components of the information system that hackers can reach. A clear and up-to-date overview of your information system and attack surface is the first step. It is also important to consider the business environment. Companies can actually be a bigger target depending on the industry because of the proprietary information and documents they hold (intellectual property, classified protection, etc.). A final important factor to consider is the unique context of the business itself. The goal is to categorize assets according to their criticality and highlight the most important. For example: assets that are unavailable would cause significant disruption to business continuity, or highly confidential assets that become available if the organization is involved in multiple lawsuits.

 External Environment: The threatening landscape represents the external environment. This information is not available from the intranet. Organizations must have the human and financial resources to find and manage this information. Alternatively, this activity can be outsourced to specialists who monitor the threat landscape on behalf of the organization. Knowing about actively exploited security holes is important because they pose a greater threat to the enterprise. These actively exploited security holes can be tracked thanks to threat intelligence features and vulnerabilities. Even better is to connect and correlate threat intelligence sources for the most effective results. Understanding what attackers are doing is also valuable because it helps prevent potential threats. For example: intelligence about a new zero-day or a new ransomware attack can be reacted in time to prevent a security incident. Combining and understanding both environments help organizations define their true risks and more effectively determine where preventive and remedial actions should be implemented. It is not necessary to install hundreds of patches, but ten of them, selected to significantly reduce the organization's attack surface.

Five Key Steps to Implementing a Risk-Based Vulnerability Management Program Detection: 1. Identify all your assets to find the attack surface: Exploratory scanning can help provide initial insight. Then regularly scan your internal and external environment and share the results with a vulnerability intelligence platform.

2. Contextualization: Determine the criticality of your business context and assets in a vulnerability intelligence platform. The scan results are then put into context with a specific asset-based risk score.

3. Enrichment: To prioritize the threat landscape, scan results must be enriched with additional sources provided by the vulnerability intelligence platform, such as threat intelligence and attacker activity.

4. Fix: A vulnerability-specific risk score that can be targeted based on threat intelligence criteria such as "easily exploited", "exploitable in the wild", or "widely used" makes it much easier to prioritize effective remediation.

5. Evaluation: Track and measure the progress of your vulnerability management program using KPIs and custom dashboards and reports. It is a continuous process of improvement!

 

 

Common Enterprise Network Security Vulnerabilities That Need Attention

A few years ago, corporate network security viewed differently than they are today. As companies began to apply modern technologies to their businesses, they opened the door to digital attacks, exposing additional network vulnerabilities that attackers could easily exploit. As such, "enterprise web security" has become one of the key considerations for companies as they grow their digital business. The web security at companies must effectively control network threats to avoid the financial or reputational damage normally associated with data breaches. Prioritizing web security as an active part of an enterprise risk management solution can therefore help organizations protect their sensitive digital assets.

 Before we delve into the vulnerable areas of corporate web security, let's understand what they are:

 What is corporate security? It includes systems, processes and controls to protect IT systems and critical data in an organized manner.

 Privacy and compliance regulations are tightening around the world as organizations continue to rely on cloud-based infrastructure. Therefore, appropriate measures should be taken to protect critical assets.

 Let's take a look at common cyber vulnerabilities faced by  organizations:

 What are the common cyber vulnerabilities of enterprise organizations? It has become one of the biggest concerns for companies in the industry.

 Review these common vulnerabilities and stay alert.

 Missing or Weak Data Encryption

 Missing or weak encryption coverage makes it easier for cyber attackers to access end-user and central server communication data. Unencrypted data exchange makes it a very easy target for attackers to access sensitive data and inject malicious files into your server.

 Malware files can seriously undermine an organization's cybersecurity compliance efforts and result in fines from regulators. Organizations typically have multiple subdomains, so using a multi-domain SSL certificate is ideal. Organization can protect the main domain and multiple domains with a single certificate.

 Certain software vulnerabilities that are ultimately known to an attacker but have not yet been discovered by an organization can be defined as zero-day vulnerabilities. Regarding the zero-day vulnerability, there is no resolution or fix available as the vulnerability has not yet been reported or detected by the system vendor. There is no protection against such vulnerabilities until an attack takes place, so of course they are very dangerous.

 The least an organization can do is to stay vigilant and regularly scan systems for vulnerabilities to minimize, if not stop, zero-day attacks. Apart from that, businesses can be armed with a comprehensive endpoint security solution to prepare for malicious events.

 Social Engineering Attacks

 Malicious actors launch social engineering attacks to bypass verification and authorization security protocols. This is a widely used method for accessing networks.

 “Social engineering” can be defined as any malicious activity carried out through human interaction. This is done through psychological manipulation that tricks web users into making security mistakes or accidentally sharing sensitive data.

 Over the past five years, network vulnerabilities have increased significantly, making it a lucrative business for hackers. Internet users are not fully aware of Internet security and may (unintentionally) pose a security risk to your organization. They accidentally download malicious files thereby causing severe damages.

 Common social engineering attacks include:

 Phishing Email

 Spear Phishing

 Whaling

 Vishing

 Smiting

 Spam

 Pharming

 Tailgating

 Shoulder Surfing

 Trash Diving

 Accidentally exposing an organization's network to the Internet is one of the biggest threats to an organization. If an attacker is detected, they can snoop corporate web traffic, compromise a network, or steal data for malicious purposes.

 Network resources with weak settings or conflicting security controls can lead to system misconfiguration. Cybercriminals typically scan networks for system misconfigurations and use them to misuse data. As digital transformation progresses, network misconfigurations are also increasing.

 To eliminate this, an organization often uses a "firewall" in his DMZ. It acts as a buffer between your internal network and the Internet, acting as your first line of defense. Therefore, it tracks all outgoing and incoming traffic and decides to limit or allow traffic based on a set of rules.

 Outdated or Unpatched Software



 Software vendors typically release updated versions of their applications to patch known critical vulnerabilities or to incorporate new features or vulnerabilities. Outdated or unrepaired software is an easy target for sophisticated cybercriminals. Such vulnerabilities can be easily exploited.

 Software updates may contain important and valuable security measures, but organizations should update their network and each or all endpoints. However, it is quite possible that updates for various software applications will be released daily.

 This puts a heavy burden on the IT team and can delay patching and updating. This situation paves the way for ransomware attacks, malware, and multiple security threats.

 These are some of the most common vulnerabilities in enterprise web security. Therefore, take appropriate measures to counter these threats.

 There is always the risk of network vulnerabilities being compromised as malicious actors try to find various ways to exploit and gain access to systems. And as networks become more complex, there is an imperative to proactively manage cyber vulnerabilities.

 Vulnerability management is the consistent practice of identifying, classifying, remediating, and mitigating security vulnerabilities within organizational systems such as endpoints, workloads, and systems.

 Summary- An organization's IT environment can have multiple cybersecurity vulnerabilities, so a robust vulnerability management program is required. Use threat intelligence and IT and business operations knowledge to identify risks and detect all cybersecurity vulnerabilities in the shortest possible time.

 


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