UpGuard Blog

Protecting Against Meltdown and Spectre on Windows

A Worst Case Scenario

This week it was revealed that a severe vulnerability in a majority of processors has existed for nearly ten years, affecting millions of computers around the world, including all the major cloud providers who rely on Intel chips in their data centers. Essentially, this flaw grants complete access to protected memory, including secrets like passwords, from any program on the exploited computer. Even from the web. This flaw is so serious that allegations have already been made that Intel’s CEO sold millions of dollars of stock in the company after the flaw was found, but before it was revealed to the public, the idea being that a vulnerability of this magnitude would be enough to substantially hurt Intel on the market, even though it affects some ARM and AMD processors as well.

Filed under: Microsoft, Windows, vulnerabilities, meltdown

Assessing Critical Cyber Risks with UpGuard

Given the complexity of modern information technology, assessing cyber risk can quickly become overwhelming. One of the most pragmatic guides comes from the Center for Internet Security (CIS). While CIS provides a comprehensive list of twenty controls, they also provide guidance on the critical steps that "eliminate the vast majority of your organisation's vulnerabilities." These controls are the foundation of any cyber resilience platform and at the center of UpGuard's capabilities.

Filed under: configuration, configuration management, upguard, cyber risk, vulnerabilities

What You Need to Know About the Cloudbleed Bug

On February 18th, 2017, Google security researchers discovered a massive leak in Cloudflare's services that resulted in the exposure of sensitive data belonging to thousands of its customers. Here's what you need to know about the Cloudbleed bug and what can be done to protect your data.

Filed under: cyber risk, vulnerabilities

Vulnerabilities vs Misconfigurations

Vulnerability assessment is a necessary component of any complete security toolchain, and the most obvious place to start for anyone looking to improve their security. Ironically, starting with vulnerability assessment can actually degrade an organization's overall defense by shifting focus from the cause of most outages and breaches: misconfigurations.

Filed under: configuration testing, system misconfiguration, configuration management, vulnerabilities, misconfiguration

How Much Are Service Outages Costing the Airline Industry?

Several of the world's leading airlines are getting the travel season off to a rocky start: last week, American Airlines and Alaska Airlines resolved a technical glitch causing reservation/check-in and delays across 15 flights. With the holidays approaching, can airlines weather mounting losses caused by their aging computer systems and IT infrastructures?

Filed under: vulnerabilities, cybersecurity, transportation

The New OAuth Flaw That Leaves Over a Billion Mobile Accounts Exposed

Your website's perimeter security couldn't be any better: sitewide SSL and DMARC/DNSSEC are enabled, software versions aren't being leaked in your headers, and all other resilience checks are green. But how secure is your mobile app? Unfortunately, like most companies, you've outsourced mobile app development to a third-party agency and have little visibility into their security practices. And if your app supports Facebook and Google sign-ons, you may be in trouble: a security team recently discovered an OAuth 2.0 flaw that's already left over a billion apps exposed. 

Filed under: vulnerabilities, cybersecurity

Achieving Cyber Resilience When Attackers Hold the Trump Card

As enterprises resign themselves to the sobering fact that security compromises are unavoidable, another resulting inevitability is coming into play: ensuing lawsuits and class actions spurred by data breaches and customer data loss. Last week, the Republican presidential nominee's hotel chain and the U.S.' third largest search engine came to terms with this reality. What does the future hold for organizations facing inexorable data breaches coupled with the spectre of resulting litigation? 

Filed under: malware, vulnerabilities, data breach

The Windows Server Hardening Checklist

Whether you’re deploying hundreds of Windows servers into the cloud through code, or handbuilding physical servers for a small business, having a proper method to ensure a secure, reliable environment is crucial to success. Everyone knows that an out-of-the-box Windows server may not have all the necessary security measures in place to go right into production, although Microsoft has been improving the default configuration in every server version. UpGuard presents this ten step checklist to ensure that your Windows servers have been sufficiently hardened against most attacks.

Filed under: configuration, Windows, vulnerabilities, IT operations

The Biggest Threat to ATM Security Isn't Card Skimming but Misconfiguration

For believers of the old adage love of money is the root of all evil, it comes as no surprise that most data breaches are carried out for financial gain. Verizon's 2016 Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR) reveals that the 75 percent of cyber attacks appear to have been financially motivated; suffice to say, it's not surprising that ATMs are constantly in the crosshairs of cyber attackers. 

Filed under: vulnerabilities, data breach

The LastPass Vulnerability and the Future of Password Security

Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg, Google's Sundar Pichai, Twitter's Jack Dorsey, what do these three high-flying CEOs have in common? Their social media accounts were all hijacked recently due to bad password habits. To be fair, these breaches occurred indirectly as a result of triggering events—for example, the massive Linkedin data breach led to Zuckerberg's Twitter account getting hijacked, but one thing is for certain: the executive leadership of the world's leading tech companies are as prone to password management mishaps as the rest of us. Andas the latest LastPass vulnerability serves to illustratepassword management solutions may no longer be a safe alternative for memorizing passwords.

Filed under: vulnerabilities, data breach

All Bets Are Off on Casinos and Cybersecurity

You've seen enough Hollywood blockbusters about casino heists to know that gambling institutions are constantly in the crosshairs of attackers—online and off. In the digital realm, however, better malware tools and access to deep funding make today's cyber criminals more than a bad movie, especially when lucrative payloads are for the taking.

Filed under: malware, CSTAR, vulnerabilities, data breach

Is Symantec's Latest Failure the End of Enterprise Security?

Cybersecurity news items are usually one of two things: your "run-of-the-mill" data breach announcement or vulnerability alert, usually software-related. This week's Symantec fiasco falls into the latter bucket, but it isn't your average vulnerability alert. In fact, this is the one that most enterprise security professionals have been dreading and horrified to hear: that your security defenses are not only ineffective—they can be used against you by attackers.

Filed under: CSTAR, vulnerabilities, cybersecurity

Can Fast Food be Bad For Cybersecurity?

No, we aren't talking about your burger-inhaling operator passing out on the job, leaving your precious IT assets unattended. You've probably guessed that we're referring to the latest Wendy's data breach announcementon June 9th, the international fast food chain disclosed that its January 2016 security compromise was, in fact, a lot worse than originally stated—potentially eclipsing the Home Depot and Target data breaches. 

Filed under: malware, CSTAR, vulnerabilities, data breach

Is Employee Happiness Affecting Cybersecurity?

Glassdoor's 2016 Employees' Choice Awards Highest Rated CEO List includes household names like Marc Beniof, Mark Zuckerberg, and Tim Cook—CEOs of companies that also score high marks for strong security. Is there any correlation between a company's cyber risk profile and its CEO employee approval rating?

Filed under: vulnerabilities, cybersecurity, data breach

ATM Skimming and The Future of External Threats

A routine fill-up at the local gas station or ATM withdrawal might cost you dearly these days. With the recent surge in ATM and gas pump skimming attacks, you certainly wouldn't be alone—in fact, the odds are one in three that you'll fall victim to identity theft once your financial data is swiped. Is there any hope in an increasingly hostile landscape rife with external threats?

Filed under: security, vulnerabilities, data breach

It's Like Updating OpenSSL All Over Again

A new high severity vulnerability in the OpenSSL protocol was announced today that could allow an attacker to cause memory corruption in devices handling SSL certificates. The vulnerability was caused by a combination of bugs, one a mishandling of negative zero integers, and the other a mishandling of large universal tags. When both bugs are present, an attacker can trigger corruption by causing an out-of-bounds memory write.

Filed under: configuration testing, security, vulnerabilities, openSSL

Tax Day 2016: Auditing the IRS, E-file and Tax Software Websites

Are you filing your taxes online this year? As e-filing and internet connected tax software becomes more and more standard, the security of the sites accepting your sensitive information becomes more and more important. You've probably heard about some of the various data breaches facing the tax industry, including one of the IRS in May of 2015, potentially exposing hundreds of thousands of tax records. UpGuard's external risk grader measures the security of a company's internet presence. We ran ten tax-related websites through to see how they stacked up and the results are interesting. Perhaps most interesting of all, IRS.gov received a rare perfect score of 950 out of 950. Tax software websites such as TaxSlayer fared well too. But as we'll see, the external information is just the tip of the iceberg.

Filed under: security, CSTAR, vulnerabilities, webscan

Flash is Trash

When it comes to Flash, the only thing you hear more about than its ubiquity are its problems. Despite denunciations from some of technology’s biggest names, Adobe’s Flash player still seems to be everywhere. For almost ten years now, people have been dealing with the security warnings, critical updates and browser incompatibilities for which Flash is infamous. Yet even now, 0-day exploits of Flash’s seemingly unending vulnerabilities threaten users as third-party Flash ads on otherwise trusted websites are used to breach security.

Filed under: cyber security, vulnerabilities, Flash,

Fixing The New OpenSSH Roaming Bug

Call it an experiment gone wrong: a bug in a test feature of the OpenSSH client was found to be highly vulnerable to exploitation today, potentially leaking cryptographic keys to malicious attackers. First discovered and announced by the Qualys Security Team, the vulnerability affects OpenSSH versions 5.4 through 7.1. Here's what you need to know about bug, including remediation tips.

Filed under: security, vulnerabilities

Exorcising Juniper Networks And FireEye's Ghosts of Christmas Past From Your IT Infrastructure

Last week was a busy one for leading network and security appliance manufacturers FireEye and Juniper Networks. Critical flaws were discovered in hardware products from both vendors, bringing the distressing but unavoidable question to the forefront once again: what recourse is there when the very security mechanisms in place to protect our data assets are themselves highly flawed?

Filed under: Juniper, vulnerabilities

Why We Made Our Vulnerability Assessment Free for Everyone

Known vulnerability assessment– evaluating a machine's state for the presence of files, packages, configuration settings, etc. that are known to be exploitable– is a solved problem. There are nationally maintained databases of vulnerabilities and freely available repositories of tests for their presence. Search for "free vulnerability scanner" and you'll see plenty of options. So why are breaches due to known vulnerabilities still so common? Why, according the Verizon Data Breach Investigation Report, were 99.9% of the vulnerabilities exploited in data breaches last year over a year old?

Filed under: upguard, vulnerabilities

FireEye, Kaspersky Labs' Zero-Day and Application Stack Vulnerabilities

A rising concern amongst IT professionals is the degree to which security vendors and products are themselves susceptible to compromises. This past weekend critical flaws were discovered in the products of not one, but two leading security vendors: FireEye and Kaspersky Labs. Because all systems are exploitable—even security products—a layered approach to security is crucial for maintaining a strong security posture in today’s cyber landscape. Enterprises heavily reliant on a single monolithic solution are best advised to diversify their security strategies to combat ongoing threats.

Filed under: vulnerabilities

Secure Your Hosts from VENOM

Today, a new vulnerability called VENOM was announced in CVE-2015-3456. It stands for “Virtualized Environment Neglected Operations Manipulation” which sounds, frankly, like an indictment of anyone aloof enough to let it sneak up on them. And wading through other blog posts on the subject—with their snake-related clipart and all—is like looking through the first few pages of the book when you visit a tattoo shop. Here’s the gist from its discoverers at CrowdStrike:

Filed under: upguard, vulnerabilities

WordPress' Zero Day Vulnerability and Weaponized Code

Yesterday, open source content management system (CMS) WordPress made headlines with the announcement of yet another critical zero day vulnerability. The newly discovered flaw is markedly different than other WordPress vulnerabilities surfacing as of late in this case, the problem exists in WordPress’ core engine and codebase, rather than 3rd party plugins and extensions. WordPress.org was quick to release a patch to fix the vulnerability and has since advised users to upgrade to WordPress 4.2.1, the latest version of the CMS.

Filed under: vulnerabilities