Security Advisory: Microsoft Alerts Customers to Patch BlueKeep Vulnerability ASAP

Security Advisory: Microsoft Alerts Customers to Patch BlueKeep Vulnerability ASAP

In case you didn’t hear, another big vulnerability was reported by Microsoft on May 14, 2019 known as “BlueKeep” which takes advantage vulnerabilities of Remote Desktop Services (RDS), Remote Code Execution (RCE), and Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP).  However, BlueKeep only affects older version of Windows, so users of Windows 10 and 8 can rest easy.  The severity of the vulnerability though has forced the hand of Microsoft and they have actually made and released a security patch for its unsupported versions.  They have classified this vulnerability as a critical level threat.

This is why as of June 4, 2019, Microsoft once again urged its customers to apply the patch as soon as possible as more than 1 million devices are still vulnerable to the attack.  This is to avoid another widescale malware attacks like those of the WannaCry ransomware attack back in 2017.  Many companies were affected by the attack and caused many business operations to stop, more notably hospital operations.

What can you do to avoid being affected?

Microsoft has already provided the solution to BlueKeep, make sure you download the latest security patch for your corresponding OS (you can find the patches here).  You may need to reboot your servers to ensure the patch is running properly.

For those who are Trend Micro users, specifically those who use Deep Security, if you are unable to apply the patch due to other reasons, such as being unable to reboot your servers, please make sure that you apply the correct policy for the virtual patching of Deep Security to ensure the security of your servers.  Below is the Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) rule:

  • 1009749 – Microsoft Windows Remote Desktop Services Remote Code Execution Vulnerability

You can view the official Trend Micro article on it here.

For those who are looking into a longer-term solution, you can consider solutions such as Citrix Gateway and Virtual Apps to secure your remote connections to Windows servers.

To learn more about these solutions, you can contact us at 893-9515 and we will help introduce you to different options that you have to help prevent these kinds of vulnerabilities!

Security Vulnerabilities: A Closer look at a Cyber Criminal’s Window to your System

Security Vulnerabilities: A Closer look at a Cyber Criminal’s Window to your System

You may be hearing more and more these days of new security vulnerabilities being discovered in the news and may be wondering what exactly it may imply?  Simply, a vulnerability represents the ideal opportunity for cyber criminals to infiltrate your system to compromise your data or to perform data theft.

According to current data now, we can see that these vulnerabilities will be popping up more often as 2017 had a record-breaking year for reported exploitable vulnerabilities, with almost 20,000 security flaws reported over the year.   For the year 2018, the data is still being tallied however, a report from RiskBased Security has already noted that more than 10,000 vulnerabilities have been reported in which 3,000 potential flaws which enterprises have failed to patch.

To better understand vulnerabilities, our friends from Trend Micro has segregated them into types in which to classify them:

Traditional vulnerability – is a programming error or other type of software issue that hackers can use to sidestep password protection or security measures and gain unauthorized access to legitimate systems. These are the most rampant types of security vulnerabilities.

Zero-days – are brand new software issues that have only just been identified and have not yet been patched by vendors.  As Trend Micro explained, “that’s because the vendor essentially has zero days to fix the issue or has chosen not to fix it.”

Undisclosed vulnerability – these are flaws that have been identified and reported, but are not yet disclosed to public users, giving vendors time to patch the issue.

So, what can you do to help address these vulnerabilities?

To help keep your enterprise safe from these vulnerabilities, Trend Micro suggests that you pay attention to current security research so that you can apply the necessary findings to help keep your business safe.  Another would be to make sure that you keep yourself up to date with updates and patches.  However, with the number of vendors and patches, it can sometimes be too much for your IT to patch immediately due to the volume.  Trend suggests the following patching prioritization scheme to help ease the load of your IT team:

  • The severity of the patched issue. Microsoft and other vendors will rate vulnerabilities according to how critical they are to overall risk. More critical patches should be applied as soon as possible, whereas less critical updates can represent a lower priority.
  • Vulnerabilities impacting your enterprise’s particular key software. Similarly, updates for software systems that are used on a daily basis within the enterprise and provide essential functionality should be prioritized over other updates. A patch for a software that is only intermittently used, or only impacts a small number of users in a single department of the company, for instance, can be put on the back burner.
  • Those currently being exploited. It’s important to prioritize patches for vulnerabilities that hackers are currently using to mount attacks.

To learn more, you may visit the original Trend Micro article here, visit our product page here, or you can also contact us directly at 893-9515 and we will be happy to answer your inquiries!

Managed Detection and Response: Helping to Fill in Business Security Gaps

Managed Detection and Response: Helping to Fill in Business Security Gaps

Managed detection and response (MDR) is an outsourced service that provides organizations with threat hunting service and responds to threats once they are discovered.  What sets it apart from other security services is the human element in which security providers provide access to their security resources such as their researchers and engineers who will now provide analysis to incidents while monitoring their networks.

The challenges MDR can solve

One of the more significant solutions MDR can provide to businesses is solving the lack of security skills within their organization.  Unlike bigger organizations, not all businesses can afford to hire and train dedicated security personnel that can do full-time threat hunting, which then gives them access to security which normally would be out of their reach.  This benefit is more apparent in medium sized organizations as they are targeted by cyberattacks while not having the proper resources or manpower to defend themselves adequately.  However, it must be pointed out that even if organizations budget costs and manpower to a dedicated team, they might not be able to find the right personnel in the first place.  In 2016, there were 2 million unfilled cybersecurity positions, a number that is expected to rise to 3.5 million by 2021.

                      What an organization stands to gain when MDR comes into play

Another challenge that is often overlooked by businesses is the sheer amount of alerts the security team receive on a daily basis.  Not all the alerts are malicious, but they can’t be easily identified so they must be checked individually, and threats found must also be scanned for correlation to see if there is a connection to find any bigger attacks planned in the future, and all of this take time.   MDR tries to address this problem by not only discovering the threats but also doing an analysis on the factors and indicators involved in an alert.  Analyzing and contextualizing are the most important skills of a security professionals’ arsenal, as security technologies can block threats but knowing the reasons and the patterns of the incidents can help you block bigger threats in the future.  MDR tries to solve the skill gap in cybersecurity that smaller organizations cannot usually afford due to their limited resources.

How does Trend Micro’s MDR work?

Trend Micro’s MDR provides a wide array of security services, including alert monitoring, alert prioritization, investigation, and threat hunting. It uses artificial intelligence models and applies them to endpoint, network, and server data in order to correlate and prioritize advanced threats. By investigating prioritized alerts, Trend Micro threat researchers can then work with organizations to provide a detailed remediation plan.

To learn more about Trend Micro’s MDR, you may read the original article here or you can contact us at 893-9515 and we will be happy to answer your questions!

New Vulnerability aLTEr Discovered by Researchers

New Vulnerability aLTEr Discovered by Researchers

Researchers from Ruhr-Universität Bochum & New York University Abu Dhabi have recently discovered three types of attacks/vulnerabilities for devices using Long-Term Evolution (LTE) network protocol that cyber criminals can use to steal your data.  The researched team has dubbed the attacks as “aLTEr”.  With LTE (a form of 4G) as a standard in the mobile communications industry, many of their users can be affected by these new attacks.  However, according to the researchers, the efforts in which to do these attacks are so high that they will most likely only target those of special interest like politicians or high-level management of corporations.

aLTEr attacks can either be passive or active in nature.  The passive attacks are considered so as they do not directly interfere with network connections, what they cyber criminals do are to release a type of tool in which they use to eavesdrop on the activities of the user.    This means that they can monitor your internet activities and collect information on the user’s habits on the internet and use it to their advantage.

An active attack on the other hand, makes use of the middle-man method.  Through the vulnerability found within the data layers, attackers are able to intercept your traffic with the network.  They are able to fool the network into thinking that they are the user and vice versa so that they may redirect you to a malicious website rather than the intended destination so that they may try to steal your data or infect your device without you nor the network knowing.

Although stated that this is not vulnerabilities which will affect the majority of LTE users, there are still those at risk.  The researchers have recommended the following steps you can take to avoid prevent these attacks:

  • Update the specification. A specification updates means that the implementation of all devices must be changed, which leads to a high financial and organizational effort. This is likely not feasible in practice.
  • Correct HTTPS configuration. Using correct parameters for HTTPS (especially HTTP Strict Transport Security (HSTS)) helps to prevent the redirection to a malicious website. It can act as an additional layer of protection.
  • Virtual Private Network (VPN). Using VPN tunnel with integrity protection and end point authentication helps to prevent the attack. The VPN tunnel acts similar to HTTPS as additional security layer.

For those interested in an extra layer of defense against attacks like aLTEr, Cisco Umbrella and Cisco AMP for endpoints are the solutions you are looking for.  Cisco Umbrella acts as your first layer of defense as it protects your endpoints from downloading malicious requests such as phishing attempts or infected websites trying to download in the background.  For threats that can’t be blocked by umbrella, such files downloaded by the user outside of the Umbrella network, there is Cisco AMP for endpoints.  Cisco AMP for endpoints can block malware using global data analytics, perform exploit prevention, uses machine learning, perform rootkit scanning, and has a built-in antivirus engine.

To learn more about aLTEr attacks you may read up on the official website here.  To learn more about Cisco Umbrella and Cisco AMP for Endpoints, you may call us at 893-9515 for more information!