A Closer look at Processor Vulnerabilities

A Closer look at Processor Vulnerabilities

The past few years has been rough on processor security, this especially for Intel as one of the biggest processor vulnerabilities Meltdown and Spectre was for nearly all their modern CPUs.  Although patches came out almost immediately to solve these issues, this was just the start to the security vulnerabilities as other attacks such as MDS (Microarchitectural Data Sampling) have been popping up.  So why are these vulnerabilities and security flaws only now coming to light?  These issues actually are quite complex and would need a further understanding of the advances of CPU technology such as the following below:

  • L1/L2/L3 caches
  • Speculative execution
  • Pipelines and buffers
  • Hyper-Threading

If you are unfamiliar with the above technologies, they basically function as ways to help improve the speed of the CPU.  In theory, without these components, we could have a much more secure processor at the cost of performance.  Vendors are caught in a predicament of wanting to increase performance but also have to consider the security implications of newer technology.  This shows in the patches for recent vulnerability fixes which brought performance down of the CPU by 5-30%.  The latter number can be alarming but does not usually affect home users as the 30% is more frequent for servers.

Although vendors are still working on improving their security to prevent future vulnerabilities from happening, there are still ways to make sure that your data is protected like adding an additional layer of security.  With the help of 3rd party security vendors such as Trend Micro can help with products such as Deep Security through virtual patching.

To get a more in depth understanding of the processor vulnerabilities, you can refer to this article here.  To learn more about Trend Miro Deep Security, you can visit our page here or contact us directly at 893-9515 and we will be more than happy to answer your inquiries!

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!