Understanding Application Patch Management

The process of providing and implementing software updates is known as “patch management.” These fixes are often required to fix software bugs.

Operating systems, applications, and embedded systems are typical domains that need patches. A patch may be used to correct a vulnerability that is discovered after a piece of software has been released. By doing this, you may assure that none of the resources in your ecosystem are open to exploitation.

In particular, patch management is crucial for the reasons listed below:

Security: Patch management repairs holes in your software and apps that may be exploited by hackers, lowering the security risk for your company.

System uptime: Patch management makes ensuring your programs are current and function properly, supporting system uptime.

Compliance: Due to the ongoing increase in cyberattacks, regulatory authorities often demand that firms maintain a specific degree of compliance. Patch management is a crucial component of following compliance rules.

Patch management may involve feature/functionality upgrades in addition to just fixing software bugs. Patches may be essential for ensuring that you have access to a product’s most recent and finest features.

How a successful patch management program helps your company

Patch management may help your business in a number of ways:

An environment that is more secure: By routinely patching vulnerabilities, you control and lower the risk that exists in your environment. This shields your company from unexpected security lapses.

Happy clients: You understand how crucial it is that the technology truly works if your company provides a product or service that consumers must utilize. The technique of patch management helps keep your systems operational by correcting software issues.

No needless fines: Regulatory authorities may punish your firm financially if it fails to patch and then violates compliance criteria. Compliance is ensured through effective patch management.

Product innovation: You may add patches to your technology to upgrade it with better features and functionality. This may provide your business a means to widely implement your most recent software advancements.

The patch management method’ essential stages are as follows:

Create a current inventory of all of your production systems: This is the only method to accurately track which assets are present in your ecosystem, whether it be on a quarterly or monthly basis. You will have an educated perspective of the operating systems, version kinds, and IP addresses that are in use, as well as their geographical locations and organizational “owners,” via careful asset management. Generally speaking, the more regularly you update your asset inventory, the more knowledgeable you’ll be.

Create a strategy for bringing all systems and operating systems under a single version type: Standardizing your asset collection makes patching quicker and more effective while also being challenging to do. To speed up your remediation process when new patches are published, you should standardize your assets down to a reasonable quantity. You and the technical teams will both benefit from the reduction in remediation time.

Make a list of all the security measures in place at your company: Monitor your firewalls, antivirus software, and vulnerability management software. You should be aware of where they are located, what they are guarding against, and what assets are connected to them.

Compare your inventory against documented vulnerabilities: Understanding your organization’s security risk requires using your vulnerability management solution to determine which vulnerabilities exist for which assets in your ecosystem.

Classify the risk: You may simply manage whatever assets you believe to be crucial to your firm using vulnerability management solutions, and you can then prioritize what needs to be remedied in accordance with that priority.

TEST! In your lab environment, apply the fixes to a representative sample of the assets. To be sure the fixes won’t create problems in your production environment, stress-test the computers.

Apply the patches: Start patching to truly lower the risk in your environment after you’ve selected what needs to be remedied first. Additionally, more sophisticated vulnerability management technologies provide users the option to automate the laborious steps in the patching procedure.

Even if you tested in your lab environment, there can still be unexpected outcomes in production if you don’t send out the updates to batches of assets. Make sure there won’t be any significant problems by dipping your toes in a little before diving right in.

Follow your development: Verify the success of the patching by reevaluating your assets.

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Implementing Secure Network Protocols

One of the core areas of cybersecurity is network security, and protocols are critical to keeping the network safe. The computer network expands more quickly due to its high demands and the internet’s ongoing rapid evolution, and with it comes cybercrime in networks. Therefore, understanding the protocols that control data flow in a network is crucial. You will discover the most well-known network security protocols in this chapter and how they are used.

Routing protocols, mail transferring protocols, distant communication protocols, and many more fall under different protocols. One type of protocol that ensures the security and integrity of data are maintained across a network is a network security protocol. These protocols use a variety of approaches, strategies, and procedures to protect network data from any unauthorized attempts to inspect or extract the communication’s actual content.

You must be familiar with the following lists of well-known network security protocols to put them into practice when necessary:

The IETF IPSec Work Group categorizes the IPSec protocol as providing data integrity, privacy, and authentication between two organizations. An IETF-specific key managing mechanism called Internet Key Exchange handles cryptographic keys manually or dynamically (IKE).

Secure Sockets Layer, also known as SSL, is a widely used security method for maintaining a fast internet connection by protecting sensitive data sent and received between two systems. This method also aids in preventing cyber criminals from reading and changing personal data, packets, or information in the network.

A cryptographic network security protocol called Secure Shell (SSH) was created in 1995 to protect data transmission across networks. It enables remote access to the command line and remote execution of certain operations. SSH incorporates several FTP features.

A protected protocol called HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) protects data transmission between two or more systems. Secure Socket Lathe yer (SSL), now known as Transport Layer Security, established an encrypted connection (TLS). Since data sent through HTTPS is encrypted, it is prevented from being interpreted and altered by hackers as it travels from the browser to the web server. The data packets’ high encryption prevents thieves from being able to read them, even if they manage to intercept them.

With secret-key cryptography, Kerberos is another network validation protocol designed to provide robust client-server application authentication. It is more secure and accountable since all its services and workplaces conform to an insecure network according to the Kerberos network validation protocol.

Security experts must understand these protocols and their applications. When your corporate website opens without HTTPS or SSL, you should assume that either the link was clicked from a spam email or other illegal email or that someone is attempting to launch a phishing attack. There are situations when HTTPS degrades to HTTP (essentially known as a downgrading HTTP assault). Alternatively, someone may try to compromise the internal network via a weaker HTTP assault.

A CompTIA Security+ and CEH certification opens the door to a wide range of cybersecurity opportunities. Visit https://www.cybercert.ca for more information, or call 416 471 4545.

Understanding Buffer Overflow Attack

Data is temporarily stored in buffer areas of memory while being transported from one place to another. A buffer overflow occurs when data exceeds the memory buffer’s storage capacity. The application that is trying to copy the data to the pad, as a result, overwrites nearby memory regions.

If a transaction contains an input of 10 bytes, the software may write the extra data over the buffer border. For instance, a buffer for log-in credentials may be constructed to anticipate username and password inputs of 8 bytes.

All forms of software are susceptible to buffer overflows. They often happen due to incorrect inputs or inadequate buffer space allocation. The software may perform erratically, provide inaccurate results, make memory access mistakes, or crash if the transaction overwrites executable code.

Buffer Overflow Attack Definition

Attackers use program memory overwriting to take advantage of buffer overflow vulnerabilities. Altering the program’s execution path might cause reactions that corrupt files or reveal sensitive information. For instance, a hacker can add more code and give the program brand-new instructions to access IT systems.

If an attacker is aware of a program’s memory structure, they may purposefully enter data that the buffer is not designed to retain. They can even rewrite regions that contain executable code with their code. For instance, to take control of the application, an attacker may rewrite a pointer an object that links to another location in memory—and direct it to the exploit payload.

Buffer Overflow Attacks: Types

More often occurring, stack-based buffer overflows make use of stack memory, which is only available while a function is being executed. Heap-based attacks are more challenging to achieve, which entails flooding the memory space allotted for a program beyond the RAM required for current runtime activities.

What Are Languages of Programming More Vulnerable?

Due to the lack of built-in protections against overwriting or accessing memory data, C and C++ are two languages that are particularly vulnerable to buffer overflow attacks. Mac OS X, Windows, and Linux use code produced in C and C++. Buffer overflow is less likely to occur when using built-in safety features in languages like PERL, Java, JavaScript, and C#.

Methods for Avoiding Buffer Overflows

By incorporating security features into their code or employing programming languages with built-in protection, developers may guard against buffer overflow vulnerabilities. Runtime protection is another feature of modern operating systems. There are three typical safeguards: Address space randomization (ASLR) shuffles the locations of data regions’ address spaces. Buffer overflow attacks often need knowledge of the area of executable code, which is almost impossible when address spaces are randomly generated.

Data execution prevention prevents an attack from executing code in a non-executable zone by designating certain memory regions as executable or non-executable. The built-in method for handling hardware and software exceptions, Structured Exception Handling (SEH), is guarded against assault by malicious code thanks to Structured Exception Handler Overwrite Protection (SEHOP). Thus, an attacker can’t use the SEH overwrite exploitation approach. Functionally, an SEH overwrite is accomplished by overwriting an exception registration record on a thread’s stack via a stack-based buffer overflow.

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Embedded System Security

Embedded system security is a tactical method of defending software operating on embedded systems against assault. An embedded system is hardware that can be programmed and has a simple operating system and software.

Security for embedded systems offers safeguards to protect a system from all forms of hostile activity. Learn about software and physical security, embedded systems security, associated security terminologies, and four security-related characteristics of embedded systems in this section.

Embedded systems are designed to carry out a particular purpose or set of functions. Embedded systems are exceptionally dependable since they are used in consumer electronics, process control systems, aviation, in-car systems, and many more applications. However, their compact size and constrained computational power might provide security difficulties for designers and developers.

Historically, embedded systems were often designed to have a life cycle of at least 15 years since the firmware in such systems might be difficult (or impossible) to upgrade. However, the nature of embedded systems is evolving due to the internet of things (IoT), and there are an exponentially increasing number of potential attack vectors. Today, everything from smart thermostats to industrial control systems may be taken over by hacking an embedded system in an intelligent device.

Similar to security in most IT disciplines, embedded system security demands a top-to-bottom strategy that considers security concerns even at the design stage. The cost of an attack on an embedded system, the cost of an attack, and the number of potential attack channels should all be considered while thinking about security.

Physical security and software security are the two forms of security that apply to embedded systems.

Physical security

It keeps an unauthorized individual on-site from accessing an embedded device, physically harming it, or stealing it. Examples include closed doors and security cameras. Access to essential locations and equipment is restricted by physical security. Physical security may also refer to features of a particular device, such as tamper-resistant memory, protected key stores, immutable memory technologies, security enclaves to guard essential data and code, and refusal to hold safe bootloader keys.

Software security

Software security controls and reacts to harmful activity that occurs in the system at both the startup and runtimes. Authenticating a device to a network, filtering network traffic, and rigorously hardening system software are only a few examples of software security features.

Many embedded systems carry out safety- or mission-critical tasks that are essential to the environment and the system’s intended use. Every industry, including aerospace, military, and home appliances, may benefit from embedded systems security. The Internet of Things (IoT) is beginning to link contemporary embedded technologies, opening up new attack vectors.

The most secure embedded system is one that is entirely isolated, followed by a system that is off. Security of embedded software was less relevant when embedded systems were isolated technological nodes with little information. Nowadays, embedded systems are often linked to a communications network, increasing the system’s vulnerability to threat actors.

Intrusion detection and intrusion prevention systems (IDPS) intercept communications defensively after the device is in the field to recognize or prevent assaults and data exfiltration. Threat hunting and security monitoring of embedded systems and IoT devices are proactive security measures used by specific systems security services.

Self-tests are another tool used to evaluate an embedded system’s security posture. Monitoring events, logging crashes and abnormalities, and sending this data to the cloud are all self-testing analytics and diagnostics software functions. The data may then be analyzed by a cloud-based system, which can subsequently take action to reduce security and safety threats.

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Assessing privacy in cybersecurity

Almost all businesses have some IT infrastructure and internet access, which implies that nearly all companies are vulnerable to cyber-attacks. Organizations must carry out a cybersecurity risk assessment. This procedure determines which assets are most exposed to the cyber dangers the business confronts, to comprehend how significant this risk is, and to be able to manage it. Hazards like fire and floods considered in a standard risk assessment are not in scope since this risk assessment focuses only on cyber threats.

What is included in a cybersecurity risk assessment?

Determine your organization’s primary business goals and the IT resources crucial to achieving them before conducting a cybersecurity risk assessment. To fully understand the threat environment for specific business goals, it is necessary to identify cyberattacks that might negatively impact those assets, determine the probability of such attacks happening, and assess their potential effect. To lower the total risk to a level the company can tolerate, stakeholders and security teams may use this information to make educated choices about how and where to deploy security measures.

Establish the parameters of the risk assessment

Determining what is included in the evaluation is the first step in a risk assessment. It may be the whole company, but this is often a vast endeavor. Therefore, it’s more likely to be a particular department, area, or feature of the company, like payment processing or a web application.

Identify assets

The next step is to identify and compile an inventory of all physical and logical assets that fall within the purview of the risk assessment since you can’t safeguard what you don’t know about. When determining assets, it’s crucial to choose not only those that are regarded as the organization’s crown jewels—assets critical to the operation and likely to be the attackers’ primary target—but also assets that attackers might want to seize control of, like an Active Directory server, picture archive, or communications systems, to use as a springboard for a more powerful attack.

Identify threats

Threats are the strategies, tactics, and procedures used by threat actors that can damage an organization’s resources. Use a threat library, such as the MITRE ATT&CK Knowledge Base, or help from the Cyber Threat Alliance, which both offer high-quality, up-to-date cyber threat information, to identify possible dangers to each asset.

Identify potential issues

This assignment entails defining the repercussions of an identified threat attacking an asset within the scope using a vulnerability. When this information is summarized in straightforward scenarios, it is simpler for all stakeholders to understand the risks they face about essential business objectives. It also makes it easier for security teams to identify the best practices and appropriate measures to address the threat.

Assess dangers and probable effects

The possibility of the risk scenarios listed in Step 2 happening and the effect on the organization if they did are now to be determined. Risk likelihood, or the chance that a particular threat may exploit a given vulnerability, should be assessed in a cybersecurity risk assessment based on the discoverability, exploitability, and repeatability of threats and openness rather than previous events.

Identify and rank the hazards.

Each risk scenario may be categorized using a risk matrix like the one below, where the risk level is “Likelihood times Impact.” The risk level for our hypothetical situation would be “Very High” if a SQL injection attack were thought to be “Likely” or “Highly Likely.” Any scenario that exceeds the predetermined tolerance threshold should be prioritized to reduce risk to a level acceptable to the company.

Document all risks

All detected risk scenarios should be recorded in a risk register. This should be periodically reviewed and updated to guarantee that management obtains the most recent information about cybersecurity threats. To increase the organization’s future security, time and resources must be allocated to a comprehensive and continuous cybersecurity risk assessment. As new cyber threats emerge and new systems or activities are implemented, they will need to be repeated.

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Tips for Implementing Secure Mobile Solutions

Keeping the devices they are in charge of at a minimum degree of security is one of the fundamental duties of every systems administrator. There are several easy actions any systems administrator can take to keep things operating safely and securely, so they aren’t always the first, last, and only line of defense in keeping their network, cloud, and mobile operations secure.

Make a policy for mobile device security.

Establish a device use policy before giving your staff cell phones or tablets. Establish precise guidelines for what use is permissible. Include the steps that will be taken if staff members break the policy. Employees must be aware of the security risks associated with smartphone usage and the security precautions they may take to reduce those risks. Users who are knowledgeable and responsible are your first line of protection against online threats.

Maintain the Devices’ Most Recent Software and Antivirus Programs

Mobile device software updates often contain fixes for numerous security flaws that might let in mobile malware and other security risks. Therefore, installing the updates as soon as they are made available is a security best practice.

There are numerous solutions to pick from, and it may come down to taste when it comes to antivirus software for mobile devices. Some may be downloaded for free from the app store, while others cost money and often provide superior assistance.

Many apps support antivirus software and check for questionable behavior in call records, SMS texts, and MMS messages. They may employ blocklists to stop people from installing known malware on their devices.

Back-Up Device Content Frequently

Data on the mobile devices used by your firm should be periodically backed up, just like the data on your PC. You can rest easy knowing your necessary information is protected and can be recovered if a device is lost or stolen.

Employ a password manager

Since most people find passwords annoying and challenging to remember, let’s face it: they won’t be going away anytime soon. Not to mention, we regularly have to replace them, which adds to the discomfort of the procedure. Consider the password manager a “book of passwords” protected with a master key that you only know.

They save passwords and create secure, one-of-a-kind passwords that prevent you from repeatedly using the name of your kid or pet. We urge you to combine your password manager with Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA, commonly known as 2FA) to safeguard your online apps and services.

Smartphones and tablet computers are commonplace in the contemporary corporate environment due to their ease. With increased use, it is crucial to take precautions against new and dated mobile threats to safeguard your company’s critical data.

See our cybersecurity advice sheet for even more suggestions on preventing would-be hackers. Last, there is never 100% assurance, even with the finest security measures. Whether a cyberattack occurs via an employee’s mobile device or your corporate server, it’s critical to safeguard your business from liability concerns.

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Understanding a Threat Actor

Any individual or group that does havoc online is referred to be a threat actor. They carry out disruptive assaults on people or organizations by exploiting loopholes in computers, networks, and other systems.

Targets of Threat Actors

Target selection is often indiscriminate by threat actors. Instead of looking for specific individuals, they search for weaknesses to exploit. In actuality, automated hackers and fraudsters that target large numbers of computers spread like an illness throughout networks.

The term “big game hunters” or “advanced persistent threats” may be used to describe some cybercriminals. They deliberately assault a limited number of valuable targets. They take the time to research their target and launch a focused assault with a higher chance of success.

Reasons to be Worried

Threat actors also develop at the same rate as cybersecurity. Despite having up-to-date malware protection software, hackers often create new attack vectors. On the other hand, threat information enables you to make quicker, more informed security choices that counteract threat actors.

Threat actors’ types

Malicious actors come in many different forms. The majority come under the general category of cybercriminals, including fraudsters, adrenaline seekers, and ideologues. However, insider threat actors and nation-state threat actors are two distinct categories.

Internal Threats

Because they originate inside the targeted network, insider attacks are challenging to detect and mitigate. An insider threat must not compromise security measures to steal data or carry out other cybercrimes. They might be a member of the board, a consultant, an employee, or any other person having special access to the system.

Threat actors from nationalities

Threat actors from nation-states operate nationally and often seek information on the nuclear, financial, or technological industries. This kind of danger often relates to the military or government intelligence services, well-trained, exceedingly quiet, and covered by their country’s legal system. States sometimes work with other groups. Outside groups sometimes lack the competence to bypass a security operations center (SOC), yet the state can disavow liability.

How to Prevent Threat Actors

The majority of threat actors enter via phishing. This takes the shape of legitimate emails asking for a password change or phony login sites that steal information. Although your workers may no longer fall for the “Nigerian prince” hoax, phishing techniques are becoming more sophisticated with time. Your business may become a target of a cyberattack as long as a human mistake is possible.

The following are the recommended strategies for avoiding threat actors:

To cut down on human error, educate staff about cybersecurity.

To keep data secure, use multifactor identification and often update your passwords.

Keep an eye on staff behavior to spot any potential insider risks.

Install cybersecurity programs to thwart destructive attackers.

Additionally, it would help if you stayed away from any phishing scams. Emails that want a prompt response should be regarded with mistrust. Any internet-enabled gadget might be a weak spot in your security, so keep them all updated and on secure networks.

Systems to Implement

VPNs and guest networks, which restrict visitor access to sensitive data and devices, are two straightforward defensive systems you may deploy to defend yourself from threat actors. Additionally, you want to have a backup strategy for when an assault does succeed.

An effective offense is the best defense. Take an active strategy by doing threat hunting rather than reacting to assaults after your system has been penetrated. Threat hunters aggressively search out, look into, and eliminate malware as soon as they see suspicious behavior using this human-powered threat-hunting method. Security staff may stop cyberattacks before they do irreversible harm.

Defend yourself from threat actors You may be the target of malicious threat actors immediately; respond quickly to them. Learn about the many risks in your environment and quickly implement effective active security measures to defend yourself from all forms of cyberattacks.

Visit our website, www.cybercert.ca, or call (416) 471-4545 if you have any questions.

Understanding Open Source Intelligence

It’s critical to comprehend what open-source intelligence is before examining its typical sources and uses. Open source refers especially to data that is accessible to the whole population. A piece of information cannot fairly be regarded as open source if it requires any specialized knowledge, equipment, or methods to access it.

Importantly, open-source material is not limited to what can be discovered using the top search engines. Google-able websites and other resources are unquestionably significant sources of open-source data, but they are by no means the sole ones.

First off, the main search engines are unable to index a significant percentage of the internet. The so-called “deep web” is a collection of websites, databases, files, and other content that Google, Bing, Yahoo, and any other search engine you can think of are unable to index due to a number of factors, such as the existence of login pages or paywalls. Despite this, a large portion of the deep web’s information may be regarded as open source since it is easily accessible to the general public.

Penetration testing and ethical hacking

Open-source information is used by security experts to spot possible vulnerabilities in friendly networks so that they may be fixed before threat actors take advantage of them. The common flaws are as follows:

Critical information is accidentally gets out, maybe through social media.

open ports or insecure devices with internet access.

Unpatched software, such as outdated versions of popular CMS packages on websites.

assets that have been disclosed or leaked, such as confidential code on pastebins.

Recognition of External Threats

The internet is a great resource for learning about the most important dangers facing a business, as we have already covered in great detail. Open-source information helps security professionals to prioritize their time and resources to handle the most important current threats, from determining which new vulnerabilities are currently being exploited to intercepting threat actor “chatter” about an impending assault.

To assess a threat before taking action, this sort of job often involves an analyst finding and correlating several data pieces. For instance, although a single threatening tweet would not raise any red flags, the same post would be treated differently if it were connected to a threat organization that is known to operate in a certain sector.

Techniques for Open Source Intelligence

It’s time to look at some of the methods that may be used to obtain and evaluate open-source data now that we’ve discussed the applications of open-source intelligence (both good and negative).

First, you need to have a plan in place for gathering and using open-source information. Since there is so much information accessible via open sources, it is not advised to approach open-source intelligence from the standpoint of discovering everything and everything that could be interesting or valuable. As we’ve previously established, doing so would just overwhelm you.

Passive collection and active collection are the two broad categories under which open-source intelligence is gathered.

Threat intelligence platforms (TIPs) are often used in the passive collection to integrate much threat feeds into a single, readily accessible place. The potential of information overload still exists despite the fact that this is a big improvement over manual intelligence gathering. This issue is resolved by more sophisticated threat intelligence products like Recorded Future, which automate the process of prioritizing and ignoring alarms in accordance with the unique requirements of each firm.

Similar to this, organized threat organizations often use botnets to gather crucial data using methods like traffic sniffing and keylogging. On the other hand, active collecting involves using a range of methods to look for particular information or insights. This kind of data collecting is often carried out by security specialists for one of two reasons:

A possible hazard has been indicated by a passively gathered alert, and further information is needed. An intelligence-collecting exercise, like a penetration testing exercise, has a very narrow objective.