RedSeal Response to Log4j Vulnerability

Dear Customer,

The purpose of this message is to outline the steps you can take using your RedSeal system to:

  1. Get the list of hosts and devices that have the Log4j vulnerability
    • This list can be exported into a ticketing system or provided as a spreadsheet to your mitigation teams
  2. Gain visibility into the access from and to Untrusted Sources to the vulnerable hosts and devices
  3. Use the actionable insights to put in place compensating controls to mitigate the risk

RedSeal is aware of the recent vulnerabilities related to Log4j, and RedSeal Classic software is not vulnerable. Please contact our RedSeal support at support@redseal.net if you have more questions.

This note applies to customers using RedSeal and importing vulnerability data into RedSeal from scanners and the customer.

Prerequisites:

  1. Updated the scan vendor’s product so that the Scan Library includes the Log4j Vulnerabilities CVE-2021-44228, CVE-2021-45046, and CVE-2021-4104
  2. Completed either a partial scan, or ideally a “Full Scan” of the network
  3. Downloaded the latest RedSeal TRL that includes the above-mentioned vulnerabilities
    • This was published on the RedSeal Support site on 12-17-2021 at 2pm Pacific Standard Time
  4. Perform a Data Collection task on your Scanner
  5. Run RedSeal analysis

These Steps show the processes to identify vulnerable hosts and devices, and then show Untrusted Source access to hosts and devices, and also the access from the hosts and devices to an untrusted destination. This is important in being able to prioritize your mitigation efforts.

The Methodology is called Discover Investigate and Act. In the case of Log4j: Discover infected devices and host, Investigate access paths to and from untrusted areas, and then provide data to immediately Act upon.

 

Update from December 15, 2021:

This note is the second update related to the Log4j vulnerability and impact on the RedSeal Classic product.

RedSeal is aware of the two additional vulnerabilities (CVE-2021-45046 and CVE-2021-4104) impacting the Apache Log4j utility reported on December 14, 2021. We have analyzed both disclosures, but neither changes the conclusions as per our message on December 13, 2021. All versions of RedSeal Classic are not vulnerable to the three reported CVEs.

As a proactive measure, RedSeal will be upgrading the Log4j beginning RedSeal 9.5.3 and forward and send additional communication via email and post updates on the RedSeal support portal.

If you have further questions, please contact RedSeal support at support@redseal.net.

 

Original Message December 13, 2021:

RedSeal is aware of the recent vulnerability (CVE-2021-44228) impacting the Apache Log4j2 utility reported on December 10, 2021. Log4j2 is a popular open-source, Java-based logging framework commonly incorporated into Apache web servers and many other java applications.

In all versions of RedSeal, the JDK environment ships with a default setting that prevents exploitation of the above-reported vulnerability. External research by CrowdStrike and others indicate that certain JDK’s include a setting that prevents exploitation, and RedSeal Classic is built on one of the improved JDK versions.

RedSeal engineering is continuing further testing and evaluation and will be communicating if there are any further steps customers should take on RedSeal support portal.

If you have further questions, please contact RedSeal support at support@redseal.net.

Visibility: The key to proper Cloud Security Posture Management

Cloud security has become increasingly complex and distributed. The rapid transition to remote work and increased cloud adoption have changed the IT landscape dramatically, which has produced new vectors for cyber attacks and data breaches. Today’s cyber criminals aren’t necessarily trying to knock down doors. Organizations are actually leaving many of them open themselves. According to Gartner, through 2023, “…at least 99% of cloud security failures will be the customer’s fault.”

This is an unsettling prediction, but not entirely surprising given realities that teams face today. The overwhelming complexity of the cloud systems asks for both expertise in both application development and security, which is perhaps unreasonable. The placement of security controls has moved away from security teams and into application development teams.

CSPM: The industry’s response to cloud complexity

To deal with this complexity and constant change, a new market segment has emerged broadly referred to as Cloud Security Posture Management (CSPM), which is typically used by security organizations that want the equivalent visibility and security that they’ve had with on-premise environments.

Current CSPM technology aims to help security teams understand what resources they have in their cloud environments, what security controls are in place, how it is all really configured–and to automate as much of it as possible. And while it is largely successful in accomplishing these feats, CSPM in its current form isn’t without its limitations. As we’ve learned in the past with our approach to securing on-premise networks, visibility plays a fundamental role.

The importance of visibility

It’s not uncommon for organizations to lose track of their cloud deployments over time, considering it only takes a developer and a department credit card to spin up a cloud environment. Nowadays developers are empowered to innovate at speed and scale but who is actually keeping track of these newly-created multi-cloud VPCs, VNETs, and VCNs? Even more worrisome–who is responsible for securing them?

There are always unknowns when networks grow and change, but we also know that tools that provide visibility can give security teams a more accurate, dynamic and comprehensive look at what resources they have, how they are connected and the risks associated with them.

Unfortunately, many CSPM tools present their findings in static, tabular forms and it can be challenging to get an understanding of the relationships between resources, such as between multiple accounts and whether they’re shared or not. Teams are often being asked to secure unmonitored cloud environments and can benefit from a visual, interactive model of their organization’s cloud resources.

This visibility allows security teams to gain full awareness of their cloud footprint and reduce their overall attack surface by understanding the interconnectivity between their resources. Some CSPM tools can show connectivity where there is traffic, but security teams want to calculate how an instance gets to the Internet, what security points it goes through, and through which port and protocols.

Understanding end-to-end access

Current CSPM solutions remain insufficient when it comes to accurately calculating access that can lead to data breaches. Many tools simply call into the APIs of CSPs looking for misconfigurations at the compute and container levels but they don’t fully understand “end-to-end” access. For example, they may only look at a setting in AWS that states a particular subnet is “public” so therefore it’s exposed. That’s not necessarily true because there may have other security controls in place, such as 3rd party firewalls or their own Kubernetes security policy.

For example, perhaps a network security engineer who doesn’t understand native AWS and Azure firewalls instead decides to use a 3rd party firewall from a vendor they’re already familiar with. If that firewall is blocking access to the public-facing Internet, current CSPM tools won’t recognize it, and security engineers can spend their days chasing false positives simply due to a lack of accurate information involving access.

Prioritizing exposed resources

With increased cloud complexity comes increased risk–there were over 200 reported breaches in the past 2 years due to misconfigured cloud deployments. Several of the largest data breaches occurred when cloud misconfigurations left critical resources exposed to untrusted networks, so prioritization efforts should begin there. Unintended access and Shadow IT can also lead to cloud leaks, and so by establishing an “exposure first” security approach, cloud security teams can identify key vulnerabilities and prevent costly breaches.

CSPM is a key ally in the fight to secure the cloud, but security teams need additional visibility and improved accuracy that is still lacking in many

For more information on RedSeal’s CSPM solution, RedSeal Stratus, check out our website. Or sign up for the Pilot program.

Lock Up Your Jewels: Reducing Exposure and Limiting Risk in a Ransomware-Riddled World

Ransomware is on the rise. That’s an often-repeated statement in the headlines — but what does it really mean for companies?

Data tells the tale. According to Tech Republic, attacks surged 57 percent between October 2020 and March 2021, while Purple Sec’s 2021 Cyber Security Trends Report notes that ransomware attacks have grown 350 percent since 2018. What’s more, the average ransomware payment rose by 82 percent to $570,000, with the largest single ransom demand coming in at $100 million.

Now that attackers have successfully breached some business networks, companies are understandably worried about the risk of data exfiltration leading to downtime or revenue losses. As Security Boulevard points out, companies now spend almost $2 million to recover after an attack and, on average, suffer 21 days of downtime. Even more worrisome? Paying up doesn’t guarantee the return of encrypted data. Attackers may decide to keep or destroy data or return for another round of attacks once they know payment is possible.

What’s the bottom line? Reducing exposure and limiting risk requires more than recognizing that ransomware is on the rise. To combat these attacks and safeguard what matters, companies need solid strategies backed by advanced cybersecurity solutions.

Ransomware Attacks in the Headlines

Although attackers often target smaller businesses to reduce the risk of getting caught, that hasn’t stopped some groups from prioritizing bigger payouts. Case in point: The Colonial Pipeline attack. On May 7th, 2021, staff found a digital ransom note saying that attackers had already exfiltrated data from Colonial’s network. The company immediately suspended both IT and operations, leading to sudden interruptions in fuel delivery along the East Coast. Within a day, Colonial paid the $5 million ransom and began getting their systems re-secured and back online.

Also making the news were attacks using the REvil ransomware-as-a-service (RaaS) suite. According to the Department of Justice, a Ukrainian national was arrested in conjunction with attacks spanning the last three years, including the July 2021 attack of information technology company Kaseya. While Kaseya says it didn’t pay the ransom demanded, it took the company ten days to recover from the attack and bring their software-as-a-service (SaaS) servers back online.

Why is Ransomware on the Rise?

So what’s driving the rise of ransomware? Several factors are converging that make ransomware attacks easier than ever before.

Enhanced RaaS Tools

Taking a cue from legitimate businesses, some capable coders have created ransomware-as-a-service (RaaS) platforms that sell both basic and customized attack tools to interested parties. The result is a win-win for hackers: They take money up-front from buyers while simultaneously reducing their risk since they’re not actually carrying out the attacks. Many RaaS marketplaces now resemble more familiar eCommerce offerings. Attack designers offer promotions, sales, and even customer support to keep clients coming back.

Expanded Attack Surfaces

Ransomware is also on the rise, thanks to expanding attack surfaces. With more potential avenues of attack — via mobile connections, internet of things (IoT) networks, or open-source software deployments — attackers can pick and choose their preferred compromise method. This reality is forcing IT staff to look to secure multiple points of potential compromise.

Evolved Work Environments

With remote and hybrid work here to stay, businesses now face the challenge of securing networks both in the office and at a distance. For many, however, the abrupt initial shift to remote work created insecure frameworks that remain in use but lack proper protection.

What are the Common Attack Vectors?

The constant evolution of technology means that attackers are always exploring new avenues of compromise. For example, the rise in open source software and application programming interfaces (APIs) has changed how businesses design and develop new services while simultaneously expanding the attack surface.

Despite occasional boundary-pushing, however, most attackers prefer to stick with tried-and-true ransomware vectors.

Remote desktop protocol (RDP)

The remote desktop protocol makes it possible for administrators to access servers and desktops anywhere, anytime. But RDP also opens the door to ransomware attacks. If malicious actors steal legitimate account credentials, they can leverage RDP to access networks, install ransomware, and leave without detection.

Phishing

In 2020 alone, bad actors created almost seven million phishing emails and scam pages. Using promises of COVID vaccines or masquerading as instructions from C-suite executives, these emails create a compromise point for ransomware. If attackers can convince users to click on malicious links or provide account information, they can infiltrate networks and deploy ransomware.

Software vulnerabilities

Open-source software tools and APIs make it possible for companies to streamline software development and put them at risk of unknown or zero-day vulnerabilities. If attackers compromise unreported issues, they can gain network access and encrypt data before teams have a chance to respond.

DDoS attacks

Distributed-denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks are now being used in concert with ransomware. In some cases, cybercriminals hit companies with DDoS attacks and demand ransom for restoration of services. In others, DDoS efforts are used as a distraction while ransomware is deployed.

Combatting the Rise of Ransomware Attacks

To combat the rise of ransomware, companies are best served with a multi-step approach designed to reduce both the initial risk and overall impact of ransomware threats.

Step 1: Identify Your Assets

First, pinpoint what you need to protect on your network. Think of the most critical assets as the “crown jewels” of your organization. Where are they located, and how are they currently defended?

Step 2: Prioritize Your Vulnerabilities

Next, conduct a security assessment — either in-house or using a third party — to determine where your risks lie. While on-site IT teams have greater familiarity with your network, using in-house personnel may be a security drawback because they may not recognize potential vulnerabilities. By contrast, third-party evaluators can often attack your network in unexpected ways to discover new or undiscovered weaknesses.

Step 3: Secure Your Workforce

Without a secure workforce, efforts at ransomware reduction won’t be effective. Addressing this issue requires the use of tools such as virtual private networks (VPNs) to protect connections and data. You should also deploy zero-trust security solutions that require two (or more) factor authentication and include robust identity and access management (IAM).

Step 4: Reduce Your Response Time

When attacks occur, you need to react ASAP. This rapid response requires the use of advanced cybersecurity solutions that help unify infosec response with end-to-end visibility that empowers teams to react in real-time.

Keep it Secret, Keep it Safe

Ransomware isn’t going anywhere. Attackers are constantly looking for new ways to compromise systems or leveraging tried-and-true methods to slip past IT security. Add in the risk of RaaS, increasing attack surfaces, and hybrid work, and it’s clear that companies need defensive strategies capable of finding, detecting, and defeating ransomware attacks no matter what form they take and no matter what vector they use.

Ready to ramp up your ransomware defense? Click here and see how Red Seal can help.

RedSeal Opens Stratus Early Adopter Program to Security Teams Struggling with Cloud Security

Stratus — a SaaS-based Cloud Security Posture Management (CSPM) solution — addresses dangers of exposure and unintended access issues; Free webinar and demo on December 8

SAN JOSE, Calif., Dec. 01, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — RedSeal today introduced its Stratus Early Adopter Program, which provides select customers and prospects the opportunity to evaluate the company’s new SaaS-based Cloud Security Posture Management (CSPM) solution. The new Stratus SaaS offering is focused on providing visibility to cloud and Kubernetes inventory and determining exposed resources in cloud and hybrid cloud environments.

Implementing security controls for cloud environments now extends beyond the responsibility of traditional network security teams, and today includes application developers and DevOps teams. These controls must also consider workload containerization such as Kubernetes, and native offerings from Cloud Security Providers such as Amazon Web Services. As a result, there is exponential growth and pervasiveness of misconfigurations, which put high value resources at risk of unintended exposure to the Internet.

Current members of the Stratus Early Adopter Program represent enterprises ranging from banking and financial services firms, to federal government agencies and high-tech companies. These users have reported benefiting from Stratus’ ability to easily see both exposure and conductivity in and across all accounts in a single view.

Security challenges in the cloud have become so prevalent that Gartner has defined CSPM as a new category of security products designed to identify misconfiguration issues and risks in the cloud. As a CSPM, RedSeal Stratus helps security teams better manage this increased risk by:

  • Immediately identifying which resources are unintentionally exposed to the Internet due to misconfigurations
  • Visualizing their complete AWS cloud architecture to truly understand connectivity between and within cloud resources
  • Understanding their Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (EKS) inventory and identifying overly permissive user and service accounts

“Everyone knows that visibility is critical for CSPM to meet its full potential, but very few vendors are delivering on this promise,” said Bryan Barney, RedSeal CEO. “What makes visibility so powerful is the true calculation of access and exposure, and not simply the reliance on CSP settings. With RedSeal Stratus, we are now providing the most accurate, reliable and actionable approach to calculating access and exposure in the cloud.”

RedSeal Stratus is currently focused on AWS cloud environments. Recognizing the demand for better security posture management across Microsoft Azure and Kubernetes environments, Stratus will evolve to support these platforms early next year, making Stratus a complete, robust CSPM solution. Participants of the Stratus Early Adopter Program are eligible for a free 6-month subscription to RedSeal Stratus, with up to 3,000 EC2 instances.

Stratus Webinar and Demonstration

RedSeal will be hosting a free webinar for customers and prospects interested in joining the Stratus Early Adopter Program. The online event will take place on Tuesday, December 8th at 11:00am PST and will provide an exclusive overview of RedSeal’s new SaaS-based CSPM solution. The webinar will cover how RedSeal Stratus can help security teams better manage increased cloud security risks with:

  • Complete and up-to-date visualization of cloud infrastructure
  • Detailed knowledge of Amazon EKS accounts and policies
  • Out-of-the-box dashboard that identifies resources that exposed to the Internet

Click here to register for the free event.

About RedSeal

RedSeal — a security solutions and professional services company — helps government agencies and Global 2000 companies see and secure their on-premise networks and cloud environments. RedSeal Stratus, the company’s SaaS CSPM solution, gives an integrated view of cloud security posture through visualization of cloud-native and Kubernetes controls, and shows which resources are unintentionally exposed to the Internet. RedSeal’s Classic product brings in all network environments — public and private clouds as well as on-premises. This award-winning security solution verifies that networks align with security best practices, validates network segmentation policies, and continuously monitors compliance with policies and regulations. It also prioritizes mitigation based on each vulnerability’s associated risk. The company is based in San Jose, Calif. Follow RedSeal on Twitter and LinkedIn.

State and Local Cybersecurity Threats in 2021: Weathering the Storm

Recent pandemic pressures have created the perfect storm for state and local cybersecurity breaches. With some staff still working from home, state and local agencies face the challenge of deploying defense at a distance over networks, connections, and applications that are often insecure, unencrypted, and in many cases unapproved. What’s more, ransomware has surged — a significant problem since less than 40 percent of state and local staff members have received training on how to prevent cyberattacks.

The result is an increasing volume of local and state government cybersecurity threats, which are occurring across the country. For example, GovTech reported that an issue with third-party software exposed more than 38 million health records across states, including Texas, Indiana, Maryland, and New York. Another case reported by Healthcare IT News detailed a smaller-scale breach in California caused by a single employee that occurred over ten months and exposed both patient and employee data.

With hybrid work here to stay and cyberattacks on the rise, government organizations need to improve cybersecurity practices. They must focus on protecting against breaches that can compromise data, impair operations, and cause significant expenses.

Identifying the Biggest Barriers in Effective Defense

Before agencies can deploy better cybersecurity measures, they must identify critical vulnerabilities and threat vectors. And while every state and local government faces unique data handling and security challenges, three barriers to effective defense are common: visibility, accessibility, and resiliency.

Visibility

Traditionally, state and local governments have been behind the curve when it comes to technology adoption. As noted by research firm Deloitte, however, evolving citizen expectations around access and ease of use “will require uprooting outdated systems and practices and replacing them with new models.” As a result, agencies are now looking to expand their agility to streamline service availability and improve collaboration. To meet these goals, many have integrated and deployed cloud-based software, platforms, and infrastructure.

While these solutions offer improved agility and efficiency, they introduce significant new security risks. IT teams can not keep track of every app and service in use, which reduces visibility while simultaneously expanding the total attack surface.

Accessibility

For most state and local governments, the problem here isn’t too little access for employees that require it — it’s too much for those that don’t. One common example of excessive access occurs when staff complete one project and move to another. In many cases, their existing permissions aren’t revoked. Instead, new access is simply layered on top of the old, which creates a security risk. And with insider threats often more challenging to detect than their external counterparts, it’s now critical for agencies to identify, control, and correct for excessive access.

Resiliency

Most state and local governments have familiar security controls such as firewalls and antivirus scanners in place to catch potential threats. However, many lack the tools and tactics required to remediate issues when they occur, mitigate the amount of damage done and get services back up and running.

The result is IT environments that are primed to respond but struggle with resiliency. To effectively manage evolving threat landscapes, state and local governments need security plans and policies covering all aspects of an attack — from initial compromise to identification, isolation, remediation, and restoration.

Exploring the Issue of State and Local Breaches

So what do these breaches look like in practice? Let’s explore the impact of three recent scenarios.

1) New York State, January 2020

In January 2020, New York state officials found themselves up against a massive cyberattack that disabled access to databases used by the state’s civil service, environmental department, and police force. Likely the work of foreign actors, the hack went unreported for months, even as officials looked to restore critical access.

As noted by Security Today, the state received word about a potential flaw — and available patch — for its Citrix-based systems in December 2019. Unfortunately, the state did not install the patch in time to prevent the issue. As a consequence, more than 80,000 state devices were vulnerable to malware compromise. While it appears attackers didn’t access any citizen data, the state had to cover the costs of a three-week forensic investigation of more than 40 servers.

2) Multiple Municipalities, June 2021

Local government cybersecurity teams often look to save time and money by using the same services as other municipalities. It makes sense: They’ve been proven to work with government systems and generally have a track record for reliability.

However, if service providers become compromised, the results can be far-reaching. As reported by ZDNet, that’s what happened across dozens of municipalities in the US when a Massachusetts software provider used misconfigured Amazon S3 buckets. As a result, more than 1,000 gigabytes (GB) of data and 1.6 million files were exposed. Compromised data included email addresses, physical addresses, and driver’s license information, along with deed and tax records.

3) Oldsmar, Florida, February 2021

A cyberattack on Oldsmar, Florida in 2021 didn’t compromise data access or expose files. Instead, it nearly poisoned the town’s 15,000 residents. On February 5th, a plant operator at the local water treatment facility received an alert that someone had gained remote system access. The attacker opened multiple applications and services and then increased the concentration of sodium hydroxide — also called lye — to 100 times its normal level. Fortunately, operators were able to retake control and cancel the change quickly and prevent disastrous consequences.

Grant Funding for State and Local Governments

The good news is some new help is on the horizon for local and state government cybersecurity, thanks to the $1.2 trillion infrastructure package. The plan includes $1 billion in cybersecurity grants to help local and state governments boost their defense. If approved, the new program would offer $200 million worth of grants in 2022, $400 million in 2023, $300 million in 2024, and $100 million in 2025. In addition, the plan funds creation of a response and recovery fund at the Cyber and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), which would give an additional boost to cybersecurity efforts.

Mitigating the Impact of Cybersecurity Threats

Mitigating the impact of local and state cybersecurity threats depends on a strategy of defense in depth. In practice, this requires a three-step approach: Identification, evaluation, and implementation.

Identification focuses on finding potential threats in current cyber defenses — such as those tied to open source software, authorized apps, excessive access, and unintended exposure to the Internet. Evaluation includes internal and external assessment of existing security policies to see what’s working, what isn’t, and what vulnerabilities state and local governments need to prioritize. Finally, implementation looks to deploy security solutions that directly address key concerns, such as comprehensive cloud security services that provide visibility into public, private, and hybrid stacks simultaneously to empower threat detection and response.

Battening Down the Hatches

State and local governments now face a trifecta of security challenges: remote work, ransomware, and worker education. The combination creates ideal circumstances for malicious actors. By taking advantage of ideal compromise conditions, attackers can breach government networks, access critical services, and exfiltrate citizens’ data.

The result is a growing need to batten down the digital hatches by creating and implementing an in-depth strategy to help build robust, reliable, and resilient security infrastructure. To prevent risks and a host of unwanted outcomes, state and local governments need to prioritize cybersecurity.

Ready to boost cyber resiliency and better weather the storm? Click here to see a demo of RedSeal’s cloud security solution in action.

Join us!

Hear from Shannon Lawson, CISO, City of Phoenix, how the state and local agency leaned toward hardening their environment from attacks, recognized exposures, secured infrastructures, mitigated risks, and stayed compliant. The live webinar is January 18, 2022. Register now and don’t miss out!

Why Cloud Security Posture Management Is Essential to Your Overall Security Plan

I think we’d all agree the last year and a half has brought disruption, and cloud security wasn’t exempt. The Covid-19 crisis has dramatically expanded attack surfaces as companies transitioned to remote work and embraced the cloud. But let’s be clear: the cloud is not a magic bullet. Yes, the cloud is relatively new and exciting, and it does prevent some of the old security mistakes. And yes, the cloud does close off some previously vulnerable spaces. But at the same time, it opens up new ways to do things wrong.

This is where a strategy called cloud security posture management (CSPM) comes in. The goal of CSPM is to find and reduce attack surfaces, and then eliminate misconfigurations through continuous monitoring of cloud infrastructure. This is important, because more than 99% of cloud breaches have their root cause in customer misconfigurations and mistakes, according to Gartner.

House on fire

I like to use the analogy of a brick house. Even if a house is made of perfect bricks, is it immune to falling down? No. Naturally, when you build a house, you want to make sure the bricks you’re using are solid. But even then, the house can still fall if built incorrectly. Cloud innovators push an approach called “shift left” (meaning detecting problems sooner in the build process), but this is no replacement for checking the final result. After all, no matter how carefully you check a building’s blueprints, the final structure will inevitably be different.

CSPM automates the process of ensuring the individual bricks are OK, but more importantly, makes sure the house as a whole is constructed properly, so it won’t collapse when the big bad wolf (or a squad of hackers) comes along and tries to blow it down.

But what makes CSPM so compelling from a security standpoint is that it’s proactive, not reactive like endpoint management or extended detection and response (XDR). These are analogous to fire alarms for your building. Alarms are necessary for sure, but you have to actually prevent some fires, not just wait and react. So, while firefighting is critical, part of your budget should be for tools that prevent fires in the first place and plan ahead for resilience of your infrastructure when a fire does break out.

CSPM is all about being proactive and putting the right processes in place so that fewer fires start, and spread less when they do happen. Sure, mistakes and misconfigurations will still happen. CSPM recognizes this reality, but proactively hunts for the ingredients that drive security fires rather than just accepting that they can’t be stopped.

The fantasy of DevSecOps

Your developers are not security gurus. The framework called DevSecOps advocates adding security practitioners into the software development and DevOps teams. DevSecOps strives to find a happy balance between development teams that want to release software quickly and security teams that prioritize protection. But, to me, this is too optimistic a notion – it glosses over the fundamental differences that must exist between security thinkers and app developers. Developers think “how can I make this work?”, but security is about thinking backwards – “how can this be abused?”

Security is also fundamentally a big-picture problem, where all interactions have to be considered. Getting back to the building analogy, CSPM lets you compare the final structure to the blueprints used to construct it. It allows you to examine the building to see whether there are any flaws or points of structural weakness that the bad guys can exploit to get in. Humans aren’t good at continuous detail checking, but it’s a great job for automated software.

Context is king

Context is everything. The blueprints don’t tell you whether you’re building on sand or building on bedrock. CSPM provides that critical context not just for one section of your structure but for the entire building and its surroundings.

CSPM also automatically determines whether all the cloud applications and services across your entire organization are configured correctly and securely. It’s simply not possible to hire enough security professionals to do that on their own. It’s not that people you have aren’t good; it’s that you’ll never have enough people who are experts in all the rapidly changing cloud languages and configurations.

Bad guys are actively hunting for new openings in your cloud. CSPM is quickly becoming one of the best ways to close the gaps in your security posture and shut the door on those who intend to do you harm.

Check out RedSeal Stratus – our new CSPM tool that offers the worlds most accurate, reliable, and actionable approach to calculating access and exposure. You can join the pilot program now!

Cloud Security Posture Management (CSPM) Done Right

Cloud security is maturing – it has to. We’ve had too many face-palm worthy incidents of organizations hearing “hey, I found your data in a world readable S3 bucket”, or finding a supposedly “test” server exposed that had production data in it. Happily, we are emerging out of the Wild West phase, and some order and maturity is emerging, and along with it, new lingo.

Gartner divides the emerging ideas into three main disciplines – CASB, CWPP, and CSPM. Think of these as if you’re securing a (pre-pandemic!) office building. CASB is your ID badge reader, and CWPP is your video surveillance. Cloud Security Posture Management (CSPM) is everything else you do to secure your building, like having a security guard walk around to look for gaping holes in the wall, or the sounds of someone drilling through a safe.

CSPM is arguably the hardest area to understand, since it’s so broad, but that same breadth is what makes it the most important to get right. In comparison, having no badge readers at all would be bad, but you don’t have to go overboard – you just need a reasonable check that you’re not letting everyone in. Posture management is different – CSPM isn’t a point solution, it’s the approach of always asking “what else have we forgotten?”

CSPM in more detail

If you ask for a crisp definition of CSPM, it’s hard to find one – after all, Posture Management can refer to the mindset of “how could we be attacked, what are the consequences if it happens, and what can we do it mitigate it?” I find it easiest to split this into three main questions – what have you got, what are you doing to protect it, and what’s the level of risk? All of these are familiar to experienced security professionals – we’ve been asking these same questions about IT networks forever. So why is it different in Cloud?

For legacy on-premises networks, the hardest question was “what have you got?” – rapid growth and technology change made keeping an accurate inventory challenging. Cloud disrupts this in some interesting ways. Each cloud account has a controller for the software defined network, which solves one problem, but then goes and creates another. It’s impossible for any network to exist in a software defined cloud that the controller did not create for you. This means you can always tell exactly how big any one cloud network is. Problem solved, right? Not so fast – anyone who’s tried to inventory cloud footprint realizes that this same controller is changing things so quickly you can’t keep up. It’s also so easy to add new cloud networks that people do it and then forget to tell security, so the inventory problem just moves up a level – not “find the missing router”, but “find the missing cloud account”.

In CSPM, most of the key innovations are focused on the second question – “what are your protections, and are they working?” Cloud disrupted this too, bringing innovations that are incompatible with a lot of the traditional security stack. It’s not that question 3 – risk assessment – is unimportant. It’s just that it isn’t so deeply impacted by the differences between cloud, hybrid, and on-prem. Risk assessment is strategy, not tactics.

So why has cloud disrupted the question of whether you have working protections in place? Well, going back to the start of the article, that unintended exposure of a cloud storage bucket represents a mistake we simply couldn’t make until there was a cloud. Sure, every cloud comes with many strong security controls. But that’s the problem – there are so many enforcement controls that are all new, all different, and are like nothing we did for the past 40 years in on-premises data centers. Novelty is great for innovation, but terrible for security. Coordinating all the new controls and ensuring they are used correctly is the core job for CSPM. Basic checklists aren’t enough – just as we’ve found with all previous network technologies, a network built out of individual compliant elements can still fail as a system, like a house built out of perfectly formed bricks which can still fall down if assembled incorrectly.

This is why the core discipline in CSPM is visibility, so you can achieve end to end understanding of what is exposed and what is not. Figuring out access – what can reach what, and especially, what is exposed to the Internet – sounds so basic, but has become explosively complicated. It’s impossible to hire enough certified security professionals with deep enough understanding of all the cloud dialects used across an organization. So the only solution is to focus on CSPM – building up a map of your cloud assets, then looking across all the layers to ask “what is exposed?”

For more information on RedSeal’s CSPM solution, RedSeal Stratus, check out our website. Or sign up for our Pilot Program and test drive RedSeal Stratus yourself!

Simplifying and Securing Hybrid Clouds

GovLoop | October 26, 2021

President Joe Biden’s executive order (EO) on cybersecurity suggests the cloud will play a pivotal role in the federal government’s future; it urges agencies to maximize the technology’s flexibility and scalability rapidly and securely.

But what can happen if agencies embrace the cloud too rapidly? The answer is haphazard and insecure IT environments. These environments often occur when agencies combine on-premises and cloud-based IT in a hybrid model.

Finding the Right Approach to Cloud Security Posture Management (CSPM)

Dark Reading | October 29, 2021

New strategies are surfacing to respond to new problems. Dr. Mike Lloyd, RedSeal’s CTO, reviews one of the latest: CSPM.

Cloud security is maturing — it has to. We’ve had too many face-palm-worthy incidents of organizations hearing “hey, I found your data in a world readable S3 bucket” or finding a supposedly “test” server exposed that had production data in it. Happily, we are emerging out of the Wild West phase, and some order and maturity is emerging, and along with it, new lingo.

RedSeal Announces Distribution Agreement with TD SYNNEX, providing RedSeal to Resellers in North America

RedSeal Inc., the award-winning cyber terrain analytics platform announces a strategic agreement with TD SYNNEX

The joint alliance offers MSSPs and security resellers a new and innovative way to identify and address cyber threats while combating the latest and most prevalent security business challenges. 

RedSeal’s platform shows organizations what is on their networks, how everything is connected, and the associated risk across physical—and cloud-based network environments. RedSeal verifies that network devices are securely configured, validates network segmentation policies, and continuously monitors compliance with policies and regulations. It also prioritizes mitigation based on each vulnerability’s associated risk.

The agreement marks the continued expansion of the TD SYNNEX security portfolio, which addresses the rapidly evolving threat landscape with leading solutions and the support of veteran network engineers available to consult on every point of the sales cycle.

“We here at RedSeal are extremely excited about working with TD SYNNEX moving forward. They will be a true force multiplier as we expand our portfolio and will allow us to reach additional markets. The potential here is significant, and we appreciate the opportunity to expand our reach together,” said Jay Miller, Vice President Worldwide Sales, RedSeal.

“We are pleased to work with RedSeal to bring a new, cloud-based security solution to our partners,” said Reyna Thompson, Senior Vice President, North America Advanced Solutions Security and Networking, TD SYNNEX. “RedSeal delivers an all-encompassing solution that we are confident will provide value for many of our reseller partners.”

For more information on RedSeal through TD SYNNEX, contact redseal@synnex.com.

About RedSeal

We boldly deliver on our promise to help organizations master cybersecurity fundamentals in a world of rapidly escalating cyber complexity and threats. We do this by providing a cloud security solution by which every global organization can be confident that it understands what’s on the network, how it’s connected and the associated risks. Founded in 2004, RedSeal is headquartered in San Jose, California.

About TD SYNNEX 

TD SYNNEX (NYSE: SNX) is a leading global distributor and solutions aggregator for the IT ecosystem. We’re an innovative partner helping more than 150,000 customers in 100+ countries to maximize the value of technology investments, demonstrate business outcomes and unlock growth opportunities. Headquartered in Clearwater, Florida, and Fremont, California, TD SYNNEX’ 22,000 co-workers are dedicated to uniting compelling IT products, services and solutions from 1,500+ best-in-class technology vendors. Our edge-to-cloud portfolio is anchored in some of the highest-growth technology segments including cloud, cybersecurity, big data/analytics, IoT, mobility and everything as a service. TD SYNNEX is committed to serving customers and communities, and we believe we can have a positive impact on our people and our planet, intentionally acting as a respected corporate citizen. We aspire to be a diverse and inclusive employer of choice for talent across the IT ecosystem. For more information, visit www.TDSYNNEX.com or follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram.

© 2021 SYNNEX Corporation. TD SYNNEX, the TD SYNNEX Logo, and all other TD SYNNEX company, product and services names and slogans are trademarks of SYNNEX Corporation. Other names and trademarks are the property of their respective owners.