A Zero-Day attack (also known as 0-day) exploits a software vulnerability unknown to security officers and the software vendor. Hackers can exploit the weakness, as long as it is not mitigated, through Zero-Day exploit or, indeed, attack.
The term “zero-day” originally referred to the number of days after the software was released. A “zero-day” software, therefore, meant a program obtained by forcing a developer’s computer before release. The term was then applied to the vulnerabilities that this practice allows to exploit. Once the vendor becomes aware of the vulnerability, they usually patch or recommend solutions to mitigate it.
Software often has vulnerabilities. These are unintentional flaws, or code problems that could hypothetically be exploited.For example, there may be a flaw that allows a cybercriminal to access otherwise secure data. Programmers are often on the lookout for these vulnerabilities and when they discover them, they analyze them, produce a patch to fix them, then distribute that patch in a new version of the software.
However, this is a time-consuming process. When the flaw becomes known, hackers around the world can start trying to exploit it.
If a hacker manages to exploit the vulnerability before the developers find a solution, this exploit then becomes known as a Zero-Day attack.
Zero-day vulnerabilities can take almost any form, because they can manifest themselves as any type of vulnerability in software. For example, they can take the form of missing data encryption, SQL injection, buffer overflows, missing permissions, bugs, or problems with password security.
This makes these vulnerabilities difficult to find before they are exploited in zero-day attacks. This, in some ways, is good news: it also means that hackers will have a hard time finding them. But also that it is difficult to defend against these vulnerabilities effectively.
How to protect yourself
We have seen how difficult it is to protect yourself from the possibility of a zero-day attack, because it can take many forms. Almost any type of security vulnerability could be exploited as a zero-day if a patch is not produced in time. Also, many software developers intentionally try not to disclose the vulnerability publicly in the hope that they can distribute a patch before any hacker discovers the vulnerability.
There are a few strategies that can help you defend your business against zero day attacks:
Stay informed on Zero-Day attacks
Zero-day exploits aren’t always advertised, but occasionally we hear about a vulnerability that could potentially be exploited. If you stay tuned to the news and pay attention to releases from your software vendors, you may have time to put security measures in place or respond to a threat before it is exploited. A good way to do this is to follow your suppliers’ newsletters. At the bottom of this page you will find the form to subscribe to the SOD one.
Keep your systems up to date
Developers are constantly working to keep their software up to date and secure to prevent the possibility of exploits.When a vulnerability is discovered, it is only a matter of time before they produce a patch. However, it is up to you and your team to make sure your software platforms are always up to date. The best approach in this case is to enable automatic updates, so that the software is updated routinely, and without the need for manual intervention.
Use additional security measures
Make sure you’re using security solutions that protect you from a zero-day attack. SOD offers a solution that includes a set of tools that allow you to raise your defenses significantly. SOCaaS is a real security operations center for your company. Using state-of-the-art tools such as SIEM and UEBA and thanks to granular control over the monitored network, every attack attempt is identified in the shortest possible time.
Each type of data produced by the interconnected systems in the infrastructure is collected, normalized and analyzed for anomalies. This means that not only are you checking for known indicators of compromise (IOC), but suspicious operations and behavior of facility users are also monitored. In this way, it is also possible to identify attack attempts that are normally very difficult to detect, such as those involving Zero-Day Attacks, but not only. In fact, through the SOCaaS service, it is possible to identify compromised accounts, the violation of protected data, lateral movement attacks, phishing, etc.
The security of a company’s IT system is a very important topic that we care a lot about. The compromise or loss of sensitive data can cost a lot from both an economic and a reputational point of view. Do not neglect this important aspect for the safety of your business, contact us to tell us about your situation, we will be happy to show you how we can help you.
The IT world continues to evolve and the same goes for industry acronyms. One of these is the term MSSP which, in a sense, is the evolution of MSP. The two abbreviations mean: Managed Service Provider (MSP) and Managed Security Service Provider (MSSP). The latter, in general, could be considered as an organization that provides outsourced security services to other organizations. This definition is very vague and somewhat obvious. So what is an MSSP?
Definition: what is an MSSP?
An MSSP offers Security-as-a-Service, ensuring that organizations, end users and systems have the security, protection and compliance with the necessary compliance requirements. In reality, MSSPs have been around for a while, but have recently gained more attention and focus as the cybersecurity landscape continues to evolve rapidly. End users are more aware of the threats and consequences they face if they are not proactive.
Let’s take a step back, let’s examine what an MSP is, to better distinguish it from an MSSP. In simple terms, a managed service provider (MSP) is an organization commissioned by a customer to perform various IT services. MSPs typically partner with their clients for annual or multi-year periods, receiving recurring income for ongoing services.
An MSP can help a client at any stage of their IT cycle, including:
– the creation of policies and programs
– discover potential solutions
– implementation of solutions
– performance monitoring
MSPs can also manage ongoing IT services, such as updating systems and making configuration changes to suit business needs. These line-of-service elements can include help desk support, network and application management and monitoring, hardware repair, and more. These services are generally outlined and agreed upon in a Service Level Agreement (SLA).
What is it that distinguishes MSSPs from MSPs? The extra “S” in MSSP indicates that these are more security focused than a typical MSP. While MSPs often offer other IT services and something related to security, MSSPs focus solely on security. However, even in this case, they could include a fairly large set of services in addition to security.
For example, the MSSP technology offering may include the implementation, configuration and / or management of the following technologies:
– Intrusion Prevention Systems (IPS)
– Filtering of web content
– Anti-virus, anti-spam, firewall
– Vulnerability scanning
– Patch management
– Data loss prevention
– Information on threats
In addition, MSSP services may include:
– Policy development and risk management
– Search for the solution
– Search and requisition of solutions and tools
– Implementation of the solution
– Configuration management
– Security updates
– Reporting, review and compliance
– Training and education
An MSSP may offer a broad and generalized range of security capabilities and services, or it may specialize in one or a few areas of interest. Another thing that differentiates between MSP and MSSP are the NOCs and SOCs.
MSPs often establish their own network operational network (NOC) from which they monitor and administer customer operations, MSSPs instead establish a security operations center (SOC), which is responsible for protecting the infrastructure (networks, applications, database, server, etc.).
Why choose an MSSP?
Now that we know what an MSSP is, we need to understand why such a service should be chosen.
The reason is to be found in the digitalization of the business, which is the biggest driver of company growth in recent years. As companies become more and more interconnected through technology, the opportunities grow, but with them so do the security threats. In this case, executives and boards of directors are looking to transform their companies into power centers of the digital age and are taking a closer look at their position on security.
But this is where things get real: the solutions are complicated, and building your own cybersecurity department 24/7 takes time, money and people. On the other hand, a single data breach can seriously damage the value of your company and cost you a considerable economic loss.
This is why outsourcing your company’s entire IT security solution to a Managed Security Service Provider (MSSP) is an increasingly common decision. This cybersecurity-as-a-service model is popular with businesses, regardless of size. This is because cyber defense is becoming so complex and takes so long that companies have no choice but to outsource security services to follow best practices.
We at SOD provide exactly this type of security services, through various modalities. In addition to the typical services of an MSP, such as VPS, Super Cloud, etc., we are able to cover every need for corporate security through our SOCaaS which implements various solutions including UEBA, SIEM, Vulnerability Assessment & Penetration Test, Active Protection, Log Management, IT Monitoring Service, Management Services, GDPR and Privacy.
If you are interested in knowing how SOD can help your company in improving applied cybersecurity, you can get in touch with us, we will be happy to answer questions and propose a solution suitable for the situation.
Ransomware commonly comes up with an email that tricks users into trusting a malicious file. Many of the most recent data breaches have been completed because a user has been the victim of such an attack in the previous period. Threats such as ransomware, which focus on user compromise, are causing more and more companies to adopt user and entity behavior analysis (UEBA) in their security operations center (SOC). The new functions of the SOC service, including long-term search, are oriented towards the increasing offer of additional tools for the optimal management of corporate security.
We continue to innovate our platform to increase the power of SOC in fighting ransomware and other threats. In our latest release, we have added even more machine-learning and context-aware detection capabilities that enable security analysts to tackle the most sophisticated attacks. Furthermore, the latest updates bring an ever greater ease of use for security architects.
Long-term search for the security analyst
The service introduces a number of innovations to reduce detection and response times for security analysts and threat seekers.
Improved detection of sophisticated threats
– Long-term search helps analysts discover hidden threats by providing a search capability on archived data. The search is scalable and does not affect SIEM performance.
– Analytics Sandbox helps break down false positives by providing an online QA environment to test and validate use cases.
– Persona-based threat chains detect advanced threats more accurately, including the dynamic relationship between users, hosts, IP addresses, and email addresses. Analysts benefit from greater visibility into the progression of an attack. This feature combines suspicious activity from a single user into a single priority alert, instead of separate and unrelated alerts.
– Relative Rarity offers analysts a broader context on how rare an event is compared to all other events in their environment.
– Viewing security alerts using the MITER ATT&CK Threat Framework helps analysts prioritize risk and reduce response times.
Reduction of response times
– Improved case management allows for better management, sharing and investigation of alarms, allowing operators to respond more quickly.
– New EDR integrations improve incident response by providing additional endpoint data from CarbonBlack Defense, Tanium, Symantec DLP and others.
– Better search views improve the analyst experience by reducing detection and response times. They help analysts easily identify compromised accounts, data exfiltration, and associated hotspots.
Why long-term search is so important
With a global dwell time of around 60 days on average, threat hunting continues to be an important part of cybersecurity resilience. However, searching through the data history usually takes a long time.
Many vendors are unable to dynamically scale a quick search through archived data without significant effort. The latest features of our SOCaaS provide this possibility for threat hunters with long-term search on an almost unlimited scale. With long-term research, organizations can reduce the time it takes to investigate and find threats that are already in their environment.
Analysts need to continually query the data to see if there are new threats. For example, an analyst might learn from a trusted source that their industry has been targeted. At this point we need to investigate a new indicator of compromise that has just been discovered to verify if an attacker is already inside.
Through long-term search, SOD’s native SOCaaS SIEM allows threat hunters to be proactive, making historical data research fast and convenient.
By introducing new technologies into our SOC service, we are offering more and more security for our customers.
We take care of your data by verifying not only that it is not safe now, but also that it has not been breached in the past. In case we suspect a new threat, we know how to spot it.
If you have any questions, contact us, we will be happy to answer all your questions.
The practice of shadow IT is the use of computer systems, devices, software, applications and services without the explicit approval of the IT department. In recent years, it has grown exponentially with the adoption of cloud-based applications and services.
While shadow IT could improve employee productivity and drive innovation, it can also introduce serious security risks to the organization due to data breaches, potential compliance breaches and more.
Why users practice shadow IT
One of the main reasons employees apply shadow IT is simply to work more efficiently. A 2012 RSA study reported that 35% of employees believe they need to bypass their company’s security policies just to get their job done right. For example, an employee may discover a better file sharing application than is officially allowed. Once you start using it, the use may spread to other members of your department.
The rapid growth of cloud-based consumer applications has also increased the adoption of shadow IT practices. The days of packaged software are long gone; Common applications such as Slack and Dropbox are available with a simple click, and corporate data is easily copied beyond work applications to employee personal devices, such as smartphones or laptops, especially in BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) working conditions .
Shadow IT: Security Risks and Challenges
The point is that if the IT department is not aware of the use of an application, they cannot support or guarantee that it is secure. Industry analyst firm Gartner predicted, in 2018, that by 2020, one-third of successful attacks businesses experience focus on their shadow IT assets.
While it is clear that the practice will not go away, organizations can minimize risks by educating end users and taking preventative measures to monitor and manage unauthorized applications.
Not all shadow IT is inherently dangerous, but some features like file sharing and storage and collaboration (for example, Google Docs) can cause sensitive data leaks. This risk goes beyond applications alone: the RSA study also reports that 63% of employees send work documents to their personal email to work from home, exposing data to networks that cannot be monitored.
In times like the one we are experiencing, in which teleworking is encouraged and, in some cases, the only possible solution, it is essential to have an eye for the applications in use on employees’ computers.
Benefits of Shadow IT
Despite the risks, shadow IT has its advantages. Getting IT approval can take time that employees can’t afford to waste.For many employees, approval is a productivity bottleneck, especially when they can get a fix in minutes.
Having IT behaving like an Orwellian “Big Brother” doesn’t always help productivity. Discerning cases of positive shadow IT can be the best compromise. Finding a middle ground can allow end users to research solutions that work best for them. This gives IT time to control user data and permissions for applications. If end users do not need to request new solutions, the IT department has been given time to focus on more critical tasks.
Whatever the reason why shadow IT occurs, if the IT department is unaware of it, the risk of breach is high. What the corporate cyber security departments should do is implement automated traffic and behavior control systems.
The solution offered by a SOC as a Service is the most complete in this respect. It allows you to keep an eye on all the devices in the system and also monitor user behavior.
Thanks to the Nextgen SIEM and UEBA systems, in fact, the collection of usage data is easy and manageable in real time. The data collected is enriched and aggregated to give analysts the most complete view possible and allow rapid intervention. Meanwhile, the UEBA system checks that there are no anomalous behavior by users or suspicious outgoing data traffic.
Shadow IT, while not usually a malicious attack, is a practice that should be discouraged and, as it is risky, stopped in the bud.
Classic cyber threat defense tools and systems are rapidly becoming obsolete, and there are ways to overcome them. What remains confidently common among cyber criminals attempting an attack is the intent of the attack itself. Indeed, knowing that there are systems capable of detecting indicators of compromise (IOC), it is natural that competent hackers will try not to leave traces traceable to standards. User and Entity Behavior Analysis (UEBA) offers a more comprehensive way to make sure your business has world-class IT security. At the same time, it helps detect users and entities that could compromise the entire system.
A definition of User Entity Behavior Analytics
User and Entity Behavior Analysis or UEBA, is a type of cybersecurity process that takes note of standard user behavior. In turn, the system detects any abnormal behavior or cases where there are deviations from the “normal” patterns mentioned above. For example, if a particular user regularly downloads 10MB of files every day, and suddenly downloads 1GB, the system would be able to detect this anomaly and immediately alert operators. The behavior may be legitimate, but it’s worth checking out.
The UEBA system uses machine learning, algorithms and statistical analysis to know when there is a deviation from established patterns. Next, it shows which of these anomalies could result in a potential and real threat. Additionally, UEBA can aggregate report and log data, as well as analyze file, stream and packet information.
With a UEBA all users and entities of the system are tracked. In this way the system focuses on insider threats, such as dishonest employees, compromised ones and people who have access to the system and then carry out targeted attacks and fraud attempts, as well as the servers, applications and devices that work inside. of the system.
It is the unfortunate truth that today’s cybersecurity tools are rapidly becoming obsolete. Now the most skilled hackers and cyber criminals are able to bypass the perimeter defenses used by most companies. A few years ago you were sure if you had web gateways, firewalls, and intrusion prevention tools. This is no longer the case in the complex threat landscape, and is especially true for large companies that have proven to have very porous IT perimeters that are also very difficult to manage and supervise.
The key point? Preventive measures are no longer sufficient. Firewalls will not be 100% infallible and attackers will enter the system at one point or another. That’s why detection is just as important: when hackers successfully enter your system, then you need to be able to quickly detect their presence to minimize damage.
How does it work?
The premise of the system is actually very simple. You can easily steal an employee’s username and password, but it is much more difficult to mimic the person’s normal behavior once inside the network.
For example, let’s say you manage to steal John Smith’s password and username. However, it is almost impossible to act exactly like Mario Rossi once inside the system, unless extensive research and preparation is also done in this direction. Therefore, when Mario’s username is logged into the system and his behavior is different than typical, that’s when the UEBA alarms start ringing.
Another related analogy would be the theft of a credit card. A thief can steal your wallet and go to a luxury store and start spending thousands of dollars. But, if the spending pattern on that card is different from that of the thief, the fraud detection department will recognize the anomalous expenses and block suspicious purchases, either by sending you an alert or asking you to verify the authenticity of a transaction. .
What can UEBA do?
UEBA is a very important component of modern IT security and allows you to:
1. Detect insider threats: It is not too far fetched to imagine that an employee, or perhaps a group of employees, could disobey, steal data and information using their login. UEBA can help you detect data breaches, sabotage, abuse of privileges and policy violations by staff.
2. Detect Compromised Accounts: Sometimes, user accounts are compromised. It could be that the user has unintentionally installed malware on his machine, or that sometimes a legitimate account has been forged. UEBA can help eliminate compromised users before they can do any damage.
3. Detect Brute Force Attacks: Hackers sometimes target cloud-based entities as well as third-party authentication systems. With UEBA, you are able to detect brute force attack attempts, allowing you to block access to these entities.
4. Detect permission changes and super user creation: Some attacks involve the use of super users. UEBA allows you to detect when super users are created, or if there are accounts that have been granted unnecessary permissions.
5. Detect Secure Data Breach: If you have secured data, it’s not enough to keep it safe. Know when a user accesses this data if they have no legitimate business reason for doing so.
UEBA and SIEM
Security Information and Event Management, or SIEM, is the use of a complex set of tools and technologies that provides a complete view of the security of your IT system. It leverages event data and information, allowing you to see normal patterns and trends, and to warn of anomalies. UEBA works the same way, only it uses information on user (and entity) behavior to verify what is normal and what is not.
SIEM, however, is based on rules, and competent hackers can easily circumvent or evade these rules. Furthermore, the SIEM rules are designed to immediately detect threats that occur in real time, while the most advanced attacks are usually carried out over months or years. The UEBA, on the other hand, is not based on rules. Instead, it uses risk scoring techniques and advanced algorithms that allow it to detect anomalies over time.
One of the best practices for cybersecurity is to use both SIEM and UEBA to have better security and detection capabilities.
How a UEBA should be used
UEBA was born out of the need to identify the harmful behavior of users and other entities. UEBA tools and processes are not intended to replace legacy monitoring systems, but should instead be used to complement them and improve a company’s overall security. Another great practice is to take advantage of the storage and calculation capabilities of big data, using machine learning and statistical analysis to avoid receiving an avalanche of unnecessary alarms and being overwhelmed by the large volume of data. generated.
UEBA uses machine learning and algorithms to strengthen security by monitoring users and other entities, detecting anomalies in behavior patterns that could be indicative of a threat. By taking a proactive approach to security and gaining greater visibility into user and entity behavior, today’s businesses are able to build stronger security systems and more effectively mitigate threats and prevent breaches.
SOAR (Security Orchestration, Automation and Response) technology helps coordinate, execute and automate activities between people and tools, enabling companies to respond quickly to cyber security attacks. The aim is to improve their overall security position. SOAR tools use playbooks (strategies and procedures) to automate and coordinate workflows which may include security tools and manual tasks.
How does SOAR help in the security field?
1. Combining security orchestration, intelligent automation, incident management and interactive investigations in a single solution.
2. Facilitating team collaboration and enabling security analysts to take automated actions on tools across their security stack.
3. Providing teams with a single centralized console to manage and coordinate all aspects of their company’s security.
4. Optimizing case management, increasing efficiency by opening and closing tickets to investigate and resolve incidents.
Why do companies need a SOAR?
Modern companies regularly face many challenges and obstacles when it comes to fighting cyber threats.
A first challenge is represented by an ever increasing volume of complex security threats. Furthermore, the security tools involved very often struggle to talk to each other, which is in itself a nuisance.
Such a large amount of data and software can only mean a large number of security alerts. In fact, there is too much threat intelligence data to allow teams to manually classify, prioritize, investigate and target threats. Furthermore, the work of security officers involves very specific skills and with increasing demand it is increasingly difficult to find a sufficient number of security officers to carry out the work.
SOAR helps companies address and overcome these challenges by enabling them to:
– Unify existing security systems and centralize data collection to achieve full visibility.
– Automate repetitive manual activities and manage all aspects of the accident life cycle.
– Define incident analysis and response procedures, as well as leverage security playbooks to prioritize, standardize and scale response processes in a consistent, transparent and documented way.
– Quickly and accurately identify and assign the severity levels of incidents to safety alarms and support the reduction of alarms.
– Identify and better manage potential vulnerabilities in a proactive and reactive way.
– Direct each security incident to the analyst best suited to respond, while providing features that support easy collaboration and monitoring between teams and their members.
Below I wanted to list some practical examples of how a SOAR comes into action in certain situations.
Enrichment and Phishing Response: Activating a Playbook. Automation and execution of repeatable activities such as triage and involvement of interested users. Apply an extraction and control of indicators to identify false positives, then request activation of the SOC for a standardized response at scale.
Endpoint Malware Infection: Extracting threat feed data from endpoint tools and enriching that data. Cross-reference between recovered files and hashes with a SIEM solution, notify analysts, clean up endpoints, and update the tools database.
Failed User Login: After a predefined number of failed user login attempts, evaluating whether a failed login is genuine or malicious, a SOAR can activate in various ways. First of all by putting into practice a playbook, involving users and then analyzing their answers, then also the expiring passwords and finally closing the process.
Indicators of Compromise (IOC): Take and extract indicators from files, track indicators through intelligence tools and update databases.
Malware Analysis: Verify data from multiple sources, extract and delete malicious files. A report is then generated and checked for malice.
Cloud Incident Response: This is done through the use of data from cloud-focused threat detection and event logging tools. The data is then unified between the cloud and on-premises security infrastructures, correlated thanks to a SIEM. The indicators are then extracted and enriched, to then check for the presence of malice. A final step of human control to the analysts who review their information update the database and close the case.
The benefits of a SOAR
Basically, a SOAR implements working methods and protocols of action in the system for fighting against cyber threats of a company. This significantly improves operational efficiency and accelerates incident detection as well as response times, which are effectively standardized.
A SOAR increases analysts’ productivity and allows them to focus on improving security instead of performing manual tasks.
By exploiting and coordinating the existing security technology investments in a company, it is possible to make a real difference.
SIEM has existed for quite some time, but it is not yet well understood. Also, the fact that technology has evolved significantly in recent years doesn’t help shed some light. Today we see where we are, trying to understand the Next Generation SIEM and the managed systems offered as services that make use of the latest generation SIEM (SOCaaS, for example). Let’s see what all this means for companies.
Being a fundamental part of the SOCaaS offered by SOD, it seems appropriate to explain in detail what a Next Generation SIEM is and what its functions are.
A brief history of SIEM
Before examining what a Next Generation SIEM is, it is right to briefly review the history of this technology and its beginning.
The term Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) was coined in 2005 by Mark Nicolett and Amrit T. Williams of Gartner. The word is the merger of Security Event Management (SEM) and Security Information Management (SIM).
Its original definition given by the creators of the term is: a technology that supports the detection of threats and the response to security incidents, through the collection in real time and historical analysis of events from a wide variety of sources of contextual data.
SIEM was born out of the need to address the huge number of alarms issued by intrusion prevention systems (IPS) and intrusion detection systems (IDS) that were overwhelming IT departments. By helping organizations aggregate events and better analyze those within the network, SIEM has helped organizations improve threat detection. It has also led organizations to take a more proactive approach to security. Preventive security technologies are no longer sufficient on their own.
The difficulties of SIEMs in the early years
Eager to improve their cybersecurity situation, many enterprise-wide organizations have rapidly adopted SIEM technology. Over the years, however, inherited problems have emerged from the past:
1. The datasets were inflexible, so some SIEMs were unable to process the required data, which meant their effectiveness was limited
2. They were difficult to maintain and manage, which added complexity and drained staff resources
3. SIEMs produced a high number of false positives, creating even more work for the security teams
4. With the advancement of technology, SIEMs have struggled to keep up with the evolution of threats and therefore the IT risk for companies has grown
The Next Generation SIEM arrives
Many advanced threats are now polymorphic rather than static. That is, they are able to constantly modify their behavior to evade detection. As such, Next Generation SIEM systems must not only process more data, but also become much more capable of recognizing new patterns within them.
Given the difficulties and limitations of inherited SIEM systems, many thought they would disappear over time. But this did not happen, SIEM still remains a key technology used by companies. However, technology has had to evolve.
While SIEM once relied on only a handful of data sources, the “Next Generation” of SIEM systems was developed to process a greater volume and variety of data, as well as correlating it in a timely fashion.
Gartner reported that the SIEM market is continuously growing. One reason for this growth is that Next Gen SIEM systems are now used by midsize organizations, not just large enterprises.
What are the capabilities of Next Gen SIEM?
Next Gen SIEMs, sometimes referred to as analytical SIEMs or SIEM 3.0, have brought new capabilities to organizations and their security teams.
– Allow faster integration into a corporate infrastructure through an open architecture to cover cloud, on-premise and BYOD resources
– Include real-time visualization tools to understand the most important and high-risk activities
– Use scenario and behavior analysis to “photograph” well understood scenarios and highlight significant changes in behavior
– Integrate and use Threat Intelligence information from customized, open source and commercial sources
– Provide a flexible framework that allows for the implementation of a tailored workflow for key organizational use cases
– Measure status against regulatory frameworks (e.g. PCI DSS) for prioritization and risk management
Security Orchestration, Automation and Response
Security Orchestration, Automation and Response (SOAR) is a growing security area that Next Gen SIEM vendors are exploiting to contribute and take advantage of the latest features. In its essence, SOAR has two fundamental aspects:
1. It allows to bring more data to a Next Gen SIEM for analysis
SOAR is helping SIEM technology to become smarter and big data oriented, thus enabling security teams to make faster and better informed decisions. Broader intelligence means more reliable threat identification and fewer false positives.
2. Help automate incident response
Another important way SOAR is influencing the evolution of SIEM Next Gen is to help standardize incident analysis and response procedures. The goal is to partially or completely automate response activities in order to reduce the potential harm and inconvenience that breaches can cause. Such response activities could include blocking compromised user accounts and blocking IP addresses on a firewall.
By automating routine actions, SOAR helps security teams become more efficient and frees them up time to focus on threat hunting and patch management.
User Behavior Analysis (UEBA)
Another important feature of Next Generation SIEMs is the use of User and Entity Behavior Analytics (UEBA). UEBA does not track security events or monitor devices, but instead focuses on monitoring and analyzing the behavior of an organization’s users.
UEBA can be extremely useful in helping organizations identify compromised accounts, as well as insider threats. It works using advanced machine learning and behavioral profiling techniques to identify anomalous activity such as account compromise and abuse of privileges. By not using rules-based monitoring, the UEBA is more effective in detecting anomalies over time.
The challenges for a modern SIEM
Despite unquestionable advances in detecting complex cyber threats, SIEM Next Gens can still, if not used and maintained properly, generate a large number of alerts. For organizations without IT resources and dedicated security personnel, researching these alerts to distinguish true network security problems from false positives can be extremely complex and time-consuming.
Even when real threats are identified, knowing how to respond to them can be just as challenging.
Getting the most out of SIEM to help address growing security challenges will also depend on better trained personnel who can use the systems more effectively and validate alarms. For organizations that lack in-house knowledge or skills, it therefore makes sense to work with an external vendor who can cover or augment security capabilities.
A full SOCaaS service, including Next Generation SIEM and UEBA for threat hunting, is the ideal choice. Not only does it save time in terms of validating and checking alarms, but also in economic terms, not having to face installation costs and staff training.
If you are interested in learning more, do not hesitate to contact us, we will answer your questions.
A SIEM solution in IT is one of the essential components of a SOC (Security Operation Center). Its task is to collect information and analyze it in search of anomalies and possible breaches in the system. But the defense process hasn’t always been that simple. What we now call SIEM, Security Information and Event Management, is the union of two different types of cyber security tools.
SIM and SEM: the origins
Before the arrival of a complete SIEM solution in computing, security was heavily focused on perimeter security and did not keep the internal network adequately controlled. The first solutions developed in the 90s were basic and basically dealt with security information management (SIM) or security event management (SEM). They were solutions available as tools that had to be deployed on-site in the data center to be protected. This limited scalability, because adding capacity required the purchase of additional equipment.
These early solutions were also built on proprietary databases that forced customers to use technology from a single vendor. If you wanted to move your data to another system, the process was long and complicated. It should also be noted that archiving was more expensive, so only the most valuable data was collected. Furthermore, although the SIM and SEM solutions contained all the data necessary for the defense, the search and alarm were rudimentary. Additionally, they depended on experienced security analysts to research, understand and interpret what they found in the data.
SIEM origins in computer science
As data became more sensitive and technology more powerful, SIEM systems (SIM + SEM) became capable of ingesting, processing and storing a great deal of data. Next-generation SIEM IT solutions are able to use signature-based alerts to identify threats in collected data. However, only those alerts that have identified indicators of compromise (IOC) of a certain threat can be identified in this way.
To be clear, if the type of attack to which a system is subjected has not been cataloged in a series of IOCs, a first generation SIEM is not able to detect it. The main drawback of those systems was the very limited ability to detect unknown cyber threats.
To give a practical example: it was possible to use a rule like this: “give a warning if a user enters 10 consecutive wrong passwords“. In theory this could be used to detect brute force password attacks. But what if the attacker only tried 9 passwords in a row? Or what if the alarm was given for a very forgetful user?
Next Gen SIEM (NGS)
A next generation SIEM is built on a large data platform that provides unlimited scalability and is hosted in the cloud. A next gen SIEM includes log management, advanced threat detection based on behavior analysis and automatic incident response, all on a single platform.
This eliminates the problems that old on-premises systems were prone to. Not having to install anything and being able to send the necessary data to the cloud quite simply, the computing power of the local machine is not compromised and the SIEM can manage all the data safely.
How a SIEM proceeds in cyber threat analysis
1. Data Collection: An IT SIEM solution collects data from across the organization using agents installed on various devices, including endpoints, servers, network equipment and other security solutions. Next generation SIEM includes support for cloud applications and infrastructure, business applications, identity data and non-technical data feeds.
2. Data enrichment: Enrichment adds further context to events. SIEM will enrich data with identity, resources, geolocation and threat information.
3. Data storage: The data will then be stored in a database so that it can be searched for during investigations. The next generation SIEM exploits open source architectures and big data architectures, exploiting their scalability.
4. Correlation and Analysis: SIEM solutions use several techniques to draw actionable conclusions from SIEM data. These techniques vary greatly.
5. Report: A SIEM, particularly a next generation SIEM, gives you the ability to quickly search for data, allowing you to dig through alerts and search for threat actors and indicators of compromise. The displayed data can be saved or exported. It is also possible to use out-of-the-box reports or create ad hoc reports as needed.
What a SIEM is used for
Threat hunting and investigation
The ability to perform threat hunting on a SIEM is critical to understanding the true patterns of attacks based on access, activity and data breaches. By developing a detailed and contextual view of attacks, security analysts can more easily develop policies, countermeasures and incident response processes to help mitigate and remove the threat.
Response in case of an accident
An effective response to incidents is essential to intervene more quickly and reduce the residence time of the threat. For this, a SIEM provides an incident response playbook with configurable automated actions. A SIEM is able to integrate with third party solutions for security orchestration (SOAR) or individual case management.
Defense against insider threats
The reason why insider threats are such a big problem is because it’s not about entering the perimeter, but about exploiting insider positions. They can be your employees, contractors or business associates. It may be they themselves wanting to exploit their location, or their account may have been hacked.
With all kinds of internal threats, the attacker tries to stay hidden, gathering sensitive data to exploit. This could cause significant damage to the company, its position in the industry and its relationship with consumers or investors. By using a SIEM, you avoid this risk.
Cyber threat detection
Your organization is likely to have at least one sensitive data repository. Cybercriminals thrive on looting this data for financial gain. Many breaches begin with a simple phishing email against an organization’s target. Simply clicking on an attachment can leave malicious code behind. A SIEM will allow you to monitor advanced cyberthreat patterns such as phishing, beaconing and lateral movement.
For many industries, adherence to compliance standards is critical. A SIEM can help by providing reports focused on data compliance requests. Integrated packages covering all major mandates, including PCI DSS, SOX, and ISO 27001, are a standard feature of SIEMs as well.
Next Generation SIEM
A next generation SIEM is not just a cloud hosted system. It also makes use of the implementation of AI and Machine Learning to increase the defense of the IT system.
We will see it in a future article, but it is right to specify that the SOCaaS offered by SOD makes use of the latest generation technology offered by Next Gen. SIEM systems. Contact us to find out more about it and talk to experts who can dispel all your doubts.
During a cyber attack, hackers have only one goal in mind. This goal could be accessing a developer’s machine and stealing a project’s source code, analyzing emails from a particular executive, or extracting customer data from a server. All they have to do is log into the machine or system that contains the data they want, right? Not exactly. Actually, it’s a little more complicated than that. To achieve their goal, hackers are likely to break into a low-level web server, email account, or employee device, to name a few. From that node, they will move sideways (hence the name network lateral movement) to achieve their goal.
In fact, when attackers compromise a resource on a network, that device is almost never their final destination. In addition, the initial compromise rarely causes serious damage and may go unnoticed. Only if the security teams are able to detect a lateral movement before the attackers reach their intended goal, it is possible to prevent the data breach.
In this article, we will look at some of the more common types of network lateral movement and identify ways in which we can detect the attack and defend ourselves.
Understanding the network lateral movement
Lateral movement occurs when an attacker takes possession of a resource within a network and then extends its reach from that device to others within the same network. Let’s see it with an outline to help us understand better.
The perimeter of the infrastructure to be penetrated is represented with a horizontal line. The upper half represents what is outside the net, while what is below the line represents what is inside. In order for an attacker to enter the network, it must move vertically, ie from the outside to the inside (also called North-South traffic). But once a foothold has been established, it is possible to move sideways or horizontally, ie within the same network (called East-West traffic) to reach the final goal of the attack.
Approaches to the Lateral Movement
Overall, there are two common methods by which a hacker applies the lateral movement.
First approach: The attacker performs an internal scan to find out what other machines are on the network. In particular, it scans open ports that are listening and machines that suffer from vulnerabilities. At that point, the attacker can abuse these weaknesses to move sideways to another resource.
The second approach to the lateral movement exploits stolen credentials, and is the more common of the two. In this type of attack, the hacker could use an email phishing technique to infect a machine that interfaces with a particular server. Then he can use his login to recover passwords via a keylogger or other similar tools. At this point, he can use whatever credentials he was able to obtain to impersonate the user who was the victim of the phishing and log in to another machine. Once you have established access to that computer, you can repeat the tactic looking for additional credentials and / or privileges to exploit. In this way, the attacker can make their way and create remote connections to the target device.
In both cases it is difficult to identify the attack, because it does not occur through software or application malfunctions.
How to defend yourself
A lateral movement often manifests itself through anomalous network activity. For example, it is suspicious that a machine, which normally communicates with a few others, starts scanning the entire network. The same is true if that machine tries to connect to open ports, to interact with services and credentials with which it normally has no contact, or to use a username that has never been used before.
The list of alarm bells goes on and on. The key thing to understand is that a lateral movement involves machines doing something out of their routine, without proper authorization from IT.
This is what gives organizations the ability to detect this type of attack. Implementing log file monitoring is a first step in defense. Ideally, the data should be constantly analyzed for anomalies and possible breaches.
These defenses are not infallible. Security teams that simply rely on log files limit the scope of their defensive position, for example, due to log files collected only from particular applications. You might decide to monitor a certain service for credential theft, but attackers might not use that particular service to perform a lateral movement. This means that any malicious actions that do not use the monitored services will not be detected promptly.
In addition to this, hackers know the types of protocols that security personnel tend to monitor, making their task even more complex. Attackers can use this knowledge to model their attack campaigns in order to have a better chance of going unnoticed. It is one of the reasons why the MITER ATT & CK database was created to collect known techniques and raise the defenses.
The advantage of a SOCaaS
It is not enough for organizations to seek lateral movement using log files or an EDR tool. It is necessary to turn attention to the network as a whole. In this way it is possible to see all network traffic, establish a baseline of normal network activity for each user and device, and then monitor any unusual actions that could be indicative of attacks. It is known as anomaly detection, and is more comprehensive and often easier than examining each log file for out-of-the-ordinary events.
The problem with anomaly detection is that many of these irregularities are benign, and a lot of time is spent analyzing them. What is needed to separate harmful lateral movement from benign network anomalies is an understanding of the aspect of harmful behavior.
This is where a complete system that uses both behavioral analysis tools and professional security technicians comes into play.
The SOCaaS offered by SOD includes a Security Data Lake (SDL) for data collection and various tools for data analysis. One of these is the UEBA, particularly suitable for the detection of social threats, as it analyzes user behavior through AI using their actions as a source of data.
With these and other tools that make up the SOC, you can actively reduce the risk of attacks on your corporate data. If you are interested in learning more about SOD SOCaaS, I invite you to visit the dedicated page or contact us directly.
Mitre Att&ck is a global knowledge base of adversary tactics and techniques based on real observations of cyber attacks. These are displayed in arrays organized by attack tactics, from initial system access and data theft to machine control. There are arrays for common desktop platforms (Linux, macOS and Windows) and for mobile ones.
What is MITRE ATT&CK ™ and what does it mean?
ATT&CK stands for “adversarial tactics, techniques, and common knowledge” and that is: tactics, adversary techniques and common knowledge. Let’s try to go deeper.
Tactics and techniques are a modern way of thinking about cyber attacks. Rather than looking at the results of an attack – an indicator of compromise (IoC) – security analysts should look at the tactics and techniques that indicate an attack is in progress. Tactics represent the goal you want to achieve, while techniques represent how an opponent plans to achieve it.
Common knowledge is the documented use of tactics and techniques used by opponents. Essentially, common knowledge is the documentation of the procedures used by the attacker. Those familiar with cybersecurity may be familiar with the term “tactics, techniques and procedures” or TTP. This same concept has been used by ATT&CK ™, replacing the term procedure with common knowledge.
Who is MITRE and what is the goal of ATT&CK ™?
MITRE is a US government funded research organization based in Bedford, MA, and McLean, VA. The company was spun off from MIT in 1958 and was involved in a number of top secret commercial projects for various agencies. These included the development of the FAA’s air traffic control system and the AWACS radar system. MITRE has a substantial cybersecurity practice funded by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).
A curiosity: the word Mitre means nothing. Apparently one of the first members, James McCormack, wanted a name that meant nothing but was evocative. Some mistakenly think it means Massachusetts Institute of Technology Research and Engineering.
ATT&CK’s goal is to create a comprehensive list of known opponent tactics and techniques used during a cyber attack. Open to governmental, educational and commercial organizations, it should be able to gather a wide, and hopefully comprehensive, range of attack phases and sequences. MITRE ATT&CK aims to create a standard taxonomy to make communications between organizations more specific.
How is the ATT&CK ™ matrix used?
The matrix visually organizes all known tactics and techniques in an easy to understand format. Attack tactics are shown above, and individual techniques are listed below in each column. An attack sequence would involve at least one technique per tactic, and a complete attack sequence would be constructed by moving from left (Initial Access) to right (Command and Control). It is possible to use more techniques for a single tactic. For example, an attacker might try both a Spearphishing Attachment and a Spearphishing Link as initial login tactics.
Here is an example of a matrix:
In this matrix there are all the phases of an attack sequence. It is organized so that the tactics are ordered from right to left according to the attack sequence. Under each tactic the corresponding techniques, some of which contain sub-techniques. The two techniques mentioned above are actually sub-techniques of phishing which are part of the first step in the sequence (first column on the left).
It is not necessary for an attacker to use all eleven tactics at the top of the matrix. Rather, the attacker will use the minimum number of tactics to achieve his goal, as it is more efficient and provides less chance of discovery. In this attack (illustrated in the diagram below), the adversary performs initial access to the CEO’s administrative assistant credentials using a Spearphishing link delivered in an email. Once in possession of the administrator’s credentials, the attacker searches for a Remote System Discovery of the Discovery phase.
Let’s say they’re looking for sensitive data in a Dropbox folder that the admin also has access to, so there’s no need to increase privileges. The collection, which is the last stage, is done by downloading the files from Dropbox to the attacker’s machine.
Note that if you are using behavior analysis, a security analyst could detect the attack in progress by identifying abnormal user behavior.
And that’s exactly what a SOC should do, here, roughly, how the attack could be mitigated: suppose the administrator clicked a link that no one in the company has ever clicked before, then the administrator logged in a particular Dropbox folder at an unusual time. During the final phase of the attack, the attacker’s computer entered the Dropbox folder for the first time. With behavioral analysis, these activities would be flagged as suspicious user behavior.
To consult ATT&CK
To consult this resource just visit his site and you will find yourself in front of the matrix of which I published a screenshot a little while ago. Suppose we want to consult the Spearphishing Link technique. By clicking on it, the corresponding page will open containing in-depth information about it, such as a description of the technique, what sub-techniques exist, examples of procedures that include it and suggestions for risk mitigation.
Basically all the information necessary to know and defend oneself appropriately from each technique is available.
The advantages of a resource like MITRE ATT&CK are truly remarkable. Cyber security teams have a valuable ally at their disposal, to which they can add dedicated tools for its consultation.
While it is almost certain that attackers are adapting as defenders deploy new skills, it is also true that ATT&CK provides a way to describe the new techniques they develop.
In today’s article, we’ll explain what a Security Operations Center (SOC) is and help determine if a SOC-as-a-Service (SOCaaS) solution is right for your business. Just because you have to manage cybersecurity doesn’t mean your business has to deal with cybersecurity. In fact, your core business could be pretty much anything else.
Proper management of IT security, however, is essential to allow your company to grow and to obtain the certifications for data processing required by law. Having the right cybersecurity skills available at the right time is critical to your success, but you have no idea when that time will be.
Choosing the right technology, people and processes to build a modern security operations section is one of the biggest challenges for IT security managers.
What is a SOCaaS and what it can do for you
Before understanding what the management challenges are, it is good to understand what a SOC is. It performs the following functions:
Plan, configure and maintain your security infrastructure.
With a SOC it is possible to configure the technology stack (endpoint, SaaS applications, cloud infrastructure, network, etc.) to identify the relevant activity and eliminate unnecessary data. Monitor data sources to ensure the ecosystem is always connected.
Detect and respond
In addition, it is possible to monitor the incoming alarm activity. Investigate alarms to determine if it is a true security issue or a false alarm. If something is a real security threat, you can evaluate the magnitude of the situation and take response actions.
The activity of a certain event can be examined to determine if there are any signs of impairment that may have eluded the automated controls. The most common scenario is to review the history of an IP address or file that has been determined to be malicious.
Storage of log files
Another possibility is to securely collect and archive log files, for up to seven years, for compliance with regulations. The team will need to provide this critical data for forensic analysis in the event of a security situation.
Measure performance indicators
Obviously it is possible to monitor the KPIs (performance indicators). In detail it is possible to measure and report the KPIs to demonstrate to the executive team how the SOC is working.
The challenges of implementing your own SOC
Finding, training and retaining cybersecurity professionals is expensive
The skills needed to manage IT security tasks are in high demand. Unfortunately, the shortage is bound to get worse before it gets better. According to the International Certification Organization (ISC), the number of vacant positions worldwide was over 4 million professionals in 2019, up from nearly three million the previous year.
Training personnel with a broad IT background in cybersecurity skills is an option, but retaining these people is expensive. Their replacement, when eventually taken elsewhere, starts a cycle that usually ends up being more expensive than expected, especially compared to SOCaaS.
Also, people who work well in this industry usually want to explore new topics and take on new challenges. You will need to find other related projects or roles to rotate SOC staff to keep them engaged. This also helps build their skills, so they are ready to respond and act promptly when needed.
Cyber security is a team sport
It is important to have a diverse set of skills and a team that works well as a team. Security threats evolve rapidly, proper investigation and responses require people who understand endpoints, networks, cloud applications, and more. Often you end up being a SOC manager, a sysadmin and a threat hunter, depending on the day and what happens in your environment.
This means that you will need a team that is constantly learning, so that you have the right skills when you need them. People who do well in this industry thrive in a team environment where they can learn and challenge each other. For this, you need a workflow that regularly brings together several SOC analysts.
Think of it this way: you wouldn’t put a football team on the pitch that didn’t train together. Your SOC team collides with an opponent who plays as a team every day. To be successful, you need professionals who have a lot of playing experience to build their skills both in the single position and as a team.
A team of SOC analysts who do not do regular training will not be ready when hit by a well-trained opponent. It is difficult to get this experience in a small organization.
A SOCaaS is the immediate answer to this need. The team that will take care of your IT security is trained and stimulated every day by ever new challenges, having to deal with different infrastructures every day.
24/7 coverage is a necessity
Letting an opponent be free to bait for hours, days or weeks makes it infinitely more difficult to contain and remove threats. The adversary knows they have limited time to do as much damage as possible, as in the case of ransomware, or to overshadow ports, as in the case of data extrusion.
You will have the best chance of recovery if you can investigate and respond within minutes. A solution that provides 24 × 7 coverage is therefore essential.
In computer security there are no “working hours” for one particular reason: an attack could come from anywhere on the globe, consequently you cannot rely on conventional hours. This is the result of the spread of the network as an instrument of worldwide connection, we can only deal with it adequately. A SOCaaS relieves the company using it from keeping a division open 24/7.
Managing suppliers and integrating tools is quite expensive
Cyber security is complex and technology evolves rapidly. There will be more and more technologies that need to work together, which requires maintaining the skills to implement, update and configure each component and train your staff on new versions and features. If you have your own SOC, you also need to manage these supplier relationships, licensing, and training.
The bottom line is that building the skills you need requires a lot of low-level tasks and extensive daily work. For organizations that can support it, the effort makes sense. For most organizations, the task is best left to a partner who can provide this service, allowing you to get all the benefits of a high-end SOC without the expense and distraction of building it yourself.
If budget is not an issue and you have enough staff to focus on building and maintaining a 24 × 7 SOC, then it may make sense to go this route. If you are constrained on one of these two fronts, then SOCaaS will be the best approach.
In summary, SOCaaS allows you to:
1. Spend time managing security, not technology and vendors
2. Have a predictable expense. No surprise budget requests
3. Obtain security information from other organizations
4. Manage alarms more efficiently and with more predictable results
5. Be agile and keep up with the IT needs of your evolving organization
6. Stay abreast of today’s security tool innovations.
If your company wants to know more about Secure Online Desktop SOCaaS solutions, contact us for a non-binding consultation. We will show you all the advantages and clear up any doubts regarding this solution.
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