Security teams left in the dark by current technologies and practices

RedSeal, a network security assessment vendor based in San Mateo, California, conducted a series of Q&As during BlackHat and Cisco Live!, which shows that InfoSec teams are in the dark, and feel out gunned by attackers. However, some of the issues are their own doing.

During July (Cisco Live!) and August (BlackHat) 2011, RedSeal spoke to 1,967 InfoSec professionals from all levels, to learn their views on threat assessment, mitigation, and risk posture on their respective networks. The information collected offers a grim, but unsurprising view, of the state of risk in today’s enterprise.

Here are some of the stats from the various areas represented by the study. Granted, this cross section excludes repeated answers separated by vertical market, and those that focus on the types of solutions offered by RedSeal.

- 75% of security professionals state that hackers have the upper hand with tools and automation

Can anyone be blamed for feeling like this? It seems like there is a new breach or incident reported in the news each week. Yet, most of the automated attacks are preventable. Technologies and policies that assess code development, user and process enforcement, and traffic analysis are all helpful when addressing these types of threats.

The question is where is the business heading? The security tools selected to deal with threats and automated attacks should always match the needs of the business, if they were not implemented as part of the business plan in the first place. It isn’t easy, and takes a good deal of research and time, but the efforts are worth it.

The sad part is that in the meantime, many organizations are using patchwork solutions or just dropping appliances on the network, in the hopes that things will work out in the end. This endless cycle can be hard to break, as additional stop-gaps added to the network in order to address the failings of the previously implemented stop-gaps.

- 50% admit they don’t know or have no way of knowing how many hosts can be accessed from outside their network

An asset, be it data or hardware, cannot be protected if no one knows it is there, and how it can be accessed by the organization or a criminal. The survey stressed this with many CIOs and CSOs expressing concern over the lack of visibility on their networks.

The thing that was not covered is why there was a failure in identifying important assets in the first place, which could be anything from policy issues to lack of staffing.

- 71% report that their network is at risk due to improperly configured network devices

Aside from product purchases and rapid deployments that can cause issues, why is this allowed to happen in the first place? The network devices were configured to address some sort of need to begin with, if the need is no longer valid, then why would this configuration not change? Instead of looking at appliances to solve the problems, why not look at policies and address changes there?

The answer in most cases is time and money. However, implementing the configurations in the first place were time consuming and costly, so if there are changes, this is all part of the process.

Snapshots:

Surveys like this are a solid view into the state of things, but they are only a snapshot. Many of the problems expressed by the InfoSec professionals can likely be solved without a single purchase, by better leveraging the tools they already have and working with their vendor.

If there is a critical gap, then the needs of the business and the level of risk the gap exposes should be examined. Even then, money should not be carelessly tossed at the problem. Purchases decisions should be weighed on how they fit within the organization’s plans. Not at a single point in time, but for the entirety of the business itself. This will help prevent the cycle of purchases simply for the sake of covering problems with previous purchases.

Risk assessment and mitigation are likely the hardest things about security. They are a process, and are rarely mastered - no matter how many vendors or products flood the market, as no single solution can solve everything. However, if these solutions are applied to the business model, and changes are made only when business needs or risk justifies them; they are the two methodologies that can save the most when it comes to time and money, not to mention the pain of suffering a public security incident.

The entire RedSeal report is here.

Like this article? Please share on Facebook and give The Tech Herald a Like too!

From our Other Sites

Man Makes Tiny Edible Pancakes with Tiny Kitchen Tools (Video)

This Japanese guy cooks up some pancakes…nothing special there right? Well he uses tiny implements to do it and makes perfect little pancakes. Kinda cool and they look tasty!

What Color is this Dress?

White and Gold or Blue and Black?
Well this one has been trending all over the web, just what color is this dress? It all started in Scotland when the mother of a bride-to-be sent a picture to her daughter asking what she thought of the dress. The bride and groom each saw the image differently, this then got posted online and picked up by some viral sites. The lighting in the photo is probably causing different people to see it as either white and gold or blue and black. Prof Stephen Westland, chair of color science and technology at a university in the UK told the BBC that it was impossible to see what other people see but that it […]

McLaren 675LT Pictures

Some great shots of the forthcoming McLaren 675LT. This coupe will get you to 60mph in less than 2.9 second and go all the way to 205mph.

McLaren 675LT Details

McLaren’s 675LT will debut at this year’s Geneva show and promises some eye-popping performance. The coupe only 675LT has a 3.8 liter V8 that will get you from 0-60mph in less than 2.9 seconds and to 124mph in less than 7.9 secondsMore than a third of the parts have been changed compared with its stable mate […]

McLaren 675LT Wallpaper

Some cool McLaren 675LT Wallpaper. The McLaren 675LT is the latest coupe to come from the supercar maker and has a top speed of 205mph.Click on an image to open a page with multiple sizes that you can download to use as wallpaper for your mobile or desktop.More McLaren Wallpaper.

Octopus hunts on land, grabs crab (Video)

This crab is minding its own business searching the rock pools for food when suddenly an octopus leaps out of the water and grabs it. The amazing thing is that the octopus does not just jump on the crab it actually pulls it all the way back to the rock pool it came from. If you check the second video you will see it is not unknown for octopus to come out of the water and the one in the second video has a crab with it, though is not hunting one! Octopus Walks on Land at Fitzgerald Marine Reserve The video was taken by Porsche Indrisie in Yallingup, Western […]

Stunning Mars Rover Selfie

This image by the Curiosity Mars rover is not exactly your typical selfie. It is made up of a bunch of images taken by the rover during January 2015 by the Mars Hand Lens Imager. This (MAHLI) camera is at the end of the robot’s arm. For a sense of scale the rover’s wheels are about 20 inches diameter and 16 inches wide. Check the annotated image below for more information on the surroundings. Also if you really want to see some detail click this very large image, 36mb, at NASA.  

How the Sahara Helps Feed the Amazon (Video)

Sahara to Amazon
This cool video from NASA shows how dust is transferred across the Atlantic to the Amazon rainforest and helps nourish the plants growing there. For the first time scientists have measured the amount of dust and the amount of phosphorus in the dust. The later acts like a fertiliser and helps replenish the phosphorus the rainforest loses each year, around 22,000 tons. Amazing how something we perceive as being desolate like a desert actually has an important role in sustaining somewhere we see as teeming with life. Image and video from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.

Bouncing Laser Guided Bomb (Video)

This amazing video shows a laser guided bomb bouncing back up after hitting its target. We actually think this is a non-explosive bomb designed to test guidance systems but it is still pretty remarkable and somewhat scary.

South Koreans Swallowed by Sinkhole (Video)

Thankfully the couple survived their adventure.
This amazing footage taken from the CCTV on a passing bus shows the moment two pedestrians in South Korea fall down a sinkhole in the street! Rescue workers managed to save the pair, who were treated in a nearby hospital for minor injuries. According to reports the city authorities and the Korean Geotechnical Society are looking into the cause.