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Attack Types & VectorsBotnetsDDoSSecurity

The Evolution of IoT Attacks

August 30, 2018 — by Daniel Smith12

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What is the Internet of Things (IoT)? IoT is the ever-growing network of physical devices with embedded technologies that connect and exchange data over the internet. If the cloud is considered someone else’s computer, IoT devices can be considered the things you connect to the internet beyond a server or a PC/Laptop. These are items such as cameras, doorbells, light bulbs, routers, DVRs, wearables, wireless sensors, automated devices and just about anything else.

IoT devices are nothing new, but the attacks against them are. They are evolving at a rapid rate as growth in connected devices continues to rise and shows no sign of letting up. One of the reasons why IoT devices have become so popular in recent years is because of the evolution of cloud and data processing which provides manufacturers cheaper solutions to create even more ‘things’. Before this evolution, there weren’t many options for manufacturers to cost-effectively store and process data from devices in a cloud or data center.  Older IoT devices would have to store and process data locally in some situations. Today, there are solutions for everyone and we continue to see more items that are always on and do not have to store or process data locally.

[You might also like: The 7 Craziest IoT Device Hacks]

Cloud and Data Processing: Good or Bad?

This evolution in cloud and data processing has led to an expansion of IoT devices, but is this a good or a bad thing? Those that profit from this expansion would agree that this is positive because of the increase in computing devices that can assist, benefit or improve the user’s quality of life. But those in security would be quick to say that this rapid rise in connected devices has also increased the attack landscape as there is a lack of oversight and regulation of these devices. As users become more dependent on these IoT devices for daily actives, the risk also elevates. Not only are they relying more on certain devices, but they are also creating a much larger digital footprint that could expose personal or sensitive data.

In addition to the evolution of IoT devices, there has been an evolution in the way attacker’s think and operate. The evolution of network capabilities and large-scale data tools in the cloud has helped foster the expansion of the IoT revolution. The growth of cloud and always-on availability to process IoT data has been largely adopted among manufacturing facilities, power plants, energy companies, smart buildings and other automated technologies such as those found in the automotive industry. But this has increased the attack surfaces for those that have adopted and implemented an army of possible vulnerable or already exploitable devices. The attackers are beginning to notice the growing field of vulnerabilities that contain valuable data.

In a way, the evolution of IoT attacks continues to catch many off guard, particularly the explosive campaigns of IoT based attacks. For years, experts have warned about the pending problems of a connected future, with IoT botnets as a key indicator, but very little was done to prepare for it.  Now, organizations are rushing to identify good traffic vs malicious traffic and are having trouble blocking these attacks since they are coming from legitimate sources.

As attackers evolve, organizations are still playing catch up. Soon after the world’s largest DDoS attack, and following the publication of the Mirai source code, began a large battle among criminal hackers for devices to infect. The more bots in your botnet, the larger the attack could be.  From the construction of a botnet to the actual launch an attack, there are several warning signs of an attack or pending attack.

As the industry began monitoring and tracking IoT based botnets and threats, several non-DDoS based botnets began appearing. Criminals and operators suddenly shifted focus and began infecting IoT devices to mine for cryptocurrencies or to steal user data. Compared to ransomware and large-scale DoS campaigns that stem from thousands of infected devices, these are silent attacks.

Unchartered Territory

In addition to the evolving problems, modern research lacks standardization that makes analyzing, detecting and reporting complicated. The industry is new, and the landscape keeps evolving at a rapid rate causing fatigue in some situations. For instance, sometimes researchers are siloed, and research is kept for internal use only which can be problematic for the researcher who wants to warn of the vulnerability or advise on how to stop an attack. Reporting is also scattered between tweets, white papers, and conference presentations. To reiterate how young this specialty is, my favorite and one of the most respected conferences dedicated to botnets, BotConf, has only met 6 times.

EOL is also going to become a problem when devices are still functional but not supported or updated. Today there are a large number of connected systems found in homes, cities and medical devices that at some point will no longer be supported by the manufacturers yet will still be functional. As these devices linger unprotected on the internet, they will provide criminal hackers’ a point of entry into unsecured networks. Once these devices pass EOL and are found online by criminals, they could become very dangerous for users depending on their function.

In a more recent case, Radware’s Threat Research Center identified criminals that were targeting DLink DSL routers in Brazil back in June. These criminals were found to be using outdated exploits from 2015. The criminals were able to leverage these exploits against vulnerable and unpatched routers 4 years later. The malicious actors attempted to modify the DNS server settings in the routers of Brazilian residents, redirecting their DNS request through a malicious DNS server operated by the hackers. This effectively allowed the criminals to conduct what’s called a man in the middle attack, allowing the hackers to redirect users to phishing domains for local banks so they could harvest credentials from unsuspecting users.

[You might also like: IoT Hackers Trick Brazilian Bank Customers into Providing Sensitive Information]

Attackers are not only utilizing old and unpatched vulnerabilities, but they are also exploiting recent disclosures. Back in May, vpnMentor published details about two critical vulnerabilities impacting millions of GPON gateways. The two vulnerabilities allowed the attackers to bypass authentication and execute code remotely on the targeted devices. The more notable event from this campaign was the speed at which malicious actors incorporated these vulnerabilities. Today, actors are actively exploiting vulnerabilities within 48 hours of the disclosure.

What Does the Future Hold?

The attack surface has grown to include systems using multiple technologies and communication protocols in embedded devices. This growth has also led to attackers targeting devices for a number of different reasons as the expansion continues. At first hackers, mainly DDoS’er would target IoT devices such as routers over desktops, laptops, and servers because they are always on, but as devices have become more connected and integrated into everyone’s life, attackers have begun exploring their vulnerabilities for other malicious activity such as click fraud and crypto mining. It’s only going to get worse as authors and operators continue to look towards the evolution of IoT devices and the connected future.

If anything is an indication of things to come I would say it would be found in the shift from Ransomware to crypto mining. IoT devices will be the main target for the foreseeable future and attackers will be looking for quieter ways to profit from your vulnerabilities. We as an industry need to come together and put pressure on manufacturers to produce secure devices and prove how the firmware and timely updates will be maintained. We also need to ensure users are not only aware of the present threat that IoT devices present but also what the future impact of these devices will be as they approach end of life. Acceptance, knowledge, and readiness will help us keep the networks of tomorrow secured today.

Download “When the Bots Come Marching In, a Closer Look at Evolving Threats from Botnets, Web Scraping & IoT Zombies” to learn more.

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DDoSSecurityWeb Application Firewall

Security Risks: How ‘Similar-Solution’ Information Sharing Reduces Risk at the Network Perimeter

August 23, 2018 — by Thomas Gobet1

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We live in a connected world where we have access to several tools to assist in finding any information we need. If we choose to do something risky, there is often some type of notification that warns us of the risk.

The same holds true in IT departments. When a problem occurs, we search for answers that allow us to make decisions and take action. What problem created the outage? Do I need to increase the bandwidth or choose a CDN offering? Do I need to replace my devices or add a new instance to a cluster?

Connected Security

We all know that connected IT can help us make critical decisions. In the past, we have depended on standalone, best-of-breed security solutions that detect and mitigate locally but do not share data with other mitigation solutions across the network.

[You might also like: Web Application in a Digitally Connected World]

Even when information is shared, it’s typically between identical solutions deployed across various sites within a company. While this represents a good first step, there is still plenty of room for improvement. Let us consider the physical security solutions found at a bank as an analogy for cybersecurity solutions.

A robber enters a bank. Cameras didn’t detect the intruder wearing casual clothes or anything identifying him or her as a criminal. The intruder goes to the first teller and asks for money. The teller closes the window. Next, the robber moves to a second window, demanding money and that teller closes the window. The robber moves to the third window, and so on until all available windows are closed.

Is this the most effective security strategy? Wouldn’t it make more sense if the bank had a unified solution that shared information and shut down all of the windows after the first attempt? What if this robber was a hacker who is trying to penetrate your system? Would you allow the hacker to try and break into more than one network silo after the first attempt?

Comprehensive Security Via An Enterprise-Grade Suite Solution

As we’ve seen in the example above, having mitigation solutions that can share attack information allows an organization to block a new “signature” when you see the request. But this only applies when the traffic reaches the solution. How could the bank better protect itself from the robber?

  • Should they do active verification at the entrance?
    • No, it would be time-consuming for customers who may consider not coming back.
  • Should they keep a list of customers allowed?
    • No, otherwise they would turn off new customers.
  • Should they signal the risk to other desks and entrance security?
    • Yes, that way all windows would be closed simultaneously and security guards would be able to catch the intruder and any future attempts to enter.

Imagine these windows are your different sites and the security guard placed at the entrance is your security solution at the perimeter of your network. Identifying abnormal behavior from normal behavior requires you to perform analysis of network traffic. The more advanced the analysis is the closer to the backend application the solution is. That way we can ensure only traffic allowed by prior solutions doing first security barriers gets through. Being close to the application means that analyzed traffic went through: router, firewalls, switches, IPs, anti-virus, anti-DLP and many other solutions (in classic architectures).

Organizations require a fully integrated WAF and DDoS mitigation appliance that can communicate effectively to allow WAF solutions (deployed close to the application) to warn anti-DDoS systems (deployed at the perimeter) that an attacker is trying to penetrate the perimeter.

In the blog “Accessing Application With A Driving License,” Radware recommends blocking any requests coming from clients with abnormal behavior. This mechanism was only applied to the WAF, but with this added communication, it goes even one step further and blocks bad requests and/or bad clients who are trying to access your network.

[You might also like: Accessing Application With a Driving License]

With a fully integrated WAF and DDoS detection and mitigation solution that communicates with one another, these devices will save you time and processing power and they will be more effective in blocking intrusions to your network.

Download “Web Application Security in a Digitally Connected World” to learn more.

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Attack Types & VectorsDDoSSecurity

DNS: Strengthening the Weakest Link

August 2, 2018 — by Radware3

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One in three organizations hit by DDoS attacks experienced an attack against their DNS server. Why is DNS such an attractive target? What are the challenges associated with keeping it secure? What attack vectors represent the worse of the worst when it comes to DNS assaults? Based on research from Radware’s 2017-2018 Global Application & Network Security Report, this piece answers all those questions and many more.

DDoSSecurity

Be Certain and Specific when Fighting DDoS Attacks

July 19, 2018 — by Ray Tamasovich1

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I was visiting a prospect last week and at the very beginning of the meeting he asked directly, “Why would I consider your products and services over the many others that claim to do the exact same thing?”  I immediately said, “That’s easy! Certainty and specificity.”  He looked at me, expecting more than a 5-word answer. When I did not provide one, he asked me to please explain. I told him that any number of the products or services on the market are capable of keeping your circuits from being overrun by a volumetric DDoS attack, but that if he wanted to be certain he was not blocking legitimate business users or customers, and if he wanted to be specific about the traffic he was scrubbing, he would need to consider my solution.

DDoSSecurityWAF

Building Tier 1 IP Transit – What’s Involved and Why Do It?

July 11, 2018 — by Richard Cohen4

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Not all internet connectivity is created equal. Many Tier 2 and Tier 3 ISPs, cloud service providers and data integrators consume IP Transit sourced from Tier 1 Wholesale ISPs (those ISP’s that build and operate their own fabric from L1 services up). In doing so, their ability to offer their customers internet services customised to particular requirements is limited by the choices they have available to them – and many aspects of the services they consume may not be optimal.

DDoSSecurity

It only takes 6,000 smart phones to take down our Public Emergency Response System?

June 28, 2018 — by Carl Herberger2

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There are fewer scenarios which illustrate an evildoer’s heart than those designed for mass carnage.

We are all familiar with the false alarm (human mistake) of the Public Emergency Broadcast system in Hawaii earlier this year, which wreaked havoc throughout the archipelago. However, do we realize how fragile our nation’s emergency communications are and how vulnerable it is to cyber-attacks?

Attack Types & VectorsDDoSSecurity

Battling Cyber Risks with Intelligent Automation

June 26, 2018 — by Louis Scialabba0

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Organizations are losing the cybersecurity race.

Cyber threats are evolving faster than security teams can adapt. The proliferation of data from dozens of security products are outpacing the ability for security teams to process it. And budget and talent shortfalls limit the ability for security teams to expand rapidly.

The question is how does a network security team improve the ability to scale and minimize data breaches, all the while dealing with increasingly complex attack vectors?

The answer is automation.

DDoSSecurity

Machine Learning Algorithms for Zero Time to Mitigation

June 21, 2018 — by Amir Dahan0

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DDoS attacks are growing in complexity and volume and represent a major threat to any organization. Service providers and enterprises require expertise and knowledge to successfully deal with these threats. While large organizations have the budget to develop in-house expertise to address DDoS attacks, there are still administrative burdens associated with protecting computing and infrastructure resources.

DDoSSecuritySSL

The Executive Guide to Demystify Cybersecurity

June 20, 2018 — by Radware0

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WHAT DO BANKS AND CYBERSECURITY HAVE IN COMMON? EVERYTHING

The world we live in can be a dangerous place, both physically and digitally. Our growing reliance on the Internet, technology and digitalization only makes our dependence on
technology more perilous. As an executive, you’re facing pressure both internally (from customers and shareholders) and externally (from industry compliance or government regulations) to keep your organization’s digital assets and your customers’ secure.

New cybersecurity threats require new solutions. New solutions require a project to implement them. The problems and solutions seem infinite while budgets remain bounded. Therefore, the challenge becomes how to identify the priority threats, select the solutions that deliver the best ROI and stretch dollars to maximize your organization’s protection. Consultants and industry analysts can help, but they too can be costly options that don’t always provide the correct advice.

So how best to simplify the decision-making process? Use an analogy. Consider that every cybersecurity solution has a counterpart in the physical world. To illustrate this point, consider the security measures at banks. They make a perfect analogy, because banks are just like applications or computing environments; both contain valuables that criminals are eager to steal.

 

The first line of defense at a bank is the front door, which is designed to allow people to enter and leave while providing a first layer of defense against thieves. Network firewalls fulfill the same role within the realm of cyber security. They allow specific types of traffic to enter an organization’s network but block mischievous visitors from entering. While firewalls are an effective first line of defense, they’re not impervious. Just like surreptitious robbers such as Billy the Kid or John Dillinger, SSL/TLS-based encrypted attacks or nefarious malware can sneak through this digital “front door” via a standard port.

Past the entrance there is often a security guard, which serves as an IPS or anti-malware device. This “security guard,” which is typically anti-malware and/or heuristic-based IPS function, seeks to identify unusual behavior or other indicators that trouble has entered the bank, such as somebody wearing a ski mask or perhaps carrying a concealed weapon.

Once the hacker gets past these perimeter security measures, they find themselves at the presentation layer of the application, or in the case of a bank, the teller. There is security here as well. Firstly, authentication (do you have an account) and second, two-factor authentication (an ATM card/security pin). IPS and anti-malware devices work in
concert with SIEM management solutions to serve as security cameras, performing additional security checks. Just like a bank leveraging the FBI’s Most Wanted List, these solutions leverage crowd sourcing and big-data analytics to analyze data from a massive global community and identify bank-robbing malware in advance.

[You might also like: Cybersecurity & Customer Experience: Embrace Technology and Change To Earn A Customer’s Loyalty]

THE EXECUTIVE GUIDE TO DEMYSTIFYING CYBERSECURITY

A robber will often demand access to the bank’s vault. In the realm of IT, this is the database, where valuable information such as passwords, credit card or financial transaction information or healthcare data is stored. There are several ways of protecting this data, or at the very least, monitoring it. Encryption and database
application monitoring solutions are the most common.

ADAPTING FOR THE FUTURE: DDOS MITIGATION

To understand how and why cybersecurity models will have to adapt to meet future threats, let’s outline three obstacles they’ll have to overcome in the near future: advanced DDoS mitigation, encrypted cyberattacks, and DevOps and agile software development.

A DDoS attack is any cyberattack that compromises a company’s website or network and impairs the organization’s ability to conduct business. Take an e-commerce business for example. If somebody wanted to prevent the organization from conducting business, it’s not necessary to hack the website but simply to make it difficult for visitors to access it.

Leveraging the bank analogy, this is why banks and financial institutions leverage multiple layers of security: it provides an integrated, redundant defense designed to meet a multitude of potential situations in the unlikely event a bank is robbed. This also includes the ability to quickly and effectively communicate with law enforcement.

In the world of cyber security, multi-layered defense is also essential. Why? Because preparing for “common” DDoS attacks is no longer enough. With the growing online availability of attack tools and services, the pool of possible attacks is larger than ever. This is why hybrid protection, which combines both on-premise and cloudbased
mitigation services, is critical.

Why are there two systems when it comes to cyber security? Because it offers the best of both worlds. When a DDoS solution is deployed on-premise, organizations benefit from an immediate and automatic attack detection and mitigation solution. Within a few seconds from the initiation of a cyber-assault, the online services are well protected and the attack is mitigated. However, on-premise DDoS solution cannot handle volumetric network floods that saturate the Internet pipe. These attacks must be mitigated from the cloud.

Hybrid DDoS protection aspire to offer best-of-breed attack mitigation by combining on-premise and cloud mitigation into a single, integrated solution. The hybrid solution chooses the right mitigation location and technique based on attack characteristics. In the hybrid solution, attack detection and mitigation starts immediately and automatically using the on-premise attack mitigation device. This stops various attacks from diminishing the availability of the online services. All attacks are mitigated on-premise, unless they threaten to block the Internet pipe of the organization. In case of pipe saturation, the hybrid solution activates cloud mitigation and the traffic is diverted to the cloud, where it is scrubbed before being sent back to the enterprise. An ideal hybrid solution also shares essential information about the attack between on-premise mitigation devices and cloud devices to accelerate and enhance the mitigation of the attack once it reaches the cloud.

INSPECTING ENCRYPTED DATA

Companies have been encrypting data for well over 20 years. Today, over 50% of Internet traffic is encrypted. SSL/TLS encryption is still the most effective way to protect data as it ties the encryption to both the source and destination. This is a double-edged sword however. Hackers are now leveraging encryption to create new,
stealthy attack vectors for malware infection and data exfiltration. In essence, they’re a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

To stop hackers from leveraging SSL/TLS-based cyberattacks, organizations require computing resources; resources to inspect communications to ensure they’re not infected with malicious malware. These increasing resource requirements make it challenging for anything but purpose built hardware to conduct inspection.

The equivalent in the banking world is twofold. If somebody were to enter wearing a ski mask, that person probably wouldn’t be allowed to conduct a transaction, or secondly, there can be additional security checks when somebody enters a bank and requests a large or unique withdrawal.

[You might also like: Cybersecurity & The Customer Experience: The Perfect Combination]

DEALING WITH DEVOPS AND AGILE SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT

Lastly, how do we ensure that, as applications become more complex, they don’t become increasingly vulnerable either from coding errors or from newly deployed functionality associated with DevOps or agile development practices? The problem is most cybersecurity solutions focus on stopping existing threats. To use our bank analogy again, existing security solutions mean that (ideally), a career criminal can’t enter a bank, someone carrying a concealed weapon is stopped or somebody acting suspiciously is blocked from making a transaction. However, nothing stops somebody with no criminal background or conducting no suspicious activity from entering the bank. The bank’s security systems must be updated to look for other “indicators” that this person could represent a threat.

In the world of cybersecurity, the key is implementing a web application firewall that adapts to evolving threats and applications. A WAF accomplishes this by automatically detecting and protecting new web applications as they are added to the network via automatic policy generation.

It should also differentiate between false positives and false negatives. Why? Because just like a bank, web applications are being accessed both by desired legitimate users and undesired attackers (malignant users whose goal is to harm the application and/or steal data). One of the biggest challenges in protecting web applications is the ability to accurately differentiate between the two and identify and block security threats while not disturbing legitimate traffic.

ADAPTABILITY IS THE NAME OF THE GAME

The world we live in can be a dangerous place, both physically and digitally. Threats are constantly changing, forcing both financial institutions and organizations to adapt their security solutions and processes. When contemplating the next steps, consider the following:

  • Use common sense and logic. The marketplace is saturated with offerings. Understand how a cybersecurity solution will fit into your existing infrastructure and the business value it will bring by keeping your organization up and running and your customer’s data secure.
  • Understand the long-term TCO of any cyber security solution you purchase.
  • The world is changing. Ensure that any cyber security solution you implement is designed to adapt to the constantly evolving threat landscape and your organization’s operational needs.

Read the “2018 C-Suite Perspectives: Trends in the Cyberattack Landscape, Security Threats and Business Impacts” to learn more.

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DDoSSecurity

8 Questions to Ask in DDoS Protection

June 7, 2018 — by Eyal Arazi0

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As DDoS attacks grow more frequent, more powerful, and more sophisticated, many organizations turn to DDoS mitigation providers to protect themselves against attack.

Before evaluating DDoS protection solutions, it is important to assess the needs, objectives, and constraints of the organization, network and applications. These factors will define the criteria for selecting the optimal solution.