Over 50% of web traffic is comprised of bots, and 89% of organizations have suffered attacks against web applications. Websites and mobile apps are two of the biggest revenue drivers for businesses and help solidify a company’s reputation with tech-savvy consumers. However, these digital engagement tools are coming under increasing threats from an array of sophisticated cyberattacks, including bots.
While a percentage of bots are used to automate business processes and tasks, others are designed for mischievous purposes, including account takeover, content scraping, payment fraud and denial-of-service attacks. Often, these attacks are carried out by competitors looking to undermine a company’s competitive advantage, steal information or increase your online marketing costs.
Sophisticated, next-generation bots can evade traditional security controls and go undetected by application owners. However, their impact can be noticed, and there are several indicators that can alert a company of malicious bot activity:
Why a WAF Isn’t an Effective Bot Detection Tool
WAFsare primarily created to safeguard websites against application vulnerability exploitations like SQL Injections, cross-site scripting (XSS), cross-site request forgery, session hijacking and other web attacks. WAFs typically feature basic bot mitigation capabilities and can block bots based on IPs or device fingerprinting.
However, WAFs fall short when facing more advanced, automated threats. Moreover, next-generation bots use sophisticated techniques to remain undetected, such as mimicking human behavior, abusing open-source tools or generating multiple violations in different sessions.
Against these sophisticated threats, WAFs won’t get the job done.
The Benefits of Synergy
As the complexity of multi-vector cyberattacks increases, security systems must work in concert to mitigate these threats. In the case of application security, a combination of behavioral analytics to detect malicious bot activity and a WAF to protect against vulnerability exploitations and guard sensitive data is critical.
Moreover, many threats can be blocked at the network level before reaching the application servers. This not only reduces risk, but also reduces the processing loads on the network infrastructure by filtering malicious bot traffic.
Read “How to Evaluate Bot Management Solutions” to learn more.
Businesses today know they must handle sensitive data with extra care. But evolving cyber threats combined with regulatory demands can lead executives to hold their proverbial security cards close to their chest. For example, they may be reluctant to share encryption keys and certificates with a third party (i.e., cloud service providers), fearing data theft, MITM attacks or violations of local privacy regulations.
So how can businesses securely share this information as they transition to the cloud?
Today, nearly all web applications use HTTPS (encrypted traffic sent to and from the user). Any website with HTTPS service requires a signed SSL certificate. In order to communicate securely via encrypted traffic and complete the SSL handshake, the server requires three components: a private key, a public key (certificate) and a certificate chain.
These are essential to accomplish the following objectives:
Authentication – The client authenticates the server identity.
Encryption – A symmetric session key is created by the client and server for session encryption.
Private keys stay private – The private key never leaves the server side and is not used as session key by the client.
Hardware Security Module (HSM)
A Hardware Security Module is a physical computing device that safeguards and manages digital keys for strong authentication and provides cryptoprocessing. HSMs are particularly useful for those industries that require high security, businesses with cloud-native applications and global organizations. More specifically, common use cases include:
Native cloud applications – Cloud applications designed with security in mind might use managed HSM (or KMS) for critical workloads such as password management.
Centralized management – Global organizations with global applications need to secure and manage their keys in one place.
Managing cryptographic key lifecycle necessitates a few fundamentals:
Using random number generator to create/renew keys
Processing crypto-operations (encrypt/decrypt)
Ensuring keys never leave the HSM
Establishing secure access control (intrusion-resistant, tamper-evident, audit-logged, FIPS-validated appliances)
The Challenge with Cloud Security Services…
One of the main challenges with cloud security services is the fact that reverse proxies need SSL keys. Managed security services, such as a cloud WAF service, force enterprises to hand over their private keys for terminating SSL connections. However, some can’t (FIPS-compliant businesses, for example) or simply don’t want to (for trust and liability concerns, or simply due to multi-tenancy between multiple customers). This is usually where the business relationship gets stuck.
Yes, integrating a cloud WAF service with a public cloud provider (like AWS CloudHSM) into an external HSM is the answer. It can easily be set up by a VPN among a cluster sharing the HSM credentials, per application or at large.
Indeed, cloudHSM is a popular solution–being both FIPS and PCI DSS compliant — trusted by customers in the finance sector. By moving the last on-prem component to the cloud to reduce data center maintenance costs, organizations are actually shifting towards consuming HSM as a Service.
Such an integration supports any type of certificate (single domain, wildcard or SAN) and secures minimal latency as public cloud providers have PoPs all around the globe. The external HSM is only used once, while there are no limitations to the amount of certificates that are hosted on the service.
This is the recommended approach to help businesses overcome the concern of sharing private keys. Learn more about Radware Cloud WAF service here.
Read “The Trust Factor: Cybersecurity’s Role in Sustaining Business Momentum” to learn more.
Over the last few weeks, Radware has been tracking a significant Credential Stuffing Campaign targeting the financial industry in the United States and Europe.
Credential Stuffing is an emerging threat in 2018 that continues to accelerate as more breaches occur. Today, a breach doesn’t just impact the compromised organization and its users, but it also affects every other website that the users may use.
Additionally, resetting passwords for a compromised application will only solve the problem locally while criminals are still able to leverage those credentials externally against other applications due to poor user credential hygiene.
Credential Stuffing is a subset of brute force attacks but is different from Credential Cracking. Credential Stuffing campaigns do not involve the process of brute forcing password combinations. Credential Stuffing campaigns leverage leaked username and passwords in an automated fashion against numerous websites in an attempt to take over users accounts due to credential reuse.
Criminals, like researchers, collect and data mine leaks databases and breached accounts for several reasons. Typically cybercriminals will keep this information for future targeted attacks, sell it for profit or exploit it in fraudulent ways.
The motivations behind the current campaign that Radware is seeing are strictly fraud related. Criminals are using credentials from prior data breaches in an attempt to gain access and take over user’s bank accounts. These attackers have been seen targeting financial organizations in both the United States and Europe. When significant breaches occur, the compromised email addresses and passwords are quickly leveraged by cybercriminals. Armed with tens of millions of credentials from a recently breached website, attackers will use these credentials along with scripts and proxies to distribute their attack in an automated fashion against the financial institution in an attempt to take over banking accounts. These login attempts can happen in such volumes that they resemble a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack.
Credential Stuffing is one of the most commonly used attack vectors by cybercriminals today. It’s an automated web injection attack where criminals use a list of breached credentials in an attempt to gain access and take over accounts across different platforms due to poor credential hygiene. Attackers will route their login request through proxy servers to avoid blacklisting their IP address.
Attackers automate the logins of millions of previously discovered credentials with automation tools like cURL and PhantomJS or tools designed specifically for the attack like Sentry MBA and SNIPR.
This threat is dangerous to both the consumer and organizations due to the ripple effect caused by data breaches. When a company is breached, those credentials compromised will either be used by the attacker or sold to other cybercriminals. Once credentials reach its final destination, a for-profit criminal will use that data, or credentials obtain from a leak site, in an attempt to take over user accounts on multiple websites like social media, banking, and marketplaces. In addition to the threat of fraud and identity theft to the consumer, organizations have to mitigate credential stuffing campaigns that generate high volumes or login requests, eating up resources and bandwidth in the process.
Credential Cracking attacks are an automated web attack where criminals attempt to crack users password or PIN numbers by processing through all possible combines of characters in sequence. These attacks are only possible when applications do not have a lockout policy for failed login attempts.
Attackers will use a list of common words or recently leaked passwords in an automated fashion in an attempt to take over a specific account. Software for this attack will attempt to crack the user’s password by mutating, brute forcing, values until the attacker is successfully authenticated.
Sentry MBA is one of the most popular Credential Stuffing toolkits used by cybercriminals today. This tool is hosted on the Sentry MBA crackers forum. The tool simplifies and automates the process of checking credentials across multiple websites and allows the attackers to configure a proxy list so they can anonymize their login requests.
SNIPR is a popular Credential Stuffing toolkit used by cybercriminals and is found hosted on the SNIPR crackers forums. SNIPR comes with over 100 config files preloaded and the ability to upload personal config files to the public repository.
Reasons for Concern
Recent breaches over the last few years have exposed hundreds of millions of user credentials. One of the main reasons for concern of a Credential Stuffing campaign is due to the impact that it has on the users. Users who reuse credentials across multiple websites are exposing themselves to an increased risk of fraud and identity theft.
The second concern is for organizations who have to mitigate high volumes of fraudulent login attempts that can saturate a network. This saturation can be a cause for concern, as it will appear to be a DDoS attack, originating from random IP addresses coming from a variety of sources, including behind proxies. These requests will look like legitimate attempts since the attacker is not running a brute force attack. If the user: pass for that account does not exist or authenticate on the targeted application the program will move on to the next set of credentials.
In order to defend against a Credential Stuffing campaign, organizations need to deploy a WAF that can properly fingerprint and identify malicious bot traffic as well as automated login attacks directed at your web application. Radware’s AppWall addresses the multiples challenges faced by Credential Stuffing campaigns by introducing additional layers of mitigation including activity tracking and source blocking.
Radware’s AppWall is a Web Application Firewall (WAF) capable of securing Web applications as well as enabling PCI compliance by mitigating web application security threats and vulnerabilities. Radware’s WAF prevents data from leaking or being manipulated which is critically important in regard to sensitive corporate data and/or information about its customers.
The AppWall security filter also detects such attempts to hack into the system by checking the replies sent from the Web server for Bad/OK replies in a specific timeframe. In the event of a Brute Force attack, the number of Bad replies from the Web server (due to a bad username, incorrect password, etc.) triggers the BruteForce security filter to monitor and take action against that specific attacker. This blocking method prevents a hacker from using automated tools to carry out an attack against Web application login page.
In addition to these steps, network operators should apply two-factor authentication where eligible and monitor dump credentials for potential leaks or threats.
Effective Web Application Security Essentials
Full OWASP Top-10 coverage against defacements, injections, etc.
Low false positive rate – using negative and positive security models for maximum accuracy
Auto policy generation capabilities for the widest coverage with the lowest operational effort
Bot protection and device fingerprinting capabilities to overcome dynamic IP attacks and achieve improved bot detection and blocking
Securing APIs by filtering paths, understanding XML and JSON schemas for enforcement, and activity tracking mechanisms to trace bots and guard internal resources
Flexible deployment options – on-premise, out-of-path, virtual or cloud-based
Read “Radware’s 2018 Web Application Security Report” to learn more.
In 2003, I went to Zermatt, Switzerland to go snowboarding under the Matterhorn. We had an eclectic group of people from all over the world. Some of us were enthusiasts, some ski patrol or medics, and a few were backcountry avalanche trained. Because of this, we had a lot of different gear with us, including ice saws, shovels, probes, avalanche beacons, radios, etc. In addition to the gear we carried, we also brought cameras, cell phones, MP3 players and of course, large battery charger bays with international inverters/adapters to keep everything going. I had a backpack with all the avalanche and snow testing gear. In my jacket, I carried an avalanche beacon, digital camera, flip cell phone, family radio with a long external mic, GPS, and an MP3 player with headphones. I felt like I was Batman with all the gear crammed all over the place. I told one of my friends on the trip that one day all of this technology would be consolidated into one device – radio, phone, camera, MP3 player, and avalanche beacon. My friends thought I was crazy and that it would never happen. Fast forward to the smartphone where we now have it all, with the exception of Avalanche beacon, in one device.
To think that many of us had these “point solutions” in our personal tech and now it’s all consolidated into one makes me wonder when will we consolidate at home?
The future of the smart home
I have a Zigbee bridge for my lights, a Zigbee bridge for my blinds, 5 smart speakers, solar panels on the blinds (to charge them and get heat/sunlight measures), smart smoke detectors, smart locks, IP cameras, smart watering system for the plants, smart lights, smart alarm, UTM firewall, WiFi mesh, etc. These are all point solutions. Some of them are really neat and probably should stay point solution based, but what if the technology companies today were to start thinking about consolidating and adding security into the mix?
I’ve started to look at upgrading my home WiFi network as my smart TV and smart streaming box are now struggling to play streaming movies. After looking at some of the new consumer level WiFi mesh solutions, they show a lot of promise. One of the vendors I’m considering offers not only an easy to set up mesh WiFi, but they also provide automatic channel changing for WiFi radio frequencies to find the fastest radio, as well as automatically move devices around to access points. One of them offers VPN services as well as anti-virus and content filtering, (keeping you safe from malicious websites) and giving out tokens for guests and keeping them on their own network. This all looks great, but I started to think back to Zermatt, Switzerland.
What if the smart home speaker manufacturers wanted to really capture the market? What if you could get a smart speaker that had both a WiFi Mesh Access Point, Zigbee/Zwave access point (for lights, controllers, etc), and cloud-based security features in it? If I could drop a new smart speaker in any room and set it up in 3-5 minutes and have it join my wireless mesh network, it could cover a lot of territories quickly. Now, if one of them were the base unit that plugged into the internet router, it could be the main interface for security. Take all the device groups and help suggest security policies to keep them from talking to things they shouldn’t (like the cameras should never talk to the smart watering controller). What if it could look for IoT threats that spread internally as well as connections to malware Command and Control servers?
Security should be a priority
In terms of the security that could easily be offered and bundled across this platform could be things like VPN (both to and from the home network). This could allow you to browse safely while using public WiFi. You could also access any home devices that may not be very secure from the manufacturers like IP cameras and DVR’s without having to expose them to the world. Cloud-based security offerings could do things like look for malware infections and requests to malware botnet controllers. Then, layers like intrusion prevention and active WiFi defense layers could help detect if hackers were aiming at getting onto the network and doing harm. And finally, putting all of these offerings into a single pane of glass for visibility would definitely be attractive to end customers.
Granted, I know this could put the point solution providers in a position where their WiFi solutions and home routers become less valuable to the mainstream. But what if we got better antivirus and IOT protection? I can only dream of the day that we as consumers are able to consolidate all of our home networks to a real smart home-based solution. I know in the enterprise IT market; we have gained the popularity of Unified Threat Management platforms. Firewalls that do Intrusion Prevention, Wireless Intrusion Prevention, Inline Antivirus, Content Filtering, Guest and networks. I think the next logical step is to see all of these features consolidated into the next generation smart home speakers. How long will it take to see this reality? I don’t know. Will people think this idea is crazy? Probably.
Update: At the time of writing this, there has been an announcement from one of the smart home speaker manufacturers for a new smart home speaker. This new line will actually include a smart home hub in the speaker. Nothing has been said as to whether it provides any security features.
Read “Radware’s 2018 Web Application Security Report” to learn more.
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?
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.
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.
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.
Apps control our lives today. We pay our bills, do our shopping, communicate with our doctors, buy our groceries, order a taxi, and even order our lunch through ‘apps.’ If you can think of it, there is an app for it. And these apps live on our phones, our desktops, in web portals and even in our internal networks. However, all these apps create new and different types of security challenges for an organization’s network. The speed and complexity inherent in these technological advances expose application vulnerabilities, security risks and skills deficiencies that can compromise sensitive data, devalue the brand, and affect financial performance.
Businesses need to protect their assets when they are within their protective infrastructure AND when they are actively exposed or placed within the unprotected external world. The tools and procedures needed to protect the internal assets are different from the ones that protect the assets when they leave the confines of the secured network.
I remember when I first learned about Web application firewall technology. It seemed like magic to me: A device that could compensate for bad coding or unexpected/unintended web application functionality. It could do this by learning expected application behavior and then enforcing said behavior, even if the application itself was capable of allowing the unwanted behavior. The business case for such a technology is easily recognizable even more so today than it was in the mid- to early 2000’s when it first came out: the ability to have a device compensate for human error.
Today, many organizations are now realizing that DDoS defense is critical to maintaining an exceptional customer experience. Why? Because nothing diminishes load times or impacts the end users’ experience more than a cyber-attack, which is the silent killer of application performance.
As high-availability and high performance distributors of content to end-users, CDNs can serve as a lynchpin in the customer experience. Yet new vulnerabilities in CDN networks have left many wondering if the CDNs themselves are vulnerable to a wide variety of cyber-attacks, such as forward loop assaults.
So what types of attacks are CDNs vulnerable too? Here are top 5 cyber threats that threaten CDNs so you can safeguard against them.
Blind Spot #1: Dynamic Content Attacks
Attackers have learned that a significant blind spot in CDN services are the treatment of dynamic content requests. Since the dynamic content is not stored on CDN servers, all the requests for dynamic content are sent to the origin’s servers. Attackers are taking advantage of this behavior and they generate attack traffic that contains random parameters in the HTTP GET requests. CDN servers immediately redirect this attack traffic to the origin, expecting the origin’s server to handle the requests. But, in many cases, the origin’s servers do not have the capacity to handle all those attack requests and they fail to provide online services to legitimate users, creating a denial-of-service situation.
Many CDNs have the ability to limit the number of dynamic requests to the server under attack. This means that they cannot distinguish attackers from legitimate users and the rate limit will result in legitimate users being blocked.
Blind Spot #2: SSL-based attacks
SSL-based DDoS attacks target the secured online services of the victim. These attacks are easy to launch and difficult to mitigate, making them attackers’ favorites. In order to detect and mitigate DDoS SSL attacks, CDN servers must first decrypt the traffic using the customer’s SSL keys. If the customer is not willing to provide the SSL keys to its CDN provider, then the SSL attack traffic is redirected to the customer’s origin, leaving the customer vulnerable to SSL attacks. SSL attacks that hit the customer’s origin can easily take down the secured online service.
During DDoS attacks when WAF technologies are involved, CDN networks also have a significant weakness in terms of the number of SSL connections per second from a scalability capability, and serious latency issues can arise.
PCI and other security compliance issues are also a problem as sometimes this limits the data centers that are able to be used to service the customer, as not all CDN providers are PCI compliant across all datacenters. This can again increase latency and cause audit issues.
Blind Spot #3: Attacks on non-CDN services
CDN services are often offered only for HTTP/S and DNS applications. Other online services and applications in the customer’s data center such as VoIP, mail, FTP and proprietary protocols are not served by the CDN and therefore traffic to those applications is not routed through the CDN. In addition, many web-based applications are also not served by CDNs. Attackers are taking advantage of this blind spot and launch attacks on applications that are not routed through the CDN, hitting the customer origin with largescale attacks that threaten to saturate the Internet pipe of the customer. Once the Internet pipe is saturated, all the applications at the customer’s origin become unavailable to legitimate users, including the ones that are served by the CDN.
Blind Spot #4: Direct IP Attacks
Even applications that are serviced by a CDN can be attacked once the attackers launch a direct attack on the IP address of the web servers at the customer origin. These can be network based floods such as UDP floods or ICMP floods that will not be routed through CDN services, and will directly hit the servers of the customer at the origin. Such volumetric network attacks can saturate the internet pipe, resulting in taking down all the applications and the online services of the origin, including the ones that are served by the CDN. Often misconfiguration of “shielding” the data center can leave the applications directly vulnerable to attack.
Blind Spot #5: Web Application Attacks
CDN protection for web applications threats is limited and exposes the web applications of the customer to data leakage, data thefts and other threats that are common with web applications. Most CDN-based web application firewall capabilities are minimal, covering only a basic set of predefined signatures and rules. Many of the CDN-based WAFs do not learn HTTP parameters, do not create positive security rules and therefore it cannot protect from zero day attacks and known threats. For the companies that DO provide tuning for the web applications in their WAF, the cost is extremely high to get this level of protection.
In addition to the significant blind spots identified earlier, most CDN security services are not responsive enough, resulting in security configurations that take hours to manually deploy and to spread across all its network servers. The security services are using outdated technology such as rate limit that was proven to be inefficient during the last attack campaigns, and it lacks capabilities such as network behavioral analysis, challenge – response mechanisms and more.
Download Radware’s DDoS Handbook to get expert advice, actionable tools and tips to help detect and stop DDoS attacks.
Among the reasons to marry DDoS & WAF (web application firewall) together, beyond a single pane of glass, beyond single vendor and quick technical response, and higher quality detection and mitigation – it makes sound business sense. Today, a good number of companies have developed the understanding that DDoS defense is critical to maintaining an exceptional customer experience (CX). Because of the extremely competitive nature of business these days, we are seeing more companies make the investments into digital transformation and customer experience. According to Gartner, customer experience is the new king.