Shadow Devices: The Exponentially Expanding Attack Surface [New Series]

One of the challenges of being security professionals for decades is that we actually remember the olden days. You remember, when Internet-connected devices were PCs; then we got fancy and started issuing laptops. That’s what was connected to our networks. If you recall, life was simpler then. But we don’t have much time for nostalgia. We are too busy getting a handle on the explosion of devices connected to our networks, accessing our data. Here is just a smattering of what we see: Mobile devices: Supporting smartphones and tablets seems like old news, mostly because you can’t remember a time when they weren’t on your network. But despite their short history, their impact on mobile networking and security cannot be understated. What’s more challenging is how these devices can connect directly to the cellular data network, which gives them a path around your security controls. BYOD: Then someone decided it would be cheaper to have employees use their own devices, and Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) became a thing. You can have employees sign paperwork giving you the ability to control their devices and install software, but in practice they get (justifiably) very cranky when they cannot do something on their personal devices. So balancing the need to protect corporate data against antagonizing employees has been challenging. Other office devices: Printers and scanners have been networked for years. But as more sophisticated imaging devices emerged, we realized their on-board computers and storage were insecure. They became targets, attacker beachheads. Physical security devices: The new generation of physical security devices (cameras, access card readers, etc.) is largely network connected. It’s great that you can grant access to a locked-out employee, from your iPhone on the golf course, but much less fun when attackers grant themselves access. Control systems and manufacturing equipment: The connected revolution has made its way to shop floors and facilities areas as well. Whether it’s a sensor collecting information from factory robots or warehousing systems, these devices are networked too, so they can be attacked. You may have heard of StuxNet targeting centrifuge control systems. Yep, that’s what we’re talking about. Healthcare devices: If you go into any healthcare facility nowadays, monitoring devices and even some treatment devices are managed through network connections. There are jokes to be made about taking over shop floor robots and who cares. But if medical devices are attacked, the ramifications are significantly more severe. Connected home: Whether it’s a thermostat, security system, or home automation platform – the expectation is that you will manage it from wherever you are. That means a network connection and access to the Intertubes. What could possibly go wrong? Cars: Automobiles can now use either your smartphone connection or their own cellular link to connect to the Internet for traffic, music, news, and other services. They can transmit diagnostic information as well. All cool and shiny, but recent stunt hacking has proven a moving automobile can be attacked and controlled remotely. Again, what’s to worry? There will be billions of devices connected to the Internet over the next few years. They all present attack surface. And you cannot fully know what is exploitable in your environment, because you don’t know about all your devices. The industry wants to dump all these devices into a generic Internet of Things (IoT) bucket because IoT is the buzzword du jour. The latest Chicken Little poised to bring down the sky. It turns out the sky has already fallen – networks are already too vast to fully protect. The problem is getting worse by the day as pretty much anything with a chip in it gets networked. So instead of a manageable environment, you need to protect Everything Internet. Anything with a network address can be attacked. Fortunately better fundamental architectures (especially for mobile devices) make it harder to compromise new devices than traditional PCs (whew!), but sophisticated attackers don’t seem to have trouble compromising any device they can reach. And that says nothing of devices whose vendors have paid little or no attention to security to date. Healthcare and control system vendors, we’re looking at you! They have porous defenses, if any, and once an attacker gains presence on the network, they have a bridgehead to work their way to their real targets. In the Shadows So what? You don’t even have medical devices or control systems – why would you care? The sad fact is that what you don’t see can hurt you. Your entire security program has been built to protect what you can see with traditional discovery and scanning technologies. The industry has maintained a very limited concept of what you should be looking for – largely because that’s all security scanners could see. The current state of affairs is you run scans every so often and see new devices emerge. You test them for configuration issues and vulnerabilities, and then you add those issues to the end of an endless list of things you’ll never have time to finish with. Unfortunately visible devices are only a portion of the network-connected devices in your environment. There are hundreds if not thousands or more other devices you don’t know about on your network. You don’t scan them periodically, and you have no idea about their security posture. Each of thm can be attacked, and may provide an adversary a presence in your environment. Your attack surface is much larger than you thought. These shadow devices are infrequently discussed, and rarely factored into discovery and protection programs. It’s a big Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell approach, which never seems to work out well in the end. We haven’t yet published anything on IoT devices (or Everything Internet), but it’s time. Not because we currently see many attacks in the wild. But most organizations we talk to are unprepared for when an attack happens, so they will scramble – as usual. We have espoused a visibility, then control approach to security for over a decade. Now it’s time to get a handle on the visibility of all devices on your network, so when you need to, you will know what you have to control. And how to control

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Incite 3/23/2016: The Madness

I’m not sure why I do it, but every year I fill out brackets for the annual NCAA Men’s College basketball tournament. Over all the years I have been doing brackets, I won once. And it wasn’t a huge pool. It was a small pool in my office, when I used to work in an office, so the winnings probably didn’t even amount to a decent dinner at Fuddrucker’s. I won’t add up all my spending or compare against my winning, because I don’t need a PhD in Math to determine that I am way below the waterline. Like anyone who always questions everything, I should be asking myself why I continue to play. I’m not going to win – I don’t even follow NCAA basketball. I’d have better luck throwing darts at the wall. So clearly it’s not a money-making endeavor. I guess I could ask the same question about why I sit in front of a Wheel of Fortune slot machine in a casino. Or why I buy PowerBall tickets when the pot goes above $200MM. I understand statistics – I know I’m not going to win slots (over time) or the lottery (ever). They call the NCAA tournament March Madness – perhaps because most people get mad when their brackets blow up on the second day of the tournament when the team they picked to win it all loses to a 15 seed. Or does that just happen to me? But I wasn’t mad. I laughed because 25% of all brackets had Michigan State winning the tournament. And they were all as busted as mine. These are rhetorical questions. I play a few NCAA tournament brackets every year because it’s fun. I get to talk smack to college buddies about their idiotic picks. I play the slots because my heart races when I spin the wheel and see if I got 35 points or 1,000. I play the lottery because it gives me a chance to dream. What would I do with $200MM? I’d do the same thing I’m doing now. I’d write. I’d sit in Starbucks, drink coffee, and people-watch, while pretending to write. I’d speak in front of crowds. I’d explore and travel with my loved ones. I’d still play the brackets, because any excuse to talk smack to my buddies is worth the minimal donation. And I’d still play the lottery. And no, I’m not certifiable. I just know from statistics that I wouldn’t have any less chance to win again just because I won before. Score 1 for Math. –Mike Photo credit: “Now, that is a bracket!” from frankieleon We’ve published this year’s Securosis Guide to the RSA Conference. It’s our take on the key themes of this year’s conference (which is really a proxy for the industry), as well as deep dives on cloud security, threat protection, and data security. And there is a ton of meme goodness… Check out the blog post or download the guide directly (PDF). The fine folks at the RSA Conference posted the talk Jennifer Minella and I did on mindfulness at the 2014 conference. You can check it out on YouTube. Take an hour. Your emails, alerts, and Twitter timeline will be there when you get back. Securosis Firestarter Have you checked out our video podcast? Rich, Adrian, and Mike get into a Google Hangout and… hang out. We talk a bit about security as well. We try to keep these to 15 minutes or less, and usually fail. Mar 16 – The Rugged vs. SecDevOps Smackdown Feb 17 – RSA Conference – The Good, Bad and Ugly Dec 8 – 2015 Wrap Up and 2016 Non-Predictions Nov 16 – The Blame Game Nov 3 – Get Your Marshmallows Oct 19 – re:Invent Yourself (or else) Aug 12 – Karma July 13 – Living with the OPM Hack May 26 – We Don’t Know Sh–. You Don’t Know Sh– May 4 – RSAC wrap-up. Same as it ever was. March 31 – Using RSA March 16 – Cyber Cash Cow March 2 – Cyber vs. Terror (yeah, we went there) February 16 – Cyber!!! February 9 – It’s Not My Fault! Heavy Research We are back at work on a variety of blog series, so here is a list of the research currently underway. Remember you can get our Heavy Feed via RSS, with our content in all its unabridged glory. And you can get all our research papers too. Shadow Devices The Exponentially Expanding Attack Surface Building a Vendor IT Risk Management Program Program Structure Understanding Vendor IT Risk Securing Hadoop Architectural Security Issues Architecture and Composition Security Recommendations for NoSQL platforms SIEM Kung Fu Getting Started and Sustaining Value Advanced Use Cases Fundamentals Building a Threat Intelligence Program Success and Sharing Using TI Gathering TI Introduction Recently Published Papers Threat Detection Evolution Building Security into DevOps Pragmatic Security for Cloud and Hybrid Networks EMV Migration and the Changing Payments Landscape Applied Threat Intelligence Endpoint Defense: Essential Practices Cracking the Confusion: Encryption & Tokenization for Data Centers, Servers & Applications Security and Privacy on the Encrypted Network Monitoring the Hybrid Cloud Best Practices for AWS Security The Future of Security Incite 4 U Enough already: Encryption is a safeguard for data. It helps ensure data is used the way its owner intends. We work with a lot of firms – helping them protect data from rogue employees, hackers, malicious government entities, and whoever else may want to misuse their data. We try to avoid touching political topics on this blog, but the current attempt by US Government agencies to paint encryption as a terrorist tool is beyond absurd. They are effectively saying security is a danger, and that has really struck a nerve in the security community. Forget for a minute that the NSA already has all the data that moves on and off your cellphone, and that law enforcement already has the means to access the contents of iPhones without Apple’s assistance. And avoid wallowing in counter-examples where encryption aided freedom, or illustrations of misuse of power to inspire fear in the opposite direction. These arguments devolve into pig-wrestling – only the pig enjoys that sort of thing. As Rich explained in Do We Have

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