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The Hacker News - Cybersecurity News and Analysis: AlienVault Unified Security Management

AlienVault Unified Security Management: Real-Time Threat Detection Starting on Day 1

AlienVault Unified Security Management: Real-Time Threat Detection Starting on Day 1
December 20, 2015Wang Wei
As organizations expand their IT infrastructure to match their evolving business models and meet changing regulatory requirements, they often find that their networks have become extremely complex and challenging to manage. A primary concern for many IT teams is detecting threats in the mountain of event data being generated every day. Even a relatively small network can generate hundreds or thousands of events per second, with every system, application, and service generating events. The sheer volume of data makes it virtually impossible to identify manually and link those few events that indicate a successful network breach and system compromise, before the exfiltration of data. The AlienVault Unified Security Management (USM) platform is a solution to help IT teams with limited resources overcome the challenge of detecting threats in their network. USM platform accelerates and simplifies your ability to detect, prioritize, and respond to the most critical

How to Build a Successful Incident Response Plan

How to Build a Successful Incident Response Plan
November 12, 2015Wang Wei
The fight to protect your company's data isn't for the faint of heart. As an embattled IT warrior, with more systems, apps, and users to support than ever before, keeping everything up and running is a battle in itself. When it comes to preventing the worst-case scenario from happening, you need all the help you can get, despite your super-hero status. According to SANS, there are 6 key phases of an incident response plan. Preparation - Preparing users and IT to handle potential incidents in case they happen Identification - Figuring out what we mean by a "security incident" (which events can we ignore vs. which we must act on right now?) Containment - Isolating affected systems to prevent further damage Eradication - Finding and eliminating the root cause (removing affected systems from production) Recovery - Permitting affected systems back into the production environment (and watching them closely) Lessons Learned - Writing everything down and reviewing an

How to Protect Yourself against XcodeGhost like iOS Malware Attacks

How to Protect Yourself against XcodeGhost like iOS Malware Attacks
October 19, 2015Wang Wei
Recently, Chinese iOS developers have discovered a new OS X and iOS malware dubbed XcodeGhost that has appeared in malicious versions of Xcode, Apple's official toolkit for developing iOS and OS X apps. The hack of Apple's Xcode involves infecting the compiler with malware and then passing that malware onto the compiled software. This is a unique approach because the hack does not attempt to inject attack code into a single app, and then try and sneak that past Apple's automated and human reviewers. Instead, the malicious code is infected on Xcode itself, which is used by software developers to craft and develop the apps for iOS and OS X operating system. The primary behavior of XcodeGhost in infected iOS apps is to collect information on devices and upload that data to command and control (C2) servers. Once the malware has established a foothold on infected devices, it has the ability to phish user credentials via fake warning boxes, open specific URLs in a

How to Detect IE Zero-day Exploit Used to Deploy Korplug Malware

How to Detect IE Zero-day Exploit Used to Deploy Korplug Malware
September 17, 2015Wang Wei
Recently, Microsoft issued an Emergency patch for a zero-day vulnerability in Internet Explorer that is being exploited to deploy Korplug malware on vulnerable PCs. Korplug , a known variant of PlugX , is a Trojan that creates a backdoor used for information stealing on infected computers. In one of the most publicized cases, an evangelical church in Hong Kong was compromised to deliver the malware. Attackers were able to breach the church's website and inject a malicious iFrame overlay designed to look like the site itself. The iFrame was then used to redirect visitors to a site hosting the IE exploit . Once users land on the website, they are served a java.html which installs Korplug on their computers. To defend against Korplug, system administrators, and security engineers should educate users of corporate assets about these types of hacking techniques. In many cases, organizations are breached because of the lack of internal education around how to ident

Operation Lotus Blossom APT - Elise Malware

Operation Lotus Blossom APT - Elise Malware
August 04, 2015Swati Khandelwal
Advanced Persistent Threat (APT) type attacks continue to emerge on a global scale. What makes these attacks deviate from the norm is often the resources required to develop and implement them: time, money, and the knowledge required to create custom pieces of malware to carry out specific, targeted attacks. Operation Lotus Blossom is one of the more recent APT attacks that has been discovered and analyzed. It is an advanced adversary campaign against the mostly government and state-sponsored entities in the Philippines, Hong Kong, Vietnam, and Indonesia. It is thought that this group carried out the attack to gain a geopolitical advantage by stealing specific information from government and military institutions in that area.  At this point, it is still too early to tell if the reach of the attack will extend to the private sector (a la Stuxnet and Duqu). How does the attack work? It was found that Operation Lotus Blossom involved a novel custom-built malware

Understanding the Shared Security Model in Amazon Web Services

Understanding the Shared Security Model in Amazon Web Services
May 21, 2015Wang Wei
Security in the Amazon EC2 environment is a responsibility shared by both the end user and Amazon. This is because within this environment there are specific parts that Amazon has control of and specific parts that are controlled by the end user. For the end user, they are responsible for securing the operating systems running on their instances, as well as the applications running on those operating systems. On the other hand, physical security and security of the hypervisor is Amazon's responsibility. When it comes to the network, security of that layer is a shared responsibility between the user and Amazon. Implications of the Shared Security Model Huge operational efficiencies can be gained in a shared security model, however this comes at the cost of the flexibility to have total control over an environment. In the past, significant security issues have occurred as organizations move to the shared model. During this transition, it's key that organizations under

Tor — How to Protect Your Digital Environment?

Tor — How to Protect Your Digital Environment?
March 17, 2015Wang Wei
Are you aware of everything that your users are accessing from your environment? While most of the time, non-work-related Internet browsing is harmless (looking at pictures of cats, online shopping, social media, etc.) there are some instances where you could be an unknowing and unwilling participant in criminal activity. That is, when users hide that activity via the Tor network , or the Dark Net . The Onion Router , better known as " Tor ", an open source project, launched in 2002, is designed to allow a user to browse the Internet anonymously via a volunteer network of more than 5000 relays. It doesn't share your identifying information like your IP address and physical location with websites or service providers. A user that navigate Internet using Tor , it's quite difficult to trace its activities ensuring his online privacy. There are arguably legitimate uses for this technology, such as providing Internet access in repressively regulated countri

How to Detect Exploits of the GHOST Buffer Overflow Vulnerability

How to Detect Exploits of the GHOST Buffer Overflow Vulnerability
February 12, 2015Swati Khandelwal
The GHOST vulnerability is a buffer overflow condition that can be easily exploited locally and remotely, which makes it extremely dangerous. This vulnerability is named after the GetHOSTbyname function involved in the exploit. Attackers utilize buffer overflow vulnerabilities like this one by sending specific packets of data to a vulnerable system. The attack allows the attacker to execute arbitrary code and take control of the victim's vulnerable machine. Unfortunately, the vulnerability exists in the GNU C Library (glibc) , a code library originally released in 2000, meaning it has been widely distributed. Many derivative programs utilize the glibc to carry out common tasks. Although an update released by Linux in 2013 mitigated this vulnerability, most systems and products have not installed the patch. What Can I Do About GHOST Vulnerability? Like with any vulnerability, the best way to mitigate GHOST vulnerability is to identify vulnerable systems, prioritize th

Keeping the Bots at Bay: How to Detect Brute Force Attacks

Keeping the Bots at Bay: How to Detect Brute Force Attacks
November 20, 2014Swati Khandelwal
Thanks to recent events involving certain celebrities' stolen pictures, "brute-force attack" is now one of the hot buzz words making its rounds. As an IT professional - do you know what a brute force attack is, how to spot one when it happens, and how to prevent it? A brute-force attack is, simply, an attack on a username, password, etc. that systematically checks all possible combinations until the correct one is found. Scripts are usually used in these attacks to automate the process of arriving at the correct username/password combination. This is why time is of the essence when it comes to detecting and stopping a brute force attack – the more time the attacker has, the more passwords can be tried. Brute force attacks are one of the few hacks detectable by their volume, rather than their type. In your web (or proprietary app) logs, you'll usually see a crazy amount of failed login attempts, usually originating from the same IP address. You might even see the same accoun

The Bash Vulnerability: How to Protect your Environment

The Bash Vulnerability: How to Protect your Environment
October 23, 2014Swati Khandelwal
A recently discovered hole in the security of the Bourne-Again Shell (bash) has the majority of Unix/Linux (including OS X) admins sweating bullets. You should be, too--attackers have already developed exploits to unleash on unpatched web servers, network services and daemons that use shell scripts with environment variables ( this can include network equipment, industrial devices, etc .) Jaime Blasco , AlienVault Labs Director, gives a good explanation of the exploit in this blog post . And, the video below gives you a quick overview of how AlienVault Unified Security Management (USM)  can detect malicious traffic on your network trying to locate and exploit this vulnerability. Basically, this vulnerability allows an attacker to execute shell commands on a server due to an issue in how bash interprets environment variables (such as "cookie", "host", "referrer"). Exploiting this allows an attacker to run shell commands directly. Once they have access to run shell comm

How to Detect SQL Injection Attacks

How to Detect SQL Injection Attacks
September 19, 2014Swati Khandelwal
SQL Injection (SQLi) attacks have been around for over a decade. You might wonder why they are still so prevalent. The main reason is that they still work on quite a few web application targets. In fact, according to Veracode's 2014 State of Security Software Report , SQL injection vulnerabilities still plague 32% of all web applications. One of the big reasons is the attractiveness of the target – the database typically contains the interesting and valuable data for the web application. A SQLi attack involves inserting a malformed SQL query into an application via client-side input. The attack perverts the intentions of web programmers who write queries and provide input methods that can be exploited. There is a reason they're on the OWASP Top 10 . Termed " injection flaws ", they can strike not only SQL, but operating systems and LDAP can fall prey to SQLi. They involve sending untrusted data to the interpreter as a part of the query. The attack tricks the interpreter into

AlienVault Releases Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS) Best Practices

AlienVault Releases Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS) Best Practices
August 20, 2014Swati Khandelwal
Network security practitioners rely heavily on intrusion detection systems (IDS) to identify malicious activity on their networks by examining network traffic in real time. IDS are available in Network (NIDS) and Host (HIDS) forms, as well as for Wireless (WIDS). Host IDS is installed via an agent on the system you are monitoring and analyzes system behavior and configuration status. Network IDS inspects the traffic between hosts to find signatures of suspicious behavior and anomalies. Wireless IDS identifies rogue network access points, unauthorized login attempts, encryption-level in use, and other anomalous behavior. There are many options for open source IDS tools if your budget for buying new tools is tight. Asset inventory and vulnerability management go hand in hand with IDS. Knowing the role, function, and vulnerabilities of your assets will add valuable context to your investigations. AlienVault Unified Security Management (USM) includes IDS integrated with asset di

Crowd-Sourced Threat Intelligence: AlienVault Open Threat Exchange™ (OTX)

Crowd-Sourced Threat Intelligence: AlienVault Open Threat Exchange™ (OTX)
July 14, 2014Swati Khandelwal
For years, the systems and networks that run our businesses have been secured by the efforts of IT and security practitioners acting on their own. We continue to deploy the latest countermeasures, always trying to keep up with adversaries. Criminal attackers, on the other hand, have shared information quite successfully to facilitate their exploits. Couple this with the "attacker's advantage" of choosing where, when and how to launch attacks, and it is no surprise that collaborative hackers appear to be winning against even the largest companies, despite generous spending on security tools. As an industry, we need a threat-sharing solution that is open and available to everyone for the mutual benefit of all who contribute. With this goal in mind, AlienVault created the Open Threat Exchange™ (OTX) . What is the Open Threat Exchange (OTX)? OTX is an open information sharing and analysis network that provides real-time, actionable threat information submitted by over 8,

Vulnerability Management: Think Like an Attacker to Prioritize Risks

Vulnerability Management: Think Like an Attacker to Prioritize Risks
June 05, 2014Swati Khandelwal
Attackers care about ROI – they want to accomplish their objective with the least investment of time and resources possible. The same is true for you - to most effectively manage vulnerabilities, you need to think like an attacker. Ask yourself: How would you go about compromising systems, exfiltrating valuable information and making money? What are the key assets in your network that you would target? How would you get to these assets? Attackers are looking for vulnerabilities that are exposed – ones offering them an easy way to penetrate your network and pivot into the truly valuable assets on your network. Although zero-day exploits are heavily publicized, attackers more often use older, proven exploits very effectively. Fortunately, many such exploits are well known and have clear remediation methods. So, how can you determine if a known vulnerability is actually exploitable? The key is to correlate system vulnerabilities with threat intelligence so you can prioriti
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