November 26, 2014 | Leave a Comment
By Yorgen Edholm, CEO, Accellion
The mobile revolution, while firmly embedded in the consumer world, is now beginning to hit its stride in the enterprise world. This can be seen in the recent announcement from Apple and IBM, whose strategic alliance to develop joint solutions leveraging Apple devices and IBM software is an important next step for how enterprises consider mobile technology.
Ginni Rometty, IBM’s CEO, described the partnership as combining two complementary sets of assets, stating that IBM has the big data, the analytics capabilities, the integration work, and the cloud. On the other hand she mentions that Apple has the devices, the development environment, and the focus on usability. The combination of these elements is what will make a truly groundbreaking enterprise experience on mobile devices.
So what can we conclude from the Apple/IBM alliance?
- iPhones and iPads, are clearly ready for enterprise-grade computing. Whatever skepticism businesses had about the iPhone back in 2007 and 2008 has largely dissipated, so much so that IBM is willing to bet major R&D and sales initiatives on iOS devices.
- Enterprises like iOS devices, but they’re also looking for a mature software platform with proven capabilities in the areas of security, scalability, and control.
- IBM and Apple see the opportunity to bridge the gap between consumer mobile devices and enterprise-grade solutions for data access, data management, and communication.
We agree – the enterprise is ready to seriously take on the mobile revolution. At Accellion we have already begun bridging the enterprise mobile gap by enabling secure file sharing, synchronization and collaboration on mobile devices. The kiteworks solution enables business users with iPhones, iPads, Android devices and Windows Phones to have access to their enterprise content wherever it is stored inside or outside the firewall to be able to share and collaborate on those files securely. The kiteworks platform provides rigorous security features such as 256-bit encryption, built-in AV scanning, and rule-based access controls, along with critical enterprise features, such as LDAP support, Data Loss Prevention (DLP) support, and essential enterprise content connectors for integrating mobile solutions with existing enterprise infrastructure and enterprise content systems.
I’m looking forward to see what kind of enterprise solutions for analytics, cloud services, and mobility Apple and IBM create through their best-of-breed partnership. There should be interesting opportunities for combining our enterprise mobile technologies to unleash the productivity gains of a mobile workforce.
November 25, 2014 | Leave a Comment
By Alexander Anoufriev, CISO, ThousandEyes
Shared Responsibilities for Security in the Cloud continues…
Infrastructure Protection Services
This domain uses a traditional defense in depth approach to make sure that the data containers and communications channels are secure. For infrastructure protection services, all server, network, and application-related processes are fully owned by the service provider (see Figure 5).
End-point security remains an independent object on both sides of the responsibility matrix. The service provider is responsible for securing the end-points used by its workers, while the service consumers ensure the security of their own desktops, laptops, and other end-user computing devices.
This domain is really the most central to information security, since data is the asset we protect. Data protection needs to cover all data lifecycle stages, data types, and data states. Data stages include creation, storage, access, roaming, sharing, and retention. Data types include unstructured data such as word processing documents, structured data such as data within databases, and semi-structured data such as emails.
As is to be expected, this is one of the most involved areas of information security for both parties. See Figure 6 for detailed information on the responsibilities of these two parties. Data lifecycle management is a process driven by the asset owner. Often, the customer of the service is also the owner. At ThousandEyes, this is always the case. Other processes/services have their own implementations on both sides.
Policies and Standards
Security policies and standards are derived from risk-based business requirements. They include Information Technology security (infrastructure and applications), physical security, business security, and human resources security. Security policies are statements that capture requirements specifying what type of security and how much should be applied to protect the business. Figure 7 provides details on responsibility relating to policies and standards.
As we can see, in the cloud era, the provider owns the operational security baseline (the consumer still owns their part, which is minimal for the scope of provided services and represents end-point and connectivity parts). Job aid guidelines traverse both parties, and the data owner (consumer) defines data classification. All other processes/services exist in their scope at both sides.
In a shared security model it is really important to understand who is responsible for what. This must be defined in associated security level agreements. Ask your CSP what you should do to ensure that security is implemented end-to-end and your data stays secure despite changing operational responsibilities.
Security and Risk Management TCI Domain.
November 24, 2014 | Leave a Comment
By Alexander Anoufriev, CISO, ThousandEyes
Introduction: Security Responsibilities in the Cloud Era
When businesses owned their applications and all underlying infrastructure, they also owned their security. Now this is changing with a shift in ownership and operational responsibilities over many applications as they are moving to the Cloud. In the cloud era, security is not owned solely by the cloud service provider (CSP) or consumer. Cloud security is a shared responsibility.
To illustrate this model of shared responsibility I will be using:
- ThousandEyes SaaS Platform as an example of a cloud application which is owned and operated by ThousandEyes
- Cloud Security Alliance (CSA) Trusted Cloud Initiative (TCI) reference architecture
We’ll need to understand the high level architecture of this specific solution. The ThousandEyes solution consists of three major components (see Figure 1):
- SaaS Platform, which is installed and operated in the ThousandEyes data center
- Enterprise Agent, which is installed in the customer’s network
- Cloud Agent, which is installed in hosting providers’ networks and managed by ThousandEyes
We monitor the performance of networks and applications inside of an enterprise, on the internet and in the cloud. As a part of our service, we process and store the following data elements:
- User accounts (name, email)
- Hashes of passwords (only if local authentication is in place; in Web SSO with SAML scenario this is not applicable)
- Definitions of network performance tests
- Results of the tests (measurements)
- Support tickets
Responsibilities by TCI Domain
Governance, Risk and Compliance
Figure 2 illustrates responsibility for the governance, risk and compliance (GRC) domain of TCI architecture. This domain is responsible for the identification and implementation of the appropriate organizational structures, processes, and controls to maintain effective information security governance, risk management and compliance. Both parties, the service provider (ThousandEyes in this example) and the consumer, are independently responsible for all of the listed processes.
Responsibility for specific processes will differ between provider and consumer, for example: the service provider manages compliance with its internal policies, control standards and procedures, while it designs, develops, deploys and operates the service. The customers manage compliance while they use the service.
Privilege Management Infrastructure
Privilege Management Infrastructure ensures that users have the access and privileges required to execute their duties and responsibilities with Identity and Access Management (IAM) functions. Figure 3 illustrates shared responsibilities in IAM.
In our example, the identity management process extends from a service provider to a service consumer while other related processes and services exist independently in both entities. With the ThousandEyes SaaS Platform, customers are able to take advantage of their own web single sign on (SSO) technologies. In this case, they become responsible for authentication, authorization, and privilege management. Alternatively, they can use ThousandEyes-supplied identity information.
Threat and Vulnerability Management
This domain provides core IT security service and processes. Figure 4 demonstrates how responsibilities are allocated between the service provider and consumer.
Here we can see that some of the security processes/services are fully shifted to the service provider. All infrastructure-related compliance testing, vulnerability management and penetration testing are operated by the service provider, while threat management exists on both sides and often covers different threats. Due to this, they are two different processes.
(Part 2 of this post will run tomorrow.)
November 19, 2014 | Leave a Comment
By Paul Skokowski, Chief Marketing Officer, Accellion
The theft of celebrity photos from Apple iCloud is a stark reminder of the need to think twice before storing data. For many people using a Mac the default behavior is to automatically back up and save data to iCloud. It’s wonderfully appealing and convenient and seamlessly integrates into practically everything you do on the Mac. In fact it is so easy most people don’t think twice about what they are storing and that is where the problem begins.
When I recently updated my Macbook it felt as if I was being repeatedly nudged, reminded, coaxed, and invited to store my data in iCloud. Saying “no” to each of these invitations wasn’t easy and most people cave in quite quickly, because they think “what could be the harm?” The recent Apple iCloud scandal clearly illustrates the potential risks. While in this case the target of the iCloud theft was celebrity photos, the theft could have been similarly damaging to a business if sensitive information had been stolen and shared.
One of the biggest concerns that companies have around cloud technologies is the security of their digital content. Personal pictures are one thing, but it’s important to remember that companies manage sensitive data ranging from upcoming product plans to employee personnel files every single day, and that it all needs be secured. That’s why, instead of allowing employees to use solutions such as iCloud for work-related information, companies must take the time to map out a cloud security strategy and deploy enterprise grade solutions to share and store their business data.
The Apple iCloud scandal offers several important lessons:
- Use Two-Factor Authentication: Two-factor authentication that requires the user to enter not only a password but also a one-time PIN sent to a trusted cell phone should be the default setting for cloud-storage services. While it is possible to set up two-factor authentication for iCloud, it was not easy or obvious how to do so. If the victims’ accounts had been configured to require two-factor authentication, the hackers would not have been able to log in even knowing the account passwords.
- Store With Care: While automatic backup and sync makes life easy, it is not always the best bet when you’re working with sensitive materials. For work, this sensitive information could include personal data from employment records, financial data, customer information or product roadmap details. Ensuring that sensitive material is only being saved into secure solutions is essential for sensitive work-related information.
- Trust Private Clouds: For the highest degree of confidence in and control over cloud storage, enterprises should deploy private-cloud solutions, so they are not at the mercy of the security practices (and security lapses) of third-party software providers.
So what do I use to securely sync and store my work information and make sure I have a backup?
I use Time Machine with an external hard drive to make sure I can easily restore all my content if my computer gets damaged or when I want to copy over all my content to a new machine. And to help me do my work on a daily basis I use kiteworks by Accellion for syncing and sharing information across my iPad, iPhone and Macbook since it encrypts all data in transit and at rest, supports two-factor authentication, and automatically detects and stops brute-force password attacks.
So next time that pop up window invites you to store data to iCloud – remember the celeb photos scandal and think twice. By deploying kiteworks on trusted private clouds, enterprises can greatly reduce their vulnerability to sensitive information being exposed.
November 11, 2014 | Leave a Comment
By Paula Skokowski, Chief Marketing Officer, Accellion
Wearable technology is the new “it” thing. From FitBit, to Google Glass, to Samsung Galaxy Gear, and now the Apple iWatch, users are literally arming themselves with the latest gadgets. This is particularly true among early adopters who are counting the days until the release of the Apple iWatch.
While early adopters used to represent only a small number of technology trendsetters, a 2014 study found that of individuals aged 18 to 44, 56% say they have been the first among their friends, colleagues or family members to try a new product or service. With soon-to-be-launched devices promoted widely online and user reviews instantly pushed out to the masses via social media, anyone can step forward to be the first in line to make a purchase – including employees at your company.
This means enterprise IT teams also need to be one step ahead of the trends. While this doesn’t mean that IT needs to camp out overnight at the Apple store, it does mean that IT needs to anticipate what devices will be coming into the workplace and how to keep enterprise security intact. According to a global forecast by CCS Insight, wearable device shipments are expected to hit 22 million this year, up from 9.7 million in 2013, and will continue to grow to 135 million in 2018. The age of Wear Your Own Device (WYOD) is here, and IT needs to include these devices into their security strategies to make sure that any corporate data accessed on these devices is secure. Wearable devices are promising users easy access to applications and data on smartphones, which could eventually include enterprise information
So it’s not too early to start planning how to extend your BYOD policy beyond smartphones to WYOD. Wearable tech is considered fun and hip, but from an enterprise standpoint it needs to be taken seriously. While WYOD offers opportunities for increased mobile productivity it needs to be worked into an organization’s overall mobile security strategy.
November 5, 2014 | Leave a Comment
By Avani Desai, Executive Vice President, BrightLine
On October 2, 2014, the AICPA and CPA Canada announced their joint decision to discontinue the seal programs for Systrust and SOC 3 Systrust for Service Organizations.
In their announcement, the AICPA and CPA Canada stated that both of these organizations recognize that there has been growth in the attestation/assurance services market, especially in the area of systems reliability and service organization controls – and it’s with this in mind that they will continue to ensure the effectiveness of these services despite the seal program coming to an end.
This doesn’t mean that the SOC 3 examination is gone, just the seal. According to Bryan Walker, Director of Practitioner Support, CICA:
“The SOC 3 for SysTrust for Service Organizations will remain as part of the initiatives for Service Organization Controls. The SOC 3 seal program will be terminated and the SOC 3 seal will no longer be available.”
Therefore, service organizations still complete a SOC 3 examination, which provides a shorter report than a SOC 2 examination including only the auditor’s opinion, management’s assertion and the system description.
So what does that mean for service organizations that underwent a SOC 3 examination?
After December 31, 2014, only the seal that was jointly managed by the AICPA and CPA Canada will not be provided to service organizations.. Meanwhile, a seal that has already been issued under an existing license will remain active through its expiration date. Seals will still be issued through to December 31, 2014, to any SysTrust and SOC 3 engagements currently in progress – including renewals of existing SOC 3 SysTrust for Service Organization and SysTrust seals. After that date, however, anyone who continues to use SysTrust related marks must disclose to clients that the seal program is not active, and is not supported by or associated with AICPA and CPA Canada.
Also, do not fret; service organizations can still complete the SOC 2 examination, which will still provide the user entity the same level of comfort – just not freely distributed.
You should also know that CPA Canada stated in the announcement that they are reviewing the WebTrust for Certification Authorities seal program. While it currently continues, the review is to determine whether the benefits of the program justify the resources necessary for its continuation.
Clearly, there is a lot of assessment and change underway – however, every effort has been made to see that these changes will not cause a disruption within the service organization control reporting world.
November 4, 2014 | Leave a Comment
By Kamal Shah, VP of Products and Marketing
Between headlines from the latest stories on data breaches and the hottest new apps on the block, it’s easy to be captivated with what people are saying, blogging, and tweeting about the state of cloud adoption and security. But let’s face it: It’s hard to separate the hype from the truth, and stories about security can range from hyperbolic to accurately frightening.
The fifth installment of our quarterly Cloud Adoption and Risk (CAR) Report presents a data-based analysis of enterprise cloud usage. With cloud usage data from over 13 million enterprise employees and 350 organizations spanning all major verticals, the report is the industry’s most comprehensive and authoritative source of information on how employees are using cloud services. For the first time in the report’s history, we’ve partnered with the Cloud Security Alliance to gather IT managers’ perceptions on cloud adoption and risk and compare their perceptions with hard data. The results reveal a disparity between perception of enterprise cloud use and reality.
You can download the full report here. In addition to popular recurring features such as the Top 20 Enterprise Cloud Services and the Ten Fastest-Growing Applications, the latest report contains several shocking findings.
Mind the Cloud Enforcement Gap
IT often blocks cloud services that fail to meet their organization’s acceptable use policies. Due to changing cloud service URLs, inconsistent policy enforcement, and unmonitored exceptions, the cloud enforcement gap is a shocking 6x. For example, more than 50% of the enterprises intended to block Apple iCloud, but actual usage data showed iCloud was blocked in only 9% of the enterprises.
Don’t Underestimate Insider Threat
Security professionals believe insider threat incidents are rare, with only 17% of respondents aware of an incident at their organization in the past year. The reality is 85% of companies had cloud usage activity strongly indicative of insider threat.
The Cloud 1% and the 80-20 Rule
While the average organization employed 831 cloud services, the distribution of data revealed that 80% of data uploaded to the cloud goes to just 11 cloud services – less than 1% of the total number. Still, enterprises can’t ignore other cloud services: The remaining 20% of data account for 81.3% of anomalous activity indicative of malware, compromised account, and insider threat.
IT’s Worst Nightmare: The World’s Riskiest User
One anonymous user uploaded more than 15 GB of data to high-risk services such as Sourceforge and ZippyShare over 3 months. This individual used 182 high-risk cloud services, any one of which could have been a vector for confidential data to be inappropriately leaked or for malware to be introduced into the enterprise, thus proving that even a single employee is capable of significant damage to corporate security.
October 29, 2014 | Leave a Comment
By Krishna Narayanaswamy, Chief Scientist, Netskope
We released the Netskope Cloud Report for October today. In it, we analyze the aggregated, anonymized data collected from tens of billions of events across millions of users in the Netskope Active Platform, and highlight key findings about cloud app usage in enterprise as seen in the Netskope Active Platform. This includes our count of enterprise cloud apps (579) and percent that are enterprise-ready (88.7 percent), as well as top apps, activities, and policy violations. But what was really interesting about this quarter’s findings is the level of cloud app activity occurring on mobile devices.
As we all know, mobile is the perfect medium for information “snacking.” When it comes to enterprise cloud apps, they also happen to be perfect for bite-sized work. In a world where the workday never seems to end, every minute is a zero-sum-game. So, whether it’s a quick approval of an expense report, a quickly dashed-off email, or a “while I’m thinking of it” document share from cloud storage, nearly half of all activities occur on mobile devices. Some of the most common are send (57 percent), approve (53 percent), view (48 percent), login (47 percent), and post (45 percent).
With all of those activities, mobile is also a place for an increasing number of policy violations. We define a policy violation as when a user attempts an activity on which an administrator has set a policy in the Netskope Active Platform (such as “Don’t share content from cloud storage outside of the company”). We found that 59 percent of all policy violations involving download, and more than one-third of policy violations involving a DLP profile (such as PII, PCI, PHI, Confidential, etc.), occur on mobile devices. Our researchers believe that the high rate of download policy violations on mobile devices could be due to administrators both setting “no download” policies as well as “no download to mobile” policies (the latter because that is a source of concern for data leakage, especially in the case of BYOD), both of which would be triggered on a mobile device.
Are you enforcing cloud app policies for mobile users? Tell me here or Tweet it @Krishna_Nswamy #mobilecloudbffs
October 29, 2014 | Leave a Comment
By Kaushik Narayan, Chief Technology Officer, Skyhigh Networks
Consumers and companies are embracing cloud services because they offer capabilities simply not available with traditional software. Cyber criminals are also beginning to use the cloud because it offers scalability and speed for delivering malware, such as in the recent case of Dyre, which used file sharing services to infect users. The latest evolution of this trend is attackers using the cloud to overcome a key technical challenge – extracting data from a company. Under the cover of popular consumer cloud services, attackers are withdrawing data from the largest companies in ways that even sophisticated intrusion prevention systems cannot detect.
Previously, researchers at Skyhigh uncovered malware using Twitter to exfiltrate data 140 characters at a time. Skyhigh recently identified a new type of attack that packages data into videos hosted on popular video sharing sites, a technique difficult to distinguish from normal user activity.
The Industrialization of Hacking
The target of these attacks ranges from customer data such as credit card numbers and social security numbers to intellectual property, which can include design diagrams and source code. In recent years, hacking has undergone a revolution. Once a hobbyist pursuit, hacking is now performed at industrial-scale with well-funded teams backed by cartels and national governments. Stealing data is big business, whether to compromise payment credentials and resell them for profit or to gain access to intellectual property that could allow a competitor to catch up on years (or decades) of research and development.
In response, companies have made significant investments in software that can detect telltale signals that attackers have gained access to their network and are attempting to extract sensitive data. With these intrusion prevention systems in place, it can be quite challenging for attackers to remove a large amount of data without being discovered. In the same way that thieves would find it difficult to sneak bags of money out the front door of a bank undetected by guards and security cameras, today’s cyber criminals need a way to mask their exit. That’s why they’ve turned to cloud services to make large data transfers.
Their latest technique involves consumer video sites. There are two attributes that make video sites an excellent way to steal data. First, they’re widely allowed by companies and used by employees. There are many legitimate uses of these sites such as employee training videos, product demos, and marketing the company’s products and services. Second, videos are large files. When attackers need to extract large volumes of data, video file formats offer a way to mask data without arousing suspicions about a transfer outside the company.
How the Attack Works
Once attackers gain access to sensitive data in the company, they split the data into compressed files of identical sizes, similar to how the RAR archive format transforms a single large archive into several smaller segments. Next, they encrypt this data and wrap each compressed file with a video file. In doing so, they make the original data unreadable and further obscure it by hiding it inside a file format that typically has large file sizes. This technique is sophisticated; the video files containing stolen data will play normally.
They upload the videos containing stolen data to a consumer video sharing site. While they’re large files, it’s not unusual for users to upload video files to these types of sites. If anyone checked, the videos would play normally on the site as well.
After the videos are on the site, the attacker downloads the videos and performs the reverse operation, unpacking the data from the videos and reassembling it to arrive at the original dataset containing whatever sensitive data they sought to steal.
What Companies Can Do to Protect Themselves
Traditional intrusion detection technology generally does not detect data exfiltration using this technique. One way to identify this attack is an anomalous upload of several video files with identical file sizes. To identify this type of activity, what is needed is a big data approach to analyzing the routine usage of cloud services in the enterprise to detect these anomalous events.
Skyhigh analyzes all cloud activity to develop behavioral baselines using time series analysis and machine learning, and identified the attack in the wild at a customer site. Importantly, the detection relied on analysis of normal usage activity rather than detecting malware signatures that don’t exist before the attack has been catalogued. Skyhigh’s approach requires no knowledge of the attack before it’s detected.
Companies can proactively take steps to protect themselves by limiting uploads to video sharing sites while allowing the viewing or download of videos. Deploying a cloud-aware anomaly detection solution can also give early warning to an attack in progress and either block it from occurring or quickly allow a company to take action to stop the attack and prevent additional data from being exfiltrated.
The volume and sophistication of attacks is increasing. In this threat environment, companies must take additional steps to protect data while allowing the use of cloud services that also drive innovation and growth in their businesses. State-sponsored attacks and sophisticated criminal organizations are now using the cloud as a delivery vehicle for malware and as an exfiltration vector, but companies can also take advantage of a new generation of cloud-based detection and protection services to safeguard their data and protect themselves. Download our cheat sheet to learn other actionable steps for reducing risk to data in the cloud.
October 17, 2014 | Leave a Comment
By Sekhar Sarukkai, VP of Engineering, Skyhigh Networks
A major vulnerability affecting the security of cloud services dubbed POODLE (Padding Oracle on Downgraded Legacy Encryption) was reported on October 14th by three Google security researchers—Bodo Moller, Thai Duong, and Krzysztof Kotowicz. Their paper about the vulnerability is available here.
What is POODLE?
POODLE affects SSLv3 or version 3 of the Secure Sockets Layer protocol, which is used to encrypt traffic between a browser and a web site or between a user’s email client and mail server. It’s not as serious as the recent Heartbleed and Shellshock vulnerabilities, but POODLE could allow an attacker to hijack and decrypt the session cookie that identifies you to a service like Twitter or Google, and then take over your accounts without needing your password.
This vulnerability allows for the hijacking and decryption of SSL version 3.0 connections, which is used to encrypt traffic between a browser and a web site or between a user’s email client and mail server. While usage of SSL 3.0 is generally limited, there is still prevalent backward-compatibility support of the protocol that exposes nearly all browsers and users.
The SSLv3 protocol has been in use since its publication in 1996. TLSv1 was introduced in 1999 to address weaknesses in SSLv3, notably introducing protections against CBC (Cipher block chaining) attacks. Although SSLv3 is considered a legacy protocol, it is still commonly permitted for backward compatibility by the default configurations of many web servers including Apache HTTP Server and Nginx. Many browsers’ support will fall back to the use of SSLv3 if an HTTPS connection to a server doesn’t support the TLSv1 protocol or a TLSv1 protocol negotiation fails for any reason.
What’s the risk?
The danger arising from the POODLE attack is that a malicious actor with control of an HTTPS server or some part of the intervening network can cause an HTTPS connection to downgrade to the SSLv3 protocol. An attack against SSLv3’s CBC encryption schemes can then be used to begin decrypting the contents of the session. Essentially, POODLE could allow an attacker to hijack and decrypt the session cookie that identifies a cloud service user to a service like Twitter or Google, and then take over your accounts without needing your password.
How to protect your company’s data
We recommend disabling the SSLv3 protocol on all servers, relying only on TLSv1.0 or greater. Additionally, company browsers and forward proxies should disallow SSLv3 and likewise permit only TLSv1.0 or greater as a minimum SSL protocol version. Enterprises should also disable the use of CBC-mode ciphers. To patch retrying of failed connections, apply TLS_FALLBACK_SCSV option (e.g. http://marc.info/?l=openssl-dev&m=141333049205629&w=2).
Legacy applications relying solely on SSLv3 should be considered at-risk and vulnerable. Generic encryption wrapper software like Stunnel can be used as a workaround to provide encrypted TLSv1 tunnels.
How many cloud services are vulnerable?
As of this morning, 61% of cloud services had not addressed the Poodle vulnerability with a fix. The fact that many cloud services still support SSLv3 is a sign that cloud providers are not paying attention to what protocols are offered by their SSL stack. Cloud service providers should start looking at their SSL stack configuration and make sure they have disabled previous versions of SSLv3. In the process, they should also ensure the SSL stack’s proper use of ciphers.
We are working with customers to proactively identify vulnerable services and users and provide guidance for measures required to protect their data and user accounts. To learn more about our recommendations for securing corporate data in the cloud, download our cheat sheet.