Cloud Security and Compliance Issues

Oct 25, 2017 by infocon in  Security

Cloud Security and Compliance Issues:

 

A new report by Threat Stack and ESG (Environmental, Social Governance) raises major security concerns about the increasing public cloud environments and containers. The report reveals a notable gap in security and compliance readiness across the rapidly growing cloud-container environs.

The report discloses some significant facts as:

  • 60 percent of organizations regard security and compliance a hindrance to winning new business associates.
  • 57 percent of those surveyed complained of significant delays in the sales cycle blaming troubles created to meet customer security requirements.
  • 31 percent of those surveyed said they were unable to cope with the growing cloud and container environments. As a result, 62 percent said they’re aiming for greater visibility into their public cloud workloads.
  • 40 percent of the respondents conveyed that in the next 12 months, they will have hybrid environments, which is an increase from the current 12 percent. Meanwhile, 45 percent of organizations plan on starting to test or deploy containerized environs, which is above the current 42 percent of those who already do.
  • 94 percent of respondents believe containers give negative security implications for their organizations.

As the market democratizes, companies are adopting more complex technical solutions that were earlier reserved for only software giants.

This, experts believe, has led to the creation of an opening for external as well internal threats as security teams catch up on the cloud, containers, etc.

Sam Bisbee, Threat Stack CSO feels, “Containers originally focused on resource isolation, offering system building blocks to address specific operational needs that could be coupled with security solutions – they were not supposed to be a replacement for VMs, which is how most teams treat them”.

India at 23rd position in the list of information secured countries

Oct 17, 2017

The second Global Cyber Security Index (GCI), released by the UN telecommunications agency, International Telecommunications Union (UTC) places India at 23rd position in the list of information secured countries. The rank is among 165 other nations across the world who have committed to cyber security.

The report reveals that only about half of all countries already have a cyber security strategy or are in the process of developing one. It urges countries to engage in cyber security education initiatives and job creation in the sector.

Singapore tops the index with a 0.925 score.

Other countries in the top 10 are United States, Malaysia, Oman, Estonia, Mauritius, Australia, Georgia, France and Canada.

The report says that 38 per cent of these countries have a published cyber security strategy while 12 per cent of governments are in the process of developing one.

The threat is dangerously worrying because in 2016, according to ITU, about one per cent of all emails sent were malicious attacks. The rate is the highest in recent years.

The findings show that there is “space for further improvement in cooperation” at all levels. It further advocates for encouraging governments to consider national policies that take into account cyber security and encourage private citizens to make smart decisions online.

Five point strategy of ITU to develop efficient information security systems

The Indian government has taken a few steps to bring the attacks under control. Under PM Narendra Modi’s tenure, the Central govt established the office of Chief Information Ofiicer of Cyber Security Cell under PM’s office. Dr Gulshan Rai is the first to hold the post.

CERT-In, an emergency response team is set up under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology for dealing with a range of cyber-attacks.

Apart from this, the Government of India has four Sectoral Computer Emergency Response Teams to address Cyber Security Threats in Power Systems: Transmission, Thermal, Hydro and Distribution.

All the four utilities have been asked to identify a nodal senior executive as its Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) to lead the process of strengthening organizational systems with respect to cyber security and implement an information security management systems as recommended by rules under the Information Technology (IT) Act 2008.

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Artificial Intelligence (AI) to affect 60%-70% of the current jobs

Oct 18, 2017

As the world moves from ‘globalization’ to ‘glocalization’, the era of digitization seems to make its entry into global markets too. We’ve stepped into the age of ‘digital disruption’ where every new technology succeeds over its predecessor, proving the former a failure.
Increasing digital market environments are becoming a goal for every contemporary business organization. Digital interventions of social, analytics, mobile, big data and cloud technologies are laying the foundation for transformation. When these are integrated into cognitive computing, robotics, internet of things, 3 D printing, they form multiple disruptive scenarios like P2P, remote healthcare, digital banks, etc.
From the industry perspective, digital disruption is blurring lines between practices and learning from one industry being implemented in the other. Proliferation of smart devices and surge of AI, is the new battleground that is taking many sectors by storm.
AI has become the new hiring manager as job losses are projected to be the next big story. A recent World Bank research shows that AI threatens 69% and 77% of jobs in India and China respectively. A report by US-based research firm HfS Research states that about 7 lakh low-skilled workers in IT and BPO industry in India are likely to lose their jobs 2022, due to automation and AI.
Further, AI is set to affect 60%-70% of the current jobs. They will either get marginalized or totally eliminated.
A number of AI-based startups like Skillate, Belong, Stockroom, etc. scan through resumes and contain automatically updating algorithms for CVs. All of these are slowly taking over jobs portals like monster.com, Indeed, etc.
AI is shaking up the recruitment industry. Companies like Airbnb, WeWork, are starting pay-per-use models in both products and services. This has consistently given rise to freelancers who enroll for project-based work in growing gigs economy. Projections show that 43% of the US workforce will be freelancers by 2020.
In the time interactivity, where AI ensures upgrade on the go, jobseekers often complained of websites becoming useless for their resumes. Many even complained of no update on feedback on their interviews.
With AI, the most prime concern is of privacy. It is naïve to believe that AI-based platforms only track data in the public domain. A lot of times, a candidate’s political bias might potentially affect the employer’s decision-making. Or in the digitally-dominated world, potentially employable candidates who don’t use a lot of computers, may miss out on opportunities.
It is largely expected by cyber specialists that gradually, a person’s digital footprints will significance in the future.

Infocon Bangladesh 2016

Apr 23, 2016

Introduction

The civilization has always been interested on protection, let it be primitive or sophisticated present ages. Human Life or property or business, our thoughts revolves on safeguarding the same.
With the advancement with technology, we are getting more engaged with internet and in effect data security is becoming more critical worldwide. Information security is a well-known consideration globally. We are regularly facing attacks, frauds, security breaches, confidentiality issues, information misuse, piracy, sniffing and leakage of data across the domain.
During my last visit to Bangladesh (During 14th to 18th March, 2016) , Bangladesh bank fraudulent activities came to my notice. Bangladesh got into the news for all the wrong reasons. The situation enforced the banks to take corrective actions in line of Cyber Security. We thought of spreading awareness on the domain in Bangldeash through our initiative “Infocon”.

Preface

In line with Bangladesh Bank attack, the mandates came to all Banks to cover Information Security and Cyber Security risk/threats in order to secure public money and confidential/critical information.
The Cyber Security Governance and risks assessment are to be enforced across the employees of the organization. There should be preparations for Assessment of technological difficulties and emergency management procedures. The same may be achieved through third party assessment, skill development on security for all Employees.
Information Security should be continuously monitored through Operation Centres 24×7 basis.
PCI-DSS compliance is to be adopted with two-factor authentication systems for Chip-n-Pin based cards. Logs should be collected, maintained, co-related and maintained for all critical assets in order to have proactive measures.
Besides there are needs for ISO 27001:2013, ISO 20000:2011, ISO 9001:2015 standards. Apart from these Risk Assessment Framework based on the industry de-facto standard NIST Controls and FISMA Law/Compliance/ Cobit framework.
People are looking as protecting against malware, ransomware, APT etc
In effect various providers, OEMs positioned their product/solutions to the financial sector potential clients. But different product/solutions on same domain created lots of confusions, dilemma in the customer mind before going for conclusion. Before “Infocom Bangladesh 2016” event is narrated, I will try to explain some of the burning topics on Secuirty which are not only critical for Bangladesh, but across the globe.

Ransomware

Now a days threats are multifold. Every day we are discovering new lines of threats. Ransomware is one of the latest in the bucket. Ransomware is turning out to be one of the most virulent and potentially heart-breaking malware infections to become a victim of. If you are unfortunate enough to accidentally download this type of malicious code — whether through phishing attacks or illegitimate downloads and compromised websites — the malware locks your screen, encrypts your files and attempts to exhort a fee before giving you the cryptographic key required to get your files back. There are many strains of ransomware including CryptoWall, CryptoLocker, CoinVault and Bitcryptor. This malware is nasty enough, however the prediction is that new generations will increase in sophistication — including stealth tactics, the silent encryption of data — on both systems and backups — and potentially the use of kernel components to encrypt files on the fly.

APT

An advanced persistent threat (APT) is a network attack in which an unauthorized person gains access to a network and stays there undetected for a long period of time. The intention of an APT attack is to steal data rather than to cause damage to the network or organization. APT attacks target organizations in sectors with high-value information, such as national defence, manufacturing and the financial industry. An APT attacker often uses spear fishing, a type of social engineering, to gain access to the network through legitimate means. Once access has been achieved, the attacker establishes a back door.
The next step is to gather valid user credentials (especially administrative ones) and move laterally across the network, installing more back doors. The back doors allow the attacker to install bogus utilities and create a “ghost infrastructure” for distributing malware that remains hidden in plain sight.

PCI DSS

PCI-DSS stands for Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard
PCI DSS and related security standards are administered by the PCI Security Standards Council, which was founded by American Express, Discover Financial Services, JCB International, MasterCard Worldwide and Visa Inc. Participating organizations include merchants, payment card issuing banks, processors, developers and other vendors.
There are three ongoing steps for adhering to the PCI DSS:

  • Assess — identifying cardholder data, taking an inventory of your IT assets and business processes for payment card processing, and analyzing them for vulnerabilities that could expose cardholder data.
  • Remediate — fixing vulnerabilities and not storing cardholder data unless you need it.

Report — compiling and submitting required remediation validation records (if applicable), and submitting compliance reports to the acquiring bank and card brands you do business with.
PCI Data Security Standard – High Level Overview

Build and Maintain a Secure Network and Systems Install and maintain a firewall configuration to protect cardholder data
Do not use vendor-supplied defaults for system passwords and other security parameters
Protect Cardholder Data Protect stored cardholder data
Encrypt transmission of cardholder data across open, public network
Maintain a Vulnerability Management Program (VAPT) Protect all systems against malware and regularly update anti-virus software or programs
Develop and maintain secure systems and applications
Implement Strong Access Control Measures Restrict access to cardholder data by business need to know
Identify and authenticate access to system components
Restrict physical access to cardholder data
Regularly Monitor and Test Networks Track and monitor all access to network resources and cardholder data
Regularly test security systems and processes
Maintain an Information Security Policy Maintain a policy that addresses information security for all personnel

Web Application Firewall,Sometimes, in orders to comply with PCI-DSS, some components are essential to implementation as a part of remediation:

  • Web Content Filtering,
  • Endpoint Security,
  • HIPS (Host Based Intrusion Prevention),
  • Security Information and Event Management (SIEM),
  • Vulnerability Assessment and Penetration Testing Tools (VAPT),
  • Data Leakage Protection (DLP),
  • File Integrity Monitoring,
  • End point Encryption,
  • Privilege User monitoring,
  • Identity Management (IDM) etc.

ISMS

ISMS is Information Security Management System and the latest standard is ISO 27001:2013. It is essential to protect company data, not only to protect the future of your systems, but also to protect customer information, that has been entrusted to you. This requires a holistic approach covering price, IT Security, physical security and staff policy & procedures. ISO 27001 is the formal standard against which organizations seek independent certification of all their Information Security Management Systems.

IS0 27001 helps to protect against

  • Customer Information leakage
  • Virus & hacker attacks
  • Incompatible software conflicts
  • Failure to back up systems
  • Loss or theft of unencrypted backups
  • Internal security breaches
  • Loss of information resulting from staff turnover
  • System downtimeISMS

Ideal Coverage should include:

  • ISMS Scope Definitions
  • ISO 27001 ” Gap “Analysis Assessments
  • Performing an assessment of your existing ISMS
  • Information Security Policy and Procedure Development
  • Information Security Risk Assessments
  • ISMS Manual Development
  • ISO 27001 ISMS Implementation Support
  • Security Improvement Plans
  • Incident Management Plans
  • ISMS & Internal Audits
  • Management Reviews
  • Pre-certification Audits and support
  • Post Certification Audits Corrective Action Support
  • ISMS Trainings for Management & Employee
  • Integration of ISMS with COBIT, COSO, ITIL/ISO 20000 etc

VAPT

Vulnerability assessments and penetration testing (pen tests for short) are processed to identify threats and Vulnerabilities in the IT landscape using valuable tools, that can benefit any information security program and they are both integral components of a Management process.

Vulnerability Assessment

A vulnerability assessment is the process of identifying and quantifying security vulnerabilities in an environment. It is an in-depth evaluation of your information security posture, indicating weaknesses as well as providing the appropriate mitigation procedures required to either eliminate those weaknesses or reduce them to an acceptable level of risk.

Vulnerability Assessments Follow These General Steps

  • Catalog assets and resources in a system
  • Assign quantifiable value and importance to the resources
  • Identify the security vulnerabilities or potential threats to each resource
  • Mitigate or eliminate the most serious vulnerabilities for the most valuable resources

Penetration Test

A penetration test simulates the actions of an external and/or internal cyber attacker that aims to breach the information security of the organization. Using many tools and techniques, the penetration tester (ethical hacker) attempts to exploit critical systems and gain access to sensitive data.
Depending on the scope, a pen test can expand beyond the network to include social engineering attacks or physical security tests. Also, there are two primary types of pen tests: “white box”, which uses vulnerability assessment and other pre-disclosed information, and “black box”, which is performed with very little knowledge of the target systems and it is left to the tester to perform their own reconnaissance.

Penetration Testing Follow These General Steps

  • Determination of scope
  • Targeted information gathering or reconnaissance
  • Exploit attempts for access and escalation
  • Sensitive data collection testing
  • Clean up and final reporting

With the increase of usage for Social, Mobile apps, Cloud, Big Data, IoT (more precisely SMAC – Social, Mobility, Analytics and Cloud), we are approaching towards a danger zone. Hope you have heard of Jeep Cherokee incident where hackers can take control of a connected car and lead you to death as well.

Event Details

Prime Infoserv LLP being a domain expert in the category, wanted to spread the awareness on Information Security and “Infocon Bangladesh 2016” took birth. The idea was to empower Enterprises with better wisdom with knowledge for doing proper diligence, understanding the actual need to cover-up the concerns.
The event took place on 16-04-2016 (Saturday) with the audience from major banks. Speakers took sessions on various aspects of cyber security and risks. The knowledge sharing was OEM agnostic in order to spread more awareness so that people can be more empowered to take decision beyond OEM/System Integrator Influence. The sessions were fully interactive like Q&A, discussions with concern areas and off course encouragement with surprise gifts.
      

      
Event had kicked off with lunch, followed by discussions on the burning topics as mentioned above.
The attendees were awarded with Trend Micro endorsed certificate.
More details of the events can be fetched from below links:

 Conclusion

Infocon is not just an event, rather a process to build eco system surrounding the topic. We intent to create forums where domain experts and attendees can exchange thoughts even after events. There will be follow-up awareness sessions. There are serious thoughts to publish a Book covering pain points and resolutions to spread the awareness.
This retrospection will bring our smile back in order to have peace and fulfilment with wisdom.
We will have follow-up event in Bangladesh. Upcoming events are being planned in Kolkata, Bhutan, London, Africa and Mauritius.
Stay tuned for our upcoming initiatives under the brand “Infocon”.

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