A vulnerability in Huawei home routers is being targeted by botnets.

Cat and Mouse: Web Attacks Increasingly Sidestep WAF Protections

Recently, the Akamai Threat Research Team unveiled a unique distributed brute force attack campaign targeting nearly five hundred WordPress applications. What’s interesting about this campaign? It clearly demonstrates how Web attackers are becoming more sophisticated, attempting to evade security controls – specifically Web Application Firewalls (WAFs) and rate control protections. A Short Primer to Brute-Force Attacks Brute force Web attackers attempt to gain privileged access to a Web application by sending a very large set of login attempts, within a short period of time. Using volumetric single source of attack is easily mitigated by blacklisting. Today’s brute force attacks are typically characterized by volumetric attacks coming from distributed IPs. In this way, if the attacker’s source IP is detected, they can still continue with the attack campaign by switching a source IP. As part of this cat-and-mouse evolution, WAFs are enhanced with several rate control measures that detect and block […]

String of pearls attacks require organizations to synthesize threat intelligence from many sources, Cisco's Scott Harrell argues.

With Multi-Vector Attacks, Quality Threat Intelligence Matters

In the last year, the world’s attention has been riveted by a series of high-profile hacks of major corporations in retail, finance and the entertainment industry, among others. Each of these incidents is unique, involving different threat actors and motives. However, each of these attacks is also a sterling example of what we, at Cisco, term “multi-vector attack” that employs a range of technologies, deployed in numerous stages, to penetrate the defenses of the target organization. Here at Cisco, we have studied these attacks in-depth and have identified some commonalities among these multi-vector attack, and useful approaches to combat them. This blog post will discuss some of our findings. About Multi-Vector Attacks Any cyber attack, large or small is born from a weak link in the security chain. These weak links take many forms: poorly configured Web servers, gullible employees or vulnerable-but-common applications like Microsoft Office, Adobe Reader and Java are common examples. Multi-vector  attacks […]

Cyber Security and IoT: Fundamentals Matter

Cyber Security and IoT: Fundamentals Matter

I really struggled to come up with a clever analogy to start this post. In doing so I realized that this exercise was itself, the exact problem I was trying to describe. So much conversation about cyber security, especially cyber security for the Internet of Things (IoT), focuses on the sexy, the complicated, the one-in-a-million. In doing so, we ignore the most common threats and basic attacks. I would like to argue that if we are to effectively defend ourselves in this new IoT world, we cannot ignore the fundamentals of security. But let’s be honest: the basics are boring. I know that. Many of the practices that are most important are also the ones we’ve heard about before. As we look at them: there isn’t anything new there. That’s true – but I take that as proof that they are sound practices, worthy of keeping top-of-mind, rather than old knowledge that can be discarded. Here’s […]

License plate readers are vulnerable to hackers, EFF warned.

Internet of Things Demands Visibility-Driven Security

In an earlier blog, I discussed essentials for visibility-driven security and the importance of having both visibility and correlation to quickly assess events in real-time. In this post, we will examine the different dimensions of visibility across the attack continuum and how crucial it is to have these dimensions in place in order to defend against known and emerging threats. Visibility-driven capabilities are critical if cybersecurity professionals are to do their job effectively. In order to accurately see what’s really happening across dynamic, changing, environments and provide a full understanding of malicious incidents, visibility must provide an accurate picture of users, devices, data, threats, and the relationships between them. And it must do so in near real-time and across  a wide range of infrastructures to support new business models related to mobility, cloud, and the Internet of Things (IoT). For many security breaches, the gap between the time of compromise and the […]

Opinion: Toppling the IoT’s Tower of Babel

Opinion: Toppling the IoT’s Tower of Babel

The five most feared words in the IT support person’s vocabulary are “This. Page. Can’t. Be. Displayed.” And yet, the growth of Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) based enterprises in the past eight years means that these dreaded words show up more and more, as services from different developers and vendors are consumed by larger, up stream platforms and and integrated to provide new capabilities. In this kind of environment, “This Page Can’t Be Displayed” is a cry for help: the first indication of a problem. For enterprise support personnel, that message is often the first step in a long journey complete with Sherlock Holmes-style sleuthing to try to find which service along an orchestrated chain is the bad actor. And, unfortunately, when an application is being attacked or gets hacked, support personnel may not even have an error message to go on. In both cases, the major roadblock for support and incident response staff is that application developers or development […]