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Human Factor Is One Of The Biggest Contributors To Cybersecurity Threats

All cyber security actions, in one way or another, entail human engagement at some point. Hence, the human component should be regarded as a core part of cybersecurity.

Insiders affected by phishing and spear-phishing emails as well as unauthenticated scans and exploits performed by external hackers are two of the most dreadful threats to any network infrastructure. Credential thefts resulting from shoulder surfing, or social engineering the employees are prevalent for a long time now and employees still fall for such trivial illusions by hackers. These threats are usually a result of employees being complacent or ignoring common cybersecurity practices.

Four human factors that are often preventing the organization from adopting advanced cybersecurity measures are:

  • Application usability and accessibility – Usually, applications designed with a security-first approach lacks a user-friendly UI (User Interface) and hence lose mass appeal. People are not encouraged to be cautious or wary because of user-friendly designs. The efforts DevOps take to safeguard users are frequently meant to disrupt the DevOps flow. Making things more secure is already a Sisyphean process. While making things less secure is like dragging that same boulder downhill. This effect is amplified for persons who have special accessibility needs, such as vision impairment.
  • Cybersecurity skills – Enterprises are having a hard time hiring and retaining employees in cybersecurity roles for a variety of reasons. There exists a misconception about Cybersecurity as a career path; that it is only fit for people who have been steeped in code. Those interested in a career in information security will often discover that an entry-level position requires prior work experience. Moreover, for some businesses, cybersecurity is not a priority. All these reasons make hiring cybersecurity specialists a hard task and many employees quit mid-way into this domain.
  • Challenges to implementing solutions – Over the period of time, employees become comfortable with how a particular process works or how a software functions. It may be difficult to convince them about the changes to be made in order to enhance security of IT systems. As a result, cybersecurity takes a back seat in organization’s priority. Employees need to be open to embracing change in performing their business-as-usual activities by introducing security measures in them.
  • No one-size-fits-all solution – Organizations must comprehend the cybersecurity posture and implement security policies according to the requirements of enterprise. While many solutions would look apt for a particular organization, there may be some elements which may not fit in a particular scenario and may lead to security vulnerability. Understanding cybersecurity solutions and how they will impact operations of an organization is an important human function, which if not done properly can either lead to cybersecurity vulnerabilities or production/ operational losses.

Centex Technologies provide cybersecurity audit and solutions for businesses. For more information about how to keep your business processes secure, contact Centex Technologies at (254) 213 – 4740.

How Do Automated Penetration Testing Works?

Penetration testing looks for security flaws in the company’s web-facing assets. A thorough pentest not only detects vulnerabilities, but also explores potential exploits and forecasts the system’s impact. It’s a time-consuming and demanding technique. It is, however, crucial.

What exactly does automated penetration testing entail?

Penetration testing has generally been done manually, with automated methods being used only on rare instances. This is because the primary purpose of a penetration tester is to think like a hacker and obtain access to the system with least effort. This also involves circumventing critical security systems. Automated tools are unable to do so. Penetration testing looks for security flaws in the company’s web-facing assets.

Is testing the apps in an automated penetration sufficient to identify security flaws?

The problem of sporadic and infrequent vulnerability testing has been solved by implementing automated penetration tests. Automated penetration testing, on the other hand, excels at identifying low-hanging fruit. It cannot, however, test more complex (or trivial) problems as rapidly as a security researcher. Because automated penetration testing is algorithm-based, comparable results are achieved under identical conditions. In any case, an automated pentest does not present the entire picture. It is insufficient in terms of compliance.

A human-performed manual penetration test can identify business logic difficulties, coding flaws, and loopholes that automated scanners cannot. As a result, manual penetration testing isn’t completely off the table. For optimum security, automated penetration testing should be coupled by manual pentesting on a regular basis.

How do automated penetration testing tools function?

Automated penetration testing software replicates the procedures used by human penetration testers. These techniques are also imitations or simulations of hacking and cybercrime tactics employed by actual hackers and cybercriminals. When compared to traditional penetration testing, the use of AI and machine learning can make the tests easier to run, but there are limitations.

The term “automated penetration testing” typically refers to a wholly automated method. Because artificial intelligence is so prevalent, almost every pentest contains some automated functionality. However, in the case of completely automated exams, the sole interaction with another human occurs generally prior to the test. Human participation is also essential throughout the negotiating process, as well as after the test, when operationalizing plans based on testing findings.

To function efficiently and successfully, every automated pentesting programme must be provided with the following human inputs:

  • Determine your testing needs – The first step is to establish what sort of test you need to conduct on your system and how extensive the test should be depending on the system’s use and needs
  • Determine the testing methods – The next step is to select the best test technique for your needs. It might be automated, manual, or a combination of both.
  • Schedule a test appointment – Create a timetable for your testing activities. Penetration testing often entails a set of operations spread out across time. It is critical to plan your testing operations in order to reach your deadline and prevent overworking the system.
  • Select the appropriate testing equipment – There are several automated tool configurations available for penetration testing. The pentester can choose static or dynamic, and vice versa.
  • Determine the required testing frequency – It’s also critical to choose the best test frequency, which might be based on an industry standard or a professional’s choice. Whatever approach you employ, it’s vital to schedule and commit to frequent retests.

Prepare the resources needed for storing and documenting the results.

This is an essential component of a penetration test. A pentester must keep track of test results. These reports may be used as a reference point in the future.

The Most Important Advantages of Automated Penetration Testing

A. Tests are carried out at a high frequency and at a quick pace.

Traditional testing yield results far more slowly than automated pen-tests. This speed allows for periodic or recurrent testing rather than one-time occurrences.

B. There are numerous scopes defined in test settings.

Because tests may be performed on a regular basis, they can begin at numerous weak points to give the widest possible range of information concerning vulnerabilities.

These points are especially crucial in light of legally enforced security limitations. To satisfy compliance framework standards, automated penetration testing technologies are often employed. The PCI-DSS (Payment Card Industry – Data Security Standard) risk scanning criteria may be easily met by doing periodic automated pen-tests.

Centex Technologies offers comprehensive online security solutions, such as security audits and penetration testing. Call (855) 375-9654 for additional details.

Role Of Threat Intelligence Teams

Cyber threat intelligence refers to information about cyber threats and threat actors that can be used to mitigate cyber attacks. Sources of cyber threat intelligence include open source resources, social media, human and technical intelligence factors, deep or dark web intelligence, etc.

Cyber threat intelligence teams collect cyber threat information, evaluate it in context of its reliability and source. It also analyzes information through rigorous and structured tradecraft. The process of threat intelligence is a cycle because it identifies intelligence gaps and tries to answer unresolved loopholes which lead to the requirement to collect new information which starts new cycle of threat intelligence.

Here are some reasons that make stronger case for the role of cyber threat intelligence teams in organizations:

  • Lowering Cost: In case of a data breach, an organization has to bear data loss and many other costs including post-incident remediation, restoration, fines, lawsuit fees, investigation expenses, and damage to reputation. Cyber threat intelligence helps in lowering overall expenses and save business capital by improving cyber security defenses to mitigate an organization’s risks.
  • Lowering Risks: Cyber criminals keep on looking for improved ways to penetrate organizational networks. Cyber threat intelligence provides insight and proper visibility into emerging security threats to reduce risk of information loss, minimize or block disruption in business operations and maximize regulatory consent.
  • Avoiding Loss Of Data: Cyber threat intelligence system helps in blocking any suspicious IP addresses or domains that may be trying to penetrate an organization’s network to steal sensitive data. It is important to detect and mitigate these intrusions well in time to prevent them from developing into distributed denial of service attacks.
  • In-Depth Cyber Intelligence Analysis: Cyber threat intelligence teams play an important role of helping organizations analyze different techniques used by cyber criminals. This analysis can be used to evaluate the cyber security strategies, protocols and defense systems of an organization to check if they are capable of blocking latest cyber threats.
  • Threat Intelligence Sharing: Threat intelligence teams share information on newly found cyber threats across other networks. This information can help other teams in updating their security systems to prevent hackers from executing such attacks at a larger scale.

When implemented efficiently, cyber threat intelligence teams can ensure an organization stays up to date with overwhelming volume of threats and become proactive about future cyber security threats.

For more information on role of threat intelligence teams, contact Centex Technologies at (254) 213 – 4740.

Enterprise Password Management

PDF Version: Enterprise-Password-Management

Website Security Vulnerabilities

The OWASP (Open Web Application Security Project) is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping businesses design, buy, and manage secure apps and APIs. The OWASP Top 10 is largely intended to raise awareness. However, since its introduction in 2003, enterprises have used it as a de-facto industry AppSec standard. If you’re going to utilize the OWASP Top 10 as coding or testing standard, keep in mind that it’s only a starting point.

Top most common security vulnerabilities usually found in websites across the globe are as follows:

Broken Access Control
Users cannot behave outside of their specified permissions because of access control. Failures frequently result in unauthorized information disclosure, alteration, or loss of all data. Also, it might lead to the execution of a business function beyond the user’s capabilities. Access control is effective only when there exist trustworthy server-side programs or server-less APIs and the access control validation or metadata cannot be modified by the attacker.

Insecure Design
Insecure design refers to a variety of flaws, such as “missing or inadequate control design”. There is a distinction to be made between insecure design and insecure execution. The first is for design problems, whereas the second is for implementation flaws. Implementation flaws can lead to weaknesses in a secure design. Because necessary security measures were never established to fight against specific threats, unsafe designs cannot be rectified by faultless execution. The absence of a business risk profile inherent in the software or system is created. Therefore, failure to decide the level of security design required is one of the reasons that lead to unsafe design.

Security Misconfiguration
Inadequately set permissions on cloud services or a lack of sufficient security hardening across any portion of the application stack. Systems are more vulnerable without a determined, repeatable application security setup procedure. A repeatable hardening procedure makes deploying another environment that is suitably locked down. The development, QA, and production environments should all be set up the same way, with separate credentials for each. To reduce the time and effort necessary to set up a new secure environment, this procedure should be automated.

Vulnerable and Outdated Components
Software such as OS, web/application server, database management systems, applications, APIs, runtime environments, and libraries are vulnerable, unsupported, or out of date. This involves utilizing tools like versions, OWASP dependency check, retire.js, and others to constantly inventory the versions of both client-side and server-side components and their dependencies. Continuously check for vulnerabilities in the components using resources such as the CVE (Common Vulnerability and Exposures) and the NVD (National Vulnerability Database). Automate the process by utilizing software composition analysis tools.

Identification and Authentication Failures
To guard against authentication-related threats, users’ identities must be confirmed, authentication must be performed, and sessions must be managed. If the program allows credential stuffing when the attacker has a list of legitimate usernames and passwords, there may be authentication vulnerabilities. Memorized secrets or other contemporary, evidence-based password rules should follow the recommendations in section 5.1.1 of NIST 800-63b.

Software and Data Integrity Failures
Code and infrastructure that do not guard against integrity violations are referred to as software and data integrity failures. Unauthorized access, malicious code, or system compromise can all be risks of an unsecured CI/CD pipeline. Finally, many programs now have auto-update capabilities, which allow updates to be obtained without necessary integrity checks and applied to previously trusted applications. Attackers might theoretically distribute and run their own updates across all systems. Another example is unsecured deserialization, which occurs when objects or data are encoded or serialized into a structure that an attacker may see and manipulate. Use a software supply chain security tool, such as OWASP dependency-check or OWASP CycloneDX, to ensure that components do not contain known vulnerabilities.

Security Logging and Monitoring Failures
This category is designed to assist in the detection, escalation, and response to active security breaches. Breaches cannot be identified without logging and monitoring. It could happen at any moment because of insufficient recording, detection, monitoring, and active reaction. Custom dashboards and alerts are available in commercial and open-source application security frameworks like the OWASP ModSecurity Core Rule Set. Security experts also use the open-source log correlation tool ELK (Elasticsearch, Logstash, Kibana) stack.

Server-Side Request Forgery (SSRF)
When a web application fetches a remote resource without verifying the URL provided by the user, an SSRF vulnerability occurs. Even when secured by a firewall, VPN, or another form of network access control list, it permits an attacker to force the program to submit a forged request to an unexpected location. Fetching a URL has become a typical scenario as current online applications provide quite resourceful functionalities to end-users. As a result, SSRF is becoming more prevalent. Because of cloud services and the complexity of architectures, the severity of SSRF is also increasing.

Centex Technologies develops secure web portals for clients. For more information on cybersecurity and secure web applications, contact Centex Technologies at (254) 213 – 4740.

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