25 May
You are not alone!

You are not alone!

99% of all networks have already been breached.

by Albert E. Whale, CEH CHS CISA CISSP
Founder & CEO

A shift in the security paradigm needs to address the Unseen attacks in the environment. Detecting the Unseen activities in the environment explains why there are so many attacks being reported on a daily basis.  This includes the recent Colonial Pipeline, Solarwinds and so many other breaches.

The unseen attacks depend on the ability of the attackers to hide in plain sight.  We will outline several of them here to uncover the unseen activities within almost every network[1].  Here is a look at the use of today’s People, Process and Technology (PPT). 

As you can see from the chart below, today’s tools are only looking forward, to the next attack.  They are focused on the next attack because they can only detect Malware which has been previously defined and observed.  The security methods employed include security scans (assessments), the deployment of security tools, and compared with our ITS SafeTM security appliance.  It should be clear why ITS Safe maintains better coverage to protect your organization.

Figure 1- Scope of Security Testing

Security Assessments (review of security for a host, a network, software or other asset) are only valid up to the time the report is generated.  As soon as the observer generates the report, the Assessment of the environment ends, and it becomes stale[2].  This is a point in time observation.

Today’s Security Tools look for tomorrow’s attacks. Tools that security researchers and network testing teams all use to assess the activities inside the network are based on testing for Known threats[3], and how the environment will respond to the next attack.  These tools test the environment for detecting known threats[4] on potentially new attacks.

The ITS SafeTMsecurity appliance is designed to Detect, Defend against, and Destroy IntrudersTM, or MD3. While other tools and testing activities look for the future state of security in the organization, ITS Safe examines all activities to uncover and detect unwanted connections that were completed before you began the observation of environment[5].

Everyday around the world, new activities are discovered in new and existing equipment, software, and third parties to organizations.  Firewalls are breached[6], Vendors we use are hacked[7], software we create is breached[8] and app we use on our phones are backdoors for attackers as well[9]

The problem is that today’s tools only identify what other people have found.  After the attackers succeed at penetrating an environment, do you think that they would keep the tools that they used in place, so that they could be identified after the Zero Day threats become known threats?  Of course not!  After they have given themselves sufficient access to survive a reboot, they have cleared their tracks.

A comprehensive review of the cyber security digs deeper than reviewing the exposed 10-20% of the network, and actually reviews the active network as a comprehensive ecosystem.  If you compare the use of today’s tools to examining only the tip of the iceberg, then you will begin to understand why they are ineffective at discovering the unseen.

Can you expect to detect the unseen activities using tools which only scratch the surface?

Like an Iceberg, the visible part is tested, and the 90% below the waterline is unobserved.

—–

Visible Network structure (Static View)

—–

Invisible Operation of the network, and how it responds with people using it.  (Dynamic view)

IT Security Solutions recommends at least an annual Security assessment to determine the security posture and formal detection of internal activities. While this is the minimum recommendation, even doing the Minimum does not detect the activities as well as out continuous monitoring solutions for our clients.

IT Security Solutions, Inc. is a Pittsburgh based technology company with 25+ years of cyber security domain expertise catering to businesses of all sizes. The solutions offered range from technology security audits and penetration testing to continuous network scanning. The company recently launched ITS Safe™, a proprietary managed security solution that blocks hackers from attacking networks – the largest IT security threat facing businesses today.

Contact IT Security Solutions to discuss how a paradigm shift will benefit your company today.

www.IT-Security-Solutions.com w www.ITS-Safe.com

412-889-6870 – info@IT-Security-Solutions.com


[1] Every network we have examined include several of these activities, if not all of them.

[2] The Security Assessment becomes stale because the users in the network add additional threats from their use of the environment.

[3] Known threats are used in Virus scanners, network scanning, software analysis, and logfile monitoring tools.

[4] Security Tools cannot test for unknown threats because these events are currently not known.

[5] Think of this as reviewing the activities that are already active, that are not detected as tomorrow’s threats, because they are considered as part of the current environment.

[6] https://www.zdnet.com/article/sonicwall-says-it-was-hacked-using-zero-days-in-its-own-products/

[7] https://www.wired.com/story/solarwinds-hack-china-usda/

[8] https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/06/us/politics/russia-cyber-hack.html

[9] https://www.helpnetsecurity.com/2020/03/06/hackers-target-consumers/

10 May
Ransomware is costing Millions of dollars per day.

Ransomware is costing Millions of dollars per day.

Written by 

Albert E. Whale, CEH CHS CISA CISSP BSEE
May 9, 2021

Ransomware is costing Millions of dollars per day. Maybe you think that I’m exaggerating, I’m not. The cost in the Healthcare industry alone in 2020 was over $21 Billion, that’s only in Healthcare.  What happens to your business after the Ransomware breach?  Your costs go up, people lose their jobs, and your clients seek other businesses to deal with, right?

Recently ‘Hackers Exploit SonicWall Zero-Day Bug in FiveHands Ransomware Attacks’


You’ve probably seen Disaster Girl before, haven’t you?

IT Security Solutions has reported issues with many different Routers, Wireless Access Points, and other devices inside the networks.  This is the big problem because traditional tools are unable to discover the Built in Malware, the Configurations deployed, or any number of other factors.  

What are you doing to protect your business environment?  If your plan is the Legacy Firewall or Virus Scanners on the end points, then you are only looking for tomorrow’s attack.  

What happened yesterday?  Did you or your staff report issues inside the environment which may be the start to Ransomware?  I’m guessing, probably not.  Please don’t expect the SIEM that you invested in to identify the security issues either.  These devices are typically programmed from internal teams, and they don’t have 100% coverage on the logfiles they are reviewing.  

At best, they can tell you about the activities which already occurred, they stopped nothing.  Is that the plan?  Review the logs to determine what could have happened?  In the meantime, the average breach costs approximately $4 Million dollars, takes MONTHS to identify and 6 to 18 months to fix.  Can your business hold its breath for that long?  Can our Country hold its breath?

Recently the Colonial Pipeline breach force the shutdown of country’s Oil, Gas & Diesel distribution network.  

Cyberattacks Against U.S. Infrastructure Are ‘Here To Stay’ After 100-Gigabyte Colonial Pipeline Hack, Biden Official Warns – forbes.com

I’ll bet you thought that your backups would protect your business.

No Timeline for Massive Oil Pipeline Restart Has Traders Worried – Bloomberg.com

Hot Backups are not the answer.  If they were, Ransomware would not be as effective as it already is.  These issues outline serious cybersecurity matters in our businesses and our National Critical Infrastructure.  If we continue to the same thing over and over again, we will continue to have the same results.


Insanity, doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. – Albert Einstein

If your business hasn’t changed the strategy for your organization, we can help.  Today can be the first day, for your organization’s stability.  Let us have a conversation together and develop the strategy that will work for you.

IT Security Solutions recommends at least an annual Security assessment to determine the security posture and formal detection of internal activities.  While this is the minimum recommendation, even doing the Minimum does not detect the activities as well as out continuous monitoring solutions for our clients.

IT Security Solutions, Inc. is a Pittsburgh based technology company with 25+ years of cyber security domain expertise catering to businesses of all sizes. The solutions offered range from technology security audits and penetration testing to continuous network scanning. The company recently launched ITS Safe™, a proprietary managed security solution that blocks hackers from attacking networks – the largest IT security threat facing businesses today.

Contact IT Security Solutions to discuss how a paradigm shift will benefit your company today.

www.IT-Security-Solutions.com  www.ITS-Safe.com

412-889-6870  

info@IT-Security-Solutions.com

07 Feb
Its time for a Paradigm Shift for cybersecurity

ITS Safe™ Security Appliance

Seeing the Unseen

A shift in the security paradigm needs to address the Unseen attacks in the environment. Detecting the Unseen activities in the environment explains why there are so many attacks being reported on a daily basis.  The unseen attacks depend on the ability of the attackers to hide in plain sight.  We will outline several of them here to uncover the unseen activities within almost every network[1].

Security tools and their visibility

Figure 1 – Scope of security Testing

The image above describes the current state of Security Tools, Techniques and Practices. While the traditional tools and techniques are all point in time application of practices, we can also classify them as reactionary practices as well. Let’s examine the methods outlined above.

Security Assessments (review of security for a host, a network, software or other asset) are only valid up to the time the report is generated.  As soon as the observer generates the report, the Assessment of the environment ends, and it becomes stale[2].  This is a point in time observation.

Today’s Security Tools look for tomorrow’s attacks. Tools that security researchers and network testing teams all use to assess the activities inside the network are based on testing for Known threats[1], and how the environment will respond to the next attack.  These tools test the environment for detecting known threats[2] on potentially new attacks.

The ITS SafeTMsecurity appliance is designed to Detect, Defend against, and Destroy IntrudersTM. While other tools and testing activities look for the future state of security in the organization, the ITS Safe appliance examines all activities to uncover and detect unwanted connections that were completed before you began the observation of environment[3].

Everyday around the world, new activities are discovered in new and existing equipment, software, and third parties to organizations.  Firewalls are breached[4], Vendors we use are hacked[5], software we create is breached[6] and app we use on our phones are backdoors for attackers as well[7].

A comprehensive review of the cyber security digs deeper than reviewing the exposed 10-20% of the network, and actually reviews the active network as a comprehensive ecosystem.

Figure 2 – The visible network is a static view of the environment

IT Security Solutions recommends at least an annual Security assessment to determine the security posture and formal detection of internal activities.

IT Security Solutions, Inc. is a Pittsburgh based technology company with 25+ years of cyber security domain expertise catering to businesses of all sizes. The solutions offered range from technology security audits and penetration testing to continuous network scanning. The company recently launched ITS Safe™, a proprietary managed security solution that blocks hackers from attacking networks – the largest IT security threat facing businesses today.

As you can see there is much more than meets the eye when it concerns the security within your network. Call IT Security Solutions today, and let us help you protect your organization today!

www.IT-Security-Solutions.comwww.ITS-Safe.com

412-889-6870

info@IT-Security-Solutions.com

https://its-safe.it-security-solutions.com/contact-me


[1] Known threats are used in Virus scanners, network scanning, software analysis, and logfile monitoring tools.

[2] Security Tools cannot test for unknown threats because these events are currently not known.

[3] Think of this as reviewing the activities that are already active, that are not detected as tomorrow’s threats, because they are considered as part of the current environment.

[4] https://www.zdnet.com/article/sonicwall-says-it-was-hacked-using-zero-days-in-its-own-products/

[5] https://www.wired.com/story/solarwinds-hack-china-usda/

[6] https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/06/us/politics/russia-cyber-hack.html

[7] https://www.helpnetsecurity.com/2020/03/06/hackers-target-consumers/


[2] The Security Assessment becomes stale because the users in the network add additional threats from their use of the environment.


[1] Every network we have examined include several of these activities, if not all of them.

15 Dec
Can you TRUST your vendors?

The FireEye and Solarwinds breach.

I was drinking my coffee this morning and I read that FireEye was Breached.  What?  I read that a second time.  This time I also found out that their testing tools were also stolen.  This is bad, I thought, because FireEye is used in many industries, but to suffer a Breach and lose your testing tools will certainly compromise their reputation.

How did this happen?

According to FireEye’s website, this came as part of a Global Campaign[1]. More importantly, they are indicating that users of the SolarWinds Orion network monitoring product was the source of the Breach.

The issue here is that they gained access to the internal resources and utilized these resources internally to hide and disguise their activity. They indicated that these activities occurred earlier this year, sometime in the Spring of 2020.

When was the last time your company had a formal security assessment?  How about an assessment for the software you use internally as well?  While you cannot be everywhere all at the same time, mandating security assessments for the vendor tools you use is a good way to delegate.   Don’t forget to have an assessment performed on the network, your design, and security policies and procedures.

Everyone thinks that they have it covered, until they don’t. It’s what they are missing that causes the Breach.

Everyone thinks that they have it covered, until they don’t. It’s what they are missing that causes the Breach.  While we understand that no one wants to be told that they missed something.  

Which is better

  • Finding a problem and fixing it before a Breach,
  • Announcing it to the world that you’ve had a Breach?

… the cost of a Breach is very costly usually $200k to $3.8M or more.  These are also known as Business ending events.

The cost of a Security Assessment is generally a fixed priced and is easily absorbed by the business.  However, the cost of a Breach is very costly ($200k to $3.8M or more), and it is shared by the business and all of its clients.


Security is our Business

There are many ways to effect change in the organizations.  The most beneficial are the ones that are driven from the top down.  While organizations were built to support the business internally, the advancement of the attackers to gain access to the internal resources has changed the way we need to work on Cybersecurity.

Here are a few quick hits that will move the needle for you more in your favor.

  • Make time for a Security Assessment as recommended
  • Develop your company’s Policies and Procedures
  • Employ a comprehensive monitoring appliance to maintain your company’s security.

As we have seen in the FireEye Breach and other Breaches, the attacks are from the inside – out.  Meaning that they were able to get past the Firewalls, and not get detected by Virus scanners or other current technologies. These tools are all based on their ability to identify new attempts with the current Known threats.  That leaves all of the previously successful Breaches, and attacks using unknown threats exposed.

The ITS SafeTM security appliance includes out of the box capabilities to start working right away.  ITS Safe is built to Detect, Defend against and Destroy Intruders.  We are shifting organizations from a traditional security approach to continual assurance.

By implementing ITS Safe, the detection of activities inside allows us to eliminate the threats that other tools miss entirely.  Get ITS Safe Today to keep your business safe.

Minimizing the threats of attacks on employees and businesses are the basis for the development of the ITS SafeTM Managed Security Appliance.  Because attacks can happen anytime, the ITS Safe appliance continually monitors activities inside the network for both Inbound and Outbound traffic.

Sign up today to get a complimentary consultation

https://its-safe.it-security-solutions.com/managed-security-service-for-your-organization

https://IT-Security-Solutions.com –   Contact me now

We are your trusted cyber security partner.

[1] A Global Campaign makes sense because they are all connected to the Internet, and that’s still a Global network, if my memory serves me right.

26 Mar
Iron City Risk Avengers – Week of March 11th to 15th

In the News this week, RDA Conference & my conference at Duquesne emphasize comprehensive security for small businesses, PA is #2 for the worst in Cyber security, Georgia County pays $400K for Ransomware, New POS Malware, Citrix is hacked. Lastly, if you are not testing your security, guess who is.
Wow! What a busy week.

Connect with us:

Albert Whale – Albert.Whale@IT-Security-Solutions.com
Jim Loeffler – jaloeffler@getintune.com

The mission of the Risk Avengers podcast is to discuss current cyber security issues, procedures for protecting your business, as well as Compliance requirements for business owners.

Our 10 minute format is designed to make it easy for listeners to get up to date on the current People, Processes and Problems for your Business.

The show is Hosted by Albert Whale, Founder & CEO of IT Security Solutions, and Jim Loeffler, President of InTune Business Advisors.

Join us to discover the road for improved security and protecting your business, be it small or global.

The information discussed on this podcast is presented for informational purposes only. It is not intended as nor does it constitute specific information security or accounting advice and should not be acted upon as such.

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