The growing threat to CI/CD pipelines

Today, rapid digitalization has placed a significant burden on software developers supporting remote business operations. Developers are facing continuous pressure to push out software at high velocity. As a result, security is continuously overlooked, as it doesn’t fit into existing development workflows.

The way we build software is increasingly automated and integrated. CI/CD pipelines have become the backbone of modern DevOps environments and a crucial component of most software companies’ operations. CI/CD has the ability to automate secure software development with scheduled updates and built-in security checks.

Developers can build code, run tests, and deploy new versions of software swiftly and securely. While this approach is efficient, major data breaches have demonstrated a significant and growing risk to the CI/CD pipeline in recent months.

The growing threat to CI/CD pipelines

Pipeline as Code is a practical guide to automating your development pipeline in a cloud-native, service-driven world.

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Building Immunity at AppSec Insertion Points

The fundamentals of a formal, effective application security plan should start with business objectives, tools, processes and most of all, data, with the primary driver for securing applications focused on protecting data.

While it is important to surgically address the insecurities in a mission-critical application, it is equally important to continuously upskill the development and security teams, and create a culture where security is not looked at simply a ‘check-the-box’ item.

According to Setu Kulkarni, vice president of strategy at WhiteHat Security, the first step is to identify the right inflection points for injecting application security.

“CISOs need to recognize that no SDLC is built the same and no application is at the same level of maturity within its life cycle,” he said. “We have learned that testing applications continuously in production is critical to identify the real, exploitable vulnerabilities that create the maximum risk of being breached in production.”

Kulkarni noted one way to (almost always) ensure that security does not become an afterthought is to “top & tail” – in other words, make sure that your team gets a voice when the exit criteria is being defined during the requirements phase, and make sure the team is testing in pre-production and production.

“Everything in between is really a negotiation based on the maturity of the SDLC and the application itself. The most consequential best practice is to ensure that the Dev, Sec and Ops teams get accurate and actionable insight from the AppSec tests that are executed,” he said. “After all, the only way to eventually have security operate at the speed of DevOps is through some level of automation, and the efficacy of automation is directly proportional to the accuracy of the data used to drive the automation.”

Doug Dooley, COO of Data Theorem, pointed out that the business driver for AppSec is about privacy, trust and reputation that is directly tied to the brand of those who build and publish the applications.

He noted traditional AppSec testing focused on static and dynamic application security testing, including static application security testing (SAST) and dynamic application security training (DAST).

“However, with a more modern application stack, AppSec programs are starting to factor in third-party risks introduced by open source and software development kits, covered by software composition analysis,” Dooley explained.

Further, cloud-native applications make infrastructure services just another software extension of the application buildout, so many AppSec programs increasingly add cloud security tools, such as cloud security posture management (CSPM).

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CSA Survey Suggests Cloud Security Is Improving

New research suggests the overall state of cloud security continues to improve at a time when more organizations rely on multiple cloud service providers.

survey of 1,900 security and IT professionals published this week by the Cloud Security Alliance (CSA) in collaboration with AlgoSec, a provider of network security tools, finds only 11% of respondents said they encountered a cloud security incident in the past year. The most common problems encountered were issues with a specific cloud provider (26%), security misconfigurations (22%) and attacks such as denial-of-service exploits (20%).

When asked about the impact of the cloud outages, more than a quarter of respondents said it took more than half a day to recover.

Despite growing confidence in cloud platforms, however, security remains a major area of focus. Top areas of concern include network security (58%), lack of cloud expertise (47%), migrating workloads to the cloud (44%) and insufficient staff to manage cloud environments (32%). In all, 79% of respondents noted some kind of issue involving IT staffing.

In the report, 52% of respondents reported they employed cloud-native tools to manage security as part of their application orchestration process, with half (50%) using orchestration and configuration management tools such as Ansible, Chef and Puppet. Less than a third (29%) said they used manual processes to manage cloud security.

Less clear, though, is who within the IT organization is responsible for cloud security. More than a third (35%) said their security operations team managed cloud security, followed by the cloud team (18%) and IT operations (16%). Other teams, such as network operations, DevOps and application owners, are all below 10%, the survey found.

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Akamai dealt with an 800Gbps ransom DDoS against a gambling company

CDN and cybersecurity firm Akamai warns of a worrying escalation in ransom DDoS attacks since the beginning of the year.

The company recently mitigated three of the six biggest volumetric DDoS attacks it has ever dealt, two of which were ransom DDoS attacks.

One of these two ransom DDoS attacks targeted a gambling company in Europe and peaked at 800Gbps, but the most worrisome aspect of the attack was its sophistication.

According to the company, the rise of the Bitcoin price is motivating the cybercriminals in intensifying their efforts and their attack bandwidth to carry out powerful attacks with extortion purposes.

“The most recent extortion attack — peaking at more than 800 Gbps and targeting a European gambling company — was the biggest and most complex we’ve seen since the widespread return of extortion attacks that kicked off in mid-August 2020. Since the start of the campaign, show-of-force attacks have grown from 200+ Gbps in August to 500+ Gbps by mid-September, then ballooned to 800+ Gbps by February 2021.” reads the analysis published by Akamai. “But the size of the extortion attack wasn’t the only notable characteristic of the actors’ modus operandi.”

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IETF deprecates TLS 1.0 and TLS 1.1, update to latest versions

IETF has formally deprecated the TLS 1.0 and TLS 1.1 cryptographic protocols because they lack support for recommended cryptographic algorithms and mechanisms

The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) formally deprecates Transport Layer Security (TLS) versions 1.0 (RFC 2246) and 1.1 (RFC 4346). Both versions lack support for current and recommended cryptographic algorithms and mechanisms. TLS version 1.2 was recommended for IETF protocols in 2008 and became obsolete with the introduction of TLS version 1.3 in 2018.

The TLS protocol was designed to allow client/server applications to communicate over the Internet in a secure way preventing message forgery, eavesdropping, and tampering.

The move to deprecate old versions aims at making products using them more secure.

The IETF now only recommends the use of the two latest versions TLS 1.2 and TLS 1.3.

Experts pointed out that older versions of the protocol were using cryptographic algorithms that were hit by multiple attacks over the years, including as BEAST, LUCKY 13POODLE, and ROBOT.

Recently the US National Security Agency (NSA) published a guide urging organizations on eliminating obsolete Transport Layer Security (TLS) protocol configurations.

However, the number of organizations that are still using the deprecated versions of the protocol is still high.

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Translating TTPs into Actionable Countermeasures | All-Around Defenders

Ismael Valenzuela (McAfee/SANS) and Vicente Diaz (Threat Intel Strategist at Virustotal)

SANS Institute‘s #SEC530 course co-authored by Ismael Valenzuela (@aboutsecurity), providing students access to VTIntelligence to help them make TTPs actionable.

MITRE Enterprise ATT&CK Framework

Comparing Layers in ATT&CK Navigator – MITRE ATT&CK®

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3 steps to meeting data privacy regulation compliance through identity programs

Lesson 1: Take stock of identities and lock them down

When it comes to data protection, security and compliance, organizations must keep the potential technology risk within acceptable limits, which means mobilizing efforts to identify data lakes and applications where personally identifiable information (PII) and other sensitive information is stored. Organizations should then use digital transformation as the catalyst to lock those applications down with the proper controls to prevent the unauthorized use of data and use analytics to gain visibility into the management-sensitive data.

The key to any data privacy compliance is proper data protection because under these laws, consumers retain the right to deny and revoke the collection of their data. The first step in any plan around compliance is to have a basic understanding of whose data you have, where it is, and who has access to it. This principle is the foundation of identity management and governance.

Source: 3 steps to meeting data privacy regulation compliance through identity programs

Active Directory Administration Cookbook: Actionable, proven solutions to #identitymanagement and authentication on servers and in the cloud

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Cyber Strategy – Risk-driven Security and Resiliency

Cyber StrategyRisk-driven Security and Resiliency

Provides a process and roadmap for any company to develop its unified Cybersecurity and Cyber Resiliency strategies. It demonstrates a methodology for companies to combine their disassociated efforts into one corporate plan with buy-in from senior management that will efficiently utilize resources, target high risk threats, and evaluate risk assessment methodologies and the efficacy of resultant risk mitigations. The book discusses all the steps required from conception of the plan from preplanning (mission/vision, principles, strategic objectives, new initiatives derivation), project management directives, cyber threat and vulnerability analysis, cyber risk and controls assessment to reporting and measurement techniques for plan success and overall strategic plan performance. In addition, a methodology is presented to aid in new initiative selection for the following year by identifying all relevant inputs.

“This is the tour de force on designing, implementing and maintaining a modern cyber security and resiliency program. This book is a necessity for all information security and resiliency professionals.” – Howard Taylor, CISO of Radware


This book lays out a systematic process for developing corporate strategy in the area of cyber (meaning IT) security and resilience.  

NBlog – book review on “Cyber Strategy” discuss pros & cons

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Risky business: 3 timeless approaches to reduce security risk in 2021

Steps to reduce security risk in 2021

A summary of the tactical and strategic moves CISOs can make to reduce security risk:

  • Look to reduce your “haystack” of threat avenues through smart policy enforcement. Consider DNS as a vector – for both attack and detection
  • Ensure that your cloud adoption strategy is coupled with sound cloud security policy and design
  • Educate your leadership team. “We aren’t a target” is equivalent to sticking your head in the sand.

Are you doing enough? Do you understand your risks? What if the brightest aren’t always the best choice for your company?

The Smartest Person in the room
The Smartest Person in the Room: The Root Cause and New Solution for Cybersecurity by [Christian Espinosa]

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Cloud security experts wanted: You can be one of them

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Five signs a virtual CISO makes sense for your organization

Here are five signs that a virtual CISO may be right for your organization.

1. You have a lot to protect

Companies produce more data than ever, and keeping track of it all is the first step to securing it. A virtual CISO can identify what data needs to be protected and determine the negative impact that compromised data can have, whether that impact is regulatory, financial or reputational.

2. Your organization is complex

Risk increases with employee count, but there are many additional factors that contribute to an organization’s complexity: the number of departments, offices and geographies; how data is used and shared; the distribution of architecture; and the life cycle of applications, data and the technology stack.

A virtual CISO offers an unbiased, objective view, and can sort out the complexity of a company’s IT architecture, applications and services. They can also determine how plans for the future add complexity, identify and account for the corresponding risk, and recommend security measures that will scale to support future demand.

3. Your attack surface is broad

For many organizations, potential vulnerabilities, especially those that share a great deal of data within the organization, may not be obvious at first glance. Virtual CISOs can identify both internal and external threats, determine their probability and quantify the impact they could have on your organization. And at a more granular level, they can determine if those same threats are applicable to competitors, which can help maintain competitiveness within your market.

4. Your industry is highly regulated

Organizations in regulated industries like healthcare, finance, energy/power and insurance will have data that is more valuable, which could make them a bigger target for bad actors. Exposure is even more of a concern due to potential noncompliance. Virtual CISOs bring a wealth of expertise on regulatory standards. They can implement processes to maintain compliance and offer recommendations based on updates to applicable rules and regulations.

5. Your risk tolerance is low

An organization without a great deal of sensitive data may have a much greater tolerance for risk than a healthcare provider or a bank, but an honest assessment is important in determining how much risk each organization should accept. A virtual CISO can coordinate efforts to examine perceived and actual risk, identify critical vulnerabilities and provide a better picture of risk exposure that can inform future decisions.

Cybersecurity is growing more complex, and organizations of all sizes, especially those in regulated industries, require a proven security specialist who can address the aforementioned challenges and ensure that technology and processes are in place to mitigate security risks.

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System Update: New Android Malware

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Understanding Cyber Risk Quantification – A Four Minute Journey Into Your Future

Cyber Risk Quantification (CRQ) is now viewed as a core pillar of any effective Integrated Risk Management program. This short explainer video walks you through and gives you a glimpse into your future as a top tier cyber risk management organization. 

A FAIR Approach

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DevSecOps as a culture – What you need to know


Enough about culture and on to DevSecOps. What kind of culture allows it to thrive?

  1. An important aspect is having a better understanding of the motivators of and detractors in each element. I won’t review those here because they are covered well in this article: But I will say that this topic brings to mind the Stephen Covey quote, “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.”
  2. Another cultural aspect is that the model requires people to “fail fast.” Failure must be allowed. It’s not the kind of failure that leads to company ruin, though it may might be personally embarrassing. You know that main network cable that leads to your office, the one with the sign “Do not unplug!”? I’m the guy who accidentally unplugged it. I’m also the guy who returned a laptop without an RMA: it got lost on the return trip, so we never got our money back. I’m the one who worded something poorly in a policy and was glad that someone caught it before it went out. People make mistakes. The allowance of failure will actually lead to encouraging people to fail, born out of the idea that the more they do, the more they’ll fail AND succeed.
  3. The culture also has to engender the attitude of “a failure is an event, not a person.” As I referenced earlier – we’re not talking about allowing failures that destroy companies and reputations; I’m talking about failures such as “Oops! I deleted that section of code because I didn’t think it was needed. I’ll get it back ASAP.”

This kind of culture leads, not to diminishing returns, but to cohesion in the team and growth in technical acumen. Do those failures get pointed out and documented? Of course – the team doesn’t really want to spend another 4 hours on another night correcting the same mistake. The person doesn’t get called out, but the failure gets pointed out.

  1. The collaborators must be able to expose a vulnerability, have it prioritised, and get it fixed. No naming and shaming, because the goal is not a person’s desire never to fail, but to provide a secure and well-working product.

DevSecOps culture also lends itself to letting those doing the work determine what works best for them, which empowers them to be better professionals. Over time, the team notices patterns in failures and successes, and knows best what product or service would overcome those failures and automate successes.

  1. There needs to be ample maker time, so DevSecOps needs to be free from an interrupt-driven culture. There’s a creative aspect to DevSecOps that requires time to think. Anyone in the arts knows that about the sliding scale of concentration (though they may not call it that). On one end is complete focus on a task, but this extreme focus removes the emotional element. On the other end is the emotional scale, but this extreme leaves out the technical part. Toward the middle is the proper mindset, where there’s a free-thinking and open sensitivity required for being creative, in addition to keeping the boundaries of the techniques and protocols, provided by business requirements, customer demand, etc.

Perhaps you aren’t currently part of a corporate culture for proper DevSecOps to thrive, for whatever reason (e.g., current management attitude, a change in leadership). You could work on creating a subculture. You might have a co-worker with whom you can work to make improvements while not negatively impacting the current speed of production. Or you have some leeway to introduce a tool that can help slightly.

  1. Technology changes frequently, and those making things happen need to stay up-do-date with training. Embrace it, incorporate it as part of the incentives, make it part of the day, make it happen.
  2. DevSecOps are people, and they need rest. There’s only so much and so fast that people can work, and that’s why we use technology. In DevSecOps, technology does not replace people, but enables them to perform their various duties at the speed of light.
  3. Metrics have to be as concrete as possible. How does management determine if personnel are doing things right and doing the right things? Judging success by hearsay and feeling is never a rational metric

Regardless of what else it’s called – DevOps with a security focus, DevOpsSec, Secure DevOps – the end result is to have Development, Operations, and Security work together to iteratively create a good and secure product that is delivered timely. When the culture adopts these elements, DevSecOps will flourish.

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Stop using your employees as scapegoats: Change their behavior

We’ve recently witnessed large companies that were hit with major data breaches and cybersecurity incidents point the finger of blame at the lowest hanging fruit – their employees. While it’s understood that employees have a certain level of accountability when it comes to their role in the organization’s broader security strategy, it’s up to company leadership to arm them with the resources and knowledge to effectively thwart cyber threats.

With 90% of security incidents stemming from human error, a culture strong in security awareness is no longer a nice-to-have, it is a top priority and an absolute must across all organizations, regardless of their size or industry. Businesses who change risky employee behavior methodically and effectively through personalized, timely, and relevant learning will see an improvement to their overall security posture and a reduction in the number of security incidents.

Personalization is key

Cyber threats today have become increasingly sophisticated and more personalized. Therefore, it stands to reason that the training and coaching offered to employees needs to meet the same level of personalization in order to effectively combat these threats and change risky habits and behaviors over time.

Transformational Security Awareness

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Serious Security: OpenSSL fixes two high-severity crypto bugs

We’re sure you’ve heard of OpenSSL, and even if you aren’t a coder yourself, you’ve almost certainly used it.

OpenSSL is one of the most popular open-source cryptography libraries out there, and lots of well-known products rely on it, especially on Linux, which doesn’t have a standard, built-in encryption toolkit of its own.

Even on Windows and macOS, which do have encryption toolkits built into their distributions, you may have software installed that includes and uses OpenSSL instead of the operating system’s standard cryptographic libraries.

As its name suggests, OpenSSL is very commonly used for supporting network-based encryption using TLS, which is the contemporary name for what used to be called SSL.

TLS, or transport layer security, is what puts the padlock into your browser, and it’s probably what encrypts your email in transit these days, along with protecting many other online communications initiated by your computer.

So, when an OpenSSL security advisory reports exploitable vulnerabilities in the software…

…it’s worth paying attention, and upgrading as soon as you can.

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Hackers breached the PHP ‘s Git Server and inserted a backdoor in the source code

Threat actors hacked the official Git server of the PHP programming language and pushed unauthorized updates to insert a backdoor into the source code.

Unknown attackers hacked the official Git server of the PHP programming language and pushed unauthorized updates to insert a backdoor into the source code.

On March 28, the attackers pushed two commits to the “php-src” repository hosted on the server, they used the accounts of Rasmus Lerdorf, the PHP’s author, and Jetbrains developer Nikita Popov.

Maintainers of the project are investigating the supply chain attacks, experts believe attackers have compromised the server.

“We don’t yet know how exactly this happened, but everything points towards a compromise of the server (rather than a compromise of an individual git account).” wrote Popov. “While investigation is still underway, we have decided that maintaining our own git infrastructure is an unnecessary security risk, and that we will discontinue the server. Instead, the repositories on GitHub, which were previously only mirrors, will become canonical. This means that changes should be pushed directly to GitHub rather than to”

The maintainers of the PHP reverted the changes and are reviewing the repositories to detect any other evidence of compromise beyond the two referenced commits.

In the future, in order to access the repositories, users will now need to be part of the php organization on GitHub and their account will have 2FA enabled. Adopting this new configuration it is possible to merge pull requests directly from the GitHub web interface.

At this time, it is not immediately clear if the backdoor was downloaded and distributed by other parties before the malicious commits were detected.

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5G network slicing vulnerability leaves enterprises exposed to cyberattacks

security in 5G networks

security in 5G networks by [Dani  Wade]

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The importance of the Statement of Applicability in ISO 27001 – with template

The importance of the Statement of Applicability in ISO 27001 – with template

Chloe Biscoe  23rd March 2021

Documentation is a crucial part of any ISO 27001 implementation project, and one of the most important documents you need to complete is the SoA (Statement of Applicability).

In this blog, we explain what an SoA is, why it’s important and how to produce one.

What is a Statement of Applicability?

An SoA summarises your organisation’s position on each of the 114 information security controls outlined in Annex A of ISO 27001.

Clause 6.1.3 of the Standard states an SoA must:

  • Identify which controls an organisation has selected to tackle identified risks;
  • Explain why these have been selected;
  • State whether or not the organisation has implemented the controls; and
  • Explain why any controls have been omitted.

Every control should have its own entry, and in cases where the control has been selected, the SoA should link to relevant documentation about its implementation.

Which controls do you need to implement?

Organisations are only required to implement controls that are appropriate to the risks they face. They should determine which controls apply to them by conducting an ISO 27001 gap analysis and risk assessment.

These processes help organisations identify the risks they face, which they can match to the relevant control.

Annex A provides a useful outline of each control. Still, you’ll probably need something more in-depth when it comes to the implementation process. That’s where ISO 27002 comes in. It’s a supplementary standard in the ISO 27000 series, providing a detailed overview of information security controls.

ISO 27002 provides detailed information on each control, explaining how each one works and providing advice on how to implement it.

You’ll therefore benefit from having copies of both standards when creating your SoA.

Why is the Statement of Applicability important?

The SoA is a useful document for everyday operational use because it provides comprehensive coverage of your organisation’s information security measures.

You can refer to it to understand how and why your organisation is tackling certain risks and accepting others.

This is especially important when ensuring continual improvement within your organisation. You can assess whether the controls you’ve implemented are working as intended and assess whether other controls might be more suitable.

Likewise, you can review why you chose to accept risks and determine whether the threat landscape has increased significantly enough to warrant a change.

An SoA also has significant regulatory consequences. If you are investigated for a data breach, you can use the document to demonstrate that your defences were the result of an ISO 27001-compliant risk assessment.

Completing the Statement of Applicability

Completing the SoA can seem like a daunting task, but there are a few things you can do to simplify the process.

For a start, you should consider delegating each part of the process to the relevant person. You can ask someone in the HR department to provide information regarding the way they process personal data, and do the same for IT, marketing and so on.

Breaking it down this way saves time – as you aren’t relying on one person or a small team to understand every part of your organisation. It also makes it easier to understand specific issues that your business faces.

Another way to simplify the SoA is by consulting ISO 27002. This is a supplementary standard that focuses on the information security controls that organisations might choose to implement.

These controls are listed in Annex A of ISO 27001, but whereas that document simply outlines each control in one or two sentences, ISO 27002 dedicates an average of one page per control.

Finally, you should consider pooling together the documents you’ve created as part of your ISO 27001 implementation project – namely, the inventory of information assets, the risk assessment, the risk treatment plan.

Each of these documents provides a partial picture of your information security practices, but when you consider them altogether, you get a much clearer picture, which you can use to inform your SoA.

Save time writing your Statement of Applicability

Those looking for help creating their SoA should take a look at our ISO 27001 Toolkit.

The toolkit includes:

  • A complete set of easy-to-use, customisable and fully ISO 27001-compliant documentation templates that will save you time and money;
  • Simple dashboards and gap analysis tools to ensure complete coverage of the Standard; and
  • Direction and guidance from expert ISO 27001 practitioners.

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Hacking Weapons Systems

The Cyberweapons Arms Race

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