In Review : Qualys Security Conference 2017
October 23, 2017 by Syed Abdur

The Brinqa team was at the Qualys Security Conference in Las Vegas this past week. It was great spending time with some of our customers and connecting with the extended Qualys community.

Brinqa Director of Products, Syed Abdur, presented a session discussing how Brinqa customers are creating the next generation of cyber security programs by starting with effective vulnerability management and expanding the scope to bring in additional source of security data.

QSC Session

Syed Abdur speaking at the Brinqa session
















What was the buzz during the show? #QSC17



Our Passport to Prizes winner picked up a pair of Bose noise cancelling headphones from Brinqa President, Hilda Perez.



















Shout out to Qualys for having us at the event and the complimentary tickets to a great Cirque du Soleil show.














The Brinqa team had a great time at the event and we can’t wait for next year!



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It should come as no surprise that the increase in cyberattacks reflects the ever-expanding number of connected devices. In 2021 the number of Internet of Things (IoT) devices alone grew to 12.3 billion. As attack surfaces expand, it’s essential to know the gaps in your security posture and protect them. That’s why enterprise vulnerability management is a critical security control. The challenge is how to filter ever-larger amounts of vulnerability data streaming in from a growing number of attack surfaces and find which vulnerabilities pose the most risk to your business. For example, a threat coming from a customer-facing server is likely more crucial than a vulnerability in an internal sandbox no one outside the organization sees.  Risk analytics permits the evaluation of all risks according to their sources. 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Examining your network and data with the many available assessment tools – application scanners, database scanners, network scanners, and penetration testing applications – is time-consuming. Prioritizing remediation is difficult when you have so much information to consider. Adding to your time management difficulties is that different vulnerabilities require different mitigation approaches. For example, patch management, defined as closing network software vulnerabilities by applying patches, is just one component of vulnerability risk management. Vulnerabilities lead to exploits and threats Exploits are how malicious actors leverage vulnerabilities to launch an attack. An exploit can be a piece of purpose-built software, a sequence of commands, network worms, or toolkits. Attacker economies of scale have played a significant role in allowing the leveraging of vulnerabilities into successful exploits. Greater coordination and sharing of information within the hacker community have increased the number of attacks on enterprises. Zero-day vulnerabilities are particularly susceptible to exploits. Threats are an actual or hypothetical malicious event that leverages one or more exploits to launch an attack. Threats seek to adversely impact organizational operations, assets and individuals and represent the strategy employed to compromise or gain unauthorized access to the organization successfully. Malware, social engineering, ransomware, phishing and trojans are typical threats.  An easy way to map ALL your threat and enterprise vulnerability management data to a single, consistent model From its position atop your networks, all data arriving from external sensors and systems into Brinqa is automatically mapped, correlated and brought into a single entity that simplifies vulnerability management. Complementing the Brinqa platform are hosts, relationships, databases, threat intelligence, and patch intelligence. Asset context, also known as asset metadata, helps categorize assets as the amount of digital information grows. Specific business context ensures it is relevant to your organization and complies with regulations. Having processed that information, Brinqa models it and automates ticketing for remediation. Why vulnerability risk management improves VM Vulnerability risk management, sometimes known as risk-based vulnerability management, is a strategy cybersecurity professionals use to prioritize remediating software vulnerabilities according to the level of risk each poses. Using risk as the guide, you analyze and rate or assign a score to the various vulnerabilities you’ve discovered. 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Poor password management Computers do the grunt work necessary for a brute-force attack, hurling password combinations at the speed of digits, hoping to uncover weakness. When users reuse passwords, a single breach can become many breaches, as the attacker tries the same password on different systems and platforms. Software flaws When an operating system is not secured, an attacker can access it to inject viruses and malware. ‍Sometimes programmers unintentionally leave exploitable bugs in software. Users leave their systems vulnerable by not updating or patching their software. Antivirus vulnerabilities The irony of antimalware solutions is situational – instead of protecting users from malware,  antimalware solutions expose users to vulnerability exploitation. Antimalware grants extensive permissions an attacker can abuse to access a system. Users ‍People who use computers are easily the most significant and weakest link in the entire security chain. According to the 2022 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report:  80% of data breaches are from poor or reused passwords.  82% of breaches involved credentials. 82% of breaches involved a human element. 7% of breaches involved vulnerability exploitation. If not for users, phishing wouldn’t exist. Nor would social engineering. The former is an email message sent in the hope the recipient will click on an included link set to deliver a malware payload. The latter is a lie or deception used to enter a network for a cyberattack.  Physical cybersecurity threats When planning the protection of a network, it’s easy to forget about the physical security of IT assets, such as your buildings and infrastructure. Also, consider users’ security and privacy in cyber-physical systems. They can be bribed or intimidated into relinquishing valuable information.   Denial of service (DoS) A denial-of-service (DoS) attack is a malicious attempt to prevent legitimate traffic from accessing a website by overwhelming the web server with meaningless requests.  Application security testing (AST) Application security testing (AST) is the process of identifying security weaknesses and vulnerabilities in source code to harden applications by making them more resistant to security threats. According to Gartner research, “84% of breaches exploit vulnerabilities in the application layer, yet the ratio of spending between perimeter security and application security is 23-to-1.” If you’re aware of an application vulnerability, you can test for it.  Dynamic application security testing (DAST)  Dynamic application security testing (DAST) tools execute code and then inspect it at runtime to detect issues that might be security vulnerabilities. Issues may be with query strings, requests, responses, scripts, memory leaks, cookie handling, session handling, authentication, executing third-party components, and code and data injection. Static application security testing (SAST) Static application security testing (SAST) scans application source, binary, and byte code to identify vulnerability causes and assist with remediation. SAST tools attack applications from inside to perform a scan, inspecting static source code and reporting weaknesses. Interactive application security testing (IAST) Interactive application security testing (IAST) analyzes code for security vulnerabilities while the application is running. That can be an automated test, a human tester, or anything “interacting” with application functionality. Because it reports vulnerabilities in real time, IAST doesn’t add more time to your improvement and deliverability. Web application security testing Web application security testing involves assessing a web application for security flaws and vulnerabilities that require fixing before hackers take advantage of them. Meticulously testing for hidden vulnerable points in your application lessens the risk an attacker will find and exploit one of them. The Verizon 2022 Data Breach Investigations Report mentioned above found that 56% of breaches involved basic web application attacks. Software composition analysis (SCA) Software composition analysis (SCA) identifies specific open-source versions, software components, and licensing risks. It helps to ensure all embedded open-source code meets selected standards.  Advanced SCA tools have automated component detection and identification, as well as vulnerability, license association, and risk remediation. Unknown vulnerabilities When a home full of intelligent devices suffers more than 12,000 hacking or unknown scanning attacks from around the world in one week, can you imagine how many more risks to a network there are? Since your network is more extensive — and more valuable — than the technology of the average home, it presents a more significant target.   Zero-day A software flaw hackers have discovered while the developer remains unaware of it is known as a zero-day vulnerability. It’s called “zero-day” because it had never been seen before and the software vendor had “zero” time to patch it before criminals exploited it.  Trust relationship Trust configurations propagated across your network simplify user access between systems. Adverse possession of those trusted credentials opens the systems to attackers. After gaining access to a system, the adversary can breach all other systems that trust the system that was initially compromised. Compromised credentials  To get unauthorized access to a system in your network, attackers try to intercept and extract passwords from unencrypted or incorrectly encrypted communication, either from unsecured handling by software or users. Attackers also try to exploit passwords by reusing them across systems. Malicious insider Potentially the most dangerous security bad actors and the one motivated to do serious damage is the stealthy insider: a disgruntled team member with access to your critical systems. They may choose to exploit their access privileges to steal or destroy your data.  How do you find unknown vulnerabilities?  Penetration testing Penetration testing, or pen testing, is an exercise in which a cybersecurity professional probes a network to find and exploit vulnerabilities. Simulated attacks are how a pen tester identifies weak spots in system defenses that defenders can fix to tighten security. Pen testing is an intricate, specialized practice area that is critical to business security.  Breach and attack simulation (BAS) To perform comprehensive assessments of your cybersecurity defenses, you need automated breach simulation and attack simulation, continuous assets scanning, and protection. Breach and attack simulation (BAS) spots gaps in your security and helps you understand how well-defended you are against real threats to your systems. A BAS platform mimics the actual actions of a threat by simulated attacks against your data center, allowing you to assess your security controls and take action designed to catch a real threat actor when the need arises.  Often offered as software-as-a-service (SaaS), BAS goes beyond traditional testing methods such as penetration testing and vulnerability scans by simplifying how you conduct checks on your security controls. Modern BAS tools permit automated testing including customized, automated, simulated attacks. Unlike traditional penetration tests in which humans perform hacking attempts, cloud-based BAS apps host modules that run automated tests. The malware used doesn’t harm your network infrastructure and works only for the simulation. Brinqa performs vulnerability risk management Using connectors to pull data from all sources on your entire network, Brinqa calculates rules, performs advanced operational risk analysis, and applies specific business contexts to pinpoint those vulnerabilities you must fix first. It automatically creates tickets and tasks for remediation.  The capability for extensive visibility into all of your existing assets, information and infrastructure is practically infinite, meaning you can add more data and grow your network without worry.  Get your free trial to experience how easily Brinqa delivers efficient, repeatable and trustworthy results by automating your vulnerability risk management. FAQ  How do a vulnerability, a threat and a risk differ? Sometimes confused with vulnerability, a threat is anything capable of exploiting a vulnerability, whereas a risk is when a threat exploits a vulnerability. You worry about a threat occurring to an asset. You calculate the potential damage from a risk. What is a threat agent in information security? The National Institute for Standards and Technology defines a threat agent synonymously with a threat source as, “The intent and method targeted at the intentional exploitation of a vulnerability or a situation and method that may accidentally trigger a vulnerability.” What are the reasons why information systems are vulnerable? Being interconnected and accessible from many points in the connection makes information systems vulnerable.  What are cyber-physical systems? The Cyber-Physical Systems Research Center tells us cyber-­physical systems (CPS) happen when digital and analog devices, interfaces, sensors, networks, actuators and computers are combined with the natural environment and with human-made objects and structures. A CPS depends upon integrating computational algorithms and physical components.  What is cyber-physical security? Cyber-physical security concerns securing physical systems used to maintain and implement cybersecurity solutions. It includes the technology necessary for operations, industrial control systems, and the Internet of Things. The proliferation of devices has led to physical and cybersecurity convergence.