The Cybersecurity Threat at Russia World Cup 2018

Original Entry by : James Barrett

For all nations attending the Russia World Cup, the risk of hooliganism isn’t the only issue that they face. The World Cup is a hacker’s gold mine, with recent news reporting that the FA is to beef up cybersecurity if England qualifies for Russia World Cup 2018. Given the profile and asset class of the people and teams there—including the USA, France and Spain—who have been burnt by previous cyber-attacks, it will be vital for attending nations to secure their networks.

Whereas other World Cup events have caused concern about the physical safety of players, staff, and spectators, Russia’s World Cup has raised considerable concern about online threats. The football industry is facing huge challenges in defending networks in the build-up to such a global event, and organizations need to have a complete programme of preparedness in the event of a breach.

Preparing for the worst

Events like the World Cup entice criminals, including online hackers and cybercriminals. When it comes to the Russian World Cup, football associations are worried about a specific hacker group, Fancy Bears (which has targeted the FA and Olympics in the past), but the risk is not limited to a single group of cybercriminals.

Football federations around the world have already begun planning for the World Cup, and this year preparing to protect against cybersecurity risks is an essential part of the overall planning process. Some plans have already put in place, including installing anti-hacking software on the phones of players, and ensuring staff and players use the FA Wi-Fi. The US government has banned the use of Kaspersky—a Russian cyber-security software—and it may not be long before other countries or officials follow suit.

Risky behaviour

So, what could cybercriminals take if they successfully hacked into data at the event? Valuable personal data will be accessible, with players’ personal details, medical records, and performance data, among others, stored online. If these assets are stolen, important information will be at risk of being shared or sold.

However, it isn’t just the players’ confidential data at risk. Spectators and staff are also being advised not to use open Wi-Fi while in Russia, as these networks could put their personal data in jeopardy. The team hotels are now known—although those details are not yet public—so cybercriminals can already begin to plan and set-up cyber traps.

With some guidelines and advice already in place for both players and spectators, federations need to educate themselves on how to safeguard their data, including early warning signs of what to look out for, and how to minimise the impact of an attack if one is detected. Football federations must learn from past scandals, including WADA and IAAF, and introduce technology and skills to reach faster and more certain conclusions when investigating and potential threats or incidents.

The Equifax Breach: Lessons for EU Organisations

Original Entry by : Stuart Wilson

Recently, the credit scoring company Equifax revealed it had been the victim of a dramatic breach,
potentially putting the data of up to 143 million US customers at risk. As we watched the story
unfold, things quickly turned from bad to worse. Days after the incident was announced, we learned
of the Apache Struts vulnerability and a huge configuration error in Argentina, and late last week we
discovered that up to 400,000 UK-based customers could be affected: key details behind this are yet
to be made clear.

The Equifax breach was not the biggest incident of its kind in recent years – but it’s certainly one of
the most dangerous. Millions of customers’ sensitive, personal data (including Social Security
numbers) is now at the whim of fraudsters seeking to steal identities. Even more frighteningly, it
took two months for the organisation to confess, meaning individuals were totally oblivious to being
at risk.

With just over eight months to go until new European personal data regulations come into force,
organisations can look to incidents, such as the Equifax breach, to learn some valuable lessons.

Compliance is key

With GDPR legislation in place from 25 th May 2018, keepers of personal data will no longer have the
luxury of taking months to craft a self-serving response to notify customers of a breach. In a GDPR
world, companies will need to provide notification of an incident within 72 hours. Failing to do this,
businesses risk being fined 4% of their global revenue – not to mention multiple, hefty fraud
penalties often demanded by the FCA.

Additionally, Equifax should be a lesson in awareness for all organisations who have become data
businesses. For several years, the limits of IT departments all over Europe have been tested due to
dealing with an overload of regulations, in addition to the constant pressure to ensure networks are
over achieving to meet increasingly high customer experience expectations.

Further complexity equates to further vulnerability. Compliance and performance are now at the top
of operational agendas, but security is still significantly falling behind the increased performance
mandate. As businesses begin to consolidate data centres, or move to the cloud in some instances,
the complexity of their enterprise networks will grow.

It’s crucial that as networks increase in complexity, visibility improves to aid management and
troubleshooting. For example, you wouldn’t shift to dense 10Gb Ethernet or higher network speeds
in order to deal with elevated network demand without making sure you had visibility of the
increased flow of information, would you?

The message for organisations is clear: increased complexity must be approached with increased
security and transparency as to the daily, internal happenings of a network. This does not exclude
third parties: cyber risk underwriters do not necessarily assign a lower score to companies that use
outsourced providers and other third parties to manage infrastructure and take care of, for example,

Attitudes towards security can often be gauged from the way a company handles third parties and
the quality of this relationship. However, it’s essential that the processes surrounding dealing with
third parties are correctly defined and understood in the first place.

Prepare now, or pay later

GDPR demands that data handlers must implement “security by design and by default”. This means
that systems must be designed from the outset to deliver the right levels of resilience and security.
In this respect, there won’t be any room for maneuver.

The harsh reality is that it’s likely every business will experience a data breach at some point, if they
haven’t already. So when the inevitable happens, in order to be compliant, organisations will need to
know, understand and communicate the breach within the 72 hour ‘critical period’. For this to
happen, they will need to be able to have a transparent view of network activity in real-time, with
the ability to identify the cause of issues quickly and prevent them from escalating further.

10th Anniversary SharkFest in Pittsburgh a great success

Original Entry by : Mark Evans

Last week saw the 10th Annual SharkFest conference held in Pittsburgh at Carnegie Mellon University.

SharkFest is a conference for developers and users of the open-source Wireshark application, and draws a varied audience including people from NetOps, SecOps, Telcos, Government, industrial plant operators and manufacturers as well as vendors.

One of the real strengths of SharkFest is that it’s not too big. While large enough to attract Wireshark users and developers from around the world, SharkFest still remains intimate enough for the attendees to have plenty of opportunity to engage with Wireshark’s creator and lead developer, Gerald Combs, and core Wireshark developers and to have input into the future direction of Wireshark.

Amongst all attendees there was general recognition of the growing importance of packet history in providing ground truth for investigating security events and troubleshooting network problems. There was also recognition of the growing importance of continuous – as opposed to ad-hoc – packet capture in providing evidence for security investigations, and a number of presentations referenced the challenges of multi-point packet capture.

Endace CTO, Dr Stephen Donnelly, spoke about augmenting packet capture with contextual metadata – which becomes especially critical when implementing multi-point continuous packet capture solutions. Metadata allows packet history to be self-describing, so its context can be carried along with the data wherever that data may be consumed. Stephen’s SharkFest presentation is online and can be viewed below.

SharkFest is always a very interesting and valuable conference. It is a great opportunity to be part of helping to shape what has become an incredibly important tool for our industry.

Endace was very pleased to be a sponsor at SharkFest 2017, and we’re looking forward to SharkFest Europe later in the year too. Thanks to the SharkFest team (and the fantastic Janice Spampinato) for all your help. Great job!



London’s magnificent Olympia plays host to Infosecurity Europe 2017

Original Entry by : Mark Evans

More than 18,000 Cybersecurity professionals from around the world gathered last week for the Infosecurity Europe 2017 at London’s magnificent Olympia.

Infosecurity Europe is one of Europe’s pre-eminent shows. It’s always an exciting event, and this year was no exception.

This year’s theme was entitled “Cybersecurity at the Speed of Business”  and there was an evident buzz in the air. The Endace team were kept busy on the stand for the entire three days with lots of visitors keen to talk about how to integrate network history with their security tools.

The conference featured keynote addresses from Dame Stella Rimington, the first female director of MI5, media personality and broadcaster Barry Paxman, and Lord Sebastian Coe, as well as presentations from more than 200 other speakers.

It was a great show, and we look forward over the next few weeks to catching up with everyone we met. It was great to catch up with the team from Plixer too. Infosecurity 2018 looks like it’ll be even bigger and better, and we’re already locking in a spot for next year.

Congratulations to the Hitech Awards Finalists for 2017

Original Entry by : Mark Evans

Well it’s official, the finalists for the 2017 New Zealand Hitech Awards have been announced. It was another record breaking year, with almost a third more entries than last year, and a great selection of both established and new companies amongst the finalists.

Attendees at the New Zealand Hitech Awards 2017 Finalist Announcement event in Auckland

Endace is proud to be a sponsor of the 2017 Hitech Awards, and we would like to congratulate all this year’s finalists and, in particular, the finalists in the Endace Innovative Hi-Tech Hardware Product category, a category obviously very dear to our heart!

NZ Hitech Awards Finalist event in Auckland
Attendees await the start of the announcements

So congratulations to Adherium, DARC Technologies, EROAD and Shotover Camera Systems. It’s a fantastic achievement to be a finalist amongst such strong competition. Well done for making the finals and we wish you the very best of luck.

How to protect against nation state attackers

Original Entry by : Mark Evans

“One of my worst nightmares [as an attacker] is that out-of-band network tap that really is capturing all the data, understanding anomalous behaviour going on. And someone’s paying attention to it.”
Rob Joyce, NSA: “Disrupting Nation State Attackers, Jan 2016” (22:10)

It’s great to see the efficacy of packet capture and network recording acknowledged by such an eminent cybersecurity Tsar as Rob Joyce.

If you haven’t already seen his video presentation on Disrupting Nation State Attackers, it’s well worth a watch. Before being shoulder-tapped to take up his new role as a cybersecurity advisor to Trump’s National Security Council, Joyce headed up the Tailored Access Operations division of the NSA.

The NSA’s TAO division is responsible for “providing tools and expertise in computer network exploitation to deliver foreign intelligence.” In other words, it is responsible for finding, and taking advantage of, the very network vulnerabilities that we’re all trying to protect against.

In his presentation at the Usenix Enigma conference last year, Joyce outlined key steps organizations can take to protect themselves against the sort of sophisticated techniques employed by Nation State attackers and criminal elements looking to attack your network.

Much of his advice is practical common sense. Know everything on your network, understand it, and update and patch everything. We all know this is critical, but all too often it doesn’t happen. Take patching for example. Joyce says that, in his experience, many organizations undertake security audits to identify known vulnerabilities, but frequently have still not fixed those vulnerabilities by the time the next audit rolls around months later.

Joyce also explodes a common myth – that sophisticated intruders rely on zero day threats. In fact, he says, zero day threats are far from being biggest danger to corporate networks. For any large network, he says:

Persistence and focus will get you in and achieve that exploitation without the zero days. There’s so many vectors that are easier, less risky and quite often more productive.

The cause of most intrusions, says Joyce, come down to one of things (the “Big Three”):

  • Email:  “a user clicked on something they shouldn’t have”
  • Malicious websites“they’ve gotten to a malicious website … and it’s either executed or they’ve run content from that website.”
  • Removable media – “where a user inserted contaminated media“. [As an aside, someone once told me the easiest way to get malware into an organization is to load it on a USB stick labelled “Payroll”, drop it in the carpark and leave the rest to curiosity!].

Joyce outlines the importance of making sure that sources of information about activity on the network – such as log files or network packet captures – are actually being monitored. “You’d be amazed at incident response teams that go in and there’s been some tremendous breach .. Yep, there it is right there in the logs.”

But perhaps the best piece of strategic advice he offers is this:

“Consider that you’re already penetrated. Do you have the means and methods to understand if somebody’s inside your network?”

That change in focus is important. Statistics show intrusions are becoming increasingly commonplace. Once organizations move from “we need to make sure we’re not penetrated” to “maybe we already are penetrated” they start to understand what tools, skills and processes they need to put in place to identify intrusions and stop an initial penetration from going on to become a more serious data breach. Or, if they have already been breached, what do they need to make sure they can identify how it happened and what was compromised?

Joyce’s presentation is a salient reminder that ensuring the basics of network security hygiene is critical. And that the battle to defend against attackers is an ongoing one. As fast as you tighten up your security, new vulnerabilities emerge that put you at risk.

Take a look at the video. You’ll find it’s 30 minutes of your time very well spent!

Cybersecurity Resources

Some of the useful resources that Joyce discusses and recommends are listed below

NOTE: The two links to the IAD site above require installing the DoD Root CA Certificates to avoid getting an “untrusted website” notification. More information here.

Australian Cyber Security Conference 2017

Original Entry by : Mark Evans

It’s a busy time for the Endace Australia team. Fresh back from exhibiting at the Australian Cyber Security Conference in Canberra last week, the team is off to Blackhat Asia in Singapore next week (March 28-21). We’ll report back on that event in due course.

The ACSC conference was very lively, with more than 1600 attendees descending on Canberra for the week.

We had a number of very interesting conversations with attendees from both government and commercial organizations. It was clear from many of these conversations that organizations are increasingly looking to packet capture and network recording as a crucial component of their cybersecurity toolset. Either they’re already doing some level of packet capture (often ad-hoc) and they’re interested in extending that capability. Or they’ve recognised the need for complete packet capture and are actively looking to include it as part of their cybersecurity arsenal.

This is great to hear. Our customers have recognised for a long time that packet-data is an unparalleled resource for cybersecurity investigations and it’s clear the wider market is moving in that direction too.

One of the common themes attendees talked about was how the proliferation in the number of security tools is making it difficult for them to get a coherent, single view of threats and activity on the network. We agree, and we talked with many attendees about the need for better integration between security solutions.

Many were interested to hear that our EndaceProbe Network Recorders can integrate with the tools that they are already using – such as Cisco’s Firepower NG IPS, Plixer’s Scrutinizer and Splunk. This integration lets analysts jump directly from alerts in those tools to examine the underlying packet-level network history and see exactly what has taken place. This makes for streamlined investigations, and helps analysts to eliminate false positives, and identify, prioritize and respond to the real threats more quickly.

ACSC 2017 was a great conference, and we look forward to coming back to be part of ACSC 2018. Thanks to the ACSC team for making it a very successful event!

Endace opens new Australian office

Original Entry by : Mark Evans
Endace Australia Team
Endace Australia Team: from left to right Michael Barnett, Anthony Adamo, Lisa Ardern and Peter Watt

Well it’s official. Our new Australian office in Hawthorne in Melbourne is open. An official opening was held on Friday, March 10th.

Thank-you to all the customers who attended our housewarming soirée, it was fun!

If you weren’t able to make it to the opening party, do drop in and see us and have a look at our new space.

Dynatrace Perform 2017

Original Entry by : Mark Evans

Endace was an exhibiting partner at Dynatrace Perform in Las Vegas this month. Perform is the annual conference for Dynatrace users and attracts attendees from all over the world.

Attendees at Dynatrace Perform 2017 in Las Vegas

The conference sessions were packed, and our booth in the partner area was swamped during the partner sessions!

In fact it was so busy we didn’t have time to take photos of our booth! So here’s one of Dynatrace’s photos instead. And if you want more, there’s a big gallery of photos on this page.

In the Partner Lounge, Blaine Deutsch and Tom Leahy demonstrated how EndaceProbes integrate with Dynatrace DC RUM to provide instant access to network packet history as definitive evidence for troubleshooting application performance issues. They also showed how using EndaceProbes to Playback recorded history to an instance of the virtual AMD agent hosted in Application Dock offers new options for deep investigation of historical events.

If you weren’t able to make the event, here are the presentations:

We thoroughly enjoyed being at Perform 2017. And being in Las Vegas on Superbowl Sunday prior to the conference was certainly an experience too.

Thanks to all the attendees who came to our stand. We had some really interesting conversations which we look forward to picking up with you again very soon.

And thanks to Nathan, Mike, Paula and the team from Dynatrace for making us welcome and ensuring we had everything we needed too. A great event guys!

Cool Runnings with Endace

Original Entry by : Endace

bobsleigh-2-1000Back in 2015 Emma Garner was looking for a fresh challenge to push her both physically and mentally. Taking inspiration from 90s comedy Cool Runnings she decided to try out for the Royal Air Force Bobsleigh Team. The RAF compete in two-person bobsleighs crewed by a driver and brakeman. Invited to attend novice training as a brakeman at Igls in Austria, she soon found herself careening down the course on her first ever week on ice.

“I remember the anticipation the first time I was nudged off the start and the exhilaration at making it down the track first time without my novice driver crashing. Some people weren’t so lucky.”

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