In the previous three blogs, President Trump’s Executive Order. What agencies need to do to respond., Quick hit product categories that can boost executive agencies EO mandated NIST risk scores, and Addressing the EO stated greatest threat to agency cybersecurity posture, we laid out some strategies for federal agencies to respond to the President’s Executive Order (EO).  Finally, in this blog we list a variety of products and technologies that, if not already deployed, should be considered first when trying to move the needle in security posture.

First, the different technologies are listed here in the area they fit in EO Section 1 b (i):

Section 1 b (i) defined cybersecurity Risk Management product mapping:
–Protecting IT from unauthorized access
Information and access discovery
MFA
Privileged Access Encryption
Privileged Access monitoring and management
UBEA (user)
–Maintaining awareness of threats
Threat Intelligence feeds
Threat Intelligence Management system
Vulnerability scanning/monitoring
Vulnerability mapping/prioritization
–Detecting anomalies and incidents
Deception Technology for EARLY WARNING (Man, this is an easy one!)
EDR
NextGen AV
SIEM
UBEA (User, System and Network)
–Mitigating the impact of incidents through response and recovery
EDR
NAC

Next, we will list them in alphabetical order with brief explanations of what they do.  These are not ranked by importance or value.  We recognize that many organizations will probably have most of these deployed already, but none that we have experienced have all of them deployed.

Deception Technology for EARLY WARNING (TrapX, Attivo Networks) – (This is an easy one!)
Platform that deploys “fake” systems on the network, fake credentials on the end points, and carefully crafted ogs in the administrative systems.  The most advanced deception platforms weave a complex storyline designed to look like bread crumbs leading to sensitive information to attract/bait adversaries into revealing themselves.  These platforms will include alarms that once these systems and credentials are used will send alerts to the SIEM or SOC directly.  The most eye-opening thing about most deception platforms is the low-price point for the simplest early warning system innovation.  The value vs. cost is fantastic.

EDR (FireEye HX, Carbon Black, DigitalGuardian) – These solutions defend end points against advanced threats, detect active threats and compromise, and collect logs and data for response forensically when a threat or compromise is suspected.  The more advanced EDR products can pull detailed forensic information and quarantine systems actively under attack or already compromised. This is a must-have for any enterprise.

Multi-Factor Authentication (Duo, Okta, Google Authenticator) – Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) uses at least two of the three types of authentication.  “What you know”, “What you have” and “Who you are”.  Typically, this means a password plus a verified device or fingerprint.  In the past, this was a costly and cumbersome security measure where key generators from tokens were bought and distributed.  However, with the advent of smart phones, MFA can be created with a phone app that is verified as a secure second factor for a specific user.  (NOTE:  This is not SMS, which is no longer considered an acceptable MFA.)

NAC (ForeScout) – Manages asset access to the network by validating system is complaint with security policies.  An example would be DoD “Comply2Connect” where any system connecting to the network has to be thoroughly vetted and could be quarantined for further administration and clean up.  Also can be used for quarantining a system that has been identified for investigation for attack or compromise.

NextGen AV (Cylance, Cb Protect) – Legacy AV, using signatures, stop unsophisticated attacks and NextGen AV uses math and heuristics to defend against more sophisticated attacks.  The most prevalent example is poly-morphic malware that changes its signature even after install.  By using analytics on the files, malware can be detected even if the signature was created minutes ago.

Information and Access Discovery (Varonis) – These products can scan enterprises for sensitive data (Ex: PII, or classified data) and report back all the known locations and who has access in the IdAM system to them.  It can also lay out past history of access and monitor for access and anomalous behavior in accessing sensitive data.  In addition, these technologies help significantly in any IdAM. UBA-User or DLP deployment in cleaning up access and classification of data.  Many times, access creep has corrupted security policy or people who have access are not using it and should be removed unless requesting it in the future.  Without these steps, IdAM, User-UBA and DLP can be permanently crippled or take significant time to tune and become effective.

Privileged Access Encryption (Vormetric) – Solution that specifically prevents privileged accounts from accessing data directly.  This is mitigation against the most common form of unauthorized access by adversaries.  Once inside a network, attackers typically elevate privileges to administrators and try to access data directly.   By encrypting data while still allowing administrators to administrate systems, unauthorized users, even privileged users, cannot read important data.

Privileged Access Monitoring and Management (Varonis and CyberArk/Thycotic)
– By controlling and monitoring privileged user access, a significant threat vector is closed. Even if a privileged user could not access data directly (see above), they could still create or find and take over a user account that does have access to data and systems that are desired by an adversary.  Typically, privileged user account management solutions require check out access in a highly-controlled manner.

SIEM (Splunk, LogRythm) – Security Information and Event Management consumes and correlates logs from the environment against pre-determined rules for security alerting.

Threat Intelligence Feeds – Both free and paid threat feeds supply adversary information to identify when an attack, attacker, or malicious file needs attention.  Many organizations have paid subscriptions to threat feeds from different products in their environment, however some pay for high fidelity threat feeds to augment them.

Threat Intelligence Management System (Anomali) –  Threat Intelligence is the core of defending against attackers.  Knowing what files, IP addresses and threat actor indicators to look for or block are key to the effectiveness of cyber security tools throughout a cyber infrastructure.  By deploying a threat intelligence management platform, the highly valuable threat feeds, free and paid, can be deduplicated against each other, contextually aggregated for enrichment and distributed to the cyber tools.

UBA (User, System and Network)
– User (Exabeam):
 Analyzes logs of user activity from the standard IT infrastructure (such as IdAM/AD/LDAP), creates a baseline of activity and monitors for deviations from the baseline.  This includes individual user behavioral changes and user deviations from the standard a cohesive group creates. This may include an account that has been compromised.  The most mature User-UBA will create a timeline of activity from a range of logs including normal IT and security tools throughout the enterprise.
– System (Exabeam):  Analyzes system logs from the IT infrastructure, creates a baseline of activity and monitors for deviations from the baseline.   This System-UBA go beyond signature or correlations to known activities of attackers.
– Network:  Analyzes network logs such as packets and netflow from IT infrastructure and security tools, creates a baseline of activity and monitors for deviations. Unlike IPS or NGFW, these Network-UBA go beyond signature or correlations to known activities of attackers in the network. The most advanced will pull in logs from many resources across multiple disciplines.

Vulnerability Scanning/Monitoring (Tenable, TripWire) – Scans systems with or without agents on end points to monitor for vulnerabilities and changes to a system that may open it up to compromise.

Vulnerability Mapping/Prioritization (RedSeal) – Actively ingest network configuration data and vulnerability scanning logs to rank security threats identified by attack paths to vulnerable systems.  The resulting risk scoring and details allow for an enterprise to prioritize mediation by risk score that is specific to their systems and not a generic one-size-fits-all scoring.

If any of these intrigue your organization and you would like to know more, please contact us at federal@guidepointsecurity.com.

About the author:

Jean-Paul Bergeaux, Federal CTO, GuidePoint Security

With more than 18 years of experience in the Federal technology industry, Jean-Paul Bergeaux is currently the Federal CTO for GuidePoint Security. JP’s career has been marked by success in technical leadership roles with ADIC (now Quantum), NetApp and Commvault and SwishData. Jean-Paul focuses on identifying customers’ challenges and architecting innovative solutions to solve their complex problems. He is also a thought leader on topics that are top of mind for Federal IT Managers like Cyber Security, VDI, Big Data, and Backup & Recovery.