GuidePoint Security Recognized for Excellence in Managed IT Services

CRN®, a brand of The Channel Company, has named GuidePoint Security to its 2018 Managed Service Provider (MSP) 500 list in the Security 100 category. This annual list recognizes North American solution providers with cutting-edge approaches to delivering managed services. Their offerings help companies navigate the complex and ever-changing landscape of IT, improve operational efficiencies, and maximize their return on IT investments.

In today’s fast-paced business environments, MSPs play an important role in helping companies leverage new technologies without straining their budgets or losing focus on their core business. CRN’s MSP 500 list shines a light on the most forward-thinking and innovative of these key organizations.

The list is divided into three categories: the MSP Pioneer 250, recognizing companies with business models weighted toward managed services and largely focused on the SMB market; the MSP Elite 150, recognizing large, data center-focused MSPs with a strong mix of on-premises and off-premises services; and the Managed Security 100, recognizing MSPs focused primarily on off-premise, cloud-based security services.

GuidePoint Security invested in a specialized team that developed our Virtual Security Operations Center (vSOC), to address flaws commonly found with other Managed Security Service Providers (MSSPs). As a result, GuidePoint’s vSOC provides differentiated customer-centric managed security services.

GuidePoint’s vSOC combines advanced detection and response capabilites, threat hunting powered by proprietary machine learning, and experienced security personnel, all provided as a service.

“Managed service providers have become integral to the success of businesses everywhere, both large and small,” said Bob Skelley, CEO of The Channel Company. “Capable MSPs enable companies to take their cloud computing to the next level, streamline spending, effectively allocate limited resources and navigate the vast field of available technologies. The companies on CRN’s 2018 MSP 500 list stand out for their innovative services, excellence in adapting to customers’ changing needs and demonstrated ability to help businesses get the most out of their IT investments.”

“Significant enhancements to our service offerings and processes, as well as the expansion of our vSOC team over the last year enabled GuidePoint to respond to the increased demand for our offerings,” explained GuidePoint’s Director of vSOC Product Development, Robert Vaile. “Our passion around continued innovation, key technology partnerships and world-class customer satisfaction are powerful differentiators for us and will continue to fuel our success.”

The MSP500 list will be featured in the February 2018 issue of CRN and online at www.CRN.com/msp500.

About GuidePoint Security

GuidePoint Security LLC provides innovative and valuable cybersecurity solutions and expertise that enable organizations to successfully achieve their missions. By embracing new technologies, GuidePoint Security helps clients recognize the threats, understand the solutions, and mitigate the risks present in their evolving IT environments. Headquartered in Herndon, Virginia, GuidePoint Security is a small business, and classification is with the System for Award Management (SAM). Learn more at: www.guidepointsecurity.com.

No Cookie Cutters

Many organizations trying to mature their Application Security Programs are buying SAST (Static Application Security Testing) and DAST (Dynamic Application Security Testing) solutions. For those unfamiliar, SAST tools are used for binary, byte, or source code analysis, and look for flaws at the code level, whereas DAST tools are meant to test an application at run time. These tool sets can add a lot of value to an organization, but how they are implemented into the SDLC will determine the true return on investment. Some organizations create a budget, then buy some tools…but beyond that, still need help figuring out next steps. Where there may not be a cookie cutter solution for this, there are common factors that will help you determine the most effective strategy for implementation.

Before we talk about implementing SAST and DAST tools into the SDLC, organizations should first gain an understanding of the size of their application portfolio, how many licenses they can reasonably budget for, and the amount of resources required to implement, tune, support and run these tools. Once those factors are understood, one must put the cart before the horse and ask how the results from these tests will be reviewed, who will review them, and how they will get tracked and prioritized for remediation.

Smaller development shops tend to have tighter budgets and a more tactical approach, given that they may only have one or two application security resources. With environments like this, the development leads are often getting asked for help, and being trained to run the tools themselves so that the application security resources can focus their time on reviewing, validating, analyzing, and tracking the results. Organizations should try to avoid implementing tools which are licensed per user. Why should you have to choose which developer should be able to proactively find issues in the code being developed? The whole purpose of driving automated tools into the SDLC is to encourage all developers to develop based on secure coding principles and be able to test their code as early in the SDLC as possible. When everyone on the development team has the same chance at secure development, a formalized secure coding standard starts to take shape.

Developers leveraging these tools are a very good thing for an organization, but this activity should never replace the more formal review performed by application security professionals. Frequency of testing factors in several other considerations that are a bit off topic for this blog, but may be revisited in a future article.

For issue tracking, the organization may leverage their ticketing, bug tracking, or GRC systems, but needs to also take into consideration what kind of detail is contained within the tickets. In other words, not everyone who can access the tickets should be able to access vulnerability details or application specifics. The ticket should be as generic as possible with details tracked in a system that can be limited to least privilege. Even a developer of one application shouldn’t necessarily have access to the vulnerabilities of another application they don’t work with. It’s important to keep the existence of insider threats in mind when deciding how much detail to reveal within an environment. If the application security issues are available to everyone, and an attack is executed before remediation is in place, this could introduce a great deal of complexity into an internal investigation.

Another important part of the process is aligning the findings that come out of the tools with the security policies/standards that may already be in place. Each tool assigns default levels of severity for each finding. These are typically configurable and should be reviewed, as some organizations may want to change some of these levels based on their own unique environments or controls. It is common for our clients to have a policy or standard in place (whether it be formal or informal) that requires the remediation of all high or medium severity findings prior to code being implemented to production. Ensuring the findings in the tools are configured to help meet this standard also aligns the business and security with the process. It should be noted that if developers can access and run these tools, they should not be able to reconfigure the severity levels themselves and should not deem anything a false positive without a formal review by the security team. Checks and balances are important to maintain, even in a large development shop or organization.

Overall, automated tools are an important part of a Secure SDLC program and provide a lot of value to any development organization. They can help increase the coverage for testing, help identify “low hanging fruit”, and are a great first step to help kick start a new Application Security Program within an existing SDLC. However, organizations must consider implementing usage plans and developing processes to expand the quality and security of the code, as well as provide a much more significant return on investment. Just remember, the solution is as unique as your development environment and overall business. There are no cookie cutter solutions to implementing tools, but GuidePoint is here to help you, and we might even have cookies!

About the Author

Kristen Bell, Managing Security Consultant – Application Security

Kristen is a Managing Security Consultant at GuidePoint Security who started in Application Security in 2005. Prior to joining GuidePoint, Kristen consulted for numerous companies performing application security services. Kristen has a background in the government sector, building application security programs and providing guidance in secure application design.

Kristen’s experience includes conducting application security assessments and database security reviews, secure SDLC consulting, as well as working with clients to improve their enterprise vulnerability management. Kristen’s ability to bridge the gap between technical and non-technical people, coupled with her strong interpersonal skills, has made her a strong champion for application security frameworks and controls for her customers. Kristen earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science from Kentucky State University.

Exim MTA

vSOC SPOT Report: Exim Remote Code Execution Vulnerability

Overview

On March 6th, 2018, a security researcher by the name of Meh Chang of Devcore, a Taiwanese security consulting firm, published a remote code execution vulnerability that is present in the mail transfer agent, Exim. Exim is a mail transfer agent (MTA for short) for Unix servers that was developed at the University of Cambridge. Its use is very widespread, estimated to be used on hundreds of thousands of different servers, and it is the default mail transfer agent on some popular web control panels, such as cPanel. It is also the default mail transfer agent in the Debian and Ubuntu Linux distributions. Due to the widespread use of Exim, we believe this vulnerability is particularly dangerous. The vulnerability was first disclosed to Exim on February 2nd, 2018, and a patch was published on February 10th to resolve this issue. This vulnerability is currently being tracked under CVE-2018-6789.

Attack Details

The attack exploits the Base64 decode function of the Exim MTA. The AUTH function of Exim, in most cases, uses Base64 encoding to communicate with the client. Exim uses a buffer to store the decoded Base64 data. Chang found that it was possible to use a certain invalid Base64 string to cause Exim to allocate less space for the buffer than it consumed, creating a buffer overflow. Normally this buffer overflow is harmless, but it is possible to craft the Base64 string to a certain length to overwrite critical data.

Remote execution is possible depending on the use of the Access Control List (ACL) strings in Exim. Chang found that it was possible to overwrite the ACL strings, and then initiate an ACL Check using the ‘MAIL FROM’ SMTP command. When an ACL Check is performed, any code in these strings will be executed if it encounters ${run{cmd}}.

Potential Impact

There have been no known active exploits or proofs of concept of this vulnerability, but this is expected to change in the days following the disclosure due to the ease of exploiting it. Also, the estimated number of machines affected by this vulnerability is very high. A successful exploit of this vulnerability could allow the attacker to gain full access to the mail server. This could then be used to compromise privileged information through the use of reading emails, or the copying, modifying, sending, or deleting of email. This server can then be used as a launching point for further attacks within your network. Even if you are not using Exim within your environment for mail, you could still be vulnerable if Exim is installed and there are open SMTP ports that allow incoming mail.

What You Should Do

Exim has already published Exim 40.9.1 to fix this vulnerability. ALL versions of Exim prior to 40.9.1 are vulnerable to this. Patches are available for Debian, Fedora, SuSE, and Ubuntu Linux distributions as standard packages. Some vulnerability scanners have already added checks for this vulnerability, such as Qualys, Rapid7 and Tenable. We would recommend you review your environment for any indication of vulnerable mail servers and ensure these are updated

GuidePoint’s vSOC will provide additional information as it is made public to help protect our clients.

Supporting Information

GuidePoint Security recognized as recipient of 2018 Splunk Partner+ Awards

GuidePoint Security Named Global Partner of the Year and Americas Partner of the Year for Outstanding Performance

HERNDON, VA – March 5, 2018 – GuidePoint Security, a cybersecurity company that provides world-class solutions, today announced it has received the Splunk 2018 Global Partner of the Year award as well as the Americas Partner of the Year award, for exceptional performance and commitment to the Splunk® Partner+ Program. The prestigious Global Partner of the Year and Americas Partner of the Year awards recognize the Splunk partner who has demonstrated the ability to find and lead incremental business with a continued commitment to their partnership with Splunk. Learn more about the Splunk Partner+ Program here.

The Splunk Partner+ Awards are designed to recognize members of the Splunk ecosystem for industry-leading business practices and dedication to constant collaboration. Areas of consideration for an award include commitment to customer success, innovative program execution, investment in Splunk capabilities, technology integrations and extensions, and creative sales techniques.

“We’re honored to receive such prestigious awards,” GuidePoint Security Co-Founder and Principal Justin Morehouse noted. “It’s a testament to the strong partnership our two organizations developed over several years. Beyond our capabilities to provide Splunk certified professional services, our strategic partnership is supported by GuidePoint’s vSOC Managed Security Services, which continues to disrupt the MSS industry,” Morehouse added.

“As a vital partner to Splunk, we applaud GuidePoint Security for being recognized as the Global Partner of the Year and the Americas Partner of the Year, said Cheryln Chin, vice president of Global Partners, Splunk. “The Splunk Partner+ Awards recognize partners like GuidePoint Security who exemplify the core values of the Partner+ Program coupled with a strong commitment to growth, innovation and customer success.”

Winners of the Splunk Partner+ Awards reflect the top-performing partners globally and regionally. All award recipients were selected by a group of the Splunk executives and global partner organization. Read more about the Splunk Partner+ Program.

About GuidePoint Security

GuidePoint Security LLC provides innovative and valuable cybersecurity solutions and expertise that enable organizations to successfully achieve their missions. By embracing new technologies, GuidePoint Security helps clients recognize the threats, understand the solutions, and mitigate the risks present in their evolving IT environments. Headquartered in Herndon, Virginia, GuidePoint Security is a small business, and classification is with the System for Award Management (SAM). Learn more at: www.guidepointsecurity.com.

When user behavioral analytics isn’t the right name

There is a lot of talk about “machine learning” and “behavioral analytics” in the cybersecurity world. Some products and companies are doing a great job designing big data based solutions that use higher math and analytics to find and alert on unusual or malicious activities. Some products are simply a higher order of signatures hiding behind a shiny veneer to make them look like math and analytics.

But sometimes there is a way of doing things that’s simply, well, more than that. There are user behavioral products out there that I think really should be named something different. I’m not sure what that marketing name should be, but let me explain what they do and maybe someone can create a cool shiny name for it.

These products do in fact use math and analytics to baseline activities and alert on deviations, but more importantly, they collect up activities around those deviations and create timelines of total activity and then score them. This is higher order incident response. If you walk into any SOC when a major alert is being investigated, the first thing a SOC analyst will do is collect up evidence and create a timeline of activity around it. Then once all this information is plotted together of “what just happened” they make a decision about whether it was a user who hit something, an application that hiccupped, or the possibility of something much more sinister.

At least one of the user behavioral analytics products does most of that heavy lifting, and does it fast and automatically. Its hands over the timelines and evidence for a human to then validate the “risk score” or invalidate and throw in the trash. Who wouldn’t like to have more time back for their SOC analysts to go proactively hunting instead of reacting? It could be a game changer for many cash and talent strapped agency SOCs.

So, what should these products be called? They aren’t classic automation and orchestration products. They aren’t an IR tool for forensics. They are doing rock star user behavioral analytics, that’s true. Oh alright, I’ll keep calling them user behavioral analytics for now… until someone smarter than me figures out that cool shiny marketing term.

Join GuidePoint Security and Exabeam on March 21st, for a live webinar, to learn more about how they aren’t, well maybe are,  the best User Behavioral Analytics product on the market.  Click here for more information.

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.