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Monday, 17 August 2020 11:06

Endpoint visibility crucial to avoid surprise attacks, says security pro

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Tom Kellerman: "Organisations must allow offence to inform defence with regular threat hunting," Tom Kellerman: "Organisations must allow offence to inform defence with regular threat hunting," Supplied

Organisations must gain better visibility into the endpoints of their IT systems if they do not want to be surprised by attacks, the head of Cyber Security Strategy at VMware Carbon Black says.

Tom Kellerman told iTWire in response to queries that once defensive teams gained better visibility, they would be able to anticipate things when it came to incident response, rather than responding to an attack when it took place.

He emphasised the importance of threat intelligence, which he said was "critical for building a strong security posture. It allows organisations to discover new threats and proactively put up barriers to defend against them. Without threat intelligence, organisations become reactive. Threat intelligence feeds must be integrated into endpoint detection and response and they should be relevant to the specific threats facing an organisation's industry.

"This also allows organisations to proactively hunt out prospective threats," he said. "This is increasingly important in today’s landscape, with more attackers seeking to linger for long periods on a network and more vulnerable endpoints online via remote access and distributed workforces.

"That being said, cyber threat hunting is quintessentially important for an organisation’s success. By applying application control to suppress behavioural anomalies and micro-segmenting to limit lateral movement, organisations have summited to the 'high ground' for the inevitable battle."

Kellerman said there were plenty of sources from which could draw data from for threat intelligence, two of them being the Cyber Security and Infrastructure Security Agency and the Cyber Fraud Taskforces of the United States Secret Service.

He said too much importance was given to indicators of compromising which placed the emphasis on the weapon, rather than the attacker. "The focus needs to be shifted to the attacker and the larger campaign of intrusion which is where MITRE ATT&CK techniques, tools and protocols and the combination of those TTPs in the wild come in," he added.

He categorised Linux networks as the most intricate when it came to defence, adding that container security would be the most important area to look to in the future.

Asked about organisations that tended to create a checklist and grade security against conformance to that list, Kellerman said compliance did not equate to security. "Organisations must allow offence to inform defence with regular threat hunting," he said. "Additionally, it is imperative that organisations integrate security controls."

Kellerman said threat intelligence should be context-driven for environments, industries and threat profiles. "Organisations leveraging threat intelligence, endpoint detection and response, and threat hunting can suppress and take the steps to adversaries in real time," he added.


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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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