Feeds

UK.biz getting on top of serious security risks

Accepting low-level vulns

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL

Corporate organisations are beginning to address major security flaws within their networks at the same time as failing to address medium or lower risk issues.

Security testing firm NTA Monitor found a third of the 600 corporate networks it tested last year had ten or more security flaws.

These companies are exposed to "considerable risk of malicious attack", NTA Monitor believes, even though firms are beginning to get on top of the most serious security risks.

NTA Monitor found that high risk vulnerabilities had decreased from 19 per cent in 2001 to six per cent last year.

The company defines a high-risk vulnerabilities as flaws serious enough to allow a cracker to "access and take control of computer systems".

But medium profile vulnerabilities (which permit either disruption for external users or unauthorised access for internal users) were found in 73 per cent of tests and low profile vulnerabilities were found in every test NTA Monitor conducted.

"A third of companies we examined were guilty of bad security housekeeping, with unacceptably high levels of basic flaws found," said Roy Hills, technical director, NTA Monitor. "Although corporates are clearly prioritising security vulnerabilities and addressing high profile issues this is at the expense of a much larger number of lower profile vulnerabilities which are being ignored."

"The net result is that corporate networks remain exposed to external attack," he added.

Kevin Foster, marketing director at NTA Monitor, told us that the survey presenta a mixed picture of corporate progress in making systems more secure. High risk vulnerabilities are down even though the number of flaws NTA Monitor discovers is actually increasing.

"It seems that companies don't have the time to address medium risk vulnerabilities and seem to have accepted the presence of lower risk flaws on their network," Foster told us.

Overall server related vulnerabilities were the only area to show a systematic fall in security issues during the five years of the NTA Monitor Security Audit.

Server vulnerabilities were spotted in 73 per cent of security audits last year, down from 86 per cent in 2001 and 88 per cent in 2000.

NTA Monitor believes this reflects the increased level of management attention given to Web sites.

Router, firewall and visible systems, the other key three areas of security testing examined by NTA Monitor, have all remained at an unreasonably high number of identified vulnerabilities over the last two years. According to NTA Monitor this is because these systems are typically installed using a standardised configuration, biased more towards functionality and up time than security.

This was a particular problem where services had been configured by ISPs using a standard template.

Another major cause of vulnerabilities in these areas was that companies neglected to remove development environments or configurations, unwittingly exposing systems that were not intended to be visible.

NTA Monitor's Fifth Annual Security Audit, published at the beginning of this week's Infosecurity show, examined data from over 600 Regular Monitor network perimeter security tests carried out by the company during 2002. ®

The next step in data security

More from The Register

next story
Israeli spies rebel over mass-snooping on innocent Palestinians
'Disciplinary treatment will be sharp and clear' vow spy-chiefs
Infosec geniuses hack a Canon PRINTER and install DOOM
Internet of Stuff securo-cockups strike yet again
'Speargun' program is fantasy, says cable operator
We just might notice if you cut our cables
Apple Pay is a tidy payday for Apple with 0.15% cut, sources say
Cupertino slurps 15 cents from every $100 purchase
YouTube, Amazon and Yahoo! caught in malvertising mess
Cisco says 'Kyle and Stan' attack is spreading through compromised ad networks
Hackers pop Brazil newspaper to root home routers
Step One: try default passwords. Step Two: Repeat Step One until success
Greater dev access to iOS 8 will put us AT RISK from HACKERS
Knocking holes in Apple's walled garden could backfire, says securo-chap
Microsoft to patch ASP.NET mess even if you don't
We know what's good for you, because we made the mess says Redmond
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.