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Security in Context: The BeyondTrust Blog

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Bringing you news and commentary on solutions and strategies for protecting critical IT infrastructure in the context of your business.

Work Smarter with Retina Insight Threat Analyzers

Posted May 17, 2012    Morey Haber

It keeps happening over and over again. I speak to a prospect, and they do not want yet another vulnerability report with pages and pages of assets and vulnerabilities. Every tool vulnerability assessment scanner can produce this with various degrees of customization and consolidation but a 1,000 page report for a few dozen assets doesn’t scale for the organization or the administrator trying to interpret the results. Even sorting the results based on risk, or filtering on critical assets, can produce a report that is completely unusable based on the shear volume of pages contained within. The same problem is happening in almost every enterprise client I speak to. So what is the solution? Rethinking how a solution displays, reports, and analyzes vulnerabilities and present them in a way that is meaningful and actionable.

We took that first step about 6 months ago when we first introduced HeatMaps to Retina Insight. This concept takes the most critical vulnerabilities (72 seen as CVSS High Impact below) and reorganizes them by risk. 59 of them are Remote Unprivileged and only 37 have proven exploits in common penetration testing tools. For my clients, I would recommend starting remediation on the 37 remote unprivileged, CVSS high impact, and available in an exploit framework first, and then continue working on efforts to mitigate the rest of risks from right to left.  This review has essentially trimmed nearly 50% of the vulnerabilities off the vulnerability report based on real-word priorities and the complete details for remediation are a simple drill down into the Heatmap. This then follows the traditional vulnerability report we all are familiar with.

Risk Matrix by Vulnerability

While this exercise of reclassification is rather basic, it is incredibly important. It visualizes what vulnerabilities are the most critical (despite a critical score) and where the weaknesses are to the business. It does however lack one component that is now available in the new Threat Analyzers. Which vulnerabilities out of the “59” would improve my vulnerability count, vulnerability score, and asset risk score the most if I could only apply a subset of them in a normal remediation cycle. Below is a screen shot from the Threat Analyzers available in Retina Insight.

Risk Reduction Metrics

Essentially, if I was a security engineer and recommended “n” vulnerabilities to be remediated by my team members, what improvement would I see to my overall vulnerability count and asset risk score?  This value can be changed to meet a user’s needs, capacity planning requirements, and filtered on mitigation type: Configuration, Patch, or Zero-Day. The Analyzers will automatically calculate the best recommendations and calculate the effectiveness of the remediation plan. In this example, Retina Insight is recommending 20 vulnerabilities that are a combination of Patches and Configuration changes that would improve the vulnerability count by over 18.5% and lower the average asset risk score by 9%. The Threat Analyzers allow changing criteria within the solution and even filter on: Recommendations, Vulnerability, Mitigation, Software, Score, and Asset Count to optimize the remediation plan to be the most effective use of resources and to maximize security posture.

These tools are no longer just about finding a vulnerability and running a report; they are about working smarter and ultimately making us more effective at our jobs. Prioritizing our efforts, understanding which vulnerability needs attention first, and creating a plan to create a secure computing environment is how we solve these problems. The days of sole vulnerability reports are a legacy technology and we would like to introduce you to Retina. A better way to manage threats and vulnerabilities. For more information, click here.

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Additional articles

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How to Audit VMware ESX and ESXi Servers Against the VMware Hardening Guidelines with Retina CS

Posted February 27, 2015    BeyondTrust Research Team

Retina CS Enterprise Vulnerability Management has included advanced VMware auditing capabilities for some time, including virtual machine discovery and scanning through a cloud connection, plus the ability to scan ESX and ESXi hosts using SSH. However, in response to recent security concerns associated with SSH, VMware has disabled SSH by default in its more recent…

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Privileged Passwords: The Bane of Security Professionals Everywhere

Posted February 19, 2015    Dave Shackleford

Passwords have been with us since ancient times. Known as “watchwords”, ancient Roman military guards would pass a wooden tablet with a daily secret word engraved from one shift to the next, with each guard position marking the tablet to indicate it had been received. The military has been using passwords, counter-passwords, and even sound…

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Privileged Account Management Process

In Vulnerability Management, Process is King

Posted February 18, 2015    Morey Haber

You have a vulnerability scanner, but where’s your process? Most organizations are rightly concerned about possible vulnerabilities in their systems, applications, networked devices, and other digital assets and infrastructure components. Identifying vulnerabilities is indeed important, and most security professionals have some kind of scanning solution in place. But what is most essential to understand is…

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