Be Warned Of Spectre And Meltdown And Find Out How We Help – Charles Leaver

By | January 12, 2018

Written By Josh Harriman And Presented By Charles Leaver

 

Ziften understands the most recent exploits affecting almost everybody who works on a computer system or digital device. While this is a very large statement, we at Ziften are working diligently assisting our consumers discover susceptible assets, fixing those vulnerable systems, and keeping track of systems after the fix for prospective performance problems.

This is a continuous investigation by our team in Ziften Labs, where we keep up to date on the latest malicious attacks as they progress. Today, the majority of the discussions are around PoC code (Proof of Concept) and what can theoretically occur. This will soon alter as opponents take advantage of these opportunities. The exploits I’m speaking, naturally, are Meltdown and Spectre.

Much has actually been blogged about how these exploits were found and what is being done by the industry to find workarounds to these hardware problems. To get more information, I feel it’s best to go right to the source here (https://spectreattack.com/).

What Should You Do, and How Can Ziften Assist?

An essential location that Ziften aids with in case of an attack by either method is keeping an eye out for data exfiltration. Since these attacks are basically taking data they shouldn’t have access to, our company believe the first and most convenient approaches to secure yourself is to take this confidential data and remove it from these systems. This data might be passwords, login qualifications or even security secrets for SSH or VPN access.

Ziften checks and alerts when procedures that typically do not make network connections begin showing this unusual behavior. From these signals, users can quarantine systems from the network and / or eliminate processes related to these situations. Ziften Labs is keeping track of the advancement of the attacks that are likely to become readily available in the real world related to these vulnerabilities, so we can better protect our customers.

Find – How am I Vulnerable?

Let’s look at areas we can monitor for vulnerable systems. Zenith, Ziften’s flagship product, can simply and rapidly find OS’s that need to be patched. Despite the fact that these exploits are in the CPU chips themselves (Intel, AMD and ARM), the repairs that will be available will be updated to the OS, and in other cases, the web browser you utilize as well.

In Figure 1 below, you can see an example of how we report on the offered patches by name, and what systems have effectively set up each patch, and which have yet to install. We can also track failed patch installs. The example below is not for Meltdown or Spectre, however the KB and / or patch number for the environment could be populated on this report to show the susceptible systems.

The exact same is true for web browser updates. Zenith monitors for software application versions running in the environment. That data can be utilized to comprehend if all browsers are up to date once the repairs become available.

Mentioning browsers, one area that has actually currently gained momentum in the attack circumstances is utilizing Javascript. A working copy is revealed here (https://www.react-etc.net/entry/exploiting-speculative-execution-meltdown-spectre-via-javascript).

Products like Edge browsers do not utilize Javascript any longer and mitigations are available for other browsers. Firefox has a repair offered here (https://blog.mozilla.org/security/2018/01/03/mitigations-landing-new-class-timing-attack/). A Chrome repair is coming out this week.

Repair – Exactly What Can I Do Now?

When you have actually recognized susceptible systems in your environment you definitely want to patch and fix them as soon as possible. Some safeguards you need to think about are reports of specific Anti-Virus items triggering stability problems when the patches are applied. Details about these issues are here (https://www.cyberscoop.com/spectre-meltdown-microsoft-anti-virus-bsod/) and here (https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/u/1/d/184wcDt9I9TUNFFbsAVLpzAtckQxYiuirADzf3cL42FQ/htmlview?usp=sharing&sle=true).

Zenith likewise has the capability to help patch systems. We can monitor for systems that require patches, and direct our solution to apply those patches for you then report success / failure and the status of those still needing patching.

Considering that the Zenith backend is cloud based, we can even monitor your endpoint systems and apply the required patches when and if they are not linked to your corporate network.

Monitor – How is Everything Running?

Lastly, there could be some systems that show performance deterioration after the OS fixes are used. These concerns appear to be restricted to high load (IO and network) systems. The Zenith platform helps both security and operational teams within your environment. Exactly what we like to call SysSecOps (https://ziften.com/introducing-systems-security-operations-syssecops/).

We can assist reveal problems such as application crashes or hangs, and system crashes. Plus, we monitor system usage for Memory and CPU gradually. This data can be used to monitor and inform on systems that start to exhibit high usage compared with the duration prior to the patch was used. An example of this tracking is shown in Figure 2 below (system names purposefully removed).

These ‘defects’ are still new to the general public, and far more will be gone over and discovered for days / weeks / months to come. Here at Ziften, we continue to monitor the circumstance and how we can best educate and safeguard our clients and partners.

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