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It’s not surprising that people are nervous about the security of newer technologies, many of which are part of the Internet of Things (IoT). While they offer greater efficiency and connectivity, some people still hesitate. After all, there seems to be a constant stream of news stories about multinational corporations being breached or hackers taking control of smart home devices. Both of these scenarios can feel personal. No one likes the idea of their data falling into criminal hands. And we especially don’t like the thought that someone can, even virtually, come into our private spaces. The reality, though, is that, when you choose the right technology and undertake the proper procedures, IoT devices are incredibly secure. That said, one of the spaces where we see continued confusion is around access control systems (ACS) that are deployed over networks, particularly in relation to mobile access, smartcards, and electronic locks. These technologies are often perceived as being less secure and therefore more vulnerable to attacks than older ACS systems or devices. In the interest of clearing up any confusion, it is important to provide good, reliable information. With this in mind, there are some myths out there about the security of ACS that need to be debunked. The fact that these devices communicate with an ACS via Bluetooth or Near Field Communication (NFC) leads to one of the main myths we encounter Myth #1: Mobile Credentials Are Not Secure The first myth we have to look at exists around mobile credentials. Mobile credentials allow cardholders to access secured doors and areas with their mobile devices. The fact that these devices communicate with an ACS via Bluetooth or Near Field Communication (NFC) leads to one of the main myths we encounter about the security of credentialed information. There is a persistent belief that Bluetooth is not secure. In particular, people seem to be concerned that using mobile credentials makes your organization more vulnerable to skimming attacks. While focusing on the medium of communication is an important consideration when an organization deploys a mobile credentialing system, the concerns about Bluetooth miss the mark. Bluetooth and NFC are simply channels over which information is transmitted. Believing that Bluetooth is not secure would be the same as suggesting that the internet is not secure. In both cases, the security of your communication depends on the technology, protocols, and safeguards we all have in place. So, instead of wondering about Bluetooth or NFC, users should be focused on the security of the devices themselves. Before deploying mobile credentials, ask your vendor (1) how the credential is generated, stored, and secured on the device, (2) how the device communicates with the reader, and (3) how the reader securely accesses the credential information. When you deploy smartcard technology as part of your ACS, you should choose the latest generation, such as MiFARE DesFIRE EV1 or EV2 and HID iCLASS SEOS Myth #2: All Smartcards Are Equally Secure The question “how secure are my smartcards?” is a serious one. And the answer can depend on the generation of the cards themselves. For example, while older smartcards like MiFARE CLASSIC and HID iCLASS Classic offer better encryption than proxy cards and magstripe credentials, they have been compromised. Using these older technologies can make your organization vulnerable. As a result, when you deploy smartcard technology as part of your ACS, you should choose the latest generation, such as MiFARE DesFIRE EV1 or EV2 and HID iCLASS SEOS. In this way, you will be protecting your system as well as your buildings or facilities. Some traditional readers and controllers can also pose a serious risk to your organization if they use the Wiegand protocol, which offers no security. While you can upgrade to a more secure protocol like OSDP version 2, electronic locks are a very secure alternative worth considering. It is also important to understand that not all smartcard readers are compatible with all smartcard types. When they are not compatible, the built-in security designed to keep your system safe will not match up and you will essentially forego security as your smartcard-reader will not read the credentials at all. Instead, it will simply read the non-secure portion—the Card Serial Number (CSN) —of the smartcard that is accessible to everyone. While some manufacturers suggest that this is an advantage because their readers can work with any smartcard, the truth is that they are not reading from the secure part of the card, which can put your system and premises at risk. Using electronic locks can help protect facilities and networks through various security protocols, including encryption and authentication Myth #3: Electronic Locks Are More Vulnerable These days, there are still many who believe that electronic locks, especially wireless locks, are more vulnerable to cybercriminal activity as compared to traditional readers and controllers. The concern here is that electronic locks can allow cybercriminals to both access your network to get data and intercept commands from the gateway or nodes over the air that would allow them access to your buildings or facilities. The reality is that using electronic locks can help protect facilities and networks through various security protocols, including encryption and authentication. Additionally, because many of these locks remain operational regardless of network status, they provide real-time door monitoring. This means that many electronic locks not only prevent unauthorized access but also keep operators informed about their status at all times, even if a network goes down. Outdated technology and old analogue systems are more vulnerable to attacks When it comes to deploying electronic locks, it is important to remember that, like any device on your network, they must have built-in security features that will allow you to keep your information, people, and facilities safe. Be Prepared To Unlock Future Benefits Ultimately, the information in your IP-based ACS is at no greater risk than any other information being transmitted over the network. We just have to be smart about how we connect, transmit, and store our data. In the end, maintaining the status quo and refusing to move away from old technology is not a viable option. Outdated technology and old analogue systems are more vulnerable to attacks. The reason it is so important to debunk myths around ACS and, at the same time, get people thinking about network security in the right way is that network-based systems can offer an ever-increasing number of benefits. When we deploy new technology using industry best practices and purchase devices from trusted vendors, we put ourselves and our networks in the best possible position to take full advantage of all that our increasingly connected world has to offer.
The oil and gas market is driven by a number of technology trends, political issues, waves of supply and demand, and regulations. At times, it seems like the market is in a constant state of ebb and flow, with business affected by traditional drivers, such as government mandates and operational efficiencies, and other non-traditional markers, like challenging weather conditions (consider the 2017 hurricane season as an example). Additionally, the global economy continues to grow, propelling increased energy demand. But like nearly every other market today, the oil and gas market is on the brink of a sea change. According to Deloitte’s 2018 outlook on oil and gas, “the digital revolution is here.” The sheer volume of information and data generated by digital devices, such as those associated with the Internet of Things, will allow producers to leverage rich data and combine it to deliver smart, efficient solutions. The rise of digital technologies is unleashing new ideas across the oil and gas industry and even though we are in the beginning stage of being able to harness the power of these types of technologies, innovative ideas are emerging — all designed to support the core business, reduce internal investments, deliver products faster, boost efficiencies, and enhance safety. Maximized Operations And Increased ROI This ongoing growth propels energy producers to embark on extensive exploration and production activities to meet increased demand This is welcome news because there are a number of challenges facing the oil and gas industry, from improving reserve replacement and ensuring workplace safety to reducing operating costs and limiting downtime. All of these objectives must be achieved while maximizing operations and increasing overall return on investment. Never has it been more crucial for critical infrastructure organizations to demonstrate a focus on safety, security, and collaboration. Here's why: Growth and demand According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, world energy consumption will grow by 56 percent between 2010 and 2040. This ongoing growth propels energy producers to embark on extensive exploration and production activities to meet increased demand. As energy-centric organizations look to emerging markets or remote regions to source production, safety becomes even more mission-critical to their success. Compliance Continuous demand is only one challenge; compliance with industry and government regulations is another significant hurdle that must be maintained or there is risk of production shutdowns. For example, the Department of Homeland Security’s Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) impose comprehensive federal regulations for high-risk chemical facilities, requiring organizations to conduct vulnerability assessments. This is just one of many regulatory procedures sites must follow to conform to environmental protections, safety precautions, and safe handling of hazardous materials. As energy-centric organizations look to emerging markets or remote regions to source production, safety becomes even more mission-critical to their success Threat Protection, Mitigation, And Collaboration In addition to meeting the requirements of regulatory procedures, mitigating risk in this industry propels leaders to develop stringent strategies to ensure robust protection of people, property, and assets, effective and efficient response to incidents when they occur, and procedures and protocols to ensure business continuity in emergency situations. Energy providers require comprehensive safety planning and technology systems that can augment the capabilities of on-site and remote personnel. In recent years, video solutions have become the standard for monitoring facilities, assets, and employees, and now these organizations require enterprise-class solutions that can help gather intelligent data that allows for enhanced security and safety efforts but also focus on processes that enhance operational efficiencies. Cyber-attacks are becoming increasingly more complex and sophisticated in the oil and gas market IT security is also a concern. Cyber-attacks are becoming increasingly more complex and sophisticated in the oil and gas market. An IT breach can cause operational havoc, risk to the public, and damage to an organization’s brand. Adopting a continuous improvement approach to a security strategy safeguards and helps protect valuable company information and reduces the likelihood of an incident. Also, collaboration between IT and physical security leaders and the correlation of both departments' data makes it much easier to identify a potential breach before havoc ensues. The Digital Age With the rise of the digital revolution and the demand for data to improve insight, oil and gas producers and businesses need to find new ways to capture data, correlate it as needed, and then leverage it to make the most informed decisions. Software platforms are being used in a wide variety of applications to provide a single pane-of-glass view that allows operators to gain critical insight into operations. By collecting intelligence from digital sensors, such as video surveillance cameras, open-source Web intelligence, building systems, crowdsourcing, weather sensors, mobile devices, and more, operators can detect potential risks and manage and respond to situations more efficiently. Furthermore, information can be shared easily with multiple agencies, employees, citizens, and first responders — especially valuable in the event of a safety incident where rapid response is paramount. By creating a single enterprise-wide view across disparate systems and technologies, organizations experience improved response times, lowered operational costs, and increased employee safety. Cyber, traditional security, digital devices, and situational awareness technologies combine to deliver an integrated, automated, and adaptive architecture to efficiently mitigate advanced threats in real time or forensically Traditional Command Centers Intelligent solutions, such as those derived from the idea of artificial intelligence, help organizations make sense of vast amounts of data. These integrated applications, such as advanced video analytics and facial recognition, can automatically pinpoint potential breaches and significant events, and send alerts to the appropriate personnel, departments, and agencies. These solutions can be powerful in unifying disparate command center technologies within the oil and gas industry, fusing critical data input from emergency calls and responder activity to enhance situational awareness. With traditional command centers relying mostly on call and radio updates, visibility can be limited, but new digital platforms enable operators to oversee a situation and engage with and direct the response force. Overall, these types of automated functions deliver a simplified and modernized operating environment. The Future Is The Intelligent SOC Oil and gas facilities can implement a proactive approach to safety and better mitigate threats and protect assets All of these digital solutions are designed to take center stage within the Intelligent Security Operations Center (ISOC). To combat advanced, multi-stage threats, oil and gas facilities are transforming the traditional SOC into the next-generation unified ISOC with an integrated platform for detection, investigation, communication, and response. Cyber, traditional security, digital devices, and situational awareness technologies combine to deliver an integrated, automated, and adaptive architecture to efficiently mitigate advanced threats in real time or forensically. Energy providers operate in challenging, fast-moving environments in which opportunities, requirements, and regulations can vary widely, change quickly, and evolve significantly over time. As the idea of the digital age continues to transform this market, new technologies will be more widely used to improve business operations from exploration and extraction to transportation and distribution. With the right technology, strategic partnerships, and enhanced situational awareness, oil and gas facilities can implement a proactive approach to safety and better mitigate threats and protect assets, while continuing to focus on achieving business goals that will sustain supply and demand for years to come.
With the coming of a New Year, we know these things to be certain: death, taxes, and… security breaches. No doubt, some of you are making personal resolutions to improve your physical and financial health. But what about your organization’s web and mobile application security? Any set of New Year’s resolutions is incomplete without plans for protecting some of the most important customer touch points you have — web and mobile apps. Every year, data breaches grow in scope and impact. Security professionals have largely accepted the inevitability of a breach and are shifting their defense-in-depth strategy by including a goal to reduce their time-to-detect and time-to-respond to an attack. Despite these efforts, we haven’t seen the end of headline-grabbing data breaches like recent ones affecting brands such as Marriott, Air Canada, British Airways and Ticketmaster. App-Level Threats The apps that control or drive these new innovations have become today’s endpoint The truth of the matter is that the complexity of an organization’s IT environment is dynamic and growing. As new technologies and products go from production into the real world, there will invariably be some areas that are less protected than others. The apps that control or drive these new innovations have become today’s endpoint — they are the first customer touch point for many organizations. Bad actors have realized that apps contain a treasure trove of information, and because they are often left unprotected, offer attackers easier access to data directly from the app or via attacks directed at back office systems. That’s why it’s imperative that security organizations protect their apps and ensure they are capable of detecting and responding to app-level threats as quickly as they arise. It’s imperative that security organizations protect their apps and ensure they are capable of detecting and responding to app-level threats as quickly as they arise In-Progress Attack Detection Unfortunately, the capability to detect in-progress attacks at the app level is an area that IT and security teams have yet to address. This became painfully obvious in light of the recent Magecart attacks leveraged against British Airways and Ticketmaster, among others. Thanks to research by RiskIQ and Volexity, we know that the Magecart attacks target the web app client-side. During a Magecart attack, the transaction processes are otherwise undisturbed Attackers gained write access to app code, either by compromising or using stolen credentials, and then inserted a digital card skimmer into the web app. When customers visited the infected web sites and completed a payment form, the digital card skimmer was activated where it intercepted payment card data and transmitted it to the attacker(s). Data Exfiltration Detection During a Magecart attack, the transaction processes are otherwise undisturbed. The target companies receive payment, and customers receive the services or goods they purchased. As a result, no one is wise to a breach — until some 380,000 customers are impacted, as in the case of the attack against British Airways. The target companies’ web application firewalls and data loss prevention systems didn’t detect the data exfiltration because those controls don’t monitor or protect front-end code. Instead, they watch traffic going to and from servers. In the case of the Magecart attacks, the organization was compromised and data was stolen before it even got to the network or servers. Today’s proven obfuscation techniques can help prevent application reverse engineering, deter tampering, and protect personal identifiable information and API communications Best Practice Resolutions The Magecart attacks highlight the need to apply the same vigilance and best practices to web and mobile application source code that organizations apply to their networks—which brings us to this year’s New Year’s resolutions for protecting your app source code in 2019: Alert The key to success is quickly understanding when and how an app is being attacked First, organizations must obtain real-time visibility into their application threat landscape given they are operating in a zero-trust environment. Similar to how your organization monitors the network and the systems connected to it, you must be able to monitor your apps. This will allow you to see what users are doing with your code so that you can customize protection to counter attacks your app faces. Throughout the app’s lifecycle, you can respond to malicious behavior early, quarantine suspicious accounts, and make continuous code modifications to stay a step ahead of new attacks. Protect Next, informed by threat analytics, adapt your application source code protection. Deter attackers from analyzing or reverse engineering application code through obfuscation. Today’s proven obfuscation techniques can help prevent application reverse engineering, deter tampering, and protect personal identifiable information and API communications. If an attacker tries to understand app operation though the use of a debugger or in the unlikely event an attacker manages to get past obfuscation, threat analytics will alert you to the malicious activity while your app begins to self-repair attacked source code or disable portions of the affected web app. The key to success is quickly understanding when and how an app is being attacked and taking rapid action to limit the risk of data theft and exfiltration. Protecting encryption keys is often overlooked but should be considered a best practice as you forge into the new year with a renewed commitment to app security to ensure your organization’s health and well-being in 2019 Encrypt Finally, access to local digital content and data, as well as communications with back office systems, should be protected by encryption as a second line of defense, after implementing app protection to guard against piracy and theft. However, the single point of failure remains the instance at which the decryption key is used. Effective encryption requires a sophisticated implementation of White-Box Cryptography This point is easily identifiable through signature patterns and cryptographic routines. Once found, an attacker can easily navigate to where the keys are constructed in memory and exploit them. Effective encryption requires a sophisticated implementation of White-Box Cryptography. One that combines a mathematical algorithm with data and code obfuscation techniques transforming cryptographic keys and related operations into indecipherable text strings. Protecting encryption keys is often overlooked but should be considered a best practice as you forge into the new year with a renewed commitment to app security to ensure your organization’s health and well-being in 2019. Protecting Applications Against Data Breach According to the most recent Cost of a Data Breach Study by the Ponemon Institute, a single breach costs an average of $3.86 million, not to mention the disruption to productivity across the organization. In 2019, we can count on seeing more breaches and ever-escalating costs. It seems that setting—and fulfilling—New Year’s resolutions to protect your applications has the potential to impact more than just your risk of a data breach. It can protect your company’s financial and corporate health as well. So, what are you waiting for?
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