SANS Top Security Threats

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

…..The threat landscape is very dynamic, which in turn makes it necessary to adopt newer security measures.  Just over the last year, the kinds of vulnerabilities that are being exploited are very different from the ones being exploited in the past.  Here are some observations :

  1. Operating systems have fewer vulnerabilities that can lead to massive Internet worms. For instance, during 2002-2005, Microsoft Windows worms like Blaster, Nachi, Sasser and Zotob infected a large number of systems on the Internet.  There have not been any new large-scale worms targeting Windows services since 2005.  On the other hand, vulnerabilities found anti-virus, backup or other application software, can result in worms.  Most notable was the worm exploiting the Symantec anti-virus buffer overflow flaw last year.
  2. We have seen significant growth in the number of client-side vulnerabilities, including vulnerabilities in browsers, in office software, in media players and in other desktop applications.  These vulnerabilities are being discovered on multiple operating systems and are being massively exploited in the wild, often to drive recruitment for botnets.
  3. Users who are allowed by their employers to browse the Internet have become a source of major security risk for their organizations.  A few years back securing servers and services was seen as the primary task for securing an organization.  Today it is equally important, perhaps even more important, to prevent users having their computers compromised via malicious web pages or other client-targeting attacks.
  4. Web application vulnerabilities in open-source as well as custom-built applications account for almost half the total number of vulnerabilities being discovered in the past year.  These vulnerabilities are being exploited widely to convert trusted web sites into malicious servers serving client-side exploits and phishing scams.
  5. The default configurations for many operating systems and services continue to be weak and continue to include default passwords.  As a result, many systems have been compromised via dictionary and brute-force password guessing attacks in 2007!
  6. Attackers are finding more creative ways to obtain sensitive data from organizations.  Therefore, it is now critical to check the nature of any data leaving an organization’s boundary.

Reference :

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