Tag Archives: remediation

Psychological Aspects of Vulnerability Remediation

In my opinion, Remediation is the most difficult part of Vulnerability Management process. If you know the assets in your organization and can assess them, you will sooner or later produce a good enough flow of critical vulnerabilities. But what the point, if the IT team will not fix them?

Kübler-Ross model and Tsunami of Vulnerability Tasks

Kübler-Ross model and Tsunami of Vulnerability Remediation Tasks

Just think about it. The only thing that your colleagues from  IT team see is an unexpected  tsunami of the patching tasks. They most likely don’t understand WHY they should do it. They most likely don’t know about the concepts of Attack Surface minimization and Attack Cost maximization. From their point of view it’s just some stupid requirements from InfoSec team imposed with only one goal – to make their life miserable.

So, they may think that denial and pushing back can solve all their problems. And, frankly, this may work. There are countless ways to sabotage Vulnerability Remediation. Most main and common are the following:

  • I don’t understand how to patch this.
  • I already patched this, there should be a false positive in the scanner.
  • Why should we patch this? The vulnerability is not exploitable. Or it is exploitable in theory, but not exploitable in our particular infrastructure. Or this server is not critical and, even if it will be compromised, there won’t be a huge impact. So, we will not patch it.

In each individual case Vulnerability Analyst can describe and proof his point, but doing this for each vulnerability will require insane amount of time and efforts and will paralyze the work. It is basically the Italian strike or work-to-rule.

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F-Secure Radar ticketing

I personally don’t use ticketing systems integrated in VM solutions. I think it’s hard to explain IT guys why they should use yet another ticketing system for patching tasks only additionally to their main Jira or whatever they use (see “Vulnerability scanners: a view from the vendor and end user side“).

But I assume that for some companies this feature may be useful or even critical.

Anyway, it’s always nice to see how the vendor works with vulnerability data to get some ideas for own ticketing procedures (see “VM Remediation using external task tracking systems“).

In F-Secure Radar you can create tickets at “Vulnerabilities” tabs. Here is the a whole list of detected vulnerabilities (filtered by CVSS > 8 by default).

F-Secure Ticketing

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SteelCloud ConfigOS

Sometimes LinkiedIn shows me an interesting advertising. For example, today I watched a  recorded demo of SteelCloud ConfigOS. It is a proprietary tool that performs automated DISA STIGs compliance checking for RHEL or Windows  and provides automated remediation.

Well, as it works automatically, it  won’t make custom SELinux configuration for you, for example. In the other hand, this software is for the US military and related organizations, where everything should be highly standardized.

Scan running

scan_running

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VM Remediation using external task tracking systems

In previous post I have briefly reviewed built-in remediation capabilities of vulnerability management systems. Continuing the theme, today I want to share some basic concepts how vulnerability remediation can be managed using external task tracking systems (Jira, TFS, Testrack, etc).

Jira Vulnerability Management ticket

Pros: it makes possible to implement any logic of remediation/patch management process.
Cons: you should make it by yourself; scripting skills and API knowledge required.

Tickets in buit-in remediation systems are usually assigned per host or per vulnerability. However, for large size networks making “one vulnerability on one host – one ticket” quickly become impractical. With universal task trackers we can do it in a different ways. I find it most convenient to make tickets on principle “one category of vulnerabilities, one ip range, one scanning iteration – one ticket”.
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Remediation capabilities of Vulnerability Management products

Vulnerability scanning and vulnerability management. This terms are often used synonymously. However, most top security vendors and institutions, express an opinion, that vulnerability management is a more complex process that includes vulnerability scanning (vulnerability assessment in general), remediation and some other stages, like asset management and risk assessment.

Vulnerability Management Lifecycle

Remediation in most cases, does not mean that the vulnerability management product automatically tries to patch vulnerable system, but rather provide functionality to control remediation process. In other words, it contains a built-in task tracker, where security administrators could assign tickets (manually or automatically) on system administrators to patch or reconfigure vulnerable systems. For example, such functionality is implemented in Tenable Security Center and Qualys Cloud Suite.

NB: In most cases, but there are exceptions, as ERPScan, Secpod Saner or ConfigOS. This solutions can actually update vulnerable systems automatically.

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