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Security Hosting Company FireHost Is Now Called Armor

Security Hosting Company FireHost Is Now Called Armor

FireHost Is Now Armor, the Leader in Active Cyber Defense Focused on True Outcomes for Customers

Armor delivers dwell times 100 times shorter than the 205-day industry average

RICHARDSON, Texas–(BUSINESS WIRE)–A history of spending on security tools, followed by subsequent breaches, has proven that traditional cybersecurity approaches have been ineffective against disrupting and neutralizing cyberattacks. To deliver the best possible security outcomes to customers, FireHost is expanding its vision and offerings under a new banner: Armor.

Through years of protecting customers through the FireHost Virtual Private Cloud (VPC), Armor repeatedly witnessed a critical industry problem. The typical security vendor remains one-dimensional: they sell on the premise that their specific tool is enough to protect customer environments. Unfortunately, most vendors offer little more than the latest tool — not true security outcomes. The result was end customers left to defend themselves and own all associated risk.

Armor’s investment and commitment, focused on threat intelligence, advanced technologies, industry-leading techniques and talented professionals, are carefully crafted to bring customers these outcomes. Armor now will extend much of the security and benefits of the FireHost VPC — regardless of the underlying infrastructure — to a variety of environments.

Central to Armor’s expansion is Armor Anywhere, which delivers a proven cybersecurity solution to both public and private clouds, and customer-owned IT. It currently includes two products — CORE and CORE+ — that help organizations balance internal VM security, cost-effectiveness and cloud accessibility.

The industry-leading FireHost VPC is now known as Armor Complete — a fully integrated secure managed cloud, which delivers security, support and high-performance infrastructure via a single solution. Easily exceeding the strictest compliance requirements like PCI, HIPAA and HITRUST, Armor Complete continues its reputation as the world’s most secure managed cloud.

Armor delivers customers true security outcomes. Not just tools. Armor reduces the risk and complexity associated with managing cyberthreats. And it’s through this approach that Armor’s new promise was born: between you and the threat.

Key Highlights

  • FireHost is now Armor, an industry-leading active cyber defense company
  • Armor is delivering a unique vision and a new cybersecurity paradigm: true outcomes, not security tools
  • Armor is refining the foundation of its security strategy to include three integrated core components: intelligence, defense and control
  • Enhanced solution offerings include Armor Complete (VPC and Private Cloud) and Armor Anywhere (CORE and CORE+), which work in concert to deliver the trio of security components
  • Armor delivers dwell times that are 100 times shorter than the industry average of approximately 205 days
  • Armor’s secure and managed cloud infrastructure is still central to how it delivers many security controls, management and threat intelligence
  • The technology and delivery of existing managed cloud infrastructure, security and support remains unchanged
  • Armor continues to exceed compliance requirements for the collection, storage and transmission of sensitive data, allowing customers to achieve easy outcomes for PCI, HIPAA and other industry and government compliance requirements

Quotes

Chris Drake, Founder & CEO | Armor

For too long the industry stood idle watching the manifestation of a wide-scale cybersecurity problem that forced organizations to procure, integrate and manage point solutions in-house in an attempt to defend themselves from cyberattacks. This approach is expensive and grossly ineffective. The announcement of Armor is in direct response to today’s threat landscape and the logical evolution for our company to stand between our customers and the threats that seek to disrupt their businesses.”

Tarun Upaday, CTO | hCentive

A determined focus on customer outcomes is a welcomed movement. As a security-conscious organization, we improve our security posture by collaborating with the industry’s foremost cybersecurity experts. The fact that Armor is asking to share more of our risk and responsibilities is a testament to their leadership, solutions and dedication to delivering truly valuable security outcomes for our business.”

Michael Suby, VP of Research, Stratecast | Frost & Sullivan

“Enterprises are facing a growing challenge of sifting through myriad choices on where to host their workloads and how to effectively secure them. This is forcing them to elevate their security expertise. However, for many this is unattainable due to the shortage in information security talent, constantly evolving cyberthreats and an unsustainable number of security technologies that they have in place now but cannot manage reliably. Armor solves this dilemma by providing robust, holistic security solutions that span private and public clouds and private data centers. For enterprises, they can choose their workload-hosting locations without uncertainty on how they will secure them.”

Geoff Waters, Vice President, Service Provider Channel | VMware

Pushing the envelope — in both technology and problem-solving — requires a great amount of vision, instinct and determination. As one of our vCloud Air Network partners, Armor understands what’s required to better protect end customers in the cloud. Their innovative spirit also led Armor to adopt VMware NSX network virtualization as the underlying platform for delivering security that is inherent to the infrastructure. As a valued Service Provider partner, we’re pleased they selected VMworld 2015 to unveil the future of their business.”

About Armor

The leader in active cyber defense, Armor offers customer-centric security outcomes for retail and eCommerce enterprises, healthcare organizations, payment leaders and financial institutions. Armor protects highly sensitive data for the most security-conscious companies in the world. With its proven cybersecurity approach and proprietary cloud infrastructure built specifically for security, compliance and performance, responsible businesses choose Armor to reduce their risk. For more information, visit armor.com or call 1-844-682-2858.

 

NSA Planning For Quantum Resistant Algorithms To Protect National Security Systems

NSA Planning For Quantum Resistant Algorithms To Protect National Security Systems

NSA Planning For Quantum Resistant Algorithms

The National Security Agency (NSA) has announced that it plans to introduce methods of cryptology that will make quantum computers secure. Acknowledging that quantum computers are likely to become a reality in the not too distant future, they say they are committed to the transition and are doing everything they can to ensure Information Assurance products remain protected with integrated cryptography in the meantime.

Although currently just a computer concept, futurists do seem to be set on making the idea a reality. Essentially what will happen is that qubits that hold three “states” (on, off, or on and off) at the same time, will replace the binary states of 1 and 0 (bits) that are used now. But as a research study undertaken by IBM points out, this potential increase in power is an open invitation for increased vulnerabilities. So while the NSA works on cryptology methods, the team at IBM is working on its own error detection protocol to overcome inevitable problems.

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Clearly the NSA recognizes a lack of security to be a looming problem that is likely to rear its ugly head if and when computer buffs take the proverbial quantum leap. This is why they are taking action now and not risking what could be huge cyber attacks later on.

According to information on the NSA website that was most recently updated a week ago, their ultimate goal is to guard against possible security issues when quantum computers eventually see the light of day. However, until the new quantum resistant algorithms have been developed, they will continue to rely on the Suite B cryptographic algorithms that are currently used by the agency to protect both classified and unclassified data in National Security Systems (NSS). With this in mind they have developed a program for the current transition phase that ranges from protection for “top secret” data using advanced encryption standards, to a variety of “up to top secret” data protection using a variety of asymmetric algorithms for specific functions.

The NSA has also established a classified program that will enable various commercial products to be used in what they call “layered solutions” that will protect classified NSS data. One thing they emphasize is that until the new quantum-resistant cryptography suite has been developed, it is absolutely essential for their partners and other vendors to continue using the current Suite B algorithms. But, for those who haven’t invested in the Suite B algorithms, the NSA has urged their customers to rather “prepare for the upcoming quantum resistant algorithm transition.”

IBM Research

IBM engineers have confirmed that the conceptual quantum systems are definitely going to be “susceptible to error.” This in itself is likely to slow the progress of the new computers. Nevertheless they have been working on a way to detect two error types at the same time, to improve security. Even though it is largely theoretical, the IBM team has said that the outlook is optimistic, and is likely to lead to “large-scale fault-tolerant quantum computing.”

(Image Source: Shutterstock)

By Penny Swift

Flagship State University To Spend Millions On Cyber Security

Flagship State University To Spend Millions On Cyber Security

New Jersey’s Flagship State University to Spend Millions on Cyber Security

Rutgers University in New Brunswick is to spend up to $3 million on cyber security to prevent hackers crippling the university’s computer networks. This expensive action is in response to at least four cyber attacks during the 2014-2015 school year that knocked the school offline and resulted in cancelled classes.

According to documentation sourced from the state’s Open Public Records, the flagship state university has hired three cyber security companies that are currently testing the huge computer network used by the university, and looking for vulnerabilities.

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The firms that have been hired are:

1. FishNet Security, a major information security company that is privately owned, headquartered in Kansas, and has offices in New York City.
2. Level 3 Communications, a multinational telecommunications and Internet service provider based in Colorado.
3. Imperva, a leading California-headquartered company that specializes in providing data and cyber security products to help combat cyber attack.

For security reasons, campus officials remain mum about exactly what the three firms are doing, but confirm that they are budgeting between $2 and $3 million to ensure that the networks are not crippled again. Since the money is reportedly a “new expense,” the university has had to raise its tuition fees by 2.3 percent for the new 2015-2016 school year, to pay for cyber protection. The increase in fees, which translate to around $300 per student per year, was announced mid July at the same time as an announcement that room and board fees are increasing by about 2.6 percent. This means that students who opt to live on campus will be paying more than $624 more than they did during the previous school year, depending which campus they are on.

Fees for out-of-state students have been hiked even more, by as much as 4 percent.

University Hack Still a Mystery

While the senior staff at Rutgers has admitted the university was an easy target for hackers, reports state that the source of the distributed denial-of-services (DDoS) attacks is still a mystery. The worst attack was in April 2015, when professors were forced to cancel classes, and students weren’t able to submit assignments, access wifi for tests, or use their university email.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) was called in, but neither they nor the university has commented on the current status of the investigation – or even confirmed whether it is still ongoing. Staff at Rutgers has though stated that the various attacks do seem to be related.

Someone calling themselves Exfocus has claimed responsibility for the cyber attacks, stating he (or she) was paid an hourly rate of $500 via Bitcoin to disrupt the computer networks. However there is no proof that the person is a genuine hacker or whether the claims that were made on social media were just a hoax.

Whether Exfocus was responsible for the attack or not, universities are among the many institutions and high-profile companies being targeted by hackers.

Mid-August the University of Virginia was the target of a cyber attack identified as originating in China. Even though there was no evidence that the attackers had managed to access important personal information of students or employees (like banking information of social security numbers), the university immediately upgraded its cyber security and insisted that everyone accessing the network change their login passwords.

In May Pennsylvania State University disabled its network for three days to enable IT security company, FireEye to improve computer security protocols. The university has not commented on the cyber attacks, but it is understood that the FBI uncovered two cyber attack breaches late 2014 specifically aimed at the College of Engineering. During the security upgrade, two further attacks were uncovered, this time in the College of Liberal Arts network where vulnerabilities were exploited by malware. Like the University of Virginia attacks, the Penn State attacks were identified as originating in China, and no sensitive information was stolen – only usernames and passwords.

Putting the attacks into perspective, and showing just how vulnerable state universities can be, the university did reveal to the media that it had successfully countered more than 22 million cyber attacks a day last year.

“If you’re connected to the Internet these days you are under constant attack,” the university stated. It’s as simple as that.

Open Ethernet Gains Industry Momentum With Large Eco-System Demonstration Including Microsoft And Dell

Open Ethernet Gains Industry Momentum With Large Eco-System Demonstration Including Microsoft And Dell

SUNNYVALE, Calif. & YOKNEAM, Israel, Aug 19, 2015 (BUSINESS WIRE) — Mellanox® Technologies, Ltd. MLNX, -2.37% a leading supplier of high-performance, end-to-end interconnect solutions for data center servers and storage systems, today announced the participation of its Ethernet switch solutions in a large Azure Cloud Switch (ACS) with SAI demonstration at the London SIGCOMM conference. Mellanox, Microsoft, Dell, Metaswitch and other companies will demonstrate a complete cloud solution based on Open Ethernet switches and software, as well as multi-vendor interoperability. Open Ethernet delivers choice and flexibility enabling the most cost effective Ethernet data centers, allowing users to innovate on top of the network infrastructure…

Article Source: Marketwatch

Adobe Releases Another Security Update For The Dying Flash

Adobe Releases Another Security Update For The Dying Flash

Growing Security Concerns Surrounding Adobe Flash 

Adobe has today released yet another security update for Adobe Flash Player. Aimed at Flash developers, the update is the 12th since the beginning of 2015, and follows recent pleas from Facebook’s newly appointed chief security officer (CSO) Alex Stamos to discontinue Flash as soon as possible, because it is has become increasingly vulnerable to hacking.

Today’s update is intended to fix “critical vulnerabilities” that are detailed in the company’s Security Bulletin APSB 15-19, although all current links go to a 404 error, probably because their UPDATES: Security Bulletins Posted was last updated on July 14. However, it is clear that the update is for the updated debugger and standalone versions of Flash Player, for Windows, Mac and Linux.

Adobe_Flash_Player_v11_icon

The company does though state that from today (August 11, 2015), the version of “Extended Support Release” from Flash Player version 13 has been updated to Flash Player version 18 for Mac and Windows. It tells users to install the full version 18 or to update to the most recent available release to stay current and up-to-date with all the security updates that are available. However it also urges IT companies to test the new version 18 releases thoroughly before using them.

The company states that its latest update is intended for organizations that “prefer Flash Player stability” rather than so-called “new functionality.” It also states that it intends to create “a branch of the Flash Player code” that will stay up-to-date with all the latest security updates. However none of these bug fixes or new features will be available via their “normal release branch.” The reason for this is that it will allow organizations to certify and also remain secure with Flash Player with “minimal effort.”

Vulnerability Issues With Adobe Flash

There have been numerous vulnerability issues with Flash over time, the most recent at the beginning of July this year, that ended up with hackers executing malicious code on a computer via a website. The security flaw was discovered by Hacking Team, an Italian cyber-surveillance company, which reportedly decided to keep the hack secret while malware developers went on to steal more than 400 GB of data.

At the time, Adobe warned that successful exploitation of the vulnerability might cause systems to crash. They also acknowledged that the vulnerability might enable attackers to “take control” of systems that were affected, and that they were aware the vulnerability had been published publicly. This resulted in an immediate security update for Flash Player as well as an update for Acrobat and Reader (July 8). Another Flash Player update followed on July 14.

Earlier this year, in January and February, Adobe released six emergency security updates for Flash, indicating that this is clearly an ongoing problem. But its security issues go back even longer than many people realize. Five years ago Apple’s Steve Jobs noted that Flash had had a shocking security record for 2009. In an open letter, Thoughts on Flash, he explained why Apple would not allow Flash to be used on iPads, iPods, and iPhones, but instead uses JavaScript, HTML5 and CSS. Essentially Apple’s reasoning, historically, was based on technology issues, major technical drawbacks, and the fact that even though Flash is widely available it is a “closed system” only available from Adobe. He also slated the performance, security and reliability of Flash, stating that the software was the number one cause of Mac computers crashing. While Apple was working with Adobe fix computer-based problems, Apple did not want to reduce the security and reliability of their other devices.

YouTube recently moved away from Flash technology, and from January 2015 dropped its default support for Flash in favor of HTML5. While Facebook has traditionally supported Flash, it now also allows HTML5 because it is not as vulnerable as Flash, and is better optimized for mobile devices.

Stamos and Facebook Security

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Famously head-hunted from Yahoo in June this year, Stamos has stated publicly (via his Facebook page of course) that Facebook is best positioned to build safe, trustworthy products on the Internet. “The Facebook security team has demonstrated a history of innovation as well as a unique willingness to share those innovations with the world, and we will build upon that history in the years to come,” he wrote.

Less than two months into his new job, Stamos has attracted considerable attention after leaving Yahoo, joining Facebook, and announcing that he is determined to force Adobe to shut down Flash. He made his own announcement on Facebook on June 24 that he was leaving Yahoo and taking up the new Facebook position.

Then a few weeks later he used Twitter to state that it was time for Adobe to discontinue Flash, calling on the company to announce an “end-of-life date” for the software plug-in that has been installed on more than 1.3 billion computers worldwide.

Stamos has made it clear that he doesn’t believe the Internet needs Adobe Flash and instead of the company helplessly trying to find the ultimate security fix for its problems, should “announce the end-of-life date for Flash.” He also urged Adobe to “set killbits” that will disable the software worldwide on that date.

By Penny Swift

The Lighter Side Of The Cloud – Selfie Mania

The Lighter Side Of The Cloud – Selfie Mania

comic-selfies-cloudtweaks

By Christian Mirra

Please feel free to share our comics via social media networks such as Twitter. We fully support the sharing of our comics as long as there is clear attribution (via @cloudtweaks) to the original comic source.  If you are a company brand looking to utilize our comics to generate leads to/on a specific landing page, newsletter, presentation or social media campaign, you can contact us regarding commercial licensing rates. 

Cyber Breach Much Worse Than Reported

Cyber Breach Much Worse Than Reported

US Government OPM Cyber Breach Much Worse Than Reported

The much publicized breach at the US government Office of Personnel Management (OPM) in May this year was much more serious than initially reported, in terms of the number of people affected, the quality of information breached, as well as the probable cost to American taxpayers.

While the breach was widely publicized shortly after it occurred, were revealed in a recent quarterly report released by NTT Group security company Solutionary. Our report published last week outlines the most prevalent types of cyber attack, as well as the most commonly identified forms of malevolent activity worldwide that were contained in the 22-page report. It also drew attention to the fact that more malware attacks occur in the US than in any other country in the world.

The OPM breach is covered in some detail in the second quarter Solutionary report. Ultimately, it states that this government breach won’t just affect people at this point in time, but it will also affect others in future, and is likely to impact on the integrity of any background investigation processes relating to millions of people for the next 10 to 20 years.

OPM is going to have to increase its identity threat protection services, and according to the report, will cost US taxpayers in excess of $220 million. Furthermore, these services won’t cover every taxpayer.

Extent of the OPM Breach

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When the OPM breach was first discovered, the number of people said to be affected was four million. This figure quickly rose to 22 million, though the Solutionary report states this is probably a very misleading figure. The issue is that the records accessed were not only those of government employees, but also included personal data about family members and even friends, and so the number of people affected is likely to be closer to 132 million, and even this could be conservative. However the authors of the report state it will probably never be known just how big the breach was, but it is likely to have been “the biggest loss of private information ever.”

And it’s not just about numbers, but rather the “quality” of data that was accessed. The breach involves 127-page forms that require a huge amount of information, from names, addresses over the last 10 years, schools attended, social security numbers, passport numbers, financial statements and health statements. In a nutshell the information covers what you would expect to find in a combination of bank, employment, medical and school records.

While OPM hasn’t confirmed whether FBI, NSA, and CIA forms were classified or protected sufficiently to have escaped the breach, there is a possibility that they weren’t; and if not, someone with “malevolent intent” could do a lot of damage. Unfortunately, the report states, there is not way to know whether individuals at these government agencies are compromised or not, and it could take 10 to 20 years to find out.

Cost of the OPM Breach

The “real costs” associated with the OPM breach relate primarily to credit protection services the government has offered 4.2 million victims via the identity theft protection company, CSID for 18 months. An additional 22 million people will probably receive similar service – with costs likely to amount to an additional $200 million. High risk, as well as critically and specially sensitive individuals will also have to be vetted again to ensure they are in fact trustworthy. While it is not known how many people will be affected, based on the OPM charge of $4,000 for a “single scope background investigation,” if only 20 percent of the 22 million need to do this, it will cost another $18 million.

These costs don’t include lost services or any costs that could be incurred if or when victims are compromised further at a later stage.

This may not only be the biggest loss of sensitive information ever, but it may very well ultimately rank near the most expensive,” the report states. Further, since OPM isn’t the US federal government’s largest agency, and since the breach was discovered by accident, if these same levels of control are in place at larger agencies, the potential for similar breaches is very real.

By Penny Swift

Controversial Cybersecurity Bill A Threat To Privacy

Controversial Cybersecurity Bill A Threat To Privacy

Controversial Cybersecurity Bill

As the US Senate prepares to vote on the controversial Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act just days before the August recess, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has warned that the privacy of US citizens and organizations may be compromised. The DHS has also warned that the proposed legislation might slow down response to cyber attacks, and therefore be counter productive.

Additionally, a number of IT firms and privacy advocates are convinced that the proposed legislation will make it much easier for the National Security Agency (NSA) to acquire corporate and personal information that it not related to cybersecurity.

The new cybersecurity bill aims to create incentives that will encourage companies to share information of cyber threats with the federal government, and has generally been welcomed. But potential threats to privacy and other issues could stall implementation of the legislation until next year, because there simply isn’t enough time to debate issues before the upcoming recess at the end of this week.

Privacy Threats

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(Image Source: Shutterstock)

An active privacy advocate, Senator Al Franken (Democrat) has made public a letter to him from the deputy secretary of the DHS, Alejandro Mayorkas that indicates if the bill is passed in its current form, it could undermine the cybersecurity objectives of the nation as a whole. It would also threaten “important privacy protections and civil liberties.

Senator Bernie Sanders (Democrat), who is running for president, has proposed an amendment to the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA) that will establish a group that will investigate the implications relating to privacy and how data gathered might be used. Essentially he wants transparency for consumers and for government because of the real threat of modern technology on the privacy of Americans. His argument is that public policy has been outpaced by technology, and already “a huge amount of information” is being collected about individuals from where they go to what they do.

Also an active advocate for the individual right to privacy, Sanders voted against the USA Freedom Act earlier this year, because he said it did not safeguard privacy. Amongst other things, the legislation, enacted in June this year, “reformed” the way federal government conducts electronic surveillance, uses trap and trace devices, gathers information for counter-terrorism, foreign intelligence and criminal purposes, and accesses business records.

Two other senators, Dianne Feinstein (Democrat) and Richard Burr (Republican), have also proposed changes to the bill that will limit what government can do with information shared. For example, they say it should only be used for cybersecurity purposes and not to prosecute criminals, even in the case of “serious violent felonies.”

Calls to Pass the Bill Immediately

This is the third time a cybersecurity bill of this type has been presented to the Senate. To prevent it being stalled a third time, the US Chamber of Commerce – a very influential body – has urged “every member” to pass the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act of 2015 immediately. When the bill was approved by the Senate’s Intelligence Committee in March this year there was only one vote against it – that of Senator Ron Wyden (Democrat) who continues to push for amendments before it becomes law.

Mitch McConnell, Senate Majority Leader (Republican) has also urged senators to pass the bill immediately.

If the bill is passed this week, it will still need to be “reconciled” with cybersecurity bill passed by the House of Representatives in April. Only then can it sent to President Barack Obama for signing into law.

By Penny Swift

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