Cavirin Blog

This week yet another Linux vulnerability was discovered - CVE-2017-6074 – that could be exploited to gain kernel code execution from an unprivileged processes. The vulnerability is associated with the DCCP protocol.

The DCCP protocol is recommended by the security benchmarks to be disabled to reduce the attack surface. 

DISA RHEL 6 STIG reads “Disabling DCCP protects the system against exploitation of any flaws in its implementation.

The CIS Security Benchmark for Debian 8 reads “The Datagram Congestion Control Protocol (DCCP) is a transport layer protocol that supports streaming media and telephony. DCCP provides a way to gain access to congestion control, without having to do it at the application layer, but does not provide in-sequence delivery. If the protocol is not required, it is recommended that the drivers not be installed to reduce the potential attack surface.

Cavirin’s solution automates the assessment of these security baselines in your hybrid cloud. It continuously protects you from vulnerabilities arising out of misconfiguration and such zero-day vulnerabilities arising out of default attack surface. Vulnerabilities such as these do not really bother you if you used the solution to detect the presence of such uncommon network protocols and already reduced the attack surface by disabling them all together if not in use. You cannot really protect what you don’t see and Cavirin’s solution helps you with security evidence, audit reports, and operational procedures instead of verbal security assurances and recommendations.

First of a multi-part series on the CIS benchmarking process, by Pravin Goyal.

ON CIS BENCHMARKS

What are CIS Benchmarks?

The CIS Security Benchmarks program provides well-defined, un-biased and consensus-based industry best practices to help organizations assess and improve their security. The Security Benchmarks program is recognized as a trusted, independent authority that facilitates the collaboration of public and private industry experts to achieve consensus on practical and actionable solutions. Because of the reputation, these benchmarks are recommended as industry-accepted system hardening standards and are used by organizations in meeting various compliance requirements such as PCI and HIPAA.

What is the typical CIS benchmark development process?

CIS Benchmarks are created using a consensus review process comprised of subject matter experts. Consensus participants provide perspective from a diverse set of backgrounds such as consulting, software development, audit and compliance, security research, operations, government, and legal. Each CIS benchmark undergoes two phases of consensus review. The first phase occurs during initial benchmark development. During this phase, subject matter experts convene to discuss, create, and test working drafts of the benchmark. This discussion occurs until consensus has been reached on benchmark recommendations. The second phase begins after the benchmark has been published. During this phase, all feedback provided by the Internet community is reviewed by the consensus team for incorporation in the future versions of the benchmark.

What does it take to develop a new benchmark?

It is easy to contribute to CIS benchmarks. Just write to the CIS community program managers with your proposal for addition. The respective program manager will respond to you followed by a call to understand your proposition and discuss timelines, project announcement and project marketing to attract community participants. With some internal approvals, the project is created in around two weeks of time.

How long does it usually takes to develop a new benchmark?

It usually takes around 12-24 weeks based on the number of participants in the community and the size of the project.

Who else is providing security benchmarks like CIS does?

I would say none. CIS provides the broadest set of benchmarks covering both software and hardware. These include databases, operating systems, applications, mobile operating systems, firewalls, browsers, office applications and almost anything else that touches IT. The only other agency that provides a subset of the benchmarks is DISA. Also, sometimes vendors provide security documentation in the benchmark format. For example, VMware provides a VMware vSphere hardening guide for securing vSphere deployments.

How can we contribute?

Join the existing CIS communities. It is exciting and challenging, and you will get to work with amazing people.

How do we implement CIS benchmarks in our product?

You have two ways to implement CIS benchmarks. The first one leverages the content directly from CIS. The second method is to develop your own proprietary content to implement the benchmark.

Tell us a bit about CIS Docker and CIS Android benchmarks?

Both CIS Docker and CIS Android benchmarks have fascinating community members. I had the privilege to work on both as an author. One thing interesting to note is that CIS Docker benchmark exists from Docker version 1.6.  At that time not many people knew Docker or Docker security. But, the community did an amazing job by documenting 84 security recommendations! That is the power of community.  I'll cover Docker and Android in more detail in a future segment.

 

 No security means you will likely have no business in the cloud

For an engineer such as myself, who is involved in cloud computing, and generally excited about being in the middle of nothing short of a “computing revolution”, attending AWS re:invent 2016 is akin to making an annual pilgrimage. The experience of being among the fellow travelers at the expo hall, listening to keynote addresses that set the tone for next phase of cloud computing, and walking by the myriad of booths with solutions that vie with each other pushing the envelope, was nothing short of transformational.

Cavirin provides security and compliance across physical, public, and hybrid clouds, supporting AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, VMware, KVM, and Docker.

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