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Another Record Year for Vulnerabilities … Time to Join the CIA?

Another Record Year for Vulnerabilities … Time to Join the CIA?

This blog post is published in full as a guest post on Embedded Computing Design.

In mid-November, the total count of vulnerabilities reported in 2018 surpassed the total for 2017, setting a new record for vulnerabilities with six weeks left in the calendar year.

At this pace, we are on track to see the count of Common Vulnerabilities & Exposures (CVEs), the authoritative index of confirmed IT system vulnerabilities, reach 16,000 or more vulnerabilities for this year, according to tracking site CVE Details.

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Can products be developed quickly and be secure at the same time?

Can products be developed quickly and be secure at the same time?

It’s perhaps the longest standing myth in IT:

You can deploy IT quickly, or you can deploy it securely. But you can’t do both.

This supposed trade-off touches virtually every aspect of IT, from product development, to market release, to customer deployment, production product maintenance, and all associated stages.

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The new focus on ‘Security by Design’

The new focus on ‘Security by Design’

As the flood of vulnerabilities continues to rise, attention is turning to how embedded system products can be made more secure.

Almost 20 years ago, the concept of security by design was a popular new trend in software development. The focus on baking in security at product design stages was driven by the massive rise in on-line applications, e-commerce features and other Internet-connected, web-enabled software.

As these systems and applications were deployed and became widespread, the expanding attack surface made them attractive targets for attackers looking to steal user information and financial data. So naturally the industry’s response was to rethink and reinvent security in the new threat environment. That meant defining best practices for creating more secure applications at the design stage.

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Vulnerabilities keep piling up … time to make security a product differentiator?

Vulnerabilities keep piling up … time to make security a product differentiator?

Is your product the “Volvo” of embedded system products? For decades, carmaker Volvo has been known as a maker of safe vehicles.

While all makes of cars are generally much safer than in decades past, and some observers rank some other brands’ models higher in safety, there is no dispute that Volvo has made safety a cornerstone of its brand. Like other car brands have focused on qualities like luxury, reliability or the driving experience, Volvo has emphasized safety as a chief value of its products.

Perhaps soon we will see a Volvo-style strategy emerging from the makers of embedded system devices and the Internet of Things (IoT). In fact, with the volume of security vulnerabilities reaching an all-time high, there’s a prime opportunity for a device maker to become known market-wide as a “security first” product developer whose customers are more protected from cyberattack.

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Another record year in vulnerabilities as the CVE storm continues

Another record year in vulnerabilities as the CVE storm continues

The vulnerability storm continues unabated.

The count of security vulnerabilities has reached another annual record, with six weeks remaining in the calendar year. This week the number of Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVEs) hit 14,722, eclipsing last year’s total of 14,714, according to the tracking totals at CVE Details.

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Will more embedded device makers fix security before massive fines force them to do it?

Will more embedded device makers fix security before massive fines force them to do it?

Security of smart devices is getting worse, says a penetration testing expert, who blames suppliers of connected devices that ignore security and privacy issue notifications.

Is the answer more security regulations and laws, or is it better product strategy?

Computer Weekly reported this week on security expert Ken Munro’s comments in a conference presentation in which he blasted many embedded system suppliers for not seeming to care about securing their products.

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Patch management for better embedded system security

Patch management for better embedded system security

Patch management remains a major headache for enterprises, according to researchers and security experts. With reported security vulnerabilities now climbing into the tens of thousands each year, busy IT departments struggle to identify and analyze the vulnerabilities that apply to their systems, and to manage all the patching needed to mitigate risks.

And the Internet of Things (IoT) poses even greater challenges for patch management.

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Monitoring and managing vulnerabilities for embedded systems built with Yocto

Monitoring and managing vulnerabilities for embedded systems built with Yocto

The Yocto Project is well known for enabling product developers to quickly and easily customize Linux for Internet of Things (IoT) devices and other embedded systems. But today’s environment is marked by heightened security concerns, skyrocketing vulnerability reports, and high-profile security breaches.

Getting your embedded system product to market fast is important. But getting to market fast without a secure design and a plan for managing future vulnerabilities is a huge mistake. If you design, build and support products with embedded Linux using Yocto, it’s important to evaluate security of your system from the point of view of the end customer who will deploy it.

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Security vulnerabilities and medical devices: when the software update itself is the problem

Security vulnerabilities and medical devices: when the software update itself is the problem

A classic security breach vector involves exploiting weak authentication. As security researchers like to point out, failing to change default passwords for administrative access remains the top security issue for all types of IT systems.

But a related — and perhaps more devious — attack vector involves exploiting a weakness in a process that is supposed to help ensure device security in the first place: the remote system update.

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Embedded system security and the IT performance tradeoff

Embedded system security and the IT performance tradeoff

Embedded system products are often deployed by IT managers struggling with a longstanding tradeoff: Should you sacrifice IT performance to make IT more secure?

The performance-or-security tradeoff has been the subject of technology research and industry analysis for many years. The analysis often focuses on issues like network performance or business application performance and how security measures may impede or otherwise affect throughput or access. Continue reading “Embedded system security and the IT performance tradeoff” »