With today’s increasing Mobile Enterprise Security Threats, do you have a strategy to mitigate the risk on your Corporate Network?

Corporations are increasingly utilizing mobile enterprise systems to meet their business objectives, allowing mobile devices such as smart phones and tablets to access critical applications on their corporate network.  These devices provide advanced technologies over traditional desktop clients, such as: information sharing, access from anywhere at any time, data sensors, location, etc. But what makes these mobile devices desirable, by their very nature, also poses a new set of security challenges.  Reports by research agencies in recent years show an alarming trend in mobile security threats listing as top concerns: Android malware attacks, and for the IOS platform issues with enterprise provisioning abuse and older OS versions.

These trends highlight the need for corporations to start taking seriously a mobile security strategy at the same level to which cyber criminals are planning future attacks. A mobile security strategy might involve adopting certain Mobile Security Guidelines as published by standards organizations (NIST) and Mobile OWASP project. See the references at the end of this document:

The following guidelines are a subset of Mobile Security Guidelines I pulled from various published sources with most coming from NIST. It is by no means a comprehensive list, however they can be considered as a starting point or additional considerations for an existing mobile security strategy.

1 – Understand the Mobile Enterprise Architecture

You should start with understanding and diagramming the flow from mobile application to business applications running on the back-end application server. This is a great starting point and should be done at the beginning stages, as most of the security guidelines will depend on what is known about the architecture.

  1. Is the mobile application a native application or mobile web application? Is it a cross-platform mobile application?
  2. Does the mobile application use middleware to get to the back-end API, or does it connect directly to a back-end Restful based Web Service?
  3. Does the mobile application connect to an API gateway?

2 – Diagram the network topology of how the mobile devices connect

Is the mobile device connecting to the business application servers over the cellular network or internally through a private WiFi network, or both? Does it go through a proxy or firewall? This type of information will aid in developing security requirements; help with establishing a QA security test bed and monitoring capability.

3 – Develop Mobile Application Security Requirements

At a high level, a security function must protect against unauthorized access and in many cases protect privacy and sensitive data. In most cases, building security into mobile applications is not at the top of the mind-set in the software development process. As such, these requirements should be gathered as soon as possible in the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC). It has been my personal experience in many cases that you have to work with application software developers in adopting best security practices. So the sooner you can get that dialogue going the better. Security objectives to consider are:  Confidentiality, integrity, and availability. Can the mobile OS platform provide the security services required? How sensitive is the data you are trying to protect. Should the data be encrypted in transit, and in storage? Do you need to consider data-in-motion protection technologies?  Should an Identity and Access Management (IDAM) solution be architected as part of the mobile enterprise system? Should it include a Single Sign On functionality (SSO)? Should there be multi-factor authentication, role based or fine-grained access control? Is Federation required? Should the code be obfuscated to prevent reverse engineering?

4 – Incorporate a Mobile Device Security Policy

What types of mobile devices should be allowed to access the organization’s critical assets. Should you allow personal mobile devices, Bring Your Own Devices (BYOD’s) or consider only organization-issued or certified mobile devices to access certain resources? Should you enforce tiers of access? Centralized mobile device management technologies are a growing solution for controlling the use of both organization-issued and BYOD’s by enterprise users. These technologies can remotely wipe the data or lock the password from a mobile device that has been lost or stolen. Should Enterprises consider anti malware software and OS upgrades to become certified mobiles on the network? To reduce high risk mobile devices, consider technologies that can detect and ban mobile devices that are jail broken or rooted, as these can pose the greatest risk of being compromised by hackers.

5 – Application Security Testing

According to a study performed by The Ponemon Institute, nearly 40% of 400 companies surveyed were not scanning their applications for security vulnerabilities, leaving the door wide open for cyber-attacks. This highlights the urgency for security teams to put together some sort of security vetting process to identify security vulnerabilities and validate security requirements as part of an ongoing QA security testing function. Scanning application technologies typically conduct two types of scanning methods: Static Application Security Testing (SAST) which analyzes the source code and Dynamic Application Security Testing (DAST), which sends modified HTTP requests to a running web application to exploit the application vulnerabilities. As the QA scanning process develops, it can be automated and injected into the software build process to detect security issues in the early phases of the SDLC.

6 – System Threat Model, Risk Management Process

What will typically come out of the application scanning process will be a list of security vulnerabilities found as either noise, suspect or definitive.  It will then be up to the security engineers knowing the system architecture and network topology working with the application developer to determine whether the vulnerability results in a valid threat and what risk level based on the impact of a possible security breach. Once the risk for each application is determined, it can be managed through an enterprise risk management system where vulnerabilities are tracked, fixed and the risk brought down to a more tolerable level.

7 – Consider implementing a Centralized Mobile Device Management System

Depending on the Mobile Security Policy that is in place, you may want to consider implementing a Centralized Mobile Device Management System especially when Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) mobiles are in the mix that can:

  • For mobile devices, manage certificates, security setting, profiles, etc through a directory service or administration portal.
  • Policy based management system to enforce security settings, restrictions for organization-issued, BYOD mobile devices.
  • Manage credentials for each mobile device through a Directory Service.
  • Self service automation for BYOD and Reducing overall administrative costs.
  • Control which applications are installed on organization-issued applications and check for suspect applications on BYOD mobile devices.
  • A system that can remotely wipe or lock a stolen or loss phone.
  • A system that can detect Jail-broken or rooted mobile devices.

8 – Security Information and Event Management (SIEM)

Monitor mobile device traffic to back-end business applications. Track mobile devices and critical business applications and correlate with events and log information looking for malicious activity based on threat intelligence. On some platforms it may be possible to integrate with a centralized risk management system to specifically be on alert for suspicious mobile events correlated with applications at higher risk.


Leadership Essential in Cybersecurity Dynamics

Are your C-level leaders sending a clear message about Cyber Security?

Despite the high profile security breaches making news headlines and increased attention around cyber risks, executives in the C-suites are still lacking commonality and communication of a clear goal when it comes to a cybersecurity strategy. These individuals need to work together to manage their organizational risks to help prepare, mitigate, and minimize the damage caused by cyber incidents.

Every organization needs a clear strategy and roadmap with supporting tools that protect critical assets. Read more about this topic and the crucial role the C-suite plays in the dynamics surrounding Cybersecurity.


Target Data Breach

How did they pull it off and how can you safeguard your environment from a similar event?

The Target Stores data breach started by exploiting a vulnerability in an externally facing webserver.  Once inside, hackers took command of an internal server and planted malware on the Point of Sale devices in stores all over the US.  The harvested data was stored internally until the hackers reached back in to grab the millions of credit card account records that were stolen.  More details can be found at http://krebsonsecurity.com/

With the tools available today, how could this event happen?  What can you do to safeguard your environment from a similar incident?

PathMaker Group recommends the following measures:

  1. Assess the overall security posture of your organization.  Our company provides a rapid assessment covering 16 security domains enabling you to understand where you may have major gaps.  We can help you prioritize these gaps to help you to maximize your risk mitigation.
  2. Test your environment (and your website code) for vulnerabilities.  External and internal penetration testing is a necessary starting place, but if you develop your own website code, scanning your application code prior to releasing the system to production is essential as these techniques and tools will surface many more vulnerabilities.  We can help with both of these services.
  3. Leverage security intelligence technologies to correlate and identify suspect events before massive damage can occur.  We can rapidly deploy an industry leading solution for you in a matter of days including setting up a managed service.

For help or more information, please contact PathMaker Group at 817-704-3644

Keith Squires, President and CEO, has been in high demand by the media to add insight to this recent news.  Radio and television news interviews, including CBS National News, are available to view at the following link:


Breach at Target Stores Affect 40 Million Customer Card Accounts

Target suffered a major data breach losing credit, debit and Red card numbers for as many as 40 million customers across 1900 stores in US and Canada. This will go down as one of the largest breaches in recent history and it comes at the worst possible time.  Consumers may have to cancel their cards just they are trying to finish Christmas shopping.  Target says the issue has been resolved. Keep an eye on your accounts and if you see any suspect activity, cancel your card right away.

Are you doing everything you can to prevent a breach like this at your company?

Talk to PathMaker Group about our 16 domain security assessment.


Learn more about the Target breach at their corporate website



Have you had your Security Wellness Check?…

So you think your organization is secure . . . think again! IBM X-Force 2013 mid-year report says that many of the breaches recently reported were a result of “poorly applied security fundamentals and policies and could have been mitigated by putting some basic security hygiene into practice.” Covering the basics is exactly what we help companies achieve through our “SecurePath” 16 domain rapid security assessment. In one week we can review your security posture, cover all your bases and help you prioritize the big security gaps in your environment.

Stuxnet Worm, Research and Recommendations

As you may be aware, a worm (originally appearing in 2009) and named Stuxnet has recently resurfaced as a focused attack at Industrial and Energy control systems, namely but not exclusively targeting those systems built by Siemens, AG. This worm has the capability to take control of and/or alter settings within SCADA systems and PLC/RTU sub-components.

Below are some good articles related to recent research into the worm.

Why Stuxnet spread

Stuxnet, a wakeup call
http://www.scmagazineus.com/stuxnet-should-serve-as-wake-up-call-say-experts/article/179858/ Read more

iTunes Accounts Hacked? or, Something Worse?

So perhaps only a few have heard about the July 4th news story reporting that several iTunes accounts (30 accounts ??) across the globe were compromised by the developer of an application (or several apps).

The story alleges that iTunes was hacked and several user accounts were compromised by an application developer who exploited peoples’ iTunes accounts to purchase his applications, so much so that it elevated him to the top in his applications’ category. Now, i would suggest that more that 30 accounts would have to be involved to elevate an app to the top of its category, but that’s beside the point. It is likely that there are more accounts involved, some go not reported, some completely oblivious to their losses.

Read the story for yourself….

I’m not so convinced that iTunes was hacked by some thief brute forcing username/password combinations to crack 30 accounts out of millions. While it is entirely possible that Apple could be hacked and that data could be stolen in bulk, I think there are some alternative ideas that should be considered. Read more

Cyber attacks, they occur more often than you think!

Cyber attacks have become a ‘weapon of choice’ for many terrorist organizations. Cyber attacks can be launched from anywhere in the world that has Internet access, are often untraceable, and have the potential to wreak havoc on our financial and economic systems, defense networks, transportation systems, power infrastructure, and many other essential capabilities.

Although not widely publicized, cyber attacks occur routinely. Within the State of Texas, a major computer security incident with significant financial and operational impact is an annual event for most organizations, including state government entities. In fact, state entities reported a daily average of almost 575 security incidents in fiscal year 2009, including malicious code execution, unauthorized access to data, and service disruptions. Most of these attacks are blocked, prevented, or result in only minor disruptions.

Between January 2005 and August 2009, Texas-based organizations reported 105 incidents involving privacy data; 43 of these incidents were government-related (universities, cities and counties, and state agencies). These 105 incidents exposed over 3 million records, with the cost estimated at an all-time high of $202 per record exposed, totaling $606 million dollars to recover from the attacks. This is why it is imperative for organizations to have a “multi-layered” approach to security to ensure these attacks remain unsuccessful or only do minimal damage and disruption.

We have the coolest security technology partners!

Recent press supports our direction on selecting leading edge security technology partners. Not long ago, NetWitness found the most invasive Netbot in recent history.

Now our cloud-based monitoring solution partner, Alert Logic, discovered a serious bug with Facebook.

IDG reported “Facebook is fixing a Web programming bug that could have allowed hackers to alter profile pages or make restricted information public.

The flaw was discovered last week and reported to Facebook by M.J. Keith, a senior security analyst with security firm Alert Logic. Read more

Kneber botnet – update

Last month, our trusted partner, NetWitness, discovered the Kneber botnet, a dangerous new ZeuS botnet that infected over 75,000 systems in 2,500 organizations around the world. The full story is in the link below.


And, we just received more follow-on information from an RSA report that shows most major U.S. corporations (up to 88 percent of the Fortune 500 companies) are likely affected by botnet activity from computers compromised by the Zeus data-stealing Trojan, according to the study released last Wednesday, 14-April-2010. For more information on this report, please see the link below.


PathMaker Group offers a complete lineup of services and solutions in response to this serious issue. We can assess your network, determine if your systems are infected by Kneber/Zeus, and help you take the appropriate steps to remove it and prevent it from coming back. Call us immediately if you feel like your business is experiencing malware or worm attacks.

Review Us at favecentral.com