How to Find and Remediate Vulnerabilities in Real Time

Every business, large or small, must be able to remediate vulnerabilities that can threaten to undermine all its hard work and success. The security analysts and IT operators at these organizations have surely heard of household-name vulnerabilities like Heartbleed and Shellshock. But do they have all the knowledge and tools they need to track and remediate these vulnerabilities?

Reliable Resources

A number of security-focused resources, including the IBM X-Force Exchange, Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE), the National Vulnerability Database (NVD) and the U.S. Computer Emergency Response Team (US-CERT), publish consolidated, current information about known vulnerabilities. Users can subscribe to receive notifications from many of these sites when new vulnerabilities are disclosed.

Software vendors try to provide formal fixes for identified vulnerabilities in a timely manner, but too often it takes much longer than acceptable, leaving your endpoints vulnerable. Once a vulnerability has been made public, the bad guys have the information they need to exploit it. Vendors sometimes provide workarounds, but these can take time to become available, and it can be difficult to access all the affected endpoints to execute the processes.

The Latest Vulnerabilities

One recent vulnerability, Dirty COW, enables attackers to increase their privileges. Red Hat published information related to this threat. Dirty COW is a nasty bug that has been in the Linux kernel for nine years. It took six days for Red Hat to post a workaround, then another five to 11 days (depending on the Red Hat version) to release a formal update to fix the vulnerability.

Another recent high-severity vulnerability that permits a denial-of-service affects a number of common OpenSSL versions. Users were urged to upgrade to newer versions of OpenSSL. Additionally, a high-severity Microsoft Windows GDI+ vulnerability allowed arbitrary code execution. It was seen in the wild in October 2013, but it took more than a month after the vulnerability was publicly acknowledged for Microsoft to develop a workaround. The company didn’t issue a formal fix until December.

Remediate Vulnerabilities With IBM BigFix

If you find vulnerable endpoints, you may decide to take them offline if you think the vulnerability is critical enough that it could impact your business, but that’s not an ideal solution. So how do you determine whether you’re vulnerable and ensure you’ll be protected? You need a solution to quickly find endpoints that are vulnerable and then remediate the issues quickly.

IBM BigFix provides a class-leading endpoint security and management platform that offers real-time visibility into your endpoints, rapid remediation of issues and continuous enforcement to ensure you always maintain a robust security and compliance posture.

With IBM BigFix Query, you can even perform real-time, rapid interrogation of the endpoints in your enterprise, giving you the ability to identify and verify potential security exposures as soon as they are uncovered. Then you can use the tool to quickly remediate vulnerable endpoints by automating the application of a workaround and deploying it immediately.

Integrations of endpoint management tools with security solutions, such as QRadar and Carbon Black, enable your security organization to detect, respond to and quickly remediate live security incidents like the industry has never seen before. With zero-day exploits, time is critical. You need a complete security investigation and remediation solution to ensure you stay protected. IBM BigFix provides a platform to quickly find and remediate vulnerabilities from cybersecurity threats.

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Brad Fisher

Architect & BigFix, IBM

Brad Fisher is a Senior Technical Staff Member in the Security division of IBM. Brad has over 25 years in the IT industry. Having held positions in Cloud, Process Automation and Systems Management, most recently Brad has been focusing on providing customers solutions for securing endpoints using IBM BigFix and other IBM Security products.