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Cybersecurity: CISA warning of high-severity PAN-OS DDoS flaw

This warning also serves as a reminder that infrastructure devices must be included in vulnerability management programs.

Pointing to a computer screen. Image by Tim Sandle.
Pointing to a computer screen. Image by Tim Sandle.

A recent CISA advisory of a high-severity PAN-OS DDoS flaw found in Palo Alto Networks’ PAN-OS has been announced. This warning has led to the flaw being added to the list of exploited vulnerabilities and allows a remote threat actor to deploy reflected and amplified denial-of-service (DoS) attacks without having to authenticate.

Looking into this issue for Digital Journal is Terry Olaes, Director of Sales Engineering at Skybox Security.

Olaes  begins by charting the background to the security vulnerability and its discovery, noting: “Skybox Research Lab found that new vulnerabilities in the wild rose by 24 percent in 2022 and new vulnerabilities in operational technology (OT) products have risen 88 percent year over year, demonstrating just how quickly threat actors are moving to capitalize on an organization’s weaknesses.”

More specifically, with the newly discovered issue, Olaes notes: “In the case of CVE-2022-0028, CISA noted that this vulnerability allows a remote threat actor to deploy reflected and amplified denial-of-service (DoS) attacks without having to authenticate.”

The reason why issues like this occur is due to fundamental flaws inbuilt into business systems. Here Olaes  points out: “Too often, our researchers see organizations that only rely on conventional approaches to vulnerability management move to patch the highest severity vulnerabilities first based on the Common Vulnerability Scoring System (CVSS).”

The problem is that criminals understand these weaknesses and put measures in place to exploit them: “Cybercriminals know this is how many companies handle their cybersecurity, so they’ve learned to take advantage of vulnerabilities seen as less critical to carry out their attacks.”

There are measures that can be taken and here Olaes  identifies these as: “To stay ahead of cybercriminals, companies need to address vulnerability exposure risks before hackers attack them. That means taking a more proactive approach to vulnerability management by learning to identify and prioritize exposed vulnerabilities across the entire threat landscape.”

In addition, Olaes says: “This warning also serves as a reminder that infrastructure devices must be included in vulnerability management programs. Security teams need to be able to quickly assess vulnerability risk posed across both endpoint and infrastructure assets without having to wait for other teams, like platform and network, to provide feedback.”

Further in terms of recommendations, Olaes  advises: “Organizations should ensure they have solutions in place capable of quantifying the business impact of cyber risks into economic impact. This will also help them identify and prioritize the most critical threats based on the size of financial impact, among other risk analyses such as exposure-based risk scores.”

Olaes’ final piece of advice is: “They must also enhance the maturity of their vulnerability management programs to ensure they can quickly discover whether or not a vulnerability impacts them and how urgent it is to remediate.”

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Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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