Microsoft pressing a pause button on updates

Microsoft has told Windows 10 owners and IT admins not to expect any Windows 10 preview updates in December , after the mandate patch Tuesday updates

The company will resume monthly servicing with the January 2021 security releases, it said.

Microsoft releases optional non-security Windows 10 updates to give customers time to test the updates against systems.

It calls the first week of each month ‘A week’ and typically issues fixes for Office. The second week is ‘B week’ or Patch Tuesday. C and D weeks happen on the third and fourth weeks of the month.

The last time Microsoft paused optional non-security updates that are released after Patch Tuesday was in March.It resumed optional updates in July but maintained its Patch Tuesday schedule throughout the pandemic.

Microsoft also released a statement confirming it is starting to force Windows 10 PCs on version 1903 up to 1909.

All editions of Windows 10, version 1903 and Windows 10 Server, version 1903 will reach end of service. After that date, devices running these editions will no longer receive monthly security and quality updates.

To keep you protected and productive, we will soon begin updating devices running Windows 10, version 1903 to Windows 10, version 1909. This update will install like a monthly update, resulting in a far faster update experience.

Palo Alto Marching towadrs Identity based segmentation on cloud offerings

Palo Alto Networks is enhancing its cloud security platform by releasing new features. Integrated with its acquisition of Aporeto, a machine identity-based microsegmentation company.

Organizations can securely connect office branches and mobile users to the cloud, allow for SaaS adoption with a cloud access security broker, and improve security across multi-cloud deployments.

With the integration of Aporeto, Palo Alto is bringing identity-based microsegmentation into Prisma Cloud. The technology will provide visibility of network communications along with security policy control and management.

Other than this integration ,new DLP capabilities offer discovery, classification, and malware detection for AWS S3. The IAM features provide customers CIEM capabilities, visibility into who has access to specific cloud resources, and the ability secure those resources with automated least-privileged identity access.

Securing the cloud is a major focus for Palo Alto, along with securing the enterprise and providing security with its AI-powered platform Cortex.Palo Alto built up its cloud security capabilities with the acquisition of the cloud security startup RedLock, as well as the purchase of and Aporeto.

Enterprises are moving towards cloud centric for enhancing the release velocity for Devops, for which Secops requires an integration across platforms

Zero Trust ! Shaping to be need of an hour

Over half of global organizations have suffered a data breach during the COVID-19 crisis, with even more arguing that they need to shift to a zero-trust model to bolster security.

A new report commissioned by Cloudflare and set to be officially releasing this week focuses mainly on Zero Trust Strategy.

Based on a poll of over 300 global security decision makers at mid and large-sized businesses, it highlights how revenue and planning (64%), customer engagement (53%) and the shift to distributed working (52%) have had the biggest impact so far in 2020.

Despite the majority of respondents claiming to have invested in new devices for work from home (WFH) employees, updated security policies and adopted new security tools for remote workers, over half (58%) still suffered a data breach. A third (33%) were hit by infrastructure outages, with a similar number (29%) struck by ransomware.

Many security bosses admit that VPNs are a major bottleneck, leading to slow connections (46%). Most (54%) say they’ve struggled to maintain these during the shift to WFH. At the same time they’re concerned over staffing shortfalls (80%), apps and data exposed to the public internet (76%) and little management over end user devices (64%).

They admit that legacy network security tools are no longer effective (64%) but have been overwhelmed by rapid migration to the cloud (80%).

The answer for many is a zero-trust approach predicated on the notion of “never trust always verify” and supported by technologies such as multi-factor authentication, network segmentation and endpoint security.

Over three-quarters (76%) of respondents want to move to this model, and even more (81%) say their organization is committed to migrating to this approach in time. However, similar numbers (75%) say they’re struggling to do so due to the complexities of user access at their organization.

The report chimes from earlier this year which revealed that global firms struggled with the shift to mass remote working due to a lack of visibility into endpoints and challenges around patching.

Although 85% said they felt ready for the shift to remote working, 98% admitted they were caught off guard by security challenges in the first two months, with overwhelmed VPNs (22%) frequently cited as a problem.

Cybersecurity checklist. [Remote/Office]

Covid-19 pandamic has shown a major seismic shift in how businesses operate. Offices have shut down, and workers have gone remote.IT infrastructure is struggling to cope with an increase in demand while on the other, attackers are seeking to exploit vulnerabilities in this newly expanded remote work environment.

Outdated system, outdated software, remains vulnerable always.

Tactics To Reduce Cybersecurity Risks

Patch systems on a high. Patching remains a major priority for all systems. It’s quite difficult to achieve 100% . But it’s remains as a critical task to close all open exploits

Eliminate exposed ports and services. There has been a surge in the use of Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) recently owing to the pandemic. RDP ports are often exposed to the internet, which led to remote desktop accounts reportedly being hit by millions of automated attacks recently. SMB & RDP ports remains as a major vulnerable ports for exploit

Protect against phishing with email protection system in place.It is also important to block potentially malicious file attachments (such as .exe, .bat, .js, .vbs, etc.) and also disable macros and Object Linking and Embedding (OLE) packages as these could launch malicious scripts.

Secure your web browser. Even the most legitimate websites can serve up a malware-laden advertisement. This technique is known as malvertising. Use of ad blockers and end-point security can help block such unwanted ads.

Deploy a EDR Soln. Patching, isolation and limiting risky behavior can greatly reduce the chances of cyber-attack. But it’s also no secret that many attacks happen from zero-day threats. EDR in place will reduce risk of been attack to an extent

Deploy a health check in place for VPN. Remote workers connecting to office sources need to be validated. Proper health check in place will always be a better option

Although nothing can guarantee absolute defense against threats, it’s important to keep a close eye on evolving cybersecurity trends and best practices to avoid unnecessary costs or business disruptions.