Whilst the alerts on product vulnerabilities are useful, we have introduced an Overall Alert when something big hits the security world, such as Wannacry etc. The definitions below will give an idea of the criteria considered when setting the status.
We have also introduced more granular Subject Alert States and Geo-Political Alerts for when tensions around the world may lead to cyber security issues for everybody.
20 July, 2020 - The world hasn't broken, we're dropping back to Guarded
15 July, 2020 - Add the Windows DNS vulnerability to the "Bad Patch Day" mix. It's got a name (SigRed) and everything.
14 July, 2020 - We have raised the Overall state to Increased due to the critical nature of the SAP and Siemens Monthly Patches. Four more vendors are set to report Patches today.
17 March, 2021 - Microsoft has published a bulletin, Guidance for responders: Investigating and remediating on-premises Exchange Server vulnerabilities.
15 March, 2021 - Microsoft has published a one-click Mitigation tool for the Exchange vulnerabilities, which patches and attempts to reverse changes made by identified threats.
CISA has added seven Malware Analysis Reports (MAR) to their Alert. Each MAR identifies a webshell associated with exploitation of the vulnerabilities in Microsoft Exchange Server products.
Dropping the Subject Alert, as it's been running for some time now, either you're aware and taking action, or you're not looking here anyway...
10 March, 2021 - FBI and CISA released a joint advisory.
Brian Krebs has a decent timeline of events. More info.
09 March, 2021 - Microsoft has released updates for out of support versions of Exchange Server that address the 4 most critical vulnerabilities.
More info. And here. And here. And here.
08 March, 2021 - Microsoft has released an updated script that scans Exchange log files for indicators of compromise (IOCs) associated with the vulnerabilities.
CISA bulletin here.
Microsoft has released mitigation steps for organizations that cannot upgrade immediately. See their blog entry here.
Dropping level to Increased, it's been nearly a week...
05 March, 2021 - CISA has updated their Alert to add "CISA recommends investigating for signs of a compromise from at least September 1, 2020 through present."
CISA report here.
Note there is an issue when installing Exchange patches manually where they appear to install, but not fix the vulnerability. Be sure to check the Microsoft support document for details on verifying.
Microsoft support document here.
04 March, 2021 - CISA has published an Emergency Directive. Dropping to High.
CISA report here.
03 March, 2021 - ISC has published a summary, and Volexity has published their research.
ISC's blog entry. Volexity report here.
02 March, 2021 - Microsoft has published an update that fixes 7 RCE vulnerabilities, to address multiple 0-day exploits being used to attack on-premises versions of Microsoft Exchange Server in limited and targeted attacks. Microsoft Threat Intelligence Center (MSTIC) attributes this campaign with high confidence to HAFNIUM, a group assessed to be state-sponsored and operating out of China.
Microsoft's bulletin. An article here. And another article here.
Microsoft and Oracle Patches, Citrix exploits.
20 Jan, 2020 - Lowered the Overall Alert state back to Guarded.
15 Jan, 2020 - Raised the Overall Alert state to Increased, due to two Microsoft Critical patches, Oracle Critical patches, and the public exploits for Citrix server vulnerabilities from a bulletin released 17 Dec yet thousands of servers are still vulnerable. It's just active, and deserves an increase for a day or two.
Unpatched Servers and US:Iran conflict
26 June, 2019 - "Everything is awesome, Everything is cool" Well, maybe not yet, but dropping to Guarded because it is quiet.
24 June, 2019 - dropping a level as the original items are quiet.
23 June, 2019 - US:Iran
With US:Iran increased tensions, the overall cyber world should be on high alert.
18 June, 2019 - BlueKeep, Exim, Infrastructure
Exploit code has been created, older OS versions are still vulnerable although it has been 5 weeks since patches were made available, time to patch people!
Also, there are multiple groups attempting to exploit the Exim RCE vulnerability, which allows root access.
Finally, US and Russia appear to be starting an Infrastructure "war". US and Russia attacking each other's infrastructure is bad for everyone.
19 October, 2018 - Reduced Overall Alert back to Guarded
16 October, 2018 - Raised Overall Alert to Increased due to Oracle Quarterly Patches and the sheer number of remote vulnerabilities in Oracle products.
17 September, 2018 - Reduced Overall Alert to Guarded.
12 September, 2018 - Raised Overall Alert to Increased due to Patch Tuesday, patched 0-days, and other public exploits being patched. There's just a lot going on.
20 August, 2018 - Reduced Overall Alert to Guarded after appropriate patch time.
15 August, 2018 - Raised Overall Alert to Increased due to Microsoft 0-day patches in Patch Tuesday. More info.
22 March, 2018 - Overall Alert State reduced to Guarded after a few quiet days.
19 March, 2018 - Overall Alert State set to Increased based on increasing cyber security concerns between Russia and the UK, and Russia and the US.
The UK National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) put the National Grid on alert. More info.
US-CERT detailed report on "Russian Government Cyber Activity Targeting Energy and Other Critical Infrastructure Sectors" here.
05 February, 2018 - Overall Alert State returned to Guarded, patches are expected for the Adobe Flash 0-day this week.
02 February, 2018 - Overall Alert State set to Increased based on AutoSploit and an Adobe Flash Player 0-Day both hitting just before the weekend.
09 January, 2018 - Overall Alert State returned to Guarded, patches are still rolling out but everyone pretty much has a plan.
04 January, 2018 - Overall Alert State set to Increased based on Meltdown and Spectre affecting all modern processors.
29 June, 2017 - Overall Alert State returned to Guarded, Petya has run it's course for the most part, and it is in post-analysis and recovery stage.
27 June, 2017 - Overall Alert State set to Increased based on Petya ransomware reported effect in Eastern Europe, and the potential for similar issues across multiple industries.
15 May, 2017 - Overall Alert State set back to Guarded, based on little news about further spread of ransomware, and the availability of patches and procedures to stop the spread.
12 May, 2017 - Overall Alert State set to Increased based on WannaCry ransomware reported effect on Healthcare Infrastructure, and the potential for similar issues in other Infrastructure systems.
17 April, 2017 - Overall Alert State set back to Guarded.
12 April, 2017 - Overall Alert State set to Increased to bring notice to the Microsoft and Adobe Patch Days.
This is the lowest envisaged Alert State for the foreseeable future.
Remain vigilant and be prepared for attack. There are no discernible issues impacting end networks or the infrastructure of the Internet.
UK Military Terminology – Stand Down
Civilian Terminology – Chillax
There is unrest in cyber space requiring increased vigilance for possible cyber disruption, such as:
UK Military Terminology – Stand To
Civilian Terminology – Keep Calm and Carry On
There is a marked escalation in cyber attacks and actual effect, security staff should align their security posture to mitigate the threat and exercise possible use cases relating to the threat, the threats might include:
UK Military Terminology – Watch and Shoot
Civilian Terminology – Wake Up and Smell the Coffee
There is a direct cyber threat which will impact the majority of systems and significantly hamper IT operations, this Alert State will be used sparingly.
Where the Critical Alert State can be localised, by Product Type, Attack Vector, Threat Actor or Nations, these will be reflected in the sub heading as per the example shown.
Military Terminology – Incoming, Take Cover
Civilian Terminology – OMG!