Our cyber security products span from our next gen SIEM used in the most secure government and critical infrastructure environments, to automated cyber risk reporting applications for commercial and government organisations of all sizes.
A new and free cyber security capability that you should consider as a control in your Information Security Management System (ISMS), Quad9 is promoted by the Global Cyber Alliance and members like Huntsman Security.
Quad9 protects systems and networks against common cyber threats. Read this short post to find out how.
A defined ISMS helps an organisation to better understand their information assets, the vulnerabilities and risks. Vulnerabilities require risk assessment and controls to be implemented that are proportionate to the risk. Controls can be broadly categorised as People, Process or Technology driven.
Quad9 (a technology control) is relevant to the Domain Name System (DNS) which we covered previously in our DMARC post. As a quick reminder, all organisations have a Domain Name System (DNS) handled by a DNS server and all websites have an Internet Protocol (IP) address that looks like a unique string of numbers.
E.g. A “DNS lookup” of www.bbc.co.uk returns “Domain Name Server 220.127.116.11” and “18.104.22.168 “
It would not be practical for an internet user to remember strings of numbers to gain access to sites. To get around this the DNS stores the information that translates and resolves IP addresses to more meaningful and logical names such as the “BBC”. This in turn makes web browsing, “googling” and other search activity more effective. Talking of IP addresses, “Quad9” is taken from the IP address “22.214.171.124” that has been assigned to it.
Quad9 identifies websites that are believed to carry malware and other similar cyber threats. Quad9 prevents users accessing those malicious sites, adding privacy and security as they browse.
Quad9 does this by comparing the requests of users as they click on web links, with rich sources of threat intelligence. When a match is found between requests and the threat intelligence, Quad9 prevents any onward access and the chance of users inadvertently downloading harmful code.
This video briefing gives you some statistics about the likelihood of attacks such as malware:
The threat intelligence is built and maintained by organisations collaborating as part of the Global Cyber Alliance. It is maintained and updated on a series of Quad9 servers located around the world and identifies potentially “unsafe” websites. Quad9 is being geographically rolled out – the UK went live in November 2017.
As you would expect, business terminals and laptops are well within the scope of Quad9. Personal computers are also compatible to be secured with Quad9 and it is very easy to configure. This video tutorial shows you how to do this.
Quad9 also considers the ISMS challenges associated with the Internet of Things (IoT), devices that have only recently adopted internet connectivity. IoT devices often only have limited security and primitive firmware (the program code embedded on the chips during manufacture). IoT devices also frequently ship with standard security credentials that never change. All this means that IoT devices can often be susceptible to being co-opted as part of a Botnet driven attack. Botnets are most often associated with Distributed Denial of Service attacks.
Consider devices such as smart home thermostats and the “internet connected fridge”. Unlike the terminal on your desk these devices rarely receive security updates and patches. Also unlike your terminal, they can be difficult to secure using cyber defences such as firewalls and anti-virus software. Security is further complicated if additional connectivity such as Bluetooth also features.
Given the rise of IoT and the inclusion of connectivity as standard, having the ability to monitor and secure IoT devices is becoming increasingly important.
The tutorial showed how easy it is to implement Quad9 on a single computer at home. However, it is more likely that you are interested in implementation on networks.
As long as you have the right change control permission and access to the right IT administrator, then implementation is no more difficult than on a single machine. It involves the configuration of the Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) server. The DHCP server administrates network configuration including IP addresses.
The DHCP server automates the required bulk administration of IP addresses and without one, every machine on the network would have to be manually assigned an individual IP. This would be a painful process for your IT personnel and would likely be impossible to administer on large networks.
When promoting Quad9 for implementation in your organisation, it is important to secure the support of your IT lead and Senior Information Risk Owner. This is because you will need to formally agree the change within your change control process. To help obtain agreement, point out that Quad9 does not affect the performance or speed of internet browsing for the end user and, like DMARC protection, it is free!
To summarise the Quad9 capability consider the following:
The UK market has its own regulators, security standards and challenges. And while rulings from SEC in the US or the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) in Australia don’t apply to UK companies, for the most part, the observations are undoubtedly relevant and the resulting advice instructive. It would be wrong to think UK financial […]Read more
<<< Part 2a: Australia’s Essential Eight: Beyond Endpoint Control <<< Part 2b: Activating UK NCSC & US NIST Guidelines: Beyond Endpoint Control Part 4: Systematic Measurement of Cyber Controls >>> As much as we invest into cyber security controls, external threats are inevitable. In a recent Notifiable Data Breaches Report from the Office of the […]Read more
Keen campers, scouts and even the Swiss Army know – that a good penknife is indispensable. This simple device has mitigated many a disaster at one point in time or another. Whether it’s to cut through a bit of string, tighten a screw or simply to solve the problem of no bottle opener in the […]Read more
Supply chain risk is an area of cyber security that demands the ongoing attention of every enterprise; because it can make the difference between being resilient or not. It’s no surprise that insurers warn that the vulnerability of supply chains is potentially a systemic risk that can quickly propagate across supply chain dominated industries. Organisations […]Read more
It took a “tripartite cyber assessment” by the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) to identify that a sample of financial organisations had inadequate cyber security: poor security control management, a lack of business recovery planning and inadequate 3rd party risk assessment. Why were there gaps? Where is the failure? Clearly the common practice of unsubstantiated […]Read more
The discussion over data-driven vs qualitative cyber security assessment has been going for some time. Nowadays, it is at the top of the priority list for many security and senior executive teams. Managing cyber security has always been a noble ambition but without reliable measurement, the lack of actionable information makes evidence-based management decisions almost […]Read more
Attack Surface Management (ASM) characterises a business’s security risks as the monitoring and risk mitigation of a constantly changing and vulnerable “risk-surface”. Importantly, this attack surface extends to both internal and external assets and services. Some ASM solutions deliver clear visibility across both Internet facing and internal assets. Others do not. Instead, they assess external […]Read more
The UK Government has released its annual “Cyber Security Breaches Survey 2023”. It provides some valuable insights into how cyber security is currently being managed in the UK, by a range of organisations. It also speaks to how current competing economic priorities are impacting the effectiveness of some cyber security management efforts. The full report […]Read more
Solving the mismatch between cyber security reporting and directors’ requirements You are undoubtedly familiar with the headlines; you may have even become in part desensitised to them: ‘Cyber-attacks are increasingly damaging’, or ‘large amounts of personal data are most at risk’. The important take-away, however, is that modern day thieves can easily gain access to […]Read more
A system to address the untrustworthy security environment Zero trust approaches to security have been talked about for a while; but in recent times they have certainly gained more currency. As a model for protecting data and services, the simplicity of the concept is its biggest strength – assume, as a default position, there is […]Read more
Read by directors, executives, and security professionals globally, operating in the most complex of security environments.