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Brian Contos, Sevco: The Importance of Cutting-Edge Vulnerability Hunting Capabilities

Sevco, a leading IT asset visibility and cybersecurity company, was recently recognized as a 2023 Enterprise Security Tech Top 20 award winner.

Brian Contos, Sevco

We sat down with Sevco’s CSO, Brian Contos, to delve into the crucial distinction between threat hunting and vulnerability hunting, explore how the latter offers a proactive approach to cybersecurity, and more. Brian also shares insights into Sevco Security’s new vulnerability hunting capabilities, highlighting the unique advantages they bring to organizations in today’s dynamic threat landscape. What is the difference between threat hunting and vulnerability hunting?

If you think in terms of a natural disaster, like a hurricane, vulnerability hunting is similar to identifying which geographic areas are most likely to be impacted by an impending hurricane, which buildings may not be built up to code, and which roads may be prone to flooding so you can proactively protect them. Threat hunting, on the other hand, identifies affected areas once the storm has already hit the shore. The latter approach leaves individuals and communities with less time to prepare and protect their properties from devastation, only offering a reactive approach to safety.

Threat hunting and vulnerability hunting may sound very similar, but the reality is that they are more like distant cousins. Vulnerability hunting offers a more proactive approach to cybersecurity. It can be used to detect areas of weakness before a threat enters a system in the first place, whereas threat hunting allows security teams to discover threats or threat actors that have already infiltrated an organization’s system.

What are Sevco Security’s new vulnerability hunting capabilities?

Sevco Security recently released new vulnerability hunting capabilities that allow organizations to leverage Sevco’s cloud-native asset intelligence platform to continuously hunt, assess, and track security risks to information systems and security procedures across the entire enterprise. This empowers security and IT teams to prioritize cybersecurity threat response efforts proactively.

Vulnerability Hunting takes the practice of threat hunting further upstream with a proactive approach to identifying vulnerable conditions before an attacker can find and exploit them. Because threats exploit vulnerabilities, the proactive identification and mitigation of vulnerabilities improve our overall security posture by preventing and reducing the number of successful attacks. Sevco enables organizations to hunt for Configuration Vulnerabilities, misconfigurations, or use of an asset that imposes risk; Software Vulnerabilities, flaws within the software from applications, OS to firmware; Process and Policy Vulnerabilities; and Human and Physical Vulnerabilities, users susceptible to social-engineering attacks (e.g., phishing) or unrestricted access to physical assets.

Businesses can also assess vulnerabilities across different asset classes (devices, users, applications) and continuously evaluate mitigating controls against identified vulnerabilities, providing them with a better understanding of risk and exposure management directly in the cloud-native asset intelligence platform.

How does Sevco’s vulnerability hunting capabilities differ from others on the market?

Today’s vulnerability management activities are very limited in scope, typically only associated with common vulnerability exposures (CVEs). However, CVEs aren’t the only way to manage vulnerabilities, misconfigurations and unprotected devices, especially since many neglect the fact that users present equally dangerous vulnerabilities that lure attackers.

Additionally, the cadence of traditional vulnerability management activities is far too infrequent. They are usually handled as a periodic security risk assessment that becomes stale before the organization can follow up with action.

Today’s dynamic business environments need to rely on vulnerability management capabilities that perform scans often, and at the scale and speed needed for modern cloud environments. They can now do this through Sevco’s 4D Asset Intelligence Platform and its new vulnerability hunting capabilities.

With Sevco, businesses can enhance current point-in-time practices, such as penetration testing, with broader, continuous visibility of the entire organization's security landscape. Sevco simplifies the process of identifying software vulnerabilities by providing additional context surrounding affected assets. This includes existing mitigating controls (or, conversely, the lack of expected mitigating controls).

Because Sevco helps to identify complex vulnerabilities that are impossible to detect with today’s narrowly focused tools, security teams are able to deliver broader, continuous visibility across the entire security landscape, enabling them to uncover security risk vulnerabilities faster.

What are the key benefits for businesses leveraging Sevco Security’s new vulnerability hunting capabilities?

Businesses that leverage Sevco’s new vulnerability hunting capabilities can trust they have complete visibility across their entire organizations. Thus, they can proactively protect against costly cyberattacks, which can cause downtime or, even worse, ransom payment requests.

They can also establish trust with key stakeholders. Sevco’s vulnerability hunting capabilities equip businesses with the confidence they need to ensure delivery of their products or services to their customers without interruption from cyber incidents.

Furthermore, security teams can rely on technology to manage their vulnerabilities and assets at scale, freeing up their time to focus on other pressing priorities and helping them to manage their heavy workload.

Why is vulnerability hunting important in protecting against today’s cyber threats?

In 2022, there were a record breaking 26,448 software security flaws reported, with many more that were likely not reported. Threat actors exploit these vulnerabilities quickly, effectively, and ruthlessly, leveraging modern techniques to cause the most damage possible. For a recent example, just look at the MOVEit breach. As of July, researchers identified 514 organizations that had fallen victim to the exploitation, which affected almost 36.1 million individuals. Attackers continue to evolve their techniques. In the case of the MOVEit breach, the Clop ransomware gang thought to be behind the attack likely used automation techniques in order to hit and impact as many victims as possible.

That is why it is imperative for businesses and organizations to rely on tools built for modern IT environments. They need tools that can be truly proactive in their approach to cybersecurity to keep up with the threats and attackers’ techniques of today and tomorrow.

How does vulnerability hunting offer a truly proactive approach to security?

Vulnerability hunting offers a truly proactive approach to security by detecting weak or vulnerable conditions through the comprehensive view of an IT environment that only Sevco’s IT Asset Intelligence Platform can provide. By knowing which areas require attention, organizations can prevent attackers from exploiting these vulnerabilitiesin the first place. Once a threat actor infiltrates a system, it is often too late. Data can be stolen or, worse, they leverage these holes to hide in the systems until another vulnerability opens the door to the most critical parts of an organization. ###

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