There was a time when identity management was limited to controlling access to resources within a single security domain. But internal users now access external resources and external users access internal resources. Traditional approaches to identity management show their limitations.
In this context, many organizations are turning to identity federation to facilitate user work across multiple systems, while reducing the administrative burden of managing access to these systems.

Identity federation links a user’s identity across multiple security domains, each with its own identity management system. When two domains are federated, the user can authenticate to one domain and then access the resources in the other domain without having to authenticate a second time.
Identity federation allows administrators to solve many problems related to access to distributed resources across multiple domains. For example, it is not necessary to set up a specialized system to facilitate access to resources external to the organization.
To take advantage of these benefits, it is necessary to implement a complete management of the identity federation. This generic term covers the process of administering all elements associated with a complete identity federation platform. This includes not only the technologies that make federation possible, but also the agreements, rights management, standards and other elements that define how the service is implemented.
For the federation to work, all parties involved must agree on these elements. They must agree on which identification attributes to include, such as email, name and function title, how to represent these attributes internally, and what standard to use to exchange data. authentication and authorization. In this regard, the Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML) standard is widely used.

Identity federation management can also be applied to a single organization that manages multiple security domains. It is a relatively young technology, and its exact meaning is still evolving, so that the particularities may vary from one source to another.
Finally, if federated and local authentication must coexist, the options must be clear and the procedures must be intuitive and easy to understand.

The federation of identities: an impact multiplier?

In a federation of identities schema one can think that if the identity of one of the users is compromised, its access to all the applications of the perimeter will be affected. If an incident occurs on the authentication brick, all my users will be affected. The walls inside the SI can be seen as thinner, and the weight carried by the authentication heavier. Thus, the federation of identities can be seen as a factor multiplying the impacts of a possible attack. It is therefore essential to strengthen the security of authentication.
In reality, the federation of identities should rather be seen as a simplifier of the IS, and structural or protocol vulnerabilities are rather rare. Identities and entitlements will be administered centrally, and users will no longer be forced to manipulate a multitude of identifiers and passwords (sometimes auto-synchronized). These projects require a great involvement of all the businesses of the company, but will simplify the user experience and can help to enforce certain security constraints specific to sectors and businesses.

The goal of all is to reconcile security, simplicity and technological innovation, the federation of identity is, and will undoubtedly be, at the heart of the unique authentication in the years to come.

Aircraft equipment manufacturer ASCO Industries, located in Zaventem, is at a standstill. The group, which makes parts for the giants Boeing and Airbus, among others, was a victim of hacking on Friday. And all production at the international level is stopped, in Belgium, but also in subsidiaries in Germany, the United States and Canada. Only on the site of Zaventem, there are more than 1000 people who are unemployed, Tuesday and Wednesday.

Unlike aluminum producer Norsk Hydro, who was hit by a similar ransomware attack earlier this year and provided constant updates about the incident, ASCO has been very quiet about its dealings. The name of the ransomware strain that infected the company’s Belgium plant was not made public.

How MFA can prevent ransomware attacks?

Ransomware is the fastest growing attack-vector targeting all sorts of companies, institutions and organizations. Ransomware is a type of malware that accesses a victim’s files, locks and encrypts them and then demands the victim to pay a ransom to get them back. Ransomware is the digital version of mafia demands for protection money or is like the “digital kidnapping” of valuable data – from personal photos and memories to client information, financial records and intellectual property. Most ransomware gain access through hijacking static passwords and among the best practices to mitigate against such attacks adopting stronger authentication with two-factor authentication is one of the best. Passwords are convenient and tried-and-tested when it comes to securing your online accounts and digital data. However, the major downside is their susceptibility to being stolen using spyware or through trickery. The use of two-factor authentication (2FA), however, is a good defense against account compromise because it adds another layer of protection after your password, usually by combining one factor (your password) with a second factor (a text message/verification code sent to your cell phone number or a push).

Microsoft has released a patch to fill the vulnerability BlueKeep for Windows 7 but also, is unusual, Windows XP. This flaw is taken very seriously to the point of getting out of hinges the US National Security Agency (NSA).

In mid-May, Microsoft issued a security alert for a remote code execution vulnerability with the reference CVE-2019-0708, dubbed BlueKeep. This vulnerability can affect Windows 7, Windows XP, Windows 2003, Windows Server 2008 R2, and Windows Server 2008. Microsoft released a BlueKeep patch for Windows 7 and another patch for Windows XP.

“These reproduction conditions are ideal for the propagation of a worm that looks like WannaCry,”

The publisher strongly recommends that users apply it to the designated systems. Indeed, the code designed to exploit the vulnerability could disseminate a pre-authentication, without any intervention of the user. “These reproduction conditions are ideal for the propagation of a worm that looks like WannaCry,” Microsoft warned. In 2017, WannaCry had disabled millions of computers from a single, very broad-spread attack, infecting machines with ransomware. The NSA fears that this will happen again. “This kind of vulnerability is more and more commonly exploited by attackers who use malicious code that specifically targets vulnerability,” the US security agency wrote. “The vulnerability could for example be exploited to conduct denial of service attacks.”

A code of exploit soon spread on a large scale?

The NSA estimates that in a short time, remote exploit code will be widely available for this vulnerability. The agency fears that hackers are using the vulnerability in ransomware and exploit kits containing other known exploits, thus increasing nuisance capabilities against other unpatched systems.

Although the vulnerability was discovered more than two weeks ago, Microsoft notes that cybercriminals rarely act so quickly. For example, two months elapsed between the discovery of the EternalBlue vulnerability, which had set the stage for WannaCry attacks, and the moment when hackers began exploiting it. “Even though they have about 60 days to update their systems, many customers have not yet done so,” said Microsoft. Naturally, the publisher takes the opportunity to encourage customers to migrate from their old operating systems to its latest Windows 10 system.

Windows 8/10 versions not affected

While the Redmond firm has made the unusual decision to deliver a BlueKeep patch for Windows XP, support for Windows 7 comes to an end next January. “Customers running Windows 8 and Windows 10 are not affected by this vulnerability, and it’s no coincidence that later versions of Windows are not affected,” Microsoft wrote opportunely. “Microsoft is investing heavily in enhancing the security of its products, often through major architectural improvements that previous versions of Windows can not take advantage of.”