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A special blog for October Cybersecurity Awareness Month

In an era where data security is paramount, we at Ordr, specializing in comprehensive security solutions for connected devices, prioritize safeguarding customer information as a core mission. One pivotal step Ordr has taken in securing data is earning SOC 2 compliance with a specific focus on Organizational Governance and Structure. I want to use this blog to delve into what our SOC 2 implementation journey means, how we steadfastly uphold our commitment to data security, and the significant benefits this provides to both our internal operations and customers.

Why is SOC2 Critical?

Service Organization Control 2, or SOC 2, is a widely recognized framework designed to assess and report on customer data’s security, availability, processing integrity, confidentiality, and privacy. It is a rigorous set of standards that validate an organization’s dedication to safeguarding sensitive information. By going through the process, SOC 2 certification validates:

  • Ordr’s ability to connect people, process, and technology to provide the services continuously.
  • Ordr’s ability to provide response during a critical security event.
  • Ordr’s ability to provide services in case of failure to the hosted data center with no impact to customers.

Those validations are important to us and for those organizations that put their trust in us. Ordr allows its customers to gain visibility into their complete attack surface. We do this by collecting a wealth of information from the infrastructures where Ordr is deployed. That data is critical for closing visibility gaps and understanding the context of data flows and device operations that allow us to deliver the highest level of security possible. Ordr takes pride in providing these services and makes data security a paramount requirement. We at believe these are core components to any SaaS solution and should be tested once a year to make sure all the above-mentioned factors are in sync.

[SOC 2] validations are important to us and for those organizations that put their trust in us.

Our SOC2 Journey 

Our SOC 2 compliance journey has been ongoing for the last several years, and each year the scope has expanded. Our commitment is not limited to specific aspects of our operations; it encompasses the entire development process, our entire employee population from onboarding to continuous training, and our customer onboarding and training processes. This comprehensive approach demonstrates our unwavering dedication to protecting our customers’ sensitive information.

  • Change Management: Our meticulous change management processes translate to a reduced risk of service disruptions, ensuring the uninterrupted operation of critical services for our customers.
  • Risk Management: By systematically identifying and mitigating potential security threats and vulnerabilities using a risk registry, we enhance the safety of our customer’s data and services.
  • Vendor Management: Customers benefit from our rigorous vendor management practices, which assure them of the security standards upheld by third-party vendors, going above and beyond merely reviewing vendor certifications like SOC 2.
  • User Access Management: Enhanced user access controls mean customer data remains accessible only to authorized personnel, minimizing the risk of unauthorized access.
  • Data Storage: Secure data storage practices give our customers confidence in protecting their sensitive information, safeguarding it from breaches and unauthorized access.
  • Hiring, Onboarding, and Employee Training: Customers benefit from a workforce that is not only vetted but also continuously trained to uphold the highest standards of security, thus reducing the risk of insider threats.
  • Incident Management: Well-documented and tested incident response plans mean that potential security incidents are swiftly and effectively handled, minimizing the impact on customer operations.
  • Logical Access: Enhanced logical access controls reduce the risk of data breaches or unauthorized access to customer systems and data.
  • Endpoint Security: The bolstered endpoint security ensures that our devices and endpoints are safeguarded against malware, viruses, and other security threats, reducing the risk of service disruptions or data compromise.
  • Data Resiliency: This allows Ordr’s service to run from another data center in case of failure to the primary data center and it means we are able to maintain SLA commitments provided in customer contracts.

Our commitment to SOC 2 compliance extends to additional rigorous controls. Every code commit undergoes a security review by an expert separate from the developer and code reviewer, ensuring that security considerations are meticulously addressed. We regularly test data resiliency between cloud locations for seamless failover, and we scrutinize every laptop for compliance with policies like firewall, encryption, and the presence of endpoint detection and response (EDR) and mobile device management (MDM) solutions.

When done right, with a diligent auditor that is allowed go through every employee, every customer, every line of code, every vendor, the SOC 2 process is more than worthwhile.

Our auditor, Geels Norton (BTW, highly recommended), is renowned for their diligence in auditing. Instead of reducing scope, we have consistently accepted a broader scope and higher standards by Geels Norton and actively strive to achieve and maintain these elevated security levels.

SOC 2 Does Matter

I am very aware of the ongoing and vigorous debate about the value of earning SOC 2 certification, that it is a waste of time, that organizations are finding ways to water-down the process and that, as a result, the process has become little more than window dressing. We take the opposite view. When done right, with a diligent auditor that is allowed go through every employee, every customer, every line of code, every vendor, the (painful) process is more than worthwhile. It gives an organization the information it needs to beef up controls and quantify its performance. Done right, SOC 2 demonstrates a top-to-bottom commitment to security.

Ordr’s achievement of SOC 2 compliance in Organizational Governance and Structure underscores our enduring commitment to security. We continue to vigilantly monitor our systems and processes, ensuring they comply with SOC 2 standards. Furthermore, we remain steadfast in our commitment to optimizing our security posture, proactively staying ahead of emerging threats, and ensuring that our customers can trust us with the highest level of data protection.

Ordr’s See, Know, Secure Approach to Connected Device Security is Ideal for CPS Protection


As IT estates and their attack surfaces grow in complexity, cyber-physical systems (CPS) are getting more attention from cyber security professionals. Because organizations across all verticals  are adopting CPS to run operations more efficiently, connected devices are becoming more and more abundant. Some reports predict the number of Internet of Things (IoT), Internet of Medical Things (IoMT), Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and other emerging specialized (XIoT) devices that populate sprawling corporate networks will exceed 24 billion by 2030. Those devices represent a critical interface between traditional IT and the hyper-connected sensors, controls, and other operational technologies (OT) comprising CPS these days.

Our own Chris Westphal blogged about cyber-physical systems recently, offering some background on what they are and identifying some of the security challenges associated with protecting them. A newly updated report by Gartner, 3 Initial Steps to Address Unsecure Cyber-Physical Systems, goes into more detail to help organizations struggling to understand their CPS infrastructure and establish a strategy to keep their CPS secure.

Threat Actors are Aggressive

The report makes it clear that threat actors are aggressively exploiting vulnerabilities inherent with CPS technologies and the threat to those organizations unprepared to defend them. In fact, Microsoft recently uncovered a “a sophisticated attack campaign” targeting IoT devices, while other new security research suggests malware targeting IoT devices has increased 700% since 2020.

As IT and OT converge, cybersecurity leaders need to identify their attack surface across both environments. Gartner’s report cites examples of attacks against organizations in healthcare, critical infrastructure, manufacturing, and public utilities illustrate the risks beyond cyber with potential impact  to individuals, public safety and economic stability, and serve as a warning to organizations relying on traditional IT security approaches. The report’s author, Gartner analyst Kattell Thielemann, puts it this way:

“Business-led Internet of Things or converged OT-IT projects have largely underestimated or ignored security and safety risks. Security and risk management leaders must go beyond data security by embracing cyber-physical system security efforts, or they will soon be overwhelmed by new threats.”

“Business-led Internet of Things or converged OT-IT projects have largely underestimated or ignored security and safety risks. Security and risk management leaders must go beyond data security by embracing cyber-physical system security efforts, or they will soon be overwhelmed by new threats.”

A Strategic CPS Security Foundation

That dire warning comes with the promise that, by taking the time to understand CPS infrastructure from a risk management perspective, CSOs, CISOs, and other security leaders can implement effective strategies for protecting those systems. Formulating a CPS security strategy starts by:

  • Prioritizing discovery of all elements of the CPS environment;
  • Anchoring security goals and policies based on insights derived from device data and industry-specific requirements like regulations and threat intelligence; and,
  • Focusing on building maturity into the strategy based on an evolving Zero Trust approach.

Here at Ordr we call it a “See, Know, Secure” model for protecting connected devices, and the capabilities enabled by our platform dovetail well with the needs of organizations with CPS infrastructure. That’s because Ordr quickly discovers all CPS elements operating in the network, including those that were previously unknown or that connect and disconnect outside the control of IT management. This discovery happens in real-time, so there are never any blind spots.

Once discovered, we classify, map communications, analyze behavior, and assign a risk score to each device based on the data in the Ordr Data Lake—the industry’s most complete library of connected device intelligence. Our data lake is populated with millions of individual device profiles, including rich detail on each. We know their deterministic operational parameters, disclosed vulnerabilities, normal communications patterns, and other essential context that allows you to set policy.

A Potent Combination for CPS Protection

That combination of insight and capability supports automated responses whenever indicators of compromise are detected; and that means your network security gaps are identified and closed. Whether a CPS device is the vector, target, or in the path of an attack, Ordr can detect it and either stop it or help contain the spread.

The speed, complexity, and unique technical challenges endemic to cyber-physical systems operations means that legacy security tools and strategies are severely limited when applied to CPS infrastructure. Gartner recommends that CPS security “focus on safety, reliability, resilience, adaptability, and privacy.”

The Ordr platform is ideally suited to address these challenges. To read more about best practices to secure cyber physical systems, download a copy of the Gartner report, Market Guide for CPS Protection Platforms to help you better grasp the complexities and establish a CPS security strategy that meets the needs specific to your organization.

Northern Maine Medical Center. Fort Kent, Maine.

Fort Kent is a town of just over 4,000 residents abutting the Canadian border in rural Aroostook County, Maine. Fort Kent is famous for being the northernmost terminus of U.S. Route One, and infamous for its long, harsh winters. It is also home to Northern Maine Medical Center (NMMC), a 10-bed hospital that has seen services cut in an effort to lower operating costs.

Maine Public Radio recently reported from a public forum held in Fort Kent’s town hall after the hospital announced plans to close its maternity ward. Residents fear NMMC will soon close; and if it does it will be part of a growing trend. The American Hospital Association (AHA) says that 136 rural hospitals have closed since 2010, and according to a recent report by the Center for Healthcare Quality and Payment Reform (CHQPR), there are more than 600 hospitals across the country in danger of closing due to financial pressures. Of those, more than 200 are in immediate danger of shutting down. That means that hospital mergers and acquisitions (M&A) are likely to continue as a trend identified by Chief Healthcare Executive magazine, which reported there were more than 50 hospital M&As in 2022, with more expected this year.

The Good and Bad of Healthcare M&A

When larger hospitals acquire smaller–and especially rural–hospitals, it can have a positive effect on access to quality of care for the communities they serve. The AHA said that nearly 40% of hospitals added services after being acquired, and that operating efficiencies helped to lower costs by an average of 3.3% after an acquisition. But along with the benefits associated with healthcare M&As come security risks. Security Magazine reported that ransomware attacks on healthcare organizations have doubled since 2016, and because rural hospitals struggle with financial and staffing constraints, they are often more easily breached by threat actors.

In her testimony to the Senate Homeland Security & Government Affairs Committee during a hearing on cybersecurity threats to rural healthcare organizations, former North Country Hospital (Vermont) CIO/CISO Kate Pierce said, “[An] alarming trend that escalated in 2022 was cyber attackers shifting focus to small and rural hospitals. While most larger health systems have implemented advanced cybersecurity hygiene to thwart attacks and are employing large cybersecurity teams with sophisticated defenses, small facilities continue to struggle.”

[An] alarming trend that escalated in 2022 was cyber attackers shifting focus to small and rural hospitals. While most larger health systems have implemented advanced cybersecurity hygiene to thwart attacks and are employing large cybersecurity teams with sophisticated defenses, small facilities continue to struggle.” — Kate Pierce, former CIO/CISO, North Country Hospital

The Lurking Threat of Acquired Risks

The dynamic nature of connected devices operating in a network complicates security and IT management issues. In healthcare, these challenges are magnified because patient safety is affected when operations are compromised. Some findings from our most recent Rise of the Machines, Enterprise of Things Adoption and Risk Report (keep your eyes peeled for our 2023 edition soon), show the dangers present when Internet of Things (IoT), Internet of Medical Things (IoMT), and operational technologies (OT) proliferate in a healthcare environment.:

  • 86% of IoT and IoMT deployments have 10 or more FDA recalls.
  • 15%-19% of connected devices run on obsolete/unsupported operating systems.
  • 10%-15% of devices connected to the network  are unknown or unauthorized.
Compromised Medical Devices put Patient Safety at Risk

When a larger hospital makes an acquisition, it takes on the legacy cyber risks that previously beset the smaller one, including the technology assets used to run the facility and support staff in delivering care. In the best cases, hospitals and other healthcare delivery organizations (HDOs) rely on connected medical devices that are likely vulnerable to cyberattack. And once a piece of medical equipment is put in service, it may end up running with obsolete or unsupported software for years, or new vulnerabilities may be revealed that cannot be patched quickly due to patient safety concerns.

Even when a large hospital with “advanced cybersecurity hygiene” takes over the IT and security operations of a smaller hospital, it can take time to assess and mitigate the risks associated with integrating the new organization’s IT estate. And if any of the acquired systems were compromised prior to acquisition, a lurking, undetected threat actor may be able to use the smaller hospital’s IT infrastructure as a kind of Trojan horse from which to move laterally into the new owner’s systems, much like when hotelier Marriott was breached after acquiring Starwood Hotels in 2014.

Mitigate M&A Cybersecurity Risks

With these challenges in mind, a best practice approach to cybersecurity during an M&A event involves three critical steps:

1. Discover every asset in the network

You can’t protect what you can’t see, and so the key to addressing legacy threats and vulnerabilities inherited through the acquisition of other organizations’ technology estates is to be able to discover and classify every asset. That includes all the connected devices in operation: IoMT, IoT, OT, and more. This comprehensive asset inventory may also be useful to determine duplicate systems and reduce redundancies as both organizations in the M&A consolidate their assets.

The Ordr platform performs device discovery and classification quickly, and then monitors communications and tracks changes in real-time. Ordr goes beyond mere visibility to deliver deep, granular, classification of every device, from make, model, serial number, and operating system details. It also provides vital context about where a device is connected and what other systems it is communicating with. Ordr addresses one of the most common M&A challenges of overlapping IP schemas when two organizations are combined. This challenge prevents teams from easily establishing a single view of both environments and can slow risk assessment and integration efforts.

2. Identify your attack surface

The next step is identifying and measuring the attack surface from these assets. This can include devices with vulnerabilities, devices running outdated operating systems, or those with weak passwords. By baselining devices and their communications patterns, you can determine behavior that is outside of norm, that may be an indication of a compromised device.

From a deep, granular foundation of visibility, Ordr gives a complete view of the connected device attack surface and communications in real-time. Ordr identifies which devices are vulnerable or acting in a risky manner, and assigns a risk score based on the device’s known, determinative operational parameters.

3. Implement M&A cybersecurity best practices

Once you know what devices and risks you are inheriting as part of the acquisition, you can begin to implement M&A cybersecurity best practices. The most basic M&A cybersecurity best practices may be segmentation between the two networks, until access and convergence is complete. You will also want to identify or document key risks that need to be mitigated and addressed during or post acquisition.

Ordr dynamically automates the creation and enforcement of security policies. This means that organizations using the Ordr platform can quickly block attacks, quarantine compromised devices, segment vulnerable devices, and accelerate Zero Trust projects to proactively improve security.

Cybersecurity Due Diligence

Identify Risks Before Hospital Acquisition

Because hospitals and HDOs are under constant risk of attack from threat actors who care nothing of the danger their actions present to patients—and, in fact, use that danger to their advantage when carrying out ransomware attacks—there is no grace period when acquiring a smaller organization. It is imperative that the acquiring hospital include cybersecurity when conducting their due diligence. The network must be inventoried, assessed, and protected as quickly as possible, and Ordr helps get that done even before a contract is signed.

Furthermore, we operate on a philosophy of continuous improvement, expanding our integrations, leveraging the most up-to-date threat intelligence, and building our library of millions of device profiles to ensure Ordr is the most comprehensive, single source of connected device truth available. Check out our M&A solution brief for more details on how we help with cybersecurity due diligence.

Today’s tech-dependent enterprises are no strangers to change. Our customers’ experiences demonstrate that familiarity daily. Whether they operate in healthcare, financial services, manufacturing, education, or government, they must contend with a constantly evolving infrastructure within their organizations, and constantly evolving threats from the outside. On top of that are the regulations and evolving business standards and practices that influence day-to-day operations.

Embracing digital transformation for all its benefits means buckling in for a bumpy ride—bumpier for some industries than others. Digital transformation expands an organization’s capabilities and opportunities, but it takes effort. In healthcare, for example, I recently stumbled on an interesting report stating that only 16% of healthcare providers are in the “win zone,” meeting their transformation goals and driving sustainable change. The average across other industries is over 30%. That figure may be discouraging, but it is absolutely understandable, and organizations in healthcare as well as other industries can learn a lot from the experiences of their peers.

High Risks, Big Rewards

Using technology to improve patient care and operations sounds simple, but it is a complex endeavor that takes herculean effort. The pandemic briefly diverted attention away from long-term planning, but most health delivery organizations (HDOs) and other enterprises are back to addressing their plans and priorities. They are beginning to switch back from being reactive to a proactive mode. And with good reason.

Although high stakes, high costs, and risk aversion have discouraged many in the healthcare industry and beyond from fully embracing digital transformation, the rewards are too great to ignore. And the threats, expectations and competition all organizations face are not standing still. Done well, digital transformation delivers benefits that outweigh the risks and so, for those that have been reluctant to act, the time to embrace digital transformation is now.

What’s Fueling this New Wave of Transformation?

Over the years, every organization I have worked with—no matter how big or small—boils down their core priorities to three essential goals:

  • Protecting people and the network
  • Preserving service availability
  • Improving operational efficiency

Those goals never change, even when the tools and strategies for achieving them do. And what’s more, they are transferable to other contexts as well: keeping manufacturing equipment operational and staff safe on the shop floor, preserving service availability for financial transactions, maintaining the operational efficiency of constituent services, etc. Consistent with these goals, here are some key initiatives and capabilities that are driving this new wave of transformation and pushing the boundaries of operational potential.

  • Remote workforce support (i.e., work from home);
  • Remote facility, branch, and clinic operations;
  • Contractor and equipment maintenance support and outsourcing;
  • Data center transformation and migration to hybrid cloud;
  • Digital supply chain enablement; and,
  • Mergers and acquisitions.

These use cases show how, more and more, connected devices are integral to fulfilling an organization’s mission. And as the inventory of connected devices expands—including the Internet of Things (IoT), Internet of Medical Things (IoMT), operational technologies (OT), mobile, and other devices—those deployments reflect the evolution of the technology. Assets that were once under tight control, on-premises and behind the firewall, are now expanding and connecting beyond traditional boundaries, across multiple network dimensions, and outside of the view and control of IT.

Here are some examples:

  • Access from Any Device – IT, IoT, IoMT, OT, IoXT.
  • Access from Anywhere – remote sites, remote workers, telemedicine.
  • Deployed Anywhere – private and public cloud, virtualized data centers.
  • Modern Apps/Mobile Apps – XaaS, training, collaboration, any device-anywhere-any deployment support.
  • Ecosystem – third party apps, supply chain access, mergers and acquisitions.

What Keeps the CXOs Up at Night?

IT leaders tasked with driving new digital transformation initiatives understand that success goes well beyond merely integrating new technologies and getting them up and running. Enjoying the multitude of benefits that can follow the completion of a technology refresh comes with many elements contributing to the pucker factor that keeps a CXO awake at night. An expanded and expanding attack surface is at the heart of this unease. Acknowledging that fact, and the factors that play into those concerns, is the first step in planning for and addressing them during the transformation process, rather than promising yourself that you’ll “get to it eventually.” Some pucker factors are reflected in several troubling trends.

Surge in Ransomware Attacks

Ransomware attacks are now more frequent, sophisticated, and severe than ever—and getting worse. Attackers know that many organizations will pay huge ransoms because costs associated with downtime and operational disruption may be even higher than what attackers demand. In healthcare, disruptions caused by ransomware can have life and death consequences.

Prevention is the best way to deal with the ransomware threat, but old school methods simply don’t work. Prevention demands accurate and timely detection, and response automation that can block an attack from progressing to its target destination. You need a way to detect ransomware early, before it has encrypted your organization’s files, because then it’s too late to take effective action.

State-Sponsored Attacks

Adversarial nation states have become adept at using the ambiguity of cyberwarfare to launch attacks on critical infrastructure and economic targets, as well as organizations that hold valuable intellectual property. The tools and methods developed for these campaigns are rarely confined to a limited set of organizations either, as sowing chaos is part of the strategy.

For example, the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), along with the FBI and Treasury Department issued a joint advisory about North Korean Maui ransomware targeting the healthcare industry. Similarly, Russian threat actors have been hard at work compromising connected devices and using them as a platform for attacks, including data exfiltration after establishing communications with command-and-control servers in Russia.

Digital Supply Chain Security

Digital supply chains that allow for remote and automated service between organizations have been a boon for operational efficiency—and for threat actors able to compromise those connections for their own ends. The SolarWinds Orion attack targeting U.S. federal agencies and commercial enterprises illustrated how damaging supply chain attacks can be.

Vulnerable SolarWinds servers sitting inside agency and corporate networks, operating with privileged access to IT systems, proved to be a gold mine for hackers to exploit and get whatever data they need, including high level state and military secrets.

Shadow IoT

One big security challenge faced by enterprises today is the presence of connected devices on their networks operating outside the view of IT security and operations. Known as “shadow IoT,” these devices epitomize the mantra you can’t protect what you can’t see. A recent Five Fifty report by McKinsey highlights the risk of the proliferation of devices connecting to the network as shadow IoT (such as the infamous hack of a casino using a connected aquarium thermometer as the vector of attack) and lack of readiness for most organizations.

Often these systems operate with outdated OSes, are unpatched, and unmanaged. Without proper onboarding—or a security platform able to detect, identify, profile, and monitor any device that connects to the network—any organization with shadow IoT operating within its IT estate is at risk of an attack.

How Ordr Helps Enable Secure Digital Transformation

Ordr’s mantra from the beginning has been to enable our customers to SEE, KNOW, and SECURE every device that is connected to their organization. To do this, we establish the most comprehensive and accurate single source of connected device truth in the Ordr Data Lake for each of our customers. This starts with automatically discovering and accurately classifying every connected device because you can’t secure what you can’t see.

From this foundation of visibility Ordr provides a complete view of the connected device attack surface including how devices are connected and communicating, which devices are vulnerable, and the unique risk each device represents in the environment.

Integrations across the security, networking, and IT ecosystem are integral to the Ordr solution. These integrations enhance the already rich view Ordr has of connected devices by centralizing additional data points and device details. A good example of this are the recent integrations with Mobile Device Management (MDM) and Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) platforms in the recent Ordr 8.2 release.

Integrations also enable Ordr to enrich the tools and workflows used every day and improve how teams manage and secure devices. An example here is the recent integration with the ServiceNow Service Graph Connector to help customers ensure the data in their CMDB is complete, up to date, and accurate. Another example is how Ordr device insights are used to optimize vulnerability scanning with Qualys.

Integrations also help teams take action to address vulnerabilities, respond to active threats, proactively improve protections, and ultimately reduce risk. Ordr automates the creation of security policies and enforces those policies by integrating with a customer’s existing security and network infrastructure. With this approach Ordr customers are able to quickly block attacks, quarantine compromises devices, segment vulnerable devices, and accelerate Zero Trust projects to proactively improve security.

We continue to drive innovations across the Ordr platform and expand with integrations across the security, networking, and IT ecosystem to provide our customers with a single source of truth for all their connected devices. Reach out for a demo and to learn how Ordr can help you SEE, KNOW, and SECURE, all your connected devices.

There has been a lot of confusion about the future of cyber insurance following recent statements by market makers Lloyd’s of London and Zurich Insurance Group. In late 2022, Lloyd’s informed underwriters in its syndicate that they would be required to explicitly exclude coverage for damages related to state sponsored cyberattacks. More recently Zurich CEO Mario Greco told the Financial Times, “What will become uninsurable is going to be cyber,” adding that if a threat actor “takes control of vital parts of our infrastructure” the results may be uninsurable.

Those statements, coupled with well publicized policy price increases for 2023 that are as much as three times higher than what many customers paid the year before, have fueled concerns that cyber insurance coverage may be unavailable in the near future and that many underwriters may simply get out of the business. In many ways what we are seeing is the maturation of what remains a relatively new market trying to find its footing in a dynamic threat and risk landscape. Because of that, questions and confusion are rampant, and rational answers from seasoned experts are needed. That is why Ordr recently convened the Cybertrends and the Impact on Cyberinsurance webinar with Marc Schein, national co-chair, cybersecurity center of excellence, Marsh McLennan Agency, and Jim Brady, vice president cybersecurity and risk management, and CISO at Fairview Health. If you missed the webinar, you can check out the recording here.

A Little History

For context, the first cyber insurance policy was written in 1997 by AIG and, according to The Insurance Journal, “Covered only third party suits arising from breaches originating from outside the company.” Optimism for the insurance industry’s first new product category in decades was high, but as underwriters began entering the market in the early 2000s, the challenges associated with an increasingly difficult threat landscape became evident. The number of threat actors, including lone wolf hackers, criminal syndicates, and state-sponsored adversaries, was growing quickly, and the tools available to them were becoming more effective. As new threats emerged, the insurance industry struggled to keep current.

Fast-forward to 2020 and, with the outbreak of Covid-19, things got bad. In the chaos of a global pandemic threat actors took advantage and began focusing on the use of ransomware. Few organizations were prepared for the attacks, and the insurance industry’s risk calculations were turned upside down. Schein said many “underwriters were paying out more in claims than they were collecting in premiums because they were unprepared for the rise in ransomware.”

Ransomware Disruption

According to Marsh, there were 4,000 ransomware attacks per day in the U.S., and the cost to the insurance industry was $20 billion in 2021. Then, in 2022 with the outbreak of hostilities between Russia and Ukraine there was another sudden shift in the industry’s risk calculus. The potential for acts of cyberwar targeting critical infrastructure and industry, coupled with continued escalating risks for industries like healthcare, forced the insurance industry to make numerous adjustments to its risk assessments, culminating in steep premium increases along with policies and exclusions written with greater specificity.

In hindsight these changes shouldn’t come as a surprise. If anything, organizations that used cyber insurance as a major part of their risk management strategy had been getting a great deal. But as the industry has become more educated on the risks, that experience is now forcing organizations to (finally) take their own cybersecurity programs more seriously. No more cutting corners. Instead, to qualify for coverage, savvy insurers are demanding that organizations be able to demonstrate that they have complete visibility and understanding of their IT estates, and have implemented controls sufficient to protect their assets.

Gain Control

As an early player in cyber insurance, brokerage, risk management, and reinsurance services firm, Marsh McLennan has been a leader in its industry with a deep understanding of what it takes for customers to protect themselves from cyberthreats. The firm offers a list of twelve security controls it requires of its customers that Schein shared during the webinar–along with the caveat that a failure to demonstrate use of the first five is likely to disqualify the organization for coverage. Those twelve controls are:

  1. Multifactor authentication (MFA) for remote access and admin/privileged controls
  2. Endpoint detection and response (EDR)
  3. Secured, encrypted, and tested backups
  4. Privileged access management (PAM)
  5. Email filtering and web security
  6. Patch management and vulnerability management
  7. Cyber incident response planning and testing
  8. Cybersecurity awareness training and phishing testing
  9. Hardening techniques, including remote desktop protocol (RDP) mitigation
  10. Logging and monitoring/network protections
  11. End-of-life systems replaced or protected
  12. Vendor/digital supply chain risk management

The Marsh checklist signals a growing savvy within the industry that knows more information means more accurate risk assessments. As Robert Parisi, North American head of cyber solutions for Munich Re recently told the Wall Street Journal, “The underwriting is aggressively moving toward, ‘How can we get a deeper, more insightful look.’”

What’s missing on this checklist? In the webinar, we raised the question of why asset visibility, security, and segmentation were not included in the list of controls. In fact, the broad “endpoint detection and response”, “patch management and vulnerability management,” and “end-of-life systems replaced or protected” all require visibility into assets and the risks they bring.

Deeper Insight

That requirement for deeper insights into the customer’s risk posture can translate to an advantage for some organizations when shopping for a cyber insurance policy. The ability to provide proof of asset visibility across their entire enterprise can mean a stronger position when shopping for a policy and negotiating with potential underwriters. Brady discussed the advantages Fairview has enjoyed by “coming to the table ready to roll” with necessary controls fully documented. This includes proof the organization has gone beyond an insurer’s requirements by implementing complete asset inventory management and network segmentation to ensure the organization’s ability to quickly detect and effectively mitigate risks.

“How can you even detect something bad going on [with a device] if you don’t even know you have it?” — Jim Brady, Fairview Health


“How can you even detect something bad going on [with a device] if you don’t even know you have it?” Brady asked, highlighting the strategic advantage of having complete device visibility across the entire network.

Good News

Schein agreed, and delivered surprisingly good news when he said, “If you are engaging better controls and you do improve your security posture, the marketplace is getting significantly better.” He then shared that, even as sharp premium increases grab headlines, 14% of Marsh’s customers enjoyed a price decrease by aggressively improving their overall security posture.

“If you are engaging better controls and you do improve your security posture, the marketplace is getting significantly better.” — Marc Schein, Marsh McLennan Agency


Clearly, security leaders that have invested in maturing their cybersecurity program with asset management, and excellent controls at the core are reaping the benefits by not only hardening their enterprises against attacks, but by reducing their overall risk profile. Many security leaders recognize that Ordr can play a key role in that equation by giving its customers the ability to see across the entire enterprise to continuously discover and classify an organization’s complete connected device inventory. What’s more, the Ordr Data Lake ensures deep insight into every device’s risk profile with a real-time understanding of communications and operational behavior that could signal an indicator of compromise. Those insights can trigger dynamically created security policies that can be quickly enforced to prevent or contain an attack, and also give insurers confidence that they are working with a customer that takes the concept of Zero Trust seriously and employs strong risk reduction practices.

Click through to view the Cybertrends and the Impact on Cyberinsurance webinar. And for a deeper dive into how to use Ordr as a tool to better secure your organization and prepare for negotiating your best deal for cyber insurance, watch Master Class: How Ordr Bolsters your Cyberinsurance Eligibility.

(Updated on November 10th with new Ordr capabilities) 

On October 26th, OpenSSL Project a critical vulnerability associated with OpenSSL versions 3.0 and higher. The version released on November 1st — OpenSSL version 3.0.7 —addresses this vulnerability.

  • CVE-2022-3602 is an arbitrary 4-byte stack buffer overflow that could trigger crashes or lead to remote code execution (RCE).
  • CVE-2022-3786 can be exploited by attackers via malicious email addresses to trigger a denial-of-service state via a buffer overflow.
  • These vulnerabilities were downgraded from critical to as high (CVSS score 8.8 from 9.0) on November 1st.

Here is what you need to know about this critical vulnerability:

What is OpenSSL? 

OpenSSL is a widely used open-source cryptography utility implemented to keep secure the web traffic exchange between a client and server. It is used to generate public and private keys, install SSL/TLS certificates, verify certificate information, and provide encryption.

Most web servers across the internet and within Intranets use SSL certificates to secure connections and the website being browsed. These certificates are traditionally generated by OpenSSL.

How concerned should we be about this vulnerability? 

OpenSSL can be misused if the vulnerable version is in use. The good news is that this vulnerability impacts a very specific version of OpenSSL and patching quickly will address any associated risks.

A flaw in OpenSSL has previously affected businesses. In April 2014, OpenSSL’s Heartbleed flaw was discovered. Numerous web servers, including those running popular websites like Yahoo, included it. Security teams rushed to apply updates because the vulnerability was simple to exploit.

How is this OpenSSL vulnerability exploited? 

Both CVE-2022-3602 and CVE-2022-3786 vulnerabilities are prone to buffer overflow attacks that can perform RCE (Remote Code Execution) or expose contents of the memory that contains private keys or proprietary information.

The chances of these vulnerabilities getting abused are low because one of the conditions is a malformed certificate signed by a trusted CA.

The issue lies in the verification process of certificates that OpenSSL performs for certificate-based authentication. The exploitation of the vulnerabilities could allow an attacker to launch a Denial of Service (DoS) or even a Remote Code Execution attack.

Patches for the two weaknesses found in OpenSSL v3.0.0 to v3.06 have now been released.

Which OpenSSL versions are vulnerable? 

  • OpenSSL versions 3.0 and above are vulnerable.
  • OpenSSL 3.0.0, the first stable version of OpenSSL 3.0, was released in September 2021, about one year ago. Any older operating systems prior to 3.0.0 are not impacted by this vulnerability.
  • Open SSL version 3.0.0 to 3.0.6 are affected by this vulnerability.
  • OpenSSL version 3.0.7 includes the fix for the critical vulnerability.

CRITICAL Severity: This affects common configurations, which are also likely to be exploitable. Among these are significant disclosures of server memory (potentially revealing user information), vulnerabilities that are easily exploitable to compromise server private keys remotely, or situations where remote code execution is possible. We will keep these issues private and release a new version of all supported versions as soon as possible.

HIGH Severity: This includes issues that are of a lower risk than critical, perhaps due to affecting fewer common configurations or which are less likely to be exploitable. These issues will be kept private and will trigger a new release of all supported versions. We will attempt to keep the time these issues are private to a minimum; our aim would be no longer than a month, where this is something under our control.

Is the Ordr platform impacted by the OpenSSL vulnerability?   

Ordr has reviewed our usage of OpenSSL. This vulnerability does not impact Ordr as we do not use the impacted version.

How Ordr can help? 

Ordr has added two new capabilities:

  1. A new scanner that will detect versions of the OpenSSL that are vulnerable.

  1. New IPS signatures that can detect exploits of this OpenSSL vulnerability

New Ordr Scanner to Detect Vulnerable Versions of OpenSSL  

  • Ordr scanner uses the following command-line Options:
  • As servers have an open HTTP port; A curl command is used to connect to them to find the SSL version
  • In cases where clients do not usually have web services, the “ssh” command can be used instead.
  • As for a detection method, we use HTTPS headers, SSH headers, and credentialed scans to get the information.
  • Some scanners use only authenticated approach that requires full credentials, but Ordr uses an unauthenticated way to get information about Open SSL versions.
  • Ordr scanner also uses tools like Nmap to find open ports as a precursor before finding out about the OpenSSL version.
  • Example screenshots of detecting Open SSL that is built into the Ordr scanner.

Sample SSL command 

Sample SSH command 

Packet Parser with IDS Signatures to Detect Exploit Attempts 

  • While the Ordr scanner detects all the machines that have this vulnerability, the next step is to see if any exploits are exploting this vulnerability.
  • There is a parser on the wire that we need to enhance with rules to get versions of TLS, certs, and cryptography.
  • Ordr has an intrusion detection engine that scans for exploits of this vulnerability with the correct signatures. For example, given below is a signature that would help identify the exploit of this vulnerability.
  • CVS-2022-3602 Detection – Detection of this pattern was done using IDS Signatures.
  • A buffer overflow can be triggered by sending an X.509 certificate with a specially crafted email address in the “id-on-SmtpUTF8Mailbox” field (OID, resulting in a crash (Denial of Service – DoS) or potentially remote code execution on a vulnerable client or server. Potential opportunities for exploitation can occur if a server requests authentication information after a malicious client connects or if a client connects to a malicious server, which would then make the client vulnerable.
  • “OpenSSL x509 crafted email address buffer overflow attempt” is detected with the following signature.
  • In the event that there is a malicious activity involving OpenSSL, Ordr has pushed the latest signature to all its customers, and the alarms will be raised.