About Us | Contact Us
View Cart

Hardware vendors . . . low risk?

By Dan Hadaway | Tuesday, February 24, 2015 - 2 Comments

NOT!


Do we need to do due diligence on our “hardware vendors?”

Another one of those Dan’s New Leaf Posts, meant to inspire thought about IT Governance . . . .

NO NEED FOR DUE DILIGENCE ON HARDWARE VENDORS . . . . . OR NOT????

I finally bought my new laptop.  Was researching throughout the fourth quarter, and ended up selecting a Lenovo.  I told myself, as I tell my Clients, “no need for due diligence on a hardware vendor.”

You may have heard about Lenovo recently . . . . My laptop came with an additional feature that I didn’t order . . . . . Superfish Spyware . . . . And it temporarily destroyed my ability to rely on SSL Certificates.  It’s part of a new risk arising due to the increasing use of what some call “crapware.”

Fortunately, I have a team of security experts and they helped me both uninstall the program and remove the bogus certificate.  Yes, that’s right.  Uninstalling the app does not solve the problem.  You need to also remove the problematic certificate.  It’s in control panel > internet options > content tab > certificates button > trusted root certificate authorities.

superfish_certificateWe originally decided we should wipe the drive and re-install the operating system and drivers from scratch but . . . . . I’m running a business . . . . So we’re logging the risk that there COULD be additional issues, and putting a Google Alert on Lenovo.  What does this mean?

It means we’re accepting risk that Lenovo could have additional malware on the device.  But we feel that risk is well-mitigated, and likelihood of an additional issue is rather low.   We have a response ready and we’re watching the press.  So no, Dan isn’t going to wipe the drive and start over . . . . yet.

But now we must at least consider performing “due diligence” on Lenovo . . . and any hardware vendor . . . unless we wipe the drive.  We’re still wondering about the real-world implications of this . . . do we do due diligence on Apple or Motorola when we purchase a portable device?  Because we certainly aren’t going to wipe the drive there, are we?

And how would we word the “threshold question” for this particular issue?  Something like:   “Will the vendor have advance access to software on the asset?”  Or “will vendor’s access to the asset allow vendor to install unknown software?”   What we’re talking about is the question that needs to be inserted into a typical threshold analysis process, and the implications could mean lots of unnecessary work, if we’re not careful.

For those of you using the infotex vendor management spreadsheets, it would be the green question inserted below:

Potential New Threshold Analysis
Proposed Threshold Analysis Change

And then look at the question we’d need to add below, to ensure that we at least do basic due diligence on the vendor . . .

Due Diligence Detail Question

Proposed Detail Question (note the “25” if no.)

As I said, the implications are scary.  We need to slow down and think this through.  So don’t expect this to be on any audit checklists soon!  But we should still all be aware of the potential risk.

And my standard response now is going to be . . . “only if you wipe the drive and re-install the operating system and drivers from scratch.  Otherwise, you should perform some sort of risk assessment on the vendor.”

And that’s also if you trust the NSA.


Original article by Dan Hadaway CRISC CISA CISM. Founder and Managing Partner, infotex

“Dan’s New Leaf” is a “fun blog to inspire thought in the area of IT Governance.”

 


same_strip_012513


 

2 Responses to “Hardware vendors . . . low risk?”

Comment from Dan Hadaway
Time 02/26/2015 at 8:55 am

Well the Lenovo alerts are coming in . . . . cluttering my inbox. I’m obviously not the only one writing about Lenovo! Might need to tighten my alert criteria!

Comment from Dan Hadaway
Time 02/27/2015 at 8:04 am

As an example, the recent hack into their website required us to look into it, and determine that unless we are using their e-mail service (and we’re not), we do not have exposure there. It does affect their reputation as a vendor but we’ve already marked them way down on that.

It’s like advanced Deja Vu . . . . the cost to monitor Lenovo could outweight the cost to wipe the drive . . . . stay tuned!

Latest News
    What are the top seven risks your board should know about in 2021? Since his first board presentation in 2000, when Dan presents audit reports to boards of directors, he also talks to the board about the top risks the institution is facing. Since 2006, Dan has been compiling a list of the “top seven […]
     A Timeline Update as of 02/22/21 An update to our Newest Employee’s FIRST Technical Article Another interim post-mortem review . . . . A Note About Updates: We have decided to leave the original article as it was originally posted and to update this post with any changes that have been made. You can see […]
    Another awareness poster for YOUR customers (and users).  Now that we have our own employees aware, maybe it’s time to start posting content for our customers! Download the large versions here: Awareness Poster (Portrait) Awareness Poster (Landscape)   You are welcome to print out and distribute this around your office.  
    A Webinar-Movie The 2020 annual webinar update on the subject will include a review of the previous years’ movies that are already available, and a discussion about alternative tactics that have arisen from recent virtual conferences and regulator panels.
    The cybersecurity industry faces challenges, and some of them may involve your business… An article review. In a world where threats to your organization’s electronic assets are constantly emerging and evolving a cybersecurity insurance policy can help mitigate risk…but what kind of risk does the cybersecurity insurance industry face?  A new article in the Harvard […]
    A Timeline as of 01/24/2021 Our Newest Employee’s FIRST Technical Article Another interim post-mortem review . . . . A Note About Updates: We are leaving this article as is, but for any updates to the timeline, check the Autopsy of the SolarWinds Hack Timeline Update article!      – Vigilize Introduction: As the managing […]
    PRESS RELEASE – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE BUSINESS NEWS FORUM AND CONFERENCE NEWS infotex is proud to announce that Dan Hadaway will be moderating a series of IT Forums for the Ohio Bankers League. “We are excited to continue fostering the relationship with the OBL to help educate and keep Risk Management at the forefront of […]
    Top 7 Trend Articles of 2021. . .  . . .For ISOs of Small Financial Institutions. Welcome to our annual T7 article:  a list of our favorite trend articles from the past year.  Our intent: help you organize your thoughts as your work through your strategic planning process.  We hope reviewing these articles will help you […]
    Another awareness poster for YOUR customers (and users).  Now that we have our own employees aware, maybe it’s time to start posting content for our customers! Download the large versions here: Awareness Poster (Portrait) Awareness Poster (Landscape)   You are welcome to print out and distribute this around your office.  
    A Webinar-Movie In our current world of uncertainty there is at least one thing that is certain. Business needs to continue, and that means that it is important for managers to be able to meet with their team even if everyone is working remotely at this point. In this Webinar-Movie, Dan will compare virtual meeting […]