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Qualys vulnerability vs discovery scan

One of my most frequent topics of discussion in my time as a vulnerability management architect was the question of a Qualys vulnerability vs discovery scan. It’s especially confusing because Qualys is completely silent on the topic. There’s a reason for that. Let’s talk about the types of Qualys scans and what they can do for you.

Officially, Qualys discovery scans don’t exist. That said, you can implement something very close to what Qualys’ competitors call a discovery scan, and reap numerous benefits from it.

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Lockheed Martin Cyber Kill Chain explained

The Lockheed Martin Cyber Kill Chain is a popular model in information security. The model illustrates the typical cyber attack. Like the CIA triad, the Cyber Kill Chain is a fundamental concept that helps people understand what motivates security professionals. Understanding it and being able to explain it makes us more effective at our jobs.

Here’s an explanation of the Cyber Kill Chain, along with a couple of examples, one real, and one imagined.

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How to choose a VPN service

Someone asked me to recommend a VPN service. Since I’m a security professional, I’m supposed to know how to evaluate things like that. But that question makes me very uncomfortable, for reasons I’ll explain in a bit. I’d rather tell you what to look for so you can choose one. So here’s how to choose a VPN service.

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How long it takes to get a security job with no experience

I was involved in an interesting discussion about how long it takes to get a security job. But here’s an even more important question. How long does it take to get a security job with no experience? That’s a tougher question. I’ll also argue there’s no such thing as no experience. But to keep the search engines happy, here’s how long it takes to get a security job with no experience (except there’s no such thing as no experience!).

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Automatic updates vs managed updates

Just turning on automatic updates is one of those bumper sticker-style solutions to IT problems that won’t go away. It sounds really good, and of course it would be cheap. And since nobody’s doing it, it sounds like a new idea. As someone who’s been working in this space more than 20 years, I can tell you there’s a reason nobody does it. And it’s a good reason. It’s even a reason most proponents of bumper sticker-style solutions love to cite as a reason not to do something: unintended consequences.

While allowing systems to auto update seems like a cheap way to solve a difficult IT problem, the unintended consequences can be devastating. There are reasons to do automatic updates in limited circumstances, but it’s easy to cause bigger problems than you solve.

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Make a simple pivot table in Python

One of the first things I do when I open a vulnerability scan is make a pivot table on the title of the vulnerability and the count of that title. Then I do the same for all the systems. It’s easy to do in Excel once you’ve seen someone do it once, but if you have a lot of data it can be crash prone. Here’s how to make a simple pivot table in Python.

This example is for Qualys data but it’s easy to adapt it to another scanner. Just change the names of the columns. Python is so much faster and more reliable for this that I rarely make pivots in Excel anymore. I make them in Python, then load the output file in Excel for viewing.
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