Third Party IT Suppliers Must Reassess Governance, Risk management and Compliance Responsibilities

By   ISBuzz Team
Writer , Information Security Buzz | Jul 15, 2014 05:02 pm PST

The interesting thing about the breach reported by Vancouver-based Information Systems & Supplies Inc.* is that it highlights the responsibility now borne by third party IT suppliers to PCI merchants. Remote access services such as LogMeIn or TeamViewer provide superb levels of functionality equivalent to a direct Remote Desktop session, and, naturally, are highly secure in their architecture and operation.

But if account credentials are stolen, direct access to Customer Systems is then afforded to the password-thief, and all of a sudden, the feature-rich, easy-access remote access service will be providing the ultimate hacker portal to the customer’s sensitive data. Full remote control with two-way file transfer makes things way too easy!

Details of this particular incident are sketchy as always, but it could be inferred from what we do know that a simple phishing attack struck lucky with one of the employees at IS&S. This in turn led ultimately to their LogMeIn account credentials being abused. IS&S provide POS systems to a large number of hospitality/restaurant businesses and seemingly have LogMeIn access to customer sites for support. It is not yet clear if customers have been affected by any data loss.

3rd Party Service Provider or Hacker-Portal Provider?

If your business involves providing remote IT systems support to your customers this serves as a gentle reminder that you are responsible for maintaining unassailable standards of security. More to the point, you have almost certainly agreed in your contract with your customer that you will indemnify them from any breach resulting from your side. If you have provided an ‘SAQ-D for Service Providers’ then you are absolutely responsible for operating security best practices determined by the PCI DSS (see Conversely, if you are a PCI Merchant or Payment Provider then now is the time to make sure that your IT Service Providers have provided an appropriate indemnification to you.

No escape for the SOX, NIST 800-53 and HIPAA club either

Now, even if PCI Compliance isn’t relevant to you in either context as a consumer or provider of 3rd Party IT Services, then this still should resonate with most organizations, including:
– Healthcare providers (with respect to HIPAA compliance)
– Federal organizations (with respect to NIST 800-53)
– Listed Companies or Accounting firms (subject to SOX)All of these governance, risk management, and compliance (GRC) standards require the highest levels of security to be maintained, including device hardening, vulnerability management and file integrity monitoring, and in turn making adherence to equivalent levels of security mandatory for 3rd party service providers too.

Time to check the small print on those contracts…

Mark Kedgley, CTO, New Net Technologies

About New Net Technologies

nnt_logoFully featured, yet easy to use, NNT’s security monitoring and change detection software is particularly effective in managing IT security and compliance requirements such as PCI DSS or ISO 27000. By combining Device Hardening, Change & Configuration Management, File Integrity Monitoring, Device Policy Management and SIEM in one integrated solution, NNT makes it straightforward, cost effective and affordable for organizations of any size to ensure their IT systems remain healthy, secure and compliant at all times.