A Rogue Device Sandwich

Writers: Stanislav (Stas) Siganevich, Retail Sector Manager and Snir Zarin, Solution Architect, Centerity.

I just wanted to have lunch but instead I’ve spotted a security breach. Does it make sense that a CISO needs to be physically present in a retail store to know about those threats?


  • It appears there are physical threats which are not covered by the standard security tools.
  • Only by arriving locally to one of our retail stores, I could identify a huge potential unknown security breach.
  • How easy is it to use a malicious device to penetrate our organization defenses? Quite simple to be honest.

Found it by chance

I’m hungry, I thought to myself as I was finishing with the last of the FW rules and distributing them to all of the stores. The daily dilemma of “where to get my calories today” was irrelevant today because yesterday the retailer I worked with to opened a brand-new store with a deli nearby that looks very promising.

As I was marching to the elevator, I remembered that I didn’t distribute the latest patches to the new equipment in that very store I was going to get my lunch from, but… it can wait an hour, I guess. When I entered the store the smell of the fresh baked bread and smoked meat fills my lungs and I joined the long line on my quest to fulfill my gastronomic desires.

The line was moving slowly, so I decided to try to catch up with all of the emails, though it’s not really possible. The reception in the store was not that good so connecting to a corporate WIFI sounded like the quickest solution (the bonus of being an information security officer), but when I was searching for a desired network in the list something caught my eye – an unknown network clearly transmitting from within the store with a really strong signal.

Red alert, red alert, all warning signs went off. I pulled my Laptop from the briefcase and left the line – my smoked beef sandwich will have to wait for me.

I started looking around to see if I can spot something or someone unusual. Everyone was pretty much busy with their food, god I’m hungry, except for one young lady that was sitting with a laptop, but without even a coffee cup in sight, right next to her there was a slightly displaced digital billboard that we had just recently installed. When I started walking towards her to see what she’s doing she must have noticed my corporate badge and quickly close the lid of the computer and started to go towards the exit. I checked my phone and… the network was still transmitting. I got a bit closer, just close enough to see a small black device sticking out of the network sockets that were in use by the billboard. When I pulled that sucker out, the unidentified network went down. Another one under the belt. A few moments later I was again in the line for that divine sandwich, feeling like a hero, wondering, why can’t I clone myself, though the thought of “why my NAC solution did not stop this” had me a bit (a megabit to be frank) worried.

“45!” the teller shouted. That’s me!!!! Oh joy!! “One Brisket with pickles and Coke please”, I approved the payment with my watch and the guy turned away to prepare my meal. In the meantime, I had nothing to do but to explore the POS in front of me, one of those I have to distribute with the latest patches once I get back to the office. Big screen, wireless payment terminal, the new Verifone model is prettier than the previous one I thought to myself, but wait, what is that I see? 3 shining USB ports just staring at me, without any barrier, just 20 centimeters from my hand, unsupervised, unprotected, exposed to the whole world for abusing. Sometimes I just wish I could unsee things, but this is not the case. In case you do not see an issue with this situation, let me draw a picture for you: Anyone, yes, anyone, a customer, a supplier, an employee, can connect a rogue device to this USB, oh, sorry, first lets say a few words about “Rogue Device”:

By definition, Rogue devices are malicious by nature. They are devices that have intentionally been compromised to carry out cyberattacks including data breaches, malware and ransomware attacks. Manipulating a peripheral device with a small computer, such as the Beagle Bone Board, allows bad actors to remotely gain access to an organization’s network by creating an out of band connection to bypass an air-gapped network. From here, data can be extracted, or malware/ransomware can be installed without the end-user knowing it, causing organizations to be vulnerable to both exfiltration and injection. Often, rogue devices help attackers perform man in the middle (MiTM) attacks, whereby the device intercepts the message from the victim to the entity. The consequences are impactful, and these attacks can even allow attackers to bypass biometric authentication.

Again, I pick up the phone, and realized our existing MDM and NAC systems can’t recognize those kind of devices, as they appear legit to the operating system. I guess I need to find a solution which can track those malicious hardware foes instantly, without visiting our entire retail store network on a daily basis. Dam, do you remember that I have not eaten yet??

My sandwich is packed and I’m all set to go. I start walking toward the exit when I pass the new digital billboard that is being installed and… oh my eyes!!!! Corporate network socket is just waiting there for anyone to connect to, but I’m hungry, so we will pick it up in the next episode.


As existing security tools are not covering the new era types of Rogue devices, we need to find a resolution to close this vulnerability and fast. Rogue devices are cheap and available to all, especially to bad guys with bad intentions. Any open hardware slot is similar to any open port. We can compare it to a closed but unlocked door which can be opened simply by turning the door knob, open it and get full access.

What can you do? A lot. Centerity’s Cyber AIOps Module for Rogue Device Mitigation can prevent those malicious hardware devices from penetrating your network. We will be more than happy to show you how simply you can avoid those kinds of attacks and keep your organization safe.

Remote IT Operations is the New Norm

IT in Times of Crisis

IT operations pros worldwide are instantly part of wartime environments.  They are supporting a massive number of people transitioning to remote work, shifting work models, and in most cases, extended hours.  While the COVID-19 virus is putting a severe strain on corporate networks, servers, and security policies, it may also be causing major traffic jams on customer-facing websites.  This is especially true for consumer-facing businesses in retail, healthcare and financial services.  Above all, the new IT reality is testing each organization’s ability to deal with the unexpected and unplanned1.

According to Accenture2, the transition that many leading companies have been pursuing towards digital businesses must continue and even accelerate during times of crisis.  Some of the critical business areas impacted are Operations, Commerce, User Experience, Supply Chain, Leadership, and the Workplace.  Each one of these areas is essential to business requiring a holistic approach to digital transformation.

While we hope there will not be another event of this magnitude, changes that became necessary during these last few months will persist – the IT evolution will need to adapt to this new reality.  Agility and adaptability are not buzz words anymore and have become an essential part of modern IT managements’ DNA.  IT systems must adapt to a new, ever-changing, ever-evolving reality, implying that many assumptions companies had regarding their information technology ecosystems are no longer valid.

The Unexpected Demand Scenario

What happens when operations support systems such as remote access or VPN systems suddenly expand from serving 25% of the company to 100%, becoming business-critical?  As workloads shift and secondary systems become business-critical, performance management becomes the only way to cope with the lack of resources in an on-premise or hybrid operating model.

Capacity planning is usually completed in advance according to trends with relatively constant consumption dynamics.  In on-premise and hybrid architectures, new purchases may take months to provision.  The only answer to cope with existing systems constraints and maintain regular operations is to have automation through an AIOps platform that can: (1) detect and even predict these new demands on systems; (2) detect performance problems proactively; and (3) execute remediation measures automatically to keep the systems performing optimally.

Deal with the New Reality

In the new reality, the transition from traditional, static, rules-based monitoring to dynamic AIOps is essential.  Modern IT management teams can no longer wait for trends to become obvious as future operating behaviors will become more dynamic, more frequent and less predictable.  Traditional monitoring and event management systems are based on static thresholds that primarily rely on assumptions derived from past experiences.  As operating scenarios change rapidly in the new paradigm, dynamic behavioral analysis becomes the new doctrine for modern IT Operations.  The manual adjusting of alert thresholds, the lack of correlation across interdependent domains, and reactive alarms are no longer acceptable when an average company may have more than 2,500 performance metrics per unique business service.

Driverless, IT Operations

Proactive analytics and automated responses are the new norm and ensure optimal system performance. Functionality like these will allow modern IT management teams to rapidly adapt to these new, unexpected realities without serious disruptions to current operations.

Centerity offers a modern AIOps platform married with Cyber AIOps capabilities that automatically learns the behavior of critical applications and business processes by using machine learning on a Big Data, Time-Series platform that can adapt dynamically without the need for human intervention.

As a result, IT management is empowered to adapt to new, unexpected realities in a matter of days without disrupting current operations.

  1. https://blog.opsramp.com/coronavirus-it-operations-reading-list?utm_campaign=FY20%20Q1%20-%20Spring%202020%20Newsletter&utm_source=hs_email&utm_medium=email&utm_content=85497904&_hsenc=p2ANqtz-8e4Hu79oscIEjeueRk3vIvEAaSJ7MlGL7vG3PDGQOiT7JJfdzlVsxoaHX3C8Gr_1VIJMFz9k-5Qc6zfoe3Bjr7AnRkMQ&_hsmi=85497904
  2. https://www.accenture.com/us-en/about/company/coronavirus-business-economic-impact