Oct 31, 2012

IPv6 Security - Why You Should Care About It

Today's Whiteboard Wednesday features Bernd Leger, Rapid7's VP of Marketing, who will be talking about IPv6 security and why it is important to your security program. He goes over what IPv6 actually is, why it is relevant to the security world and next steps to protect IPv6 networks and devices.

Rapid7's IPv6 security solutions help you proactively identify, assess, and fix IPv6 security threats. Even organizations that still use IPv4 can be significantly and unknowingly impacted by IPv6 security, as many devices are enabled by default for IPv6. If not properly tested, these devices can actually represent a significant risk and an attack path for hackers. Rapid7’s IPv6 security solutions have been specifically designed to help organizations identify, manage and fix IPv6 security threats.

Interested in trying out Nexpose to see what IPv6 enabled devices are on your network? Download today and get a better understanding as to where you stand you're your IPv6 security.

Read Video Transcript

Hi. My name is Bernd. I am the VP of Marketing at Rapid 7. Welcome to Whiteboard Wednesday. Let's talk about why you should care about IPv6.

Some interesting facts. There is actually more people living on the entire planet, than there are currently IPv4 addresses. What is an IPv4 address? The analogy I like to use is, think of your phone book, and we've run out of phone numbers. IPv6 is basically a new area code or a new phone number that we are starting to hand out. An IPv6 is the parallel world in IP addresses, in numbers that you need to run websites. Most people actually don't care about IPv6. It's interesting that they don't, because quite frankly, they should. Let me tell you why.

There is some early adopters in the industry, such as Telco companies, higher education, and federal agencies. The reason why these are early adopters is because, in the case of Telcos, they really are the backbone of our next generation Internet, media, and telecommunication exchange. Higher education is provisioning their students, and Federal agencies are actually mandated by law, in some industries and some sectors of Federal starting deploying IPv6. Many other industries haven't yet. They don't feel like it applies to them. They don't think IPv6 is relevant for them. What's interesting actually is that they probably should, because even if they are not running IPv6 networks, there are many, many devices on our IPv4 environments and networks that are, by default, configured to run both on IPv4 and IPv6.

They ship from the factories with both enabled. If you don't know that, you might not even know that you have these devices on your network. Why is that important? Because, that could open up a potential door for an attacker actually to take advantage of this information, to come in through IPv6 into our environments, and do some damage and breach your environment.

What's challenging about IPv6 security overall? Fundamentally, there are three main things. As we just discussed, they are very difficult to detect. Very often, we don't even look for them. If you don't look for them, you are not going to find them. Secondly, it's very difficult to actually run IPv4 and IPv6 in parallel. This is quite complex. It requires a lot of technical skills. Many organizations just haven't started looking at that yet, so it's very complex. Thirdly, because there's a lot of uncertainty and misinformation around IPv6, it's actually an ideal threat factor for attackers to come in and leverage this misinformation, to take advantage and breach your environments. Those are the three challenges with security.

Now, what recommendations can we provide to you? Number one, get educated. Get smart about IPv6. There are a number of white papers out there. There's a number of webcasts out there that can help you to better understand what to do about IPv6, and how to handle that from a security perspective, as well as overall how you can deploy it in your networks. Secondly, find out if you have IPv6 environments, even if you are not running an IPv6 environment. You can use solutions such as vulnerability scanners or discover tools that will help you to understand if you have IPv6 enabled devices on your network. If the answer is, "Yes, I have them," make sure that you turn off these devices, because that will help you prevent potential attacks from happening. The analogy I would use, it's like you have your house. You have your front door which is locked, but all of a sudden, you have a back door that you are not even looking at, that has an open door. Make sure you lock that back door as well, to protect your environment.

That's really all we have for today. Thanks for joining. We look forward to seeing you soon again, for another Whiteboard Wednesday. Thank you.

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