The Coalfire Blog

Welcome to the Coalfire Blog, a resource covering the most important issues in IT security and compliance. You'll also find information on Coalfire's insights into the unique cybersecurity issues that impact the industries we serve, including Cloud Service Providers, RetailFinancial Services, Healthcare, Higher Education, Payments, Government.

The Coalfire blog is written by the company's leadership team and our highly-credentialed security assessment experts.


  • Processing Payments in the Cloud

    April, 2019, Andrew Barratt, Managing Principal, Solution Validation, Coalfire

    Some things work so well together that even suggesting they don’t now seems almost ridiculous. But I wonder, who were the pioneers that fought back when questioned about the jelly on the PB? The savory with the sweet. The steak wrapped in cheese . . . those crazy hipsters spreading avocado on toast. Yet, now these are the norm, and so it’s time to embrace yet another: Payments and the Cloud. My teams work with some of the biggest payment processors in the world, and for years we saw reluctance, cloud inertia, and concerns over security and compliance. Some of these fears were reasonable at the time, such as concerns over outages and uptime – concerns that are reasonable when stepping into any commercial outsource-type of relationship.

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  • The Death Metal Suite

    April, 2019, Victor Teissler, Security Consultant, Coalfire

    Intel Active Management Technology (AMT) is a feature provided by Intel for remote administration. If you happen to have a corporate laptop, odds are you too have AMT built into your system. To a sysadmin, AMT eases access to machines for the sake of assisting employees with technical issues, even if the hard drive has failed or been affected by ransomware. This is due primarily to the fact that AMT does not require a functioning operating system for accessibility. Its configuration and operating environment reside completely within its own dedicated hardware!

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  • Tax Time Again: IT Security for Accounting Firms

    April, 2019, Jeff Cook, Principal, SOC Practice, Coalfire, CPA, CITP, CIPT, CISA

    As the end of another busy tax season approaches, it is important for accounting firms to remember their obligations related to data security. Accounting firms maintain a significant amount of data on behalf of their own employees and clients. These firms house financial records, tax information, corporate intellectual property, legal documents, healthcare records, and/or other privacy information, all of which is valuable to cybercriminals. This data can be used for ransom, filing fraudulent tax returns, or sold on the dark web. Should this occur, firms could face a loss of reputation, clients, and money. In the months leading up to April, the number of client engagements (and data) increases significantly, in turn, increasing risk.

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  • Introducing Our New Scanning Platform, CoalfireOne Scans

    April, 2019, Beck Larson, Director, CoalfireOne Scanning Services Team

    As you may be aware by now (considering previous blog posts, ongoing walk-through webinars, and our press release), we released Coalfire’s brand new vulnerability scanning platform, CoalfireOne Scans, this morning. All of us here at the CoalfireOne Scanning Services Team are truly excited to see its many improvements around overall user experience, particularly the significantly reduced time spent on dispute cycles and the ability to create custom reporting. The new platform, which provides our PCI Approved Scanning Vendor (ASV) service featuring internal and external scans while enabling easy collaboration and project management, will provide users with smooth navigation, a robust database to ensure fast processing speeds, and scalable IP scanning capabilities.

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  • Leveraging AWS Trusted Advisor for Security and Compliance

    March, 2019, AJ Yawn, Principal, SOC Practice, Coalfire

    The benefits of undergoing mandatory or voluntary cybersecurity compliance assessments are well known throughout the cybersecurity industry. These benefits include improving the security posture of the organization, enabling sales to move faster through the sales lifecycle, addressing regulatory compliance requirements, and many more. Despite the benefits, compliance assessments can be labor intensive and painful. This pain is often due to the complexities associated with understanding the security posture of the environment being assessed as well as collecting this information in a timely and efficient manner. Amazon Web Services (AWS) offers a number of services that provide flexibility, scalability, and reliability in the cloud. AWS also offers services to assist cybersecurity professionals with understanding their security environment and demonstrating compliance to auditors to ease the pain of cybersecurity assessments. One of those services is AWS Trusted Advisor, which provides real-time best practice guidance to help provision, monitor, and maintain AWS resources. These best practice recommendations span five categories: cost optimization, performance, security, fault tolerance, and service limits.

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