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.


  • Offensive Security Testing Using Cloud Tools

    Rick Osgood, Senior Security Consultant, Labs

    When performing offensive security testing, assessors sometimes run into issues where their source IP address gets blacklisted. For example, we might be performing a web application test and, due to the many suspicious queries being performed, our IP address is suddenly blocked. While on the surface this may seem like an effective security control, it’s actually quite easy to change a source IP address. Methods have existed for a long time, including using a proxy server or routing traffic through a VPN tunnel. The problem with these methods is that they take effort to set up and those new source IP addresses can just as easily be blocked, leaving assessors in the dark once again. When doing this kind of work every day, it would be nice to have an efficient method for changing a source IP address for this kind of testing without risking getting blacklisted.

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  • Reflections on Women in Cybersecurity

    Anne Bayerkohler, Senior Director, Quality and Compliance, Coalfire

    I joined Coalfire in 2014. At the time, there were very few women in cyber, much less in leadership roles. As it sometimes happens, I found myself in an elevator with Tom McAndrew, who is now our CEO. We started talking about the direction of my career and plans for my role as Director of Coalfire’s Quality Management System. He asked me a simple question, “What are you doing next?” I had to suddenly come up with a literal elevator pitch of what I could do in my sphere of influence.

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  • The impact of Covid-19 on SOC reporting

    Jamie Kilcoyne, Partner, Coalfire Controls

    The audit cycle for organizations that receive SOC reports includes new challenges related to Covid-19. Remote workforces are now the norm throughout the world, which introduces new risks. For example, connecting to corporate networks using personal computers that may be infected with malware is one such risk. Additionally, hackers and fraudsters have stepped up their game and increased the frequency and sophistication of their attacks to take advantage of the vulnerabilities that come with a remote workforce. Many organizations have suffered economically due to Covid-19 with workforce reductions to help reduce costs. However, this could result in a failure to re-assign control responsibilities and a corresponding failure to perform certain controls.

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  • FedRAMP 101: How to get listed as “In Process”

    Marc Zurcher, Senior Manager, FedRAMP Assurance Services, Coalfire

    Are you a cloud service provider working on a federal contract and need a FedRAMP authorization – but don’t have a sponsor yet? Acquiring a committed government agency sponsor early in the FedRAMP process is crucial to your success and will ensure a smoother process. A major role for an agency sponsor is to identify which risks they are willing to accept in your Cloud Service Offering (CSO) that may not fully align with FedRAMP requirements.

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  • Chasing doorbells: Finding IoT vulnerabilities in embedded devices

    Tyler Bennett, Consultant, Penetration Testing, Coalfire

    The goal of this research project was to see if we could find any vulnerabilities and obtain full persistence on an IoT device, while learning about embedded devices in general. This post will take you through our journey to find vulnerabilities in a common, reasonably priced IoT device. For our research, we chose a Night Owl ISP Smart Doorbell – WD2CLM.

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