13 Security Myths Busted.. My thoughts.

I was recently sent a link to an article covering what were described as ’13 security myths – busted’ and asked my opinion.  As it was a fairly light and interesting I thought I would share the article and my thoughts;

The original article can be found here;

http://www.networkworld.com/slideshow/86918/13-of-the-biggest-security-myths-busted.html?source=NWWNLE_nlt_afterdark_2013-02-21

Have a read of the myths and why they thin they are myths, read my thoughts below, and it would be great to hear your thoughts.

1. AV – Possibly not super efficient, but I think still necessary – they kind of mix apples and oranges with the targeted attack comment, as it is not designed for that, but it still prevents the vast majority of malware, and general attacks.  Possibly and an environment where literally no one runs with admin privileges and there is strong white listing you could do without AV, but generally I’d say it is still relevant and required.

2. This one is hard to know as there is so much FUD around.  It is clear that in many circumstances (stuxnet etc, Chinese APT , US government espionage etc.) that governments are investing huge sums of money and employing extremely bright people to attack and defend in cyber land.  I suspect much will never be known as the NSA / Mi6 / <insert secret government money pit here> are by definition very secretive.  Remember all the speculation around the NSAs ability to crack encryption in the past..

3. Totally agree – just look at most businesses and the trouble they have getting control of authentication via AD / IAM.  However, many are moving in the right direction though so maybe soon we’ll have everything in IAM and / or AD..

4. I think this one proves itself incorrect in the text – Risk management is needed, you just need to work on understanding your adversaries and the actual risks you face, which includes understanding their motivations and the value they place on your data and IP.

5. This I totally agree with.  I have already highlighted I don’t really like the fact we as an industry use the term ‘best practice’ all over our standards and policy documents etc – who defines what it is? Is it best in any specific environment with it’s support skill sets and technology stack etc?

6. Half agree they are a fact of life, however you can have effective responses and strategies around privilege control and application controls etc. to massively mitigate the risks these pose.

7. I can’t comment on this one, but most national infrastructures are inadequately protected and tend to rely on old legacy systems for many of their functions so this is probably try in the UK for much supporting infrastructure as well.

8. Completely agree with this.  Compliance is a useful checklist, but compliance with standards should be a by product of good secure design and processes, not something we strive for as a product in itself.  If provides a driver but is very much the wrong focus if you want to be secure rather than compliant.

9. Agree – CISO may own security policy and strategy etc., but security is everyone’s problem and everyone should be accountable for performing their duties with security and security policies in mind.  I’m a big fan of security awareness training as a regular thing to help educate people and keep security at the forefront of the way we do business.

10. Likely has been true, in the same way as Mac / Linux are ‘safer’ than Windows, as it has not been the focus of as much malicious attention and has not been carrying as much functionality and valuable data.  This is rapidly shifting though as we rely more and more on mobile devices for everything from banking to shopping to actual business.  So I think this one is rapidly if not already becoming a myth.

11. Agree – you can likely never be 100% secure if you want to have a life or business online.  I think it was an American who coined ‘eternal vigilance is the price of freedom’  we should work to be secure, but freedom both individually and as a business is too important and hard won to give up.  Obviously some personal freedoms to do whatever you want with corporate devices have to be given up, but I think my point stands as a general concept.  As the guy in the article says (and I do above) work to understand your adversaries, their motivations and tools.

12. Agree with this one also – continuous monitoring, trending and learning are key to understanding and preventing or at least capturing todays advanced long term threats such as APTs.

13. I agree with this final one as well, and have actually blogged about this before.  We live in an ‘assume you have or will be breached’ world.  Put the detective measures and controls in place to ensure you rapidly detect and minimise the damage from any breach.  Read last years Verizon data breach report..

It would be great to hear your thoughts on this light article.

K

Upcoming webinar- The Perfect Storm: Managing Identity & Access in the Cloud

I will be leading an up coming webinar on Identity and Access Management (IAM) in the Cloud titled;

The Perfect Storm: Managing Identity & Access in the Cloud

In this webinar and panel discussion we will talk about the key issues surrounding the people, processes and systems used to manage applications and data in the cloud.  Topics covered will include;

  • Trends complicating secure cloud use;
  • Risks of unauthorized access, identity theft and insider fraud;
  • Challenges to IAM in the cloud;
  • Unique IAM considerations in the cloud;
  • Cloud features and functionality to improve IAM;
  • New approaches, including effective policy enforcement and the benefits of single sign-on;
  • Q and A panel session after the initial presentations.

This webinar is to be hosted by Tom Field of the Information Security Media Group, and we will by joined by thought-leaders from security vendors Ping Identity, McAfee and Aveksa, who will weigh in on how new cloud security solutions can help organizations improve IAM, as well as compliance, provisioning and policy management.

This should be a great presentation and discussion so please do register to view and participate;

http://www.bankinfosecurity.com/webinars/perfect-storm-managing-identity-access-in-cloud-w-303

The webinar will be first shown on Thursday 20th December 2012.  I hope to see you there!

K

Cloud Security Alliance Congress Orlando 2012 pt5 – closing keynote

Closing Keynote – State of the Union

Chris Hoff, who is the author of the Rational Survivability blog, gave a great closing keynote covering the last few years via his previous presentation titles and content.  I can recommend reading / viewing the mentioned presentations.  This was followed by a brief overview of current issues and trends, and then coverage of upcoming / very new areas of focus we all need to be aware of.

What’s happened?

2008 – Platforms dictate capabilities (security) and operations – Read ‘The four horsemen of the virtualisation security apocalypse’

–          Monolithic security vendor virtual appliances are the virtualisation version of the UTM argument.

–          Virtualised security can seriously impact performance, resiliency and scalability

–          Replicating many highly-available security applications and network topologies in virtual switches don’t work

–          Virtualising security will not save you money.  It will cost you more.

2009 – Realities of hybrid cloud, interesting attacks, changing security models – Read – ‘The frogs who desired a king – A virtualisation and cloud computing fable set to interpretive dance’

–          Cloud is actually something to be really happy about; people who would not ordinarily think about security are doing so

–          While we’re scrambling to adapt, we’re turning over rocks and shining lights in dark crevices

–          Sure bad things will happen, but really smart people are engaging in meaningful dialogue and starting to work on solutions

–          You’ll find that much of what you have works.. Perhaps just differently; setting expectations is critical

2010 – Turtles all the way down – Read – ‘Cloudifornication – Indiscriminate information intercourse involving internet infrastructure’

–          Security becomes a question of scale

–          Attacks on and attacks using large-scale public cloud providers are coming and cloud services are already being used for $evil

–          Hybrid security solutions (and more of them) are needed

–          Service transparency, assurance and auditability is key

–          Providers have the chance to make security better.  Be transparent.

2010 – Public cloud platform dependencies will liberate of kill you – Read ‘Cloudinomicon – Idempotent infrastructure, survivable systems and the return of information centricity’

–          Not all cloud offerings are created equal or for the same reasons

–          Differentiation based upon PLATFORM: Networking security, Transparency/visibility and forensics

–          Apps in clouds can most definitely be deployed as securely or even more securely than in an enterprise

–          However this often required profound architectural, operational, technology, security and compliance model changes

–          What makes cloud platforms tick matters in the long term

 2011 – Security Automation FTW – Read ‘Commode computing – from squat pots to cloud bots – better waste management through security automation’

–          Don’t just sit there: it wont automate itself

–          Recognise, accept and move on: The DMZ design pattern is dead

–          Make use of existing / new services: you don’t have to do it all yourself

–          Demand and use programmatic interfaces from security solutions

–          Encourage networks / security wonks to use tools / learn to program / use automation

–          Squash audit inefficiency and maximise efficacy

–          DevOps and security need to make nice

–          AppSec and SDLC are huge

–          Automate data protection

2012 – Keepin it real with respect to challenges and changing landscape – Read – ‘The 7 dirty words of Cloud Security’

–          Scalability

–          Portability

–          Fungibility

–          Compliance

–          Cost

–          Manageability

–          Trust

2012 – DevOps, continual deployment, platforms –  Read – ‘Sh*t my Cloud evangelist says …Just not to my CSO’

–          [Missing] Instrumentation that is inclusive of security

–          [Missing] Intelligence and context shared between infrastructure and application layers

–          [Missing] Maturity of “Automation Mechanics” and frameworks

–          [Missing} Standard interfaces, precise syntactical representation of elemental security constructs

–          [Missing] An operational methodology that ensures and commone understanding of outcomes and ‘agile’ culture in general

–          [Missing] Sanitary application security practices

What’s happening?

–          Mobility, Internet of Things, Consumerisation

–          New application architecture and platforms (Azure, Cloud foundry, NoSQL, Cassandra, Hadoop etc.)

–          APIs – everything connected by APIs

–          DevOps – Need to understand how this works and who owns security

–          Programmatic (virtualised) Networking and SDN (Software Defined Network)

–          Advanced adversaries and tactics (APTs, organised crime, nation states, using cloud and virtualisation benefits to attack us etc.)

What’s coming?

–          Security analytics and intelligence – security data is becoming ‘big data – Volume. Velocity. Variety. Veracity.

–          AppSec Reloaded – APIs. REST. PaaS. DevOps. – On top of all the existing AppSec issues – how long has the OWASP top threats remained largely unchanged??

–          Security as a Service 2.0 – “Cloud.” SDN. Virtualised.

–          Offensive security – Cyber. Cyber. Cyber. Cyber…  Instead of just being purely defensive, do things more proactive – not necessarily actually attacking them, can mean deceiving them to honeypots / honynets, fingerprinting the attack, tracking back the connections etc. all the way up to actually striking back.

Summary;

–          Public clouds are marching onward; Platforms are maturing… Getting simpler to deploy and operate and the platform level, but have heavy impact on application architecture

–          Private clouds are getting more complex(as expected) and the use case differences between the two are obvious; more exposed infrastructure connected knobs and dials

–          Hybrid clouds are emerging, hypervisors commoditised and orchestration / provisioning systems differentiate as ecosystem and corporate interests emerge

–          Mobility (workload and consuming devices) and APIs are everywhere

–          Network models are being abstracted even further (Physical > Virtual > Overlay) and that creates more ‘simplexity’

–          Application and information ‘ETL sprawl’ is a force to be reckoned with

–          Security is getting much more interesting!

This was a great wrap up highlighting the last few years’ issues, how many of these have we really fixed?  Along with where we are now, and a nice wrap up of what’s coming up.  Are you up to speed with all the current and outstanding issues you need to be aware of?  How prepared are you and your organisation for what’s coming up?  Don’t be like the 3 monkeys.. 😉

While the picture is complex and we have loads of work to do, Chris’s last point aptly sums up why I love security and working in the security field!

Lastly, have a look at Chris’s blog; http://www.rationalsurvivability.com/blog/ which has loads of interesting content.

K

Cloud Security Alliance Congress Orlando 2012 pt3 – Day 1 closing keynote

Next Generation Information Security – Jason Witty

 Some statistics and facts to set the scene;

–          93.6% is the approximate percentage of digital currency in the global market!

–          6.4% cash and gold available as a proportion of banking and commerce funds..

–          45% US adults own a smartphone – 21% of phone users did mobile banking last year.

–          62% of all adults globally use social media

–          Cloud ranking as #1 in top strategic technologies according to Gartner – 60% of the public cloud will serve software by 2018

–          2015 predicted as the year when online banking will become the norm..

–          Nielson global trust in advertising report for 2012;

–          28,800 respondents across 56 countries – Online recommendations from known people and review sites 80-90%+used and trusted, traditional media, falling below 50% used and trusted.

–          NSA were working on their own secure smartphone.  Plans scrapped and now they are working on how to effectively secure consumer smart phone devices.  Consumer mobile devices are everywhere!

Emerging innovations; cloud computing..

–          IDC forecasts $100bn will be spent per year by 2016, compared to $40bn now.

–          By 2016 SaaS will account for 60% of the public cloud

Cost savings often cited as reason for moving to the cloud; however other benefits like agility, access to more flexible compute power etc. often mean cloud migrations enable better IT for the business and thus you can do more.  So increased quality and profit result, but casts likely remain flat.

Trends in Cybercrime;

Insiders – can be difficult to detect, usually low tech relying on access privileges

Hacktivists – responsible for 58% of all data theft in 2011

Organised crime – Becoming frighteningly organised and business like

Nations states – Since 2010 nation state created malware has increased from 1 known to 8 known with 5 of those in 2012.   Nation states now creating dedicated cyber-warfare departments, often as official, dedicated parts of the military.

 

Organised Crime – Malware as a Service

Raw material (stolen data) – Distribution (BotNet) – Manufacturer (R&D, Code, Product Launch) – Sales and support (Delivery, Support (MSI package installation, helpdesk), Marketing – Customer (Affiliates, Auctions / Forums, BotNet Rental / Sales)

Crime meets mobile – Android – patchiy updates as vendor dependant, many pieces of malware, but play store security getting better.

Nation states becoming increasingly active in the world of malware creation..

 

So, Next generation Information Security;

–          Must be intelligence driven

  • Customer
  • Shareholder
  • Employee
  • Regulatory
  • Business line
  • Cyber threat

–          Must be comprehensive

  • Anticipate – emerging threats and risks
  • Enable –
  • Safeguard

–          Must have excellent human capabilities

–          Must be understandable – need to explain this and ensure the board understands the risks and issues – PwC survey – 42% of leadership think their organisation is a security front runner.  8% actually are.  70% leadership thing info sec working well – 88% of infosec think leadership their largest barrier to success..

–          We cannot do this alone: Strong intelligence partnership management

Pending cybercrime legislation;

–          White house has stressed importance of new cyber security legislation.

–          Complex laws take time to review and pass; technology environments change fast.

–          Various Federal laws currently cover cybercrime – Federal computer fraud and abuse act, economic espionage act etc.

–          Likely executive order in the near future with potentially large cybercrime implications.

While this is a very US centric view, many countries or regions are planning to enact further, more stringent laws / regulations that will impact the way we work.

 

Intelligence driven: the next phase in information security;

–          Conventional approaches to information security are struggling to meet increasingly complex and sophisticated threats

–          Intelligence driven security is proactive – a step beyond the reactive approach of the compliance-driven or incident response mind-sets

–          Building and nurturing multiple data sources. Developing an organisational ability to consolidate, analyse and report, communicate effectively and then act decisively benefits both operational / tactical security and strategy.

–          Establish automated analytics and establishing patterns of data movement in your organisation

I recommend you review – Getting ahead of advanced threats: Achieving intelligence-driven information security – RSA report, 2012.  This can be downloaded from here;

http://www.rsa.com/innovation/docs/11683_SBIC_Getting_Ahead_of_Advanced_Threats_SYN_UK_EN.pdf

K

Cloud Security Alliance Congress Orlando 2012 pt2

CSA STAR – lessons from an early adopter – Microsoft Director of Trustworthy Computing

The Trustworthy Computing Initiative had its 10 year anniversary in 2012.  Encompasses; Security – Privacy – Reliability – Business Practices.

Managing risk at all layers..

Thoughts –

–          If I move to a CSP and they have the same level of security as me, and I am saving money then I am being efficient

–          If I move to a CSP and they have better security than me I am mitigating risk

Help adopters understand why!

–          Adoption rests on clear and simple ROI

Microsoft ‘Cloud Security Readiness Tool’

www.microsoft.com/trustedcloud

Trusted cloud initiative – not there to sell product, just to help organisations (possibly everyone?) to be safer and more secure in the cloud.

This tool addresses the 10 key Cloud Security Control Areas from the CSA guidance.

The tool also allows you to select your industry, then maps this back to the regulatory bodies that are likely to regulate your industry.  This then maps the specific regulations and controls you will need to meet.

Considerations to aid adoption;

–          Consult guidance from organisations such as the CSA

–          Require that provider has obtained their party certifications and audits such as ISO/IEC 27001:2005

–          Ensure clear understanding of security and compliance roles and responsibilities for delivered services

–          Know the value of your data and the security and compliance obligations you need to meet

–          Ensure as much transparency as possible e.g. through STAR (https://cloudsecurityalliance.org/star/) – suppliers such as Amazon and Microsoft already registered here.

This talk was much more about the Microsoft Cloud readiness tool than the CSA STAR (Security, Trust, and Assurance Registry), but was still interesting and I can highly recommend both the STAR registry for CSPs and consumers, and the Microsoft tool.

————

Advanced Persistent Response – Tim Kellermann – Vice President of Cybersecurity – Trend Micro

How might organisations learn from elite hackers?

Stats;

–          52% of companies failed to report or remediate a cyber-breach in 2011 (retains plausible deniability, but we all trade with these companies)

–          A new piece of malware is created every second

–          Trend Micro evaluations find over 90% of enterprise networks contain active malware!

Targeted attacks are becoming increasingly common.  Attackers take time to gain intelligence about you and your networks.

Offence Informs Defence: The Kill Chain;

1. Reconnaissance

2.Weaponization

3. Delivery

4. Exploitation

5. Command and Control

6. Propagation

7. Exfiltration

8. Maintenance

Advanced Malware examples include;

– IXESHE – The attackers behind this advanced malware use compromised hosts inside organisations networks to control other systems.

– Jacksbot – bot malware that is multi-platform across multiple O/Ss including mobile. (check)

We need to conduct more tests and assessments of our environments, using Zeus, BlackHole exploit kit, Metasploit, Spy Eye etc.

Tactical trends in Hacking;

–          Professionalism and Commoditisation of Exploit Kits

–          Man in the Browser attacks becoming more common

–          Android Framework for exploitation (BYOD = BYOM (Bring Your Own Malware)

–          Proximity attacks realised (Microphones turned on in laptops / phones / tablets, Bluetooth attacks)

–          Mobile malware proliferation

–          Application attacks

–          Botnets migrating from IRC to HTTP

–          Attacks against Macs

Cloud security issues / considerations;

–          Server and VM integrity (virtualisation attacks, Inter VM attacks, Instant on Gaps)

–          Network and Intrusion management and monitoring in a cloud / virtual environment

Custom attacks need intelligent and custom defences.  We must recognise that APTs are consistent and part of ongoing campaigns.

Risk management in 2012;

–          Has the cyber security posture of all third parties been audited?

–          Is access to all sensitive systems governed by 2-factor authentication?

–          Does a log inspection program exist?  How frequently are they reviewed?

–          Does file integrity monitoring exist?

–          Can vulnerabilities be virtually patched?

–          In MDM and mobile management software utilised?

–          Do you utilize DLP?

–          Can you migrate layered security into the cloud environment?

–          Do you maintain multi level, rule based event correlation?

–          Do you have access to global intelligence and information sharing?

There was a lot to think about in this presentation from Trend Micro, and it nicely builds on / reinforces the points made both here and at RSA – the attackers are getting increasingly more sophisticated and we need to work hard to not just keep up but to try and get ahead of them.  The closing points under the heading ‘Risk management in 2012‘ are well worth bearing in mind when thinking about your risk management process / strategy.

————————

Aligning Your Cloud Security with the Business: A 12-Step Framework

This talk was actually very light, but I thought I would share the 12 points they covered as the points around creating business cases and defining value in business not IT terms are worthwhile;

Implementing data centric security in the cloud;

Key ingredients – Data, Users, Business Processes, Clouds, Controls, Compliance

Recipe;

  1. Define business relevance of each data set being moved to the cloud
  2. Classify each data set based on business impact – must be business driven, not IT
  3. Inventory data – technical and consultative.  Mentioned that DLP one of the best ways to discover and maintain data inventories.
  4. Destroy (or archive offline) any unnecessary data
  5. Inventory users – into user roles / role types (can do other things as well like geography)
  6. Associate data access with business processes, users, roles
  7. Determine standard control requirements for each data set
  8. Determine Feasible controls for each cloud environment e.g. you can implement far less of your own controls in a SaaS environment vs. IaaS
  9. For each data set, identify acceptable platform based on the required controls and security level of the data
  10. Ensure only users that need access to data have access to it, and that this access is at the appropriate level
  11. Identify and Implement appropriate controls across each cloud environment
  12. Validate and monitor control effectiveness

So to summarise the presentation;

Start with the business context, not the security controls

Classify based on the business value, not the IT value!

K

 

 

Cloud Security Alliance Congress Orlando 2012 pt1

This week I am at the Cloud Security Alliance (CSA) congress in Orlando.  The week has been pretty hectic with meeting people and receiving an award etc.  I have made some notes from a few of the talks so will share those here, although they are not as comprehensive as the notes I made at the RSA conference a few weeks ago.

Regarding the conference itself, this has been a bit of a busman’s holiday as I have had to take this week as annual leave due to it not being directly linked to my current day job and the fact it’s my third conference in a couple of months..  On a brighter note the CSA actually paid for me to come out here to receive my award, which was an extremely cool gesture.

It terms of organisation and content this one falls somewhere between the service technology symposium and the RSA conference, but much nearer the RSA end of the scale.  The conference is obviously a lot smaller than RSA, but was surprisingly well organised.  Content we also pretty good, a few too many vendor product focussed talks for my liking, but this is a new conference that has to be financially viable as well as interesting.  Overall I would definitely recommend coming to this next year if you have any interest in cloud security.

As with the previous conferences I’ll split the day’s notes into a couple of posts.  In order to get these up now rather than waiting until I get home and finding time to write things up, so please be understanding if some of them are not perfectly formatted or as fully explained as they could be.  I will be creating more detailed follow up posts for some of the key issues that have been discussed.

Opening Keynote 1 – The world is changing; we must change with it!

–          What do you do if you have a security incident in a faraway country?  Your Law enforcement / government has no jurisdiction.. eBay has directly indicted over 3000 people globally due to the security / incident response and investigation teams.

–          Have to create capabilities to share vital information globally

–          Computation is changing

  • Exponential data growth and big data

–          Adversary is professional, Global and Collaborative

  • We are all fighting alone

–          Threat continues to increase

–          Business environment is changing

–          Change the way you think!

  • Can we make attack data anonymous enough that is can be shared in a meaningful way to help others and improve overall understanding and security

–           Look at things like CloudCert

Computing is changing;

–          Cloud computing is just the beginning

  • Shared datacentres, networks, computers etc..

–          Driven by cost savings and need to be competitive in a global marketplace

–          Virtualisation – Mobile – BYOD (explosion of devices)

–          Increasing reliance on Browser

  • Secure Browser ‘App’ vs. URL  (Apps vs. things like HTML5)
  • Do we start building Apps / Browsers dedicated to specific tasks for critical / risky tasks such as banking, online shopping with card details etc.  This would stop XSS.

Exponential data growth – Big data

–          In 2010 humanities data passed 1 zettabyte – (1 with 21 zeros after it).

–          Estimated volume in 2015 – 7.9ZB

–          Number of servers expected to grow by 10* over the next 10 years.

Threat escalation;

  • Malware 26M in 2011 – 2.166M/mo. – 71,233/day.  73% Trojans.
  • Application lifecycle – how long will the legay apps you use be around?

–          Mobile

  • First attacks on O/S
  • First mobile drive by downloads
  • Malicious programs in App stores
  • First mass Android worm

–          Attacks built in the Cloud are invisible, and inexpensive

  • Role of cloud providers in detecting attack development – what are the implications of this – to prevent attacks CSPs would need some visibility around what you are doing..  Would you want this?

Business Environment Changes

–          Drive to innovate

  • Scrums, agile computing initiatives change the way we work
  • Security needs to work in a more agile way

–          Rapid delivery of features and functions

  • Build securely – not build and test

–          Impact of Intense, Global competition

–          SMBs are the foundation of US recovery but need help

–          Blurring of home/personal and work

Six Irrefutable Laws of information Security;

  1. Information wants to be free
  2. Code wants to be wrong
  3. Services want to be on
  4. Users want to click
  5. Even a security feature can be used for harm
  6. The efficacy of a control deteriorates with time

The implications for Cloud Security, shared infrastructures and platforms, virtualisation, the proliferation of mobile devices etc. are clear..

Even small or seemingly less interesting companies are now targets – criminals want as much information as they can get..  Again highlights the point that you will be hacked..

What do we need to do? – We need intelligence!

Director of Georgia Tech Information Security Centre, 2011 –

“We continue to witness cyber-attacks of unprecedented sophistication and reach, demonstrating that malicious actors have the ability to compromise and control millions of computers that belong to governments, private enterprises and ordinary citizens.”

We have limited resources so what should we spend our time and money on – malware defence? Mobile? Big Data?

What is needed to get where we need to be?

–          Global perspective

  • Not National
  • Not Government

–          Global Information Sharing

  • Sources
  • Solutions

–          Intelligence based security

  • Strategy and Budget

–          We MUST eliminate the obstacles!

Global Information Sharing

–          We have been trying for decades

–          How do we establish trust

  • Methods to make data anonymous
  • Attack data sharing

–          Who shares?

  • Needs of SMBs

–          Role of Governments (pass treaties around data sharing and cross boundary working)

–          Benefits go far beyond incident response

Incident response in the Cloud;

–          Where is your data (does it ever get moved due to problems, bursting within the CSPs infrastructure etc. – need very clear contracts)

–          Consider model you use – IaaS / PaaS / SaaS and what this means

–          Network control

–          Log correlation and analysis – where are these, who owns them, who can access them..

–          Roles and responsibilities

–          Access to event data, images etc.  When will you find out about issues and breaches?

–          Application functioning in the cloud – consider impacts of applications running is shared and / or very horizontally scalable environments.

–          Virtualisation benefits and issues

–          Capabilities and limitations of your provider

Get Involved!

–          CSA and Cloud CERT

  • Role critical
  • Participation
  • Partnerships

–          Government initiatives

  • US
  • EU

–          Private initiatives

Breaches can impact all of us, finding ways to work together and share data is critical.  Cloud is relatively new – we can make a difference and improve this moving forwards.

Recommendation to read the upcoming book from the CISO of Intel (Malcolm) around security that covers various areas including –  understanding the world and providing a reasonable level of protection (inc. BYOD, need to be agile etc.)

Summary;

–          Remove Obstacles

–          Build subject matter expertise

–          Global sharing is critical to success

  • Who will attack you, using what methods in 2013?
  • Where should you spend your time / money?
  • Intelligence based security

–          Security sophistication must keep pace with attack sophistication!

K

RSA conference Europe Wrap Up / Final Thoughts

I’ll keep this relatively brief as I have already covered this conference in some detail while blogging live from the event.  I think the write ups ended up around 12000 words in total across the three days!  I hope you have managed to read those covering content that was of interest to you – there was certainly a lot of information there that I found useful!

As usual with conferences like this some of the presentations had slight vendor bias, with an prime example being companies like EMC championing the need to prioritise spending from limited security budgets on more advanced tools for detecting and preventing longer term advanced threats (Advanced Persistent Threats – APT) at the expense of older more stable technologies such as AV.  EMC is currently selling and promoting products in this area..  This was followed by Symantec who obviously highlighted that they think AV is still critical and should continue to be invested in, unsurprising as anti-virus / anti-malware is still one of their key products and revenue streams.

On this point I fall between the two in that I completely agree AV is still important, but due to the maturity of the market and quality of most products you should be looking to drive costs down in this area while still maintaining an acceptable level of quality.  By managing costs in established areas and looking for end point solutions that cover multiple vectors such as AV, firewalling, DLP etc.  you should hopefully be able to free up budget to invest in some of the newer more advanced tools or improve key areas such as your log monitoring and correlation capabilities.

Overall the presentations remained fairly vendor neutral and contained loads of useful content.  Highlights for me included;

–          Wireless hacking demos

–          Man in the browser demos

–          Discussion around the state of the industry

–          Presentations on building a cyber-security capability and improving the way we in security can interact with the business

–          Presentations on the threat landscape

All of which were covered in the conference blog posts.

To wrap up my commentary of the conference, I’ll finish with a few of what were, for me, the key take away points;

–          Understand your environment and your industry – where is your data, what are your important assets and what are the key threats to your organisation.  If you don’t know this how can you know what to protect and how?

–          Following on from that, make sure you are protecting the right things and to correct level.

–          Read useful reports such as the Verizon Breach report – the data is frankly eye opening if you are not yet aware of the time most breaches take to be discovered and how poorly protected many businesses are (416 days and likely to rise..)

–          Become better at interfacing with the business – it is our job to make sure the decision makes at the highest level are aware of the risks and what they mean to our business / organisation.  Board level executives may choose to accept or ignore risks, but they should do with a full awareness of the threat landscape and our risks.  If the business / the board are unaware of the risks to the environment this is 100% our failing.  If they accept a risk and we are breached it is on them and they accepted the risk(s) with awareness they may be exploited.  If your organisation is exploited and the board / business were unaware then it is on us.

–          Finally it reminded me how much I love IT security and creating secure solutions and environments!  Take pride in what you do and do it well; jobs, money and peoples identities rely on us doing this right.

As always, feel free to ask if you want any more information, I’m more than happy to evangelise on these topics!

K