Cloud Security Alliance Congress Orlando 2012 pt4

Keynote day 2 – panel discussion around ‘Critical Infrastructure, National Security and the Cloud.

Discussions around the role of ISPs in protecting the US from attacks, e.g. by dropping / blocking IP addresses / blocks of IP addresses from which attacks such as DDoS are originating from.

Should they be looking more deeply into packets in order to prevent attacks?  What does this mean for net neutrality and freedom?

How does this apply to Cloud service providers (CSPs)?  What happens when the CSP is subpoenaed by the courts / government to hand over data?  This is another reason why you should encrypt your data in the cloud and ensure you manage the keys.  This means the court / government has to directly subpoena you as the data owner and give you the opportunity to argue your case if they want access to your data.

Should the cloud be defined as critical infrastructure, if so which parts, which providers etc.  Will need to clearly define what means critical infrastructure when discussing the cloud.

Next discussion point was China;  Continuous economic growth means we are more and more involved in trade with China, however they are also stealing huge amounts of proprietary data across multiple industries and literally stealing all of their manufacturing data to copy what is made and how.  According to some vendor reports 95% of all internet based theft of intellectual property comes from China.  This is both from Chinese governmental bodies, and Chinese corporations.

Look up Internet Security Alliance documentation around securing, monitoring and understanding your global manufacturing supply chain.  This document has been strongly resisted by both Chinese Government and companies.  There is a clear need to protect sensitive information and work to reduce global supply chain risk.  Us Government working on constant monitoring capabilities to help corporations monitor their global supply chains.

Proposed that IP theft should be on the agenda for the G20 next year.  Also proposed the US and other countries should have an industrial policy, if they don’t already, that allows the military and intelligence communities to defend corporations and systems that are deemed part of the critical infrastructures.

Counterfeiting is also moving into cyberspace, what do we do with counterfeit infrastructure or counterfeit clouds?

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A practical, step by step approach to implementing a private cloud

Preliminary points – have you ever decommissioned a security product?  How many components / agents does the “AV” software on your laptop now have?

Why is security not the default?

Why would you not just put everything in the public cloud? – Risk, Compliance – you cannot outsource responsibility!

This is where ‘private cloud’ options come into play.  Could also consider ‘Virtual private cloud’ – this is where VPN technology is used to create what is effectively a private cloud on public cloud infrastructure..

Many organisations have huge spare server capacity – typical results find 80% of servers only used at 20% capacity.  You can create internal elasticity by making this spare capacity part of an internal, private cloud.

5 steps to a private cloud;

  1. Identify a business need– what is your cloud driver?  What will benefit from;
    1.  Greater agility
    2. Increased speed to develop and release,
    3. Elastic processes that vary greatly over time such as peak shopping days, or month end processing etc.
    4. DevOps
    5. Testing
    6. Rapid prototyping

2. Assess your current infrastructure – is there excess capacity?  Is the hardware virtualisation ready?  Can your existing infrastructure scale? (Note that a cloud can be physical, not virtual if this is required).  Is new cloud infrastructure needed?  What are your storage requirements?  What are your data recovery and portability requirements?  How will you support a private cloud with your existing security tools and processes (e.g. where do you plug in your IPS?) – are your processes robust and scalable? – can you monitor at scale?  Can you manage change at scale?

3. Define your delivery strategy – who are your consumers? Developers.  Administrators. General employees. Other?  Competency level of consumers defines the delivery means. (e.g. developers and admins may get CLI, General employees may get the ‘one click’ web portal).  Delivery mechanism matters!  Create a service catalogue.  Ensure ‘Back end services’ are in place

4. Transformation – You cannot forklift into the cloud – legacy applications that do not scale horizontally will not work.  More resources != greater performance.  Need to design in scale and security.  Modernise code and frameworks.   Re-test – simulate cloud scale and failures.  Re-think automation, scale.

5. Operationalize – Think about complete service life-cycle – deployment to destruction.  Resilience.  Where does security fit into this? – Everywhere! – whether applications or services.  Secure design from the ground up – embed into architecture and design – then security no longer on the critical path to deployment!

Overall this was an entertainingly presented talk that was a little light on detail / content, but I thing the 5 points are worth bearing in mind if you are thinking or implementing a private cloud in your organisation.

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Cloud security standards;

Talk over-viewing some of the current standards relating to cloud security.  Below is a list of some of the cloud security standards / controls / architectures / guidance that you should aware of if you are working with or planning to work with any sort of public cloud solution.

ITU – 

–          Cloud Security Reference Architecture

–          Cloud security framework

–          Guidelines for operational security

–          Identity management of Cloud computing

ISO  –

–          27017 – guidelines on information security controls for the use of cloud computing services based on ISO/IEC 27002 2

–          27036-4 – Supply chain security: Cloud

–          27040 – Storage security

–          27018 – Code of practice for data protection controls for public cloud computing services

–          SC7 – Cloud governance

–          SC38

–          Controls for cloud computing security

–          Additional controls for 27001 compliance in the cloud

–          Implementation guidance for controls

–          Data protection implementation guidance

–          Supply chain guidance

NIST – 

–          800-125 – Guide to security for full virtualisation technologies

–          800-144 – Guidelines on security and privacy in public cloud computing

–          NIST cloud reference architecture

OAISIS – 

–          Identity in the Cloud

ODCA (Open Data Center Alliance) – 

–          Provider assurance usage model

–          Security monitoring usage model

–          RFP requirements

CSA – 

–          Cloud Controls matrix

–          Trusted cloud infrastructure

–          Security as a Service

–          Cloud trust protocol

–          Guidance document

The CSA Cloud Controls Matrix maps many of these standards to cloud control areas with details of the specification and the standard components each specification meets / relates to.

While a pretty dry topic, this is a useful reference list if you are looking for more information on cloud / cloud security related standards and guidance.

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.

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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

Security as a Service Implementation Guidance documents published!

The Security as a Service working group implementation guidance papers have now all been published and are available for free download from the Cloud Security Alliance website.

These provide a great overview of, and guidance around the 10 categories of security as a service that we identified last year.  The 10 documents have all been created using a standard template to ensure they are easy to use and understand.

Each document contains the following sections;

1. Introduction; Brief overview of the service, along with intended audience and the scope of the document.

2. Requirements Addressed; An overview of the business / security requirements that the service can address.

3. Considerations and Concerns; Details of areas to consider and potential risks / concerns when implementing the cloud based service.

4. Implementation Guidance; This section is the meat of the document providing guidance for anyone looking to implement the service usually including diagrams of example architectures or architecture components.

5. References and Useful Links; References used in the creation of the document and useful links for further research.

The documents and their download links are shown below;

Category 1 // Identity and Access Management Implementation Guidance;

https://cloudsecurityalliance.org/wp-content/themes/csa/download-box-secaas-ig-cat1-1.0.php

Category 2 // Data Loss Prevention Implementation Guidance;

https://cloudsecurityalliance.org/wp-content/themes/csa/download-box-secaas-ig-cat2-1.0.php

Category 3 // Web Security Implementation Guidance;

https://cloudsecurityalliance.org/wp-content/themes/csa/download-box-secaas-ig-cat3-1.0.php

Category 4 // Email Security Implementation Guidance;

https://cloudsecurityalliance.org/wp-content/themes/csa/download-box-secaas-ig-cat4-1.0.php

Category 5 // Security Assessments Implementation Guidance;

https://cloudsecurityalliance.org/wp-content/themes/csa/download-box-secaas-ig-cat5-1.0.php

Category 6 // Intrusion Management Implementation Guidance;

https://cloudsecurityalliance.org/wp-content/themes/csa/download-box-secaas-ig-cat6-1.0.php

Category 7 // Security Information and Event Management Implementation Guidance;

https://cloudsecurityalliance.org/wp-content/themes/csa/download-box-secaas-ig-cat7-1.0.php

Category 8 // Encryption Implementation Guidance;

https://cloudsecurityalliance.org/wp-content/themes/csa/download-box-secaas-ig-cat8-1.0.php

Category 9 // Business Continuity / Disaster Recovery Implementation Guidance;

https://cloudsecurityalliance.org/wp-content/themes/csa/download-box-secaas-ig-cat9-1.0.php

Category 10 // Network Security Implementation Guidance;

https://cloudsecurityalliance.org/wp-content/themes/csa/download-box-secaas-ig-cat10-1.0.php

If you are planning on implementing and of the Security as a Service categories, need to evaluate them, or just want to know more, please feel free to download these documents.  I hope you find them interesting and useful.

If you have any feedback for the documents don’t hesitate to provide it either via the comment section of this blog, or directly via the CSA website.  If you are interested in getting involved and contributing to the next steps of this research we are always looking for more volunteers!

Get involved via the ‘get involved’ link;

https://cloudsecurityalliance.org/research/secaas/#_get-involved

K

An Awarding Week!

I had planned a wrap up post around my thoughts from the RSA conference for this week, but it has been a very busy and surprisingly rewarding week..  A combination of some University coursework due Monday and some great news have meant little time for writing (well non university writing anyway).  There will still be a wrap up for the RSA, likely early next week, but I wanted to share some exciting news relating to the Security as a Service working group I help lead for the Cloud Security Alliance (CSA).

I found out this week that the CSA are giving me an award for the volunteer work I have done for them over the last year or so.  They are also assisting with getting me to their congress in Orlando from the 6th to 9th November, so I’ll be packing my bags and jetting off to the US for a few days!

The award is called the Ron Knode Service Award in honour of one of the early members of the CSA who passed away earlier this year.  For me this is a great piece of recognition as it is the first year these awards have been given out, and of the ~40000 members of the CSA, only 6 people have been recognised with this award!

Rather than continue on about it myself I thought I would include the emails I was sent confirming the reward as they probably cover if better than I could;

The first was from  Luciano (J.R.) Santos the CSA’s Global Research Director –

Dear Kevin,

It is my great pleasure to inform you that you have been selected to receive the 1st Annual Ron Knode Service Award recognizing excellence in volunteerism. On behalf of the Cloud Security Alliance, I would like to congratulate you on receiving this award for the EMEA Region.  Ron Knode was a information security expert and member of the Cloud Security Alliance family, who passed away on May 31, 2012. Ron was an innovative thinker and the author of the CSA Cloud Trust Protocol. Ron was a cherished member of CSA, with endless energy and humor to guide his volunteer contributions.  In Ron’s memory, the Cloud Security Alliance in 2012 instituted the annual Ron Knode Service Award, recognizing excellence in volunteerism for 6 honorees from the Americas, Asia-Pacific and EMEA regions.

At this time, the ceremonies are being planned, but exact dates and locations have not been confirmed.   Daniele will be in touch with you when additional details become available.  In the meantime, if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact me or Daniele.  Warmest thanks for all of your hard work and outstanding contributions as a member of the Cloud Security Alliance.  We recognize how much time and energy you put into our organization, and we deeply appreciate all of your efforts.  

 We are thrilled to present you with this award.  Our PR Manager Kari Walker will be reaching out to you as we put together a press release officially announcing the winners.  In addition, we’ll need you to send a current photo and bio to our webmaster Evan Scoboria.  Evan will be creating a section on the CSA main site honoring the winners of this award.  We value your volunteer contributions and believe that the devotion of volunteers like you will continue to lead CSA into the future.  Congratulations on a job well done!

 Best Regards,

 Luciano (J.R.) Santos

CSA Global | Research Director

———

The second email was from Jim Reavis, the CSA Executive Director

Thank you all for your efforts.  To narrow this list down to 6 globally
was a major chore and you should be proud. Volunteerism for the common
good is among the highest callings in our industry, and the CSA family
appreciates your outstanding contributions.  Please let us know if there
is anything that CSA can do for you.  As we continue to grow, we look
forward to working together and being able to do even more for you.

Best Regards,

Jim Reavis
Executive Director, Cloud Security Alliance

———

As you may have guessed, I am extremely pleased to be receiving this award, it really has helped make the work worthwhile, on top of the satisfaction of seeing it all published of course!

for those of you going to the CSA congress I look forward to seeing / meeting you in a couple of weeks, for everyone else, watch this space for the RSA conference wrap up and further writings on security and architecture.

K

2012 Update

I had meant to update on how my plans for the year were going around June / July so this is a little late, but I have been pretty busy getting the upcoming Cloud Security Alliance (CSA) – Security as a Service (SecaaS) guidance documents.  These are due for publication at the start of September – watch this space..  It has also taken longer than expected to finalise my Masters project choice, but I think I’ve got there with that one, finally!

In January I listed some goals for the year here;

Some 2012 projects / plans

So where am I with the years goals?

1. Choose a project and complete my Masters.  Project finally chosen and extended project proposal handed in.  My proposed project title is;

‘Increasing authentication factors to improve distributed systems security and privacy’

The plan is to cover the current state of distributed systems authentication and to assess how this could be improved by adding further ‘factors’ to the required authentication.  In this instance factors refer to things like ‘something you know’ such as passwords, ‘something you have’ such as a number generating token, and something you are such as your finger print.  I have completed a project plan outlining how I’ll use the time between now and the hand in date in January 2013, and I’ll keep you posted with progress.

2. Lead / co-chair the CSA SecaaS working group.  While it has been challenging to find the time and keep everyone involved working in the same direction, we are almost ready to release the next piece of work from this research group.  The next publication will be in the form of 10 implementation guidance documents covering the 10 SecaaS categories we defined last year.  These will be released on the CSA web site around the end of August, I’ll post a link once they are available.  This has certainly been a learning experience regarding managing the output of a very very diverse set of international volunteers!

3. Become more familiar with the Xen hypervisor.  I have had limited success with this one, increasing my familiarity with virtualisation and cloud generally, and reading up on Xen.  However I have not had a chance to set up a test environment running the open source Xen hypervisor to get properly acquainted with it.  I’ll be looking to rectify this during October, at which time I’ll provide a run down of my thoughts of this hypervisor’s features and how easy it is to install and configure.

4. Brush up my scripting and secure coding.  Scripting opportunities have been limited this year, and I have not had the tine to create side projects outside of the office due to CSA and Masters related work.  Secure coding, I have reviewed both some code and some development practices against OWASP recommendations and the Microsoft secure development lifecycle (SDLC), so have made some progress in this area and will follow with an update in a future post.

Overall, not as much progress in some areas as I had hoped, but I am reasonably happy with the CSA SecaaS and Master progress, while also holding my own in full time employment.

As mentioned, keep an eye out for the upcoming publication of the SecaaS implementation guidance!

K

Project suggestions..

So I am currently working on what my MSc project should cover.  As the overall title of the MSc is Distributed Systems and Networks the project should likely incorporate some sort of networked / distributed system.  Given my continued interest in IT Security and the fact one of my favourite modules was actually titled ‘Distributed Systems Security’ I’d also like to incorporate a strong security focus into the project as well.
As I am also working on some cloud security related work for the Cloud Security Alliance I am thinking something ‘cloud’ related would be good as this would bring together aspects of security, obviously distributed systems along with being a very current topic.
The purpose of this post is to garner ideas and suggestions for project content and/or possible titles as I am struggling a little to decide the best and most interesting / useful option.  Likely especially relevant to the guys I am working with on CSA projects, but obviously open to anyone – what areas would you like to see further research in, where could my MSc project and value and insight?
Please feel free to post here or email me with any ideas and suggestions. Many of you have my email, however if you need it; it’s on my LinkedIn profile.  I’ll keep this blog updated with my topic decision and also link to the project once it is complete.
Thanks for your interest – looks like this is going to be an interesting and busy year!
K