Thanks to Columbus State Community College & Get Involved

On Tuesday, I spoke at Columbus State Community College to a group of high and middle school teachers about digital crimes, black market economics and cyber-ethics. We had fantastic discussions and as teachers, they were amazingly engaged with myself and my content. I have never taught a more enthusiastic group of folks.

They asked a lot of questions; mostly about crime, motivation and the techniques of criminals in the digital world. But, they also asked for critical lessons that they could take back to their students and use in their own classrooms. Kudos for that!

If you want to get involved in the program, please contact @sempf on Twitter for more info. They are always looking for great speakers, excellent content and especially women with experience in STEM related careers. Thanks so much to Columbus State for having me. I was honored and thrilled to participate in the GenCyber program. Thanks to @sempf for the photo!

Co3J RfW8AAem8l

3 Reasons I Believe In #CMHSecLunch And Its Mission

I get asked quite often about why I started CMHSecLunch and what the goals behind it are. I wanted to take a moment and discuss it on the blog.

First, if you aren’t a security person in Columbus, Ohio, you might not have heard of the event. Here are the details about it.

Every month, on the second Thursday, my team loosely organizes a simple lunch meet up at one of the local mall foodcourts. It is free, open to all – including non-security folks, kids and interested parties. There is usually a topic like “physical security”, “supply chain”, “threat intelligence”, “pen-testing”, etc. We also usually have something for people to fiddle with while they talk, like locks and lock picks, Legos, smart bits, cards and readers, etc. We find that having something to play with physically seems to help the attendees converse more easily.

The mission of CMHSecLunch was to emulate the “hallway conversations” part of security conferences, and to open up the security community to even larger groups of folks that may be interested, but may not have an easy way to get involved. I wanted it to be less formal than something like an ISSA/ISACA event, be free, loose in organization and really help people make personal connections with each other and the community at large.

The mission started in roughly 2012, and while we took a couple of breaks, is over 4 years old. Sure, there a lot of other events and even a couple of knock off lunches – emulation is a compliment 🙂 – but those usually include some formal presentation, vendor sponsor pitches or some other form of noise as the center of the event. I wanted to avoid all of that and put people at the center of the event. No vendor pitches, no one buys your lunch – so you don’t owe anyone anything either implicit or implied – and since it is in an open public space like a mall food court – there is no separation of infosec from the general public. Everyone can see, talk and ask questions without all of the speed bumps and smoke/mirrors and sense of separation sometimes associated with the infosec community. We’ve had middle school kids, college students, IT folks, janitors at the mall, infosec practitioners, managers and executives join us, engage and ask questions.

So, the #1 reason that I support CMHSecLunch is just that – the open nature and open discussion that comes from it. Thus far, nearly everyone who sits down with us at these events leaves their ego at home or in their car. We’ve had honest discussions from technical to personal, jokes and explanations, stories and anecdotes and even some project launches. Overall, the sense of openness and community has been one of the most amazing parts of my career. Sometimes there are 3 people, sometimes 30 – but I always leave with a smile and a renewed sense of community.

The second reason I believe in CMHSecLunch is that I have seen it bring new talent and fresh energy to the community. People have personally told me that because it was an open, public space and there was nothing expected, that they had the courage to finally approach infosec folks. Many times, people are nervous that they may not fit in, or have the skill set or knowledge of security practitioners at the more focused meetings. They may not have the management or budget support to go to conferences, ISSA/ISACA/OWASP events or even know that they exist. But a lot of people are on Twitter. A lot of people aren’t nervous to go to a mall food court. A lot of people can afford to invest in a fast food or brown bag lunch to get to know people to get started. That’s the crucial ingredient – to make it easy for new folks to join and engage. We need them. The community desperately needs new talent, fresh ideas and new resources that aren’t already locked into the echo chamber of infosec. In fact, I would say new ideas and new talent will make or break infosec over the next 10 years. I believe CMHSecLunch is an easier way for those new people to get started.

Lastly, I love bringing security discussions out of closed business conference rooms and into the mall. I absolutely get thrilled when people around us ask about lock picking or smart bits or whatever we are playing with. I love it when people lean in to listen about hacking or about how credential theft works. We have seen so many surrounding tables clearly listening in – that I have made it a habit to simply ask them to join us and explain the mission. It’s a beautiful thing. Remove the smoke, mirrors and mysticism of infosec – and everyday people are suddenly interested again. They become a little less apathetic, a little less distant and a lot more aware. Isn’t that what we have always asked for as a community? Didn’t we always want everyday users to be more engaged, more aware and more security capable? I truly believe that it will take bringing the public into the fold to make that happen. I believe that events like CMHSecLunch – loosely organized, free, open to the public, held in common public locations and developed on a spirit of inclusion, just might be a way forward. Mostly, I believe in the open, honest and caring attitudes of people, regardless of what community they believe themselves to be a part of. Thus, I believe in CMHSecLunch and our mission…

Wanna give it a try? If you are around central Ohio, you can find the schedule, locations and times here. Want to start your own event, in your area? Ping me on Twitter (@lbhuston) and I’ll be happy to discuss what I did to promote it, and how I would go about it. If I can help you get a group started, I will. That’s it. That’s why I believe. I hope you will believe too… 

Next CMHSecLunch is Monday, November 9th

Just a heads up that the next CMHSecLunch is scheduled for Monday, November 9th at Tuttle Mall food court.

As always, the games begin at 11:30am and continue to around 1pm. Admission is FREE and everyone is welcome. Bring a friend!

Come by, hang out, have some food and great conversation. Talk about the threats and issues your team is facing and hear what others in the community have to say on the topic. It’s like hallway conversations at security conferences, without the travel, con-flu and noise.

Check it out and see you there! 

CMHSecLunch is Monday Oct 12

Remember: ‪#‎CMHSecLunch‬ is tomorrow. 11:30, Polaris.

Come out and hang with some of your friends. This free form event is open to the public and often includes hacking stuff, lock picking, deep technical discussions, projects, etc.

Check it out at the link below & bring a friend!  

http://cmhseclunch.eventbrite.com

 

14 Talks I Would Like to Attend This Summer

Here is just a quick list, off the top of my head, of some of the topics I would like to see someone do talks about at security events this summer. If you are in need of a research topic, or something to dig into for a deep dive, give one of these a try. Who knows, maybe you will see me in the audience. If so, then feel free to sit down for a cup of coffee and a chat! 

Here’s the list, in no particular order:

  1. machine learning,  analytics in infosec
  2. detection capabilities with nuance visibility at scale
  3. decision support from security analytics & automated systems based on situational awareness
  4. rational controls and how to apply them to different industries
  5. crowdsourcing of policies and processes – wiki-based approaches
  6. internal knowledge management for security teams
  7. tools for incident response beyond the basics
  8. tools and processes for business continuity after a breach – show us your guide to “Ouchies!”
  9. attacker research that is actually meaningful and that does NOT revolve around IOCs
  10. skills and capability mapping techniques for security teams and their management
  11. new mechanisms for log management and aggregation beyond Splunk & SEIM – how would the death star handle logs?
  12. near-real time detection at a meaningful level – even better if admins can make decisions and take actions from their iPhone/iWatch, 😛
  13. extrusion/exfiltration testing capabilities & metrics-focused assessment approaches for testing exfil robustness
  14. network mapping and asset discovery techniques and tools – how would the death star map their IT networks? 🙂
Give me a shout on Twitter if you want to explore these together – @lbhuston.

3 Things I Learned Talking to InfoSec People About Crime

Over the last several years, I have given many many talks about the behavior of criminal rings, how the criminal underground operates and black market economics. I wanted to share with my audiences some of the lessons I have learned about crime. Many people responded well and were interested in the content. Some replied with the predictable, “So what does this have to do with my firewall?” kind of response. One older security auditor even went so far as to ask me point blank “Why do you pay attention to the criminals? Shouldn’t you be working on helping people secure their networks?”  I tried to explain that understanding bad actors was a part of securing systems, but she wouldn’t hear of it…

That’s OK. I expected some of that kind of push back. Often, when I ask people what they want to hear about, or where my research should go, the responses I get back fall into two categories: “more of the same stuff” and “make x cheaper”, where x is some security product or tool. Neither is what I had in mind… 🙂 

Recently, I announced that I was taking this year off from most public speaking. I don’t think I will be attending as many events or speaking beyond my podcast and webinars. Mostly, this is to help me recover some of my energy and spend more time focused on new research and new projects at MicroSolved. However, I do want to close out the previous chapter of my focus on Operation Aikido and crime with 3 distinct lessons I think infosec folks should focus on and think about.

1. Real world – i.e.” “offline” crime – is something that few infosec professionals pay much attention to. Many of them are unaware of how fraud and black markets work, how criminals launder money/data around the world. They should pay attention to this, because “offline” crime and “online” crime are often strongly correlated and highly related in many cases. Sadly, when approached with this information – much of the response was – “I don’t have time for this, I have 156,926 other things to do right now.”

2. Infosec practitioners still do not understand their foes. There is a complete disconnect between the way most bad guys think and operate and the way many infosec folks think and operate. So much so, that there is often a “reality gap” between them. In a world of so many logs, honeypots, new techniques and data analysis, the problem seems to be getting worse instead of better. Threat intelligence has been reduced to lists of IOCs by most vendors, which makes it seem like knowledge of a web site URL, hash value or IP address is “knowing your enemy”. NOTHING could be farther from the truth….

3. Few infosec practitioners can appreciate a global view of crime and see larger-scale impacts in a meaningful way. Even those infosec practitioners who do get a deeper view of crime seem unable to formulate global-level impacts or nuance influences. When asked how geo-political changes would impact various forms of crime around the world, more than 93% of those I polled could only identify “increases in crime” as an impact. Only around 7% of those polled could identify specific shifts in the types of crime or criminal actors when asked about changes in the geo-political or economic landscapes. Less than 2% of the respondents could identify or correlate accurate trends in response to a geo-political situation like the conflict in Ukraine. Clearly, most infosec folks are focused heavily ON THIER OWN STUFF and not on the world and threats around them.

I’m not slamming infosec folks. I love them. I want them to succeed and have devoted more than 20 years of my life to helping them. I will continue to do so. But, before I close my own chapter on this particular research focus, I think it is essential to level set. This is a part of that. I hope the conversation continues. I hope folks learn more and more about bad actors and crime. I hope to see more people doing this research. I hope to dig even deeper into it in the future.

Until then, thanks for reading, stay safe out there, and I will see you soon – even if I won’t be on stage at most events for a while. 😉

PS _ Thanks to all of the wonderful audiences I have had the pleasure to present to over the years. I appreciate and love each and every one of you! Thanks for all the applause, questions and, most of all, thanks for being there!  

ICS/SCADA Security Symposium 2014 Announced

For those of you who were wondering about our yearly event, the 4th annual ICS/SCADA Security Symposium has been announced!

The date will be Thursday, December 11, 2014 and the entire event will be virtual! Yes, that’s right, no travel & no scheduling people to cover the control room. YOU can learn from right there! 

To learn more about the event, the schedule and to register, click here!

Tor Video from Derbycon 4 Available

Thanks to Iron Geek and the Derbycon staff for making my presentation from this year available. 

The talk covered discussions about Tor Hidden Nodes and how crime works inside of the Tor network. Check the talk out here.

There is a lot of good stuff here, and they turned people away from the talk because we over-filled the room. Now, you can actually sit comfortably and watch it. 🙂

Message me on Twitter (@lbhuston) if you want to discuss. Thanks for reading and for watching!

Save The Date: 2014 ICS/SCADA Security Symposium Dec. 11

This year’s ICS/SCADA Security Symposium will be held on Thursday, December 11, 2014. This year’s event will be a little different, in that we are opening it up to any organizations who are asset owners or manufacturers of ICS/SCADA components. That includes utilities, manufacturing companies, pharma, etc. If you are interested in ICS security, you can sign up for the event.

This year’s event will also be virtual. It will be a series of Webinars held on the same day in 45 minute blocks, with time for follow-on questions. We will also hold a Twitter Q&A Hour from 1pm – 2pm Eastern, and we will attempt to make all speakers available for the Q&A!

In addition, we plan to stand up a supporting website for the event, and release a number of materials, including podcasts, interviews and other surprises the day of the event!

We will be tracking attendance in the webinars and providing notes of attestation for attendees for the purpose of CPE credits. We hope this new format will allow folks who wanted to attend in the past, but either couldn’t make the physical trip to Columbus or couldn’t leave their positions to attend training the ability to join us.

More details, including speakers and topics, as well as schedules, hashtags and other info will be released shortly. Thanks for reading, and we hope to see you on 12/11/14!

CMHSecLunch is July 14th @ Tuttle Mall

Just a quick reminder to save the date for CMHSecLunch this month. It is July 14th at 11:30am at the Tuttle Mall Food Court. We are usually pretty close to the giant germ ball fountain, and the Tuttle event is usually pretty well attended. 

Come out and beat the summer heat, hang out, meet old and new friends and have some food.

We hope to see you there! 

As always, you can RSVP if desired (not needed) or learn more by clicking here. 

Bring a friend, attendance is FREE and open to everyone!