This is one of my favorite episodes so far! I spend about 45 minutes with Josh Anderson, who riffs on IT and ICS/SCADA security threats, career advice, how he compares his life to characters on TV’s “24” and a whole lot more. Very relaxed, generous in time and content, this interview with one of America’s Premier ICS Security Gurus (I just gave him that title…) is fun and lively.
Arguably, Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) has kept us safe from nuclear holocaust for more than half a century. Although we have been on the brink of nuclear war more than once and the Doomsday clock currently has us at three minutes ‘til midnight, nobody ever seems ready to actually push the button – and there have been some shaky fingers indeed on those buttons!
Today, the Sword of Damocles hanging over our heads isn’t just the threat of nuclear annihilation; now we have to include the very real threat of cyber Armageddon. Imagine hundreds of coordinated cyber-attackers using dozens of zero-day exploits and other attack mechanisms all at once. The consequences could be staggering! GPS systems failing, power outages popping up, banking software failing, ICS systems going haywire, distributed denial of service attacks on hundreds of web sites, contradictory commands everywhere, bogus information popping up and web-based communications failures could be just a handful of the likely consequences. The populous would be hysterical!
So, keeping these factors in mind, shouldn’t we be working diligently on developing a cyber-MAD capability to protect ourselves from this very real threat vector? It has a proven track record and we already have decades of experience in running, controlling and protecting such a system. That would ease the public’s very justifiable fear of creating a Frankenstein that may be misused to destroy ourselves.
Plus think of the security implications of developing cyber-MAD. So far in America there are no national cyber-security laws, and the current security mechanisms used in the country are varied and less than effective at best. Creating cyber-war capabilities would teach us lessons we can learn no other way. To the extent we become the masters of subverting and destroying cyber-systems, we would reciprocally become the masters of protecting them. When it comes right down to it, I guess I truly believe in the old adage “the best defense is a good offense”.
Thanks to John Davis for this post.
MSI is pleased to announce the immediate formation and availability of Operation Hardened Buckeye!
This special program is dedicated to assisting Ohio’s Rural Electrical Cooperatives.
MSI will set up aggregated groups of Electrical Cooperatives and perform services and offer tools to the groups en-masse at discounted rates, as if they were one large company. Essentially, this allows the co-ops to leverage group buying, while still receiving individual reports, software licenses and overall group-level intelligence & metrics.
MSI will offer a package consisting of the following:
- External Vulnerability Assessment with aggregated executive level reports/metrics & individual technical detail reports
- An aggregated Targeted Threat Intelligence engagement with individual notifications of critical findings and an aggregated intelligence report for the group
- 3 HoneyPoint Agent licenses and a console license per co-op that participates
- Deep discounts to individual co-ops who desire application assessment, internal vulnerability assessments, wireless assessments or other MSI professional services (including MSI::Vigilance & ICS Network Segregation Services)
- Deep discounts for ongoing assessments and targeted threat intelligence as a service
Caveats: All assessments will be performed at the same time. Co-ops must each sign onto a common MSA. Each co-op will be billed for the total of the package divided by the number of participating co-ops. Co-ops must provide accurate IP address ranges for their external assessment.
This enables the co-ops to have a security baseline of their security posture performed, including aligning their current status against that of their peers. It also allows for each of the co-ops to deploy a HoneyPoint Agent in their DMZ, business network and control network for detection capabilities. The targeted threat intelligence will provide them with an overall threat assessment, as well as identifying individual targets that have either already been attacked or are likely to provide easy/attention raising targets for future attacks.
For more information, please contact Allan Bergen via the email below or call (513) 300-0194 today!
I’ve lost track of how many useful cloud-based services I have signed up for within the last few years. I can’t picture my life without products like Uber, FancyHands and Gmail. It often surprises people to find out that these products are free or very inexpensive. If they’re giving the service away for free or at a very low cost, how can the companies make money?
Typically, a service provider is able to gain a substantial profit based on the fact that they are able to harvest your data. Imagine what an advertiser could gain just by learning information about your latest Uber ride. When using a service provider, it’s important to ask yourself, is the convenience worth the sacrifice of your privacy? While it’s possible that not all of these service providers are harvesting or selling your data, it’s worthwhile to at least consider your loss of control.
Personally, I have found that there are circumstances in which I am willing to sacrifice my privacy for a cheaper and more effective product. I feel that the convenience of being able to order a cab with the touch of a button on my phone is worth the risk of another corporation learning details about my trip. Another circumstance in which I am willing to forgo a bit of my privacy to gain a convenience would be my use of a “savings card” at my local grocery store. I have no doubt that they are tracking and analyzing my purchases. However, I have always felt that it is worthwhile to share my purchase history with the grocery store due to the discounts that they provide for using the “savings card”.
Despite the fact that I am often willing to forgo my privacy in an attempt to gain access to a service offering, there are products that I do not feel that the offered convenience warrants the loss of control over my personal information. For example, I recently looked into leveraging a service that could automatically unsubscribe me from a number of subscription emails. As annoying as those emails can be, I didn’t feel that the convenience of this service was worth letting a 3rd party parse through all of my emails.
Each time my personally identifiable information (PII) is exposed to attackers as a part of a data breach, I become more likely to voluntarily share my personal information with a 3rd party in an effort to gain a convenience. Next time you prepare to sign up for a free or discounted service, be sure to take a few extra moments to decide whether or not you are willing to expose your private information to gain access to the service. After all, there’s no such thing as a free lunch.
Discovering an information security breach can be a shock! Picture it: you are enjoying a regular work day and WHAM! Suddenly you are at the center of an incident that could possibly affect the future of the company and perhaps your own future as well. It’s easy to panic. You know if you don’t do the right thing, right now, bad things are sure to rain down on you. So, what is the very first thing that you should do?
Go immediately to your incident response plan, of course! After all, that is the reason your company has put together an IR plan and team in the first place; to plan for contingencies so that personnel don’t go off half-cocked and lose vital data and evidence.
But is your plan clear enough that regular system users or even help desk personnel know what to do first without having to thumb through a hundred pages of plan? If not, perhaps a simple little trick we use in our incident response plans will work for you.
The very first thing you see when you open one of our incident response plans are employee and incident response team Quick Response Guides (see the example of an employee guide below-the IRT guide is similar, but more complex).
I know from my military experience that having checklists such as the Quick Response Guides in place truly cuts down on mistakes and helps calm personnel during difficult situations. Why not see if they can also improve your response quality?
You can download the pocket guide here.
Thanks to John Davis for this post.
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:
- machine learning, analytics in infosec
- detection capabilities with nuance visibility at scale
- decision support from security analytics & automated systems based on situational awareness
- rational controls and how to apply them to different industries
- crowdsourcing of policies and processes – wiki-based approaches
- internal knowledge management for security teams
- tools for incident response beyond the basics
- tools and processes for business continuity after a breach – show us your guide to “Ouchies!”
- attacker research that is actually meaningful and that does NOT revolve around IOCs
- skills and capability mapping techniques for security teams and their management
- new mechanisms for log management and aggregation beyond Splunk & SEIM – how would the death star handle logs?
- near-real time detection at a meaningful level – even better if admins can make decisions and take actions from their iPhone/iWatch, 😛
- extrusion/exfiltration testing capabilities & metrics-focused assessment approaches for testing exfil robustness
- network mapping and asset discovery techniques and tools – how would the death star map their IT networks? 🙂