Infosec Island Latest Articles Adrift in Threats? Come Ashore! en hourly 1 Facebook Shuts Down Two Hacking Groups in Palestine Wed, 21 Apr 2021 13:59:07 -0500 Social media giant Facebook today announced that it took action against two groups of hackers originating from Palestine that abused its infrastructure for malware distribution and account compromise across the Internet. 

One of the dismantled networks was linked to the Preventive Security Service (PSS), one of the several intelligence services of Palestine, while the other was associated with Arid Viper, an established threat actor in the Gaza region.

The two clusters of activity, Facebook says, were not connected to one another, as one was focused on domestic audiences, while the other primarily targeted Palestinian territories and Syria, but also hit Turkey, Iraq, Lebanon and Libya.

As part of the shutdown operation, Facebook took down accounts, blocked domains, sent alerts to people who were targeted, and released malware hashes to the public.

“The groups behind these operations are persistent adversaries, and we know they will evolve their tactics in response to our enforcement,” Facebook says.

The PSS-linked activity originated in the West Bank and focused on targets outside Palestine, employing social engineering to lure individuals into clicking on malicious links and getting infected with malware.

Targets included journalists, opponents of the Fatah-led government, human rights activists, the Syrian opposition, Iraqi military, and other military groups.

An in-house built Android malware family associated with the operation masqueraded as a chat application and collected device metadata, call logs, text messages, contacts, and location, and only rarely exhibited keylogging capabilities. All data was sent to mobile app development platform Firebase.

The group also employed the publicly available Android malware family SpyNote, offers remote access to devices, and deployed publicly available Windows malware, such as NJRat and HWorm. Fake and compromised accounts were used to build trust in targeted individuals.

Also referred to as Desert Falcons, and DHS, Arid Viper has been active for more than half a decade and is likely closely connected to the Molerats APT. The newly observed activity, Facebook says, targeted government officials in Palestine, members of the Fatah party, students, and security forces.

The threat actor employed a large infrastructure of more than one hundred websites that hosted iOS and Android malware, were designed for phishing, or functioned as command and control (C&C) servers.

“They appear to operate across multiple internet services, using a combination of social engineering, phishing websites and continually evolving Windows and Android malware in targeted cyber espionage campaigns,” Facebook says.

As part of the observed activity, the adversary used custom-built iOS surveillanceware dubbed Phenakite and tricked users into installing a mobile configuration profile for the malware to be effective. The malware was packed inside a Trojanized, fully-functional chat application and could direct victims to phishing pages for Facebook and iCloud.

While the app could be installed without jailbreak, the malware did require one to elevate privileges and access sensitive user information. The publicly available Osiris jailbreak tool was used for this purpose.

Arid Viper also employed Android malware that resembled FrozenCell and VAMP and which required installation of apps from third-party sources. Variants of the Micropsia malware family were also used.

The distribution of malware relied on social engineering, with 41 attacker-controlled phishing sites used to distribute the Android malware, and a 3rd party Chinese app development site employed for the delivery of iOS malware.

Facebook says that, for roughly two years, it has been in contact with industry partners to share information about the discovered activity and proceed with the identification and blocking of the threat actors. 

Related: Facebook Removes 14 Networks Fueling Deceptive Campaigns

Related: Facebook Says Hackers 'Scraped' Data of 533 Million Users in 2019 Leak

Related: Facebook Disrupts Chinese Spies Using iPhone, Android Malware

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Cloud Security Alliance Shares Security Guidance for Crypto-Assets Exchange Tue, 13 Apr 2021 15:05:00 -0500 The Cloud Security Alliance (CSA) has released new Crypto-Asset Exchange Security Guidelines, a set of guidelines and best practices for crypto-asset exchange (CaE) security.  

Drafted by CSA’s Blockchain/Distributed Ledger Working Group, the document provides readers with a comprehensive set of guidelines for effective exchange security to help educate users, policymakers, and cybersecurity professionals on the pros and cons of further securing cryptocurrency exchanges, including both Decentralized Exchanges (DEX) and hosted wallets at cloud-based exchanges, OTC desks, and cryptocurrency swap services.  

Cryptocurrency exchanges are increasingly becoming targets of hackers. For instance, in December 2020, cryptocurrency exchange Exmo “detected suspicious withdrawal activity” to the tune of more than $10 million.   

CSA's document includes a model that identifies the 10 top threats to crypto exchanges, plus a reference architecture and set of security best practices for the end-user, exchange operators, and auditors. Also covered are security control measures across a wide area of administrative and physical domains.  

“As the digital assets industry evolves and matures, crypto-asset exchanges increasingly cover areas that were, for decades, the sole dominion of long-established financial service institutions,” said Bill Izzo, co-chair of CSA’s Blockchain/Distributed Ledger Working Group. “It’s our hope that this document will provide a roadmap for those tasked with ushering new and existing financial services organizations into the future in a controlled and secure manner.”  

The Crypto-Asset Exchange Security Guidelines can be downloaded here.

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Intel Corp. to Speak at SecurityWeek Supply Chain Security Summit Mon, 08 Mar 2021 19:11:40 -0600

Join Intel on Wednesday, March 10, at SecurityWeek’s Supply Chain Security Summit, where industry leaders will examine the current state of supply chain attacks. Hear Intel’s experts discuss the need for transparency and integrity across the complete product lifecycle, from build to retire.  

Into the Spotlight: Is Supply Chain Ready for the Magnifying Glass?  

Listen in on a live conversation with Intel’s Jackie Sturm, corporate vice president of Global Supply Chain Operations, and Tom Garrison, vice president and general manager of Client Security Strategy & Initiatives. They will discuss the benefits of cybersecurity and transparency across the digital supply chain, and share their insights on what it means to be prepared in 2021.

The session will be moderated by Camille Morhardt, director of Security Initiatives & Communications at Intel.  

When: 8-8:45 a.m. PST, Wednesday, March 10, 2021  


Registration: Free    

About IntelIntel (Nasdaq: INTC) is an industry leader, creating world-changing technology that enables global progress and enriches lives. Inspired by Moore’s Law, we continuously work to advance the design and manufacturing of semiconductors to help address our customers’ greatest challenges. By embedding intelligence in the cloud, network, edge and every kind of computing device, we unleash the potential of data to transform business and society for the better. To learn more about Intel’s innovations, go to and

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GitHub Hires Former Cisco Executive Mike Hanley as Chief Security Officer Wed, 24 Feb 2021 14:34:33 -0600 Software development platform GitHub announced on Wednesday that it has hired Mike Hanley as its new Chief Security Officer (CSO).  

Hanley joins GitHub from Cisco, where he served as Chief Information Security Officer (CISO). He arrived at Cisco via its $2.35 billion acquisition of Duo Security in 2018.  

“As the largest global network of developers, GitHub is also crucial to supply chain security, giving developers the tools and knowledge to secure software following major breaches like SolarWinds,” a spokesperson told SecurityWeek.  

“As a security practitioner, this is also an exciting transition for me as much of the security community, and many of my favorite security projects, live on GitHub, like CloudMapper, stethoscope, GoPhish, and osquery,” Hanley wrote in a blog post. “I couldn’t be more excited to help secure the platform that’s made these influential projects possible and expanded their reach in incredible ways.”  

GitHub, which Microsoft acquired for $7.5 billion in 2018, said last year that it had paid out a total of more than $1 million through its bug bounty program on HackerOne, where it has no maximum reward limit for critical vulnerabilities.  

News of Hanley’s hire is one of several prominent industry moves announced this week, as Reddit announced that former Bank of America security executive Allison Miller would be its new CISO, and stock trading firm Robinhood has hired veteran cybersecurity practitioner Caleb Sima as Chief Security Officer.

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Reddit Names Allison Miller as Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) Mon, 22 Feb 2021 19:23:43 -0600 Social news community site Reddit announced on Monday that it has hired Allison Miller as Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) and VP of Trust. 

Miller joins Reddit from Bank of America where she most recently served as SVP Technology Strategy & Design, and had been overseeing technology design and engineering delivery for the bank’s information security organization. She previously held technical and leadership roles at Google, Electronic Arts, Tagged/MeetMe, PayPal/eBay, and Visa. 

According to a blog post announcing Miller’s hire, she will be tasked expanding trust & safety operations and data security, and redesigning Reddit’s trust frameworks and transparency efforts. 

Miller has already started in the role and reports directly to Reddit CTO Chris Slowe. 

She has a B.S. in Economics from the University of Pennsylvania and a Master of Business Administration from the University of California at Berkeley.  

Reddit has been operating for more than 16 years, and announced a $250 million Series E funding round earlier this month.

The company says more than 50 million users visit the site daily.

Copyright 2010 Respective Author at Infosec Island]]>
SecurityWeek Names Ryan Naraine as Editor-at-Large Mon, 18 Jan 2021 19:49:27 -0600 SecurityWeek has named Ryan Naraine as Editor-at-Large, adding a veteran cybersecurity journalist and podcaster to its editorial team.

Naraine joins SecurityWeek from Intel Corp., where he most recently served as Director of Security Strategy and leader of the chipmaker’s security community engagement initiatives. Prior to Intel, he managed Kaspersky’s Global Research and Analysis Team (GReAT) in the U.S., a team that researched and documented some of the most well-known Advanced Persistent Threat (APT) groups and targeted attacks around the world. During a career that spanned a decade at Kaspersky, Naraine also co-managed the global Security Analyst Summit (SAS) conference series.

Prior to Kaspersky, he was the Founding Editor at Threatpost, and a security journalist with bylines at ZDNet and eWEEK.

In this newly created role, Naraine will work to expand SecurityWeek’s innovative multimedia content offerings and help execute the publication’s editorial vision.

In addition to editorial responsibilities, Naraine will join the management team of SecurityWeek’s industry-leading cybersecurity events portfolio, including its high-profile CISO ForumIndustrial Control Systems (ICS) Cyber Security Conference series, and the company’s SecuritySummits event series, a lineup of eight (8) fully immersive, topic-specific virtual events.

“Despite the headwinds stemming from a pandemic, SecurityWeek experienced record growth in 2020,” said Mike Lennon, Managing Director at SecurityWeek. “Ryan’s journalistic background, combined with his technical knowledge and vast network in the industry, will help keep the momentum going as we enter our next stage of growth. We are beyond thrilled to have Ryan join the SecurityWeek team and could not be more excited about our company positioning.”

“It’s exciting to return to my roots in journalism,” Naraine said, noting that his work will focus on showcasing the work of innovators building groundbreaking security technologies and executing effective security plans. “Too much of today’s security news focuses on data breaches, zero-day attacks and sensational topics, ignoring the defenders in the trenches building the tools and security programs to keep us all safe. I want to help change that by highlighting the important work being done in the background to help defenders,” Naraine added.

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Why Cyber Security Should Be at the Top of Your Christmas List Thu, 17 Dec 2020 06:26:00 -0600 Santa has been making his list and checking it twice. Will you (and your organization's cyber security practices) make the Nice list? Or did you fall on the naughty side this year?

Either way, now is the best time to begin preparation so that you are setup for a good Christmas in 2021.

Right up to the end of the year, massive cyber-attacks and high-profile data breaches made headlines in 2020. In the year ahead, organizations must prepare for the unknown, so they have the flexibility to endure unexpected and high impact security events. To take advantage of emerging trends in both technology and cyberspace, businesses need to manage risks in ways beyond those traditionally handled by the information security function, since innovative attacks will most certainly impact both business reputation and shareholder value.

Based on comprehensive assessments of the threat landscape, businesses focus on the following security topics in 2021:

  • Cybercrime: Malware, ID Theft, Ransomware and Network Attacks
  • Insider Threats are Real
  • The Digital Generation Becomes the Scammer’s Dream
  • Edge Computing Pushes Security to the Brink
  • Rushed Digital Transformations Destroy Trust

An overview for each of these areas can be found below:

Cybercrime: Malware, ID Theft, Ransomware and Network Attacks

We have seen an increase in cybercrime targeting the COVID-19 “opportunity”.  Not restricted to ransomware attacks on hospitals, this has also seen targeting of remote workers who are accessing corporate systems. Setting up fraudulent charities, fraudulent loans, extortion along with an increase in traditional phishing and malware are all on the increase. The changing threat landscape requires risk management and security practitioners to pay close attention to how exposures change over the coming months and the circumstances that influence the level of protection.

Insider Threats are Real

The insider threat is one of the greatest drivers of security risks that organizations face as a malicious insider utilizes credentials to gain access to a given organization’s critical assets. Many organizations are challenged to detect internal nefarious acts, often due to limited access controls and the ability to detect unusual activity once someone is already inside their network. The threat from malicious insider activity is an increasing concern, especially for financial institutions, and will continue to be so in 2021.

The Digital Generation Becomes the Scammer’s Dream

The next generation of employees will enter the workplace, introducing new information security concerns to organizations. Their attitudes toward sharing information will fall short of the requirements for good information security. Reckless attitudes to sharing information online will set new norms for security and privacy, undermining awareness activities; attackers will use sophisticated social engineering techniques to manipulate individuals into giving up their employer’s critical information assets.

Edge Computing Pushes Security to the Brink

Edge computing will be an attractive architectural choice for organizations; however, it will also become a key target for attackers. It will create numerous points of failure and will lose many benefits of traditional security solutions. Organizations will lose the visibility, security and analysis capabilities associated with cloud service providers; attackers will exploit blind spots, targeting devices on the periphery of the network environment, causing significant downtime.

Rushed Digital Transformations Destroy Trust

Organizations will undertake evermore complex digital transformations – deploying AI, blockchain or robotics – expecting them to seamlessly integrate with underlying systems. Those that get it wrong will have their data compromised. Consumers and dependent supply chains will lose trust in organizations that do not integrate systems and services effectively; new vulnerabilities and attack vectors will be introduced, attracting opportunistic attackers.

A Continued Need to Involve the Board

The role of the C-Suite has undergone significant transformation over the last decade. Public scrutiny of business leaders is at an all-time high, in part due to massive hacks and data breaches. It’s become increasingly clear in the last two years that in the event of a breach, the hacked organization will be blamed and held accountable.

The executive team sitting at the top of an organization has the clearest, broadest view. A serious, shared commitment to common values and strategies is at the heart of a good working relationship between the C-suite and the board. Without sincere, ongoing collaboration, complex challenges like cyber security will be unmanageable. Covering all the bases—defense, risk management, prevention, detection, remediation, and incident response—is better achieved when leaders contribute from their expertise and use their unique vantage point to help set priorities and keep security efforts aligned with business objectives.

Incidents will happen as it is impossible to avoid every breach. But you can commit to building a mature, realistic, broad-based, collaborative approach to cyber security and resilience. Maturing your organization’s ability to detect intrusions quickly and respond expeditiously will be of the highest importance in 2021 and beyond.

Don't forget. Santa is watching. Make sure you end up on his Nice list in the year to come!

About the author: Steve Durbin is Managing Director of the Information Security Forum (ISF). His main areas of focus include strategy, information technology, cyber security and the emerging security threat landscape across both the corporate and personal environments. Previously, he was senior vice president at Gartner.

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United States Federal Government’s Shift to Identity-Centric Security Thu, 17 Dec 2020 04:26:12 -0600 Across the globe, government agencies have begun transformation and modernization of their IT ecosystem to deliver services in an agile, secure, and timely efficient manner, this means broad and rapid adoption of cloud infrastructure and services at pace we've never seen, and now, we are now thrust into adopting changes to how we interact and connect to business applications, systems and data remotely.

Governments are increasingly facing new legislation, standards, frameworks, and policies to protect critical and sensitive information. Such as, NIST and amongst others.

The adversary continues to become more advanced - we must protect our organizations from a broad array of threat actors – with increasing complexity, resources, and persistence.  This increasing number, and overall impact of cybersecurity breaches is staggering and has shown us the identity is the new attack vector.

Federal agencies maintain critical information that could do grave harm to – the country, national security, and more importantly its citizens, if accessed by the wrong person.

User communities have expanded beyond humans to machine identities and process, the amount of data being created is growing exponentially. It is no longer feasible to protect our most sensitive assets behind a single network wall and as identified the fast path for a threat actor to steal data is through a compromised identity.

These challenges leave the agency open to the risks and costs of cyber-attacks, non-compliance, and simple human error. It’s time for a shift in our approach to security.

Taking an identity-centric approach to modern security architecture helps organizations protect the weapons that are being used against us – the identity itself - But are federal agencies ready to shift to an identity-centric security model?

Nearly half of the US federal government agencies are substantially on their way to adopting an identity-focused approach to protecting access to agency resources, but many agencies still rely heavily on perimeter defense tools or policies.

The Zero Trust concept is forcing them to evolve to a model made up of many micro perimeters at each identity domain – Behavior, Data, Credentials, Privileges, Roles and Entitlements – Analytics and Behavior. Instead of building many layers of security from the outside in, it proposes the idea of protecting data from the inside out and building out security controls only where you need them.

In 2019, the United States, White House’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB) released M-19-17, the ICAM Modernization Strategy – the memo outlines the objectives for securing federal IT systems, including a common vision for using identity and access management controls. Some agencies are still developing their approach, many are focusing on creating a baseline of users, objects, and access. Some have started to look to modern security architecture – rooted in identity and device security – extending what has been done in HSPD-12, Derived Credentials and Assured Identities and Credentialing.

Thanks to the US Department of Homeland Security - Continuous Diagnostics and Mitigation Program, and the 2015 governmentwide "cyber sprint" and other recent efforts, US federal agencies now have much better data on their users, devices and network traffic than just a few years ago.

These programs and activities have provided agencies with key objectives, tools and support to establish a baseline of what is connecting to the network, who is connecting to the network, what data is on the network and how access is being used – its providing continuous monitoring of who has access to what? And what they are doing with that access. Building that picture of Privileged and Non-Privileged users alike, as well as Non-person Entities. A lot of the discovery, correlation and visibility is a result of Identity Governance controls and practices they have implemented in the SailPoint platform.

As US federal agencies continue to support large numbers of remote workers, IT leaders have started to evolve their thinking on zero-trust security architectures. Increasingly, they are becoming more comfortable with the concept and are seeking to lay the foundation for deployments.

"The new normal" has become an overused term since the global pandemic upended workplaces, but the surge in telework has indeed changed security conversations - It's been a catalyst for people to think about how that strong network perimeter isn't what they thought it was. 

New or old, however, establishing what is normal in a network is essential to a zero-trust approach.

The Zero Trust concept represents this paradigm shift in cybersecurity – from perimeter-based to identity and device -centric, in which every transaction is verified before access is granted to users and devices. In the US federal government, it is still a relatively nascent approach, with some mature agencies implementing and conducting pilot programs. However, IT leaders seem to recognize that cybersecurity models are increasingly going to be defined by a zero-trust architecture.

In other words, rather than focusing on a perimeter-based defense, practitioners are focusing on the controls on sensitive data stores, applications, systems, and networks themselves; thereby directly guarding assets that matter. Identity-defined Zero Trust is a complex topic and touches almost every aspect of an organization’s IT and security infrastructure. Forward thinking organizations are achieving Zero Trust through the integration of existing identity and security technologies, and, they have implemented architectures that share identity context and provide risk-based access to critical resources, improving security without compromising compliance with government directives, standards, and frameworks.

The Identity is the new perimeter and has never been more important in protecting a nations secrets and citizens. Cybersecurity has become a team sport – requiring many disciplines, stakeholders, and vendors to work together. Is your Identity Governance program ready for modern security architecture?

About the author: Frank Briguglio, Public Sector Identity Governance Strategist at SailPoint, specializes in Government Security and Compliance.

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How Extreme Weather Will Create Chaos on Infrastructure Wed, 21 Oct 2020 05:40:26 -0500 Extreme weather events will soon become more frequent and widespread, devastating areas of the world that typically don’t experience them and amplifying the destruction in areas that do. We have already seen devastating wildfires and an increase in hurricane activity this year in the United States. Uncovering shortcomings in technical and physical infrastructure, these events will cause significant disruption and damage to IT systems and assets. Data centers will be considerably impacted, with dependent organizations losing access to services and data, and Critical National Infrastructure (CNI) will be put at risk.

Extensive droughts will force governments to divert water traditionally used to cool data centers, resulting in unplanned outages. In coastal areas and river basins, catastrophic flooding, hurricanes, typhoons or monsoons will hit key infrastructure such as the electrical grid and telecommunication systems. Wildfires will lead to prolonged power outages, stretching continuity arrangements to breaking point. The impact of extreme weather events on local staff, who may be unwilling or unable to get to their workplace, will put operational capability in jeopardy. The magnitude of extreme weather events – and their prevalence in areas that have not previously been prone to them – will create havoc for organizations that have not prepared for their impact.

In addition to natural factors, environmental activists will establish a link between global warming and data center power consumption and will consider them to be valid targets for action. For data-centric organizations, the capabilities of data centers and core technical infrastructure will be pushed to the extreme, as business continuity and disaster recovery plans are put to the test like never before.

What are the Global Consequences of This Threat?

Extreme weather events have frightening consequences for people’s lives and have the potential to degrade or destroy critical infrastructure. From wildfires on the West Coast of the United States that wreck power lines, to extreme rainfall and flooding in South Asian communities that poison fresh water supplies and disrupt other critical services, the impacts of extreme weather are pronounced and deadly. They have severe ramifications for the availability of services and information – for example, in 2015 severe flooding in the UK city of Leeds caused a telecommunications data center to lose power, resulting in a large-scale outage.

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), human-induced warming from fossil fuel usage, overbreeding of animals and deforestation will contribute to, and exacerbate, the damage caused by extreme weather events. The impact on human lives, infrastructure and organizations around the world will be destructive.

The probability and impact of extreme weather events are increasing and will soon spread to areas of the world that haven’t historically experienced them. Overall, up to 60% of locations across North America, Europe, East Asia and South America are expected to see a threefold increase in various extreme weather events over the coming years. Moreover, the US Federal Emergency Management Agency released new proposed flood maps along the west coast of Florida, showing that many companies that once assumed their data backup solutions were safe will find themselves struggling to deal with rising water levels. These increasingly volatile weather conditions will result in severe damage to infrastructure including telecommunication towers, pipelines, cables and data centers.

A study performed by the Uptime Institute found that 71% of organizations are not preparing for severe weather events and 45% are ignoring the risk of environmental disruption to their data centers, highlighting the need to take more action to ensure preparedness and resilience.

Data centers are some of the biggest users of energy in the world, using up to 416 terawatt hours of energy annually and accounting for 1–3% of the global electricity demand, doubling every four years. According to Greenpeace, only 20% of the energy used by data centers is from renewable resources. Criticism will soon turn to action, with environmental activists targeting organizations that use technical infrastructure that contributes towards harming the environment.

With the likelihood of extreme weather events increasing and becoming more damaging, organizations will be caught off guard, as their core infrastructure is crippled and CNI is taken offline. Combined with a greater scrutiny from environmental activists, data centers and core infrastructure will be put at risk.

How Should Your Business Prepare?

Extreme weather events, coupled with environmental activism, should prompt a fundamental re-examination of and re-investment in organizational resilience. It is critical that organizations risk assess their physical infrastructure and decide whether to relocate, harden it or transfer risk to cloud service providers.

In the short term, organizations should review risk exposure to extreme weather events, considering the location of data centers. Additionally, revise business continuity and disaster recovery plans and conduct a cyber security exercise with an extreme weather scenario.

In the long term, consider relocation of strategic assets that are at high risk and transfer risk to cloud or outsourced service providers. Finally, invest in infrastructure that is more durable in extreme weather conditions.

About the author: Steve Durbin is Managing Director of the Information Security Forum (ISF). His main areas of focus include strategy, information technology, cyber security and the emerging security threat landscape across both the corporate and personal environments. Previously, he was senior vice president at Gartner.

Copyright 2010 Respective Author at Infosec Island]]>
BSIMM11 Observes the Cutting Edge of Software Security Initiatives Wed, 21 Oct 2020 05:35:48 -0500 If you want to improve the security of your software—and you should—then you need the Building Security In Maturity Model (BSIMM), an annual report on the evolution of software security initiatives (SSIs). The latest iteration, BSIMM11, is based on observations of 130 participating companies, primarily in nine industry verticals and spanning multiple geographies.

The BSIMM examines software security activities, or controls, on which organizations are actually spending time and money. This real-world view—actual practices as opposed to someone’s idea of best practices—is reflected in the descriptions written for each of the 121 activities included in the BSIMM11.

Since the BSIMM is completely data-driven, this report is different from any earlier ones. That’s because the world of software security evolves. The changes in BSIMM11 reflect that evolution. Among them:

New software security activities 

BSIMM10 added new activities to reflect the reality that some organizations were working on ways to speed up security to match the speed with which the business delivers functionality to market.

To those, BSIMM11 adds activities for implementing event-driven security testing and publishing risk data for deployable artifacts. Those directly reflect the ongoing DevOps and DevSecOps evolution and its intersection with traditional software security groups.

Don’t just shift left: Shift everywhere

When the BSIMM’s authors began writing about the concept of shifting left around 2006, it was addressing a niche audience. But the term rapidly became a mantra for product vendors and at security conferences, dominating presentations and panel discussions. At the February 2020 RSA conference in San Francisco, you couldn’t get through any of the sessions in the DevSecOps Days track without hearing it multiple times.

And the point is an important one: Don’t wait until the end of the SDLC to start looking for security vulnerabilities.

But the concept was never meant to be taken literally, as in “shift (only) left.”

“What we really meant is more accurately described as shift everywhere—to conduct an activity as quickly as possible, with the highest fidelity, as soon as the artifacts on which that activity depends are made available,” said Sammy Migues, principal scientist at Synopsys and a co-author of the BSIMM since its beginning.

Engineering demands security at speed

Perhaps you could call it moving security to the grassroots. Because while in some organizations tracked in the BSIMM there is only a small, centralized software security group focused primarily on governance, in a growing number of cases engineering teams now perform many of the software security efforts, including CloudSec, ContainerSec, DeploymentSec, ConfigSec, SecTools, OpsSec, and so on.

That is yielding mixed results. Being agile, those teams can perform those activities quickly, which is good, but it can be too fast for management teams to assess the impact on organizational risk. Not so good. Few organizations so far have completely harmonized centralized governance software security efforts and engineering software security efforts into a cohesive, explainable, defensible risk management program.

Still, engineering groups are making it clear that feature velocity is a priority. Security testing tools that run in cadence and invisibly in their toolchains—even free and open source tools—likely have more value today than more thorough commercial tools that create, or appear to create, more friction than benefit. The message: We’d love to have security in our value streams—if you don’t slow us down.

The cloud: Division of responsibility

The advantages of moving to the cloud are well known. It’s cheaper, it makes collaboration of a dispersed workforce easier, and it increases mobility, which is practically mandatory during an extended pandemic.

But using the cloud effectively also means outsourcing to the cloud vendor at least parts of your security architecture, feature provisioning, and other software security practice areas that are traditionally done locally.

As the BSIMM notes, “cloud providers are 100% responsible for providing security software for organizations to use, but the organizations are 100% responsible for software security.”

Digital transformation: Everybody’s doing it

Digital transformation efforts are pervasive, and software security is a key element of it at every level of an organization.

At the executive (SSI) level, the organization must move its technology stacks, processes, and people toward an automate-first strategy.

At the SSG level, the team must reduce analog debt, replacing documents and spreadsheets with governance as code.

At the engineering level, teams must integrate intelligence into their tooling, toolchains, environments, software, and everywhere else.

Security: Getting easier—and more difficult

Foundational software security activities are simultaneously getting easier and harder. Software inventory used to be an Excel spreadsheet with application names. It then became a (mostly out-of-date) configuration management database.

Now organizations need inventories of applications, APIs, microservices, open source, containers, glue code, orchestration code, configurations, source code, binary code, running applications, etc. Automation helps but there are an enormous number of moving parts.

 “Primarily, we see this implemented as a significant acceleration in process automation, in applying some manner of intelligence through sensors to prevent people from becoming process blockers, and in the start of a cultural acceptance that going faster means that not everything (all desired security testing) can be done in-band of the delivery lifecycle,” Migues said.

Your roadmap to a better software security initiative starts here

There is much more detail in BSIMM11, which reports in depth on the 121 activities grouped under 12 practices that are, in turn, grouped under four domains: governance, intelligence, secure software development life cycle (SSDL) touchpoints, and deployment.

In addition to helping an organization start an SSI, the BSIMM also gives them a way to evaluate the maturity of their SSI, from “emerging,” or just starting; to “maturing,” meaning up and running, including some executive support and expectations; to “optimizing,” which describes organizations that are fine-tuning their existing security capabilities to match their risk appetite and right-size their investment for the desired posture.

Wherever organizations are on that journey, the BSIMM provides a roadmap to help them reach their goals.

About the author: Taylor Armerding is an award-winning journalist who has been comvering the field of information security for years.

Copyright 2010 Respective Author at Infosec Island]]>
Sustaining Video Collaboration Through End-to-End Encryption Wed, 21 Oct 2020 05:27:02 -0500 The last several months have been the ultimate case study in workplace flexibility and adaptability. With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and widespread emergency activation plans through March and April, businesses large and small have all but abandoned their beautiful campuses and co-working environments. These communal, collaborative and in-person working experiences have been replaced by disparate remote environments that rely on a combination of video, chat and email to ease the transition and keep businesses productive.

The embrace of remote collaboration, and specifically video collaboration, has been swift and robust. In the first few months of the pandemic, downloads of video conferencing apps skyrocketed into the tens of millions, and traffic at many services surged anywhere from 10-fold to 100-fold. While uncertainty remains on what exactly a post-pandemic working experience will look like, it is without a doubt that video will remain a fundamental part of the collaboration tool kit.

While video has proven to be an effective bulwark against a disconnected workforce, the relative newness of the channel combined with its massive spike in popularity has revealed some fault lines. Most notably, several high-profile intrusions of ill-intended and disruptive individuals into private meetings. From a wider security perspective, this represents one of the most significant barriers to the long-term viability of video collaboration. Highly sensitive information and data are now shared over video – board meetings, product development brainstorms, sales reviews, negotiations – and the possibility that any of this information could be seen by the wrong eyes is a business-critical risk.

Yet, the vulnerabilities and threats presented by video conferencing are not insurmountable. In fact, there is a growing movement among CIOs and IT executives to further educate themselves on the nature of these platforms and identify the right solutions that fit the unique needs, opportunities and challenges of their businesses. As a result, there’s been a robust interest in  encryption.

The most common forms of encryption protect data when it is most vulnerable: in transit between one system and another.  However, in these common forms, communications are often not encrypted when they go through a variety of intermediaries, like internet or application service providers.  That leaves them susceptible to intrusion at varying points. If just one link in the chain is weak – or broken entirely – the entire video stream could be compromised.

Comprehensive and thorough protection of sensitive data requires a more robust solution – what’s known as end-to-end encryption. That means only the authorized participants in a video chat are able to access the video or audio streams. Consider it the structural equivalent of a digital storage locker. You may rent the space from the provider, but only the approved participants have the key.

It is important to note that secure video conferencing isn’t only important for large enterprises. Startups and small businesses are just as (if not more) vulnerable and benefit greatly from setting a high bar for security. Whether it’s protecting customers, meeting standards for business partnerships or even leaning into security as an additional value-add, higher levels of security can profoundly impact the growth of an organization.

As the future of work relies increasingly on digital workplace tools like video conferencing, security-first instincts and strong encryption are essential to prevent malicious actors from disrupting business continuity and productivity amid times of uncertainty. Video conferencing has enabled dispersed teams to achieve new opportunities and has a bright future ahead of it. By infusing end-to-end encryption into any video strategy, it ensures not only the sustainability of the channel, but the businesses that rely on it.

About the author: Michael Armer is Vice President and Chief Information Security Officer at 8x8

Copyright 2010 Respective Author at Infosec Island]]>
Will Robo-Helpers Help Themselves to Your Data? Tue, 08 Sep 2020 03:20:44 -0500 Over the coming years, organizations will experience growing disruption as threats from the digital world have an impact on the physical. Invasive technologies will be adopted across both industrial and consumer markets, creating an increasingly turbulent and unpredictable security environment. The requirement for a flexible approach to security and resilience will be crucial as a hybrid threat environment emerges.

While robots may seem like the perfect helpers, by 2022, the Information Security Forum (ISF) anticipates that a range of robotic devices, developed to perform a growing number of both mundane and complex human tasks, will be deployed in organizations and homes around the world. Friendly-faced, innocently-branded, and loaded with a selection of cameras and sensors, these constantly connected devices will roam freely. Poorly secured robo-helpers will be weaponized by attackers, committing acts of corporate espionage and stealing intellectual property. Attackers will exploit robo-helpers to target the most vulnerable members of society, such as the elderly or sick at home, in care homes or hospitals, resulting in reputational damage for both manufacturers and corporate users.

Organizations will be caught unawares as compromised robo-helpers such as autonomous vacuum cleaners, remote telepresence devices and miniature delivery vehicles roam unattended and unmonitored. The potential for these invasive machines to steal intellectual property and corporate secrets through a range of onboard cameras and sensors will become a significant concern. Organizations developing and using care-bots, a type of robo-helper designed for healthcare, will face significant financial and reputational damage when vulnerable individuals suffer emotional, physical, psychological and financial harm when care-bots are compromised.

This proliferation of robo-helpers into the home, offices, factories and hospitals will provide attackers with a range of opportunities to make financial gains and cause operational damage. Nation states and competitors will target robo-helpers that have access to sensitive areas in order to steal critical information. Organized criminal groups and hackers will also use manipulative techniques to frighten and coerce individuals into sending money or giving up sensitive information.

Imagine this scenario: the building maintenance division of a large pharmaceutical organization decides to replace its staff at the research and development (R&D) site with a range of outsourced, automated robots. These robo-helpers carry out building maintenance and sanitation operations in place of their human counterparts. Each unit is fitted with cameras and sensors and requires network connectivity in order to operate. Shortly after their deployment, details of an early phase experimental drug trial are leaked to the media.

Are you sure that your robo-helpers are secure?

What is the Justification for This Threat?

The extent to which robo-helpers are adopted and used, especially in homes and office spaces, currently differs significantly depending on geography and culture. Japan, China and South Korea, amongst other Asian nations, are typically more accepting of robots, whereas Western nations are currently less so. Robo-helpers are particularly seen in a positive light in Japan, with The International Federation of Robotics attributing the cultural influence of the Japanese religion of Shinto – where both people and objects are believed to possess a spirit – as a key enabler for the high rate of robotics adoption in Japan. China, the US and Japan are currently the biggest exporters of robots in the world, with overall growth expected to increase worldwide.

There is a growing acceptance of robots in the home and workplace, which may indicate that organizations are ready to accelerate the rate of robo-helper adoption. In offices and homes, a growing number of semi-autonomous robo-helpers are due to hit global consumer markets as early as 2020, all built with a range of networked cameras and sensors. As with poorly secured IoT devices that are constantly connected to an organization’s network, a security flaw or vulnerability in a robo-helper will further broaden attack surfaces, presenting yet another access point for attackers to exploit.

Robotics have been used in manufacturing for decades, but as they become more popular these robo-helpers will perform a greater range of tasks, giving them access to a wealth of sensitive data and locations. In the education sector robots will soon be used in schools, with developers in Silicon Valley creating robo-helpers for teachers that can scan students’ facial expressions and provide one-to-one support for logical subjects such as languages and mathematics. In healthcare there have also been breakthroughs – in November 2019 the world’s first brain aneurysm surgery using a robo-helper was completed, demonstrating that robot-assisted procedures enhance flexibility, control and precision.

As these robots gain greater autonomy and perform a greater number of surgeries over time, the need to secure them will become ever more urgent. In logistics, delivery-bots have seen significant investment and improvement, now using onboard cameras and sensors to navigate difficult terrain and unfamiliar environments.

Robo-helpers will make their way into the lives of more vulnerable individuals in care homes, schools and community centers and people will increasingly feel comfortable sharing sensitive information about their lives with them. Attackers will realize this, aiming to exploit these non-tech-savvy members of society into transferring funds or giving up sensitive information. Organizations developing these products or using them in their business will face serious reputational damage, as well as legal and financial repercussions when their customers become victims.

With the proliferation of robo-helpers across a growing number of countries and into a greater number of industries and homes, the opportunities for attackers to compromise individuals and organizations that use them will be alarming.

How Should Your Organization Prepare?

Organizations using robo-helpers in their business, or providing them to others, should ensure that devices are properly protected against attacks and cannot be used to compromise the privacy and rights of customers.

In the short term, organizations should restrict robo-helper access to sensitive locations. We recommend that they segregate access and monitor traffic between robo-helpers and the corporate network and ensure that robo-helpers using cameras and sensors comply with data protection regulations. Finally, dispose of robo-helpers securely.

In the long term, gain assurance over robo-helpers used in the organization and limit the capabilities of robo-helpers to ensure that ethical norms are not breached. Monitor specific robo-helpers for signs of fraudulent or dangerous activities and provide training and awareness around appropriate use and behaviors.

About the author: Steve Durbin is Managing Director of the Information Security Forum (ISF). His main areas of focus include strategy, information technology, cyber security and the emerging security threat landscape across both the corporate and personal environments. Previously, he was senior vice president at Gartner.

Copyright 2010 Respective Author at Infosec Island]]>
Securing the Hybrid Workforce Begins with Three Crucial Steps Wed, 02 Sep 2020 03:30:22 -0500 The global shift to a remote workforce has redefined the way organizations structure their business models. As executives reestablish work policies to accommodate remote employees well beyond the initially anticipated duration, a new era of work will emerge: the hybrid workforce, one more largely split between office and remote environments. While this transition brings a wave of opportunity for organizations and employees, it also opens new doors for bad actors to capitalize on strained IT departments who have taken on additional responsibility to ensure sensitive data remains secure, whether on or off the corporate network.

While threats to company data range in attack method, ransomware continues to be the most prominent risk known to organizations worldwide, with a 41% increase in 2019 alone. It’s important that companies focus on acknowledging this threat and deploying strategies to prepare, defend and repair incidents, before adapting to a hybrid workforce model. This process will prevent organizations from falling victim to attacks where data loss or ransom payment are the only unfortunate options. To win the war on ransomware, organizations should incorporate a plan for IT organizations that ensures they have the resilience needed to overcome any attack. Let’s explore three crucial steps for ransomware resilience in more detail.

Focus on education first, avoid reactive approaches to threats later

Education – beginning after threat actors are identified – should be the first step taken on the path towards resilience. To avoid being caught in a reactive position, should a ransomware incident arise, it’s important to understand the three main mechanisms for entry: internet-connected RDP or other remote access, phishing attacks and software vulnerabilities. Once organizations know where the threats lie, they can tactfully approach training with strategies to refine IT and user security, putting additional preparation tactics in place. Identifying the top three mechanisms can help IT administration isolate RDP servers with backup components, integrate tools to assess the threat of phishing attacks to help spot and respond correctly, and inform users on recurrent updates to critical categories of IT assets, such as operating systems, applications, databases and device firmware.

Additionally, preparing how to use the ransomware tools in place will help IT organizations familiarize themselves with different restore scenarios. Whether it be a secure restore process that will abort when malware is detected or software that can detect ransomware ahead of restoring a system, the ability to perform different restore scenarios will become invaluable to organizations. When an attack does happen, they will recognize, understand and have confidence in the process of working towards recovery. By taking the education aspect of these steps seriously, organizations can decrease the ransomware risks, costs and pressure of dealing with a ransomware incident unprepared.

Implement backup solutions that maintain business continuity 

An important part of ransomware resiliency is the implementation of backup infrastructure to create and maintain strong business continuity. Organizations need to have a reliable system in place that protects their servers and keeps them from ever having to pay to get their data back. Consider keeping the backup server isolated from the internet and limit shared accounts that grant access to all users. Instead, assign specific tasks within the server that are relevant for users and require two-factor authentication for remote desktop access. Additionally, backups with an air-gapped, offline or immutable copy of data paired with the 3-2-1 rule will provide one of the most critical defenses against ransomware, insider threats and accidental deletion.

Furthermore, detecting a ransomware threat as early as possible gives IT organizations a significant advantage. This requires tools in place to flag possible threat activity. For endpoint devices displaced remotely, backup repositories that are set up to identify risks will give IT further insight into an incredible surface area to analyze for potential threat introduction. If implementations don’t prohibit attacks, another viable option is encrypting backups wherever possible for an additional layer of protection – threat actors charging ransom to prevent leaking data do not want to have to decrypt it. When it comes to a ransomware incident, there isn’t one single way to recover, but there are many options aside from these that organizations can take. The important thing to remember is that resiliency will be predicated on how backup solutions are implemented, the behavior of threat and the course of remediation. Take time to research the options available and ensure that solutions are implemented to protect your company.

Prepare to remediate an incident in advance

Even when there are steps in place that leverage education and implementation techniques to combat ransomware before an attack hits, organizations should still be prepared to remediate a threat if introduced. Layers of defense against attacks are invaluable, but organizations need to also map out specifically what to do when a threat is discovered. Should a ransomware incident happen, organizations need to have support in place to guide the restore process so that backups aren’t put at risk. Communication is key, having a list of security, incident response, and identity management contacts in place if needed – inside the organization or externally – will help ease the process towards remediation.

Next, have a pre-approved chain of decision makers in place. When it comes time to make decisions, like whether to restore or to fail over company data in an event of an attack, organizations should know who to turn to for decision authority. If conditions are ready to restore, IT should be familiar with recovery options based on the ransomware situation. Implement additional checks for safety before putting systems on the network again – like an antivirus scan before restoration completes – and ensure the right process is underway. Once the process is complete, implement a sweeping forced change of passwords to reduce the threat resurfacing.

The threat that ransomware poses to organizations both large and small is real. While no one can predict when or how an attack will happen, IT organizations that have a strong, multi-layered defense and strategy in place have a greater chance for recovery. With the right preparation, the steps outlined here can increase any organization’s resiliency – whether in office, remote or a combination of the two – against a ransomware incident and avoid data loss, financial loss, business reputation damage or more.

About the author: Rick Vanover is senior director of product strategy for Veeam.

Copyright 2010 Respective Author at Infosec Island]]>
A New Strategy for DDoS Protection: Log Analysis on Steroids Wed, 26 Aug 2020 01:49:34 -0500 Anyone whose business depends on online traffic knows how critical it is to protect your business against Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks. And with cyber attackers more persistent than ever – Q1 2020 DDoS attacks surged by 80% year over year and their average duration rose by 25%—you also know how challenging this can be.

Now imagine you’re responsible for blocking, mitigating, and neutralizing DDoS attacks where the attack surface is tens of thousands of websites. That’s exactly what HubSpot, a top marketing and sales SaaS provider, was up against. How they overcame the challenges they faced makes for an interesting case study in DDoS response and mitigation.

Drinking from a Firehouse

HubSpot’s CMS Hub powers thousands of websites across the globe. Like many organizations, HubSpot uses a Content Delivery Network (CDN) solution to help bolster security and performance.

CDNs, which are typically associated with improving web performance, are built to make content available at edges of the network, providing both performance and data about access patterns across the network. To handle the CDN log data spikes inherent with DDoS attacks, organizations often guesstimate how much compute they may need and maintain that higher level of resource (and expenditure) for their logging solution. Or if budgets don’t allow, they dial back the amount of log data they retain and analyze.

In HubSpot’s case, they use Cloudflare CDN as the first layer of protection for all incoming traffic on the websites they host. This equates to about 136,000 requests/second, or roughly 10TB/day, of Cloudflare log data that HubSpot has at its disposal to help triage and neutralize DDoS attacks. Talk about drinking from a firehouse!

HubSpot makes use of Cloudflare’s Logpushservice to push Cloudflare logs that contain headers and cache statuses for each request directly to HubSpot’s Amazon S3 cloud object storage. In order to process that data and make it searchable, HubSpot’s dedicated security team deployed and managed their own open-source ELK Stack consisting of Elasticsearch (a search database), Logstash (a log ingestion and processing pipeline), and Kibana (a visualization tool for log search analytics). They also used open source Kafka to queue logs into the self-managed ELK cluster.

To prepare the Cloudflare logs for ingestion into the ELK cluster, HubSpot had created a pipeline that would download the Cloudflare logs from S3 into a Kafka pipeline, apply some transformations on the data, insert into a second Kafka queue whereby Logstash would then process the data, and output it into the Elasticsearch cluster. The security team would then use Kibana to interact with the Cloudflare log data to triage DDoS attacks as they occur.

Managing an Elasticsearch cluster dedicated to this Cloudflare/DDoS mitigation use case presented a number of continuing challenges. It required constant maintenance by members of the HubSpot Elasticsearch team. The growth in log data from HubSpot’s rapid customer base expansion was compounded by the fact that DDoS attacks themselves inherently generate a massive spike in log data while they are occurring. Unfortunately, these spikes often triggered instability in the Elastic cluster when they were needed most, during the firefighting and mitigation process. 

Cost was also a concern. Although Elasticsearch, Logstash, and Kibana open source applications can be acquired at no cost, the sheer volume of existing and incoming log data from Cloudflare required HubSpot to manage a very large and increasingly expensive ELK cluster. Infrastructure costs for storage, compute, and networking to support the growing cluster grew faster than the data. And certainly, the human capital in time spent monitoring, maintaining, and keeping the cluster stable and secure was significant. The team constantly had discussions about whether to add more compute to the cluster or reduce data retention time. To accommodate their Cloudflare volume, which was exceeding 10TB/day and growing, HubSpot was forced to limit retention to just five days. 

The Data Lake Way

Like many companies whose business solely or significantly relies on online commerce, HubSpot wanted a simple, scalable, and cost-effective way to handle the continued growth of their security log data volume.

They were wary of solutions that might ultimately force them to reduce data retention to a point where the data wasn’t useful. They also needed to be able to keep up with huge data throughput at a low latency so that when it hit Amazon S3, HubSpot could quickly and efficiently firefight DDoS attacks.

HubSpot decided to rethink its approach to security log analysis and management. They embraced a new approach that consisted primarily of these elements:

- Using a fully managed log analysis serviceso internal teams wouldn’thave to manage the scaling of ingestion or query side components and could eliminate compute resources

- Leveraging the Kibana UIthat the security team is already proficient with

- Turning their S3 cloud object storage into a searchable analytic data lakeso Cloudflare CDN and other security-related log data could be easily cleaned, prepared, and analyzed in place, without data movement or schema management

By doing this, HubSpot can effectively tackle DDoS challenges. They significantly cut their costs and can easily handle the 10TB+/day flow of Cloudflare log data, without impacting performance.

HubSpot no longer has to sacrifice data retention time. They can retain Cloudflare log data for much longer than 5 days, without worrying about costs, and can dynamically scale resources so there is no need to invest in compute that’s not warranted. This is critical for long-tail DDoS protection planning and execution, and enables HubSpot to easily meet SLAs for DDoS attack response time.

Data lake-based approaches also enable IT organizations to unify all their security data sources in one place for better and more efficient overall protection. Products that empower data lake thinking allow  new workloads to be added on the fly with no provisioning or configuration required, helping organizations gain even greater value from log data for security use cases. For instance, in addition to storing and analyzing externally generated log data within their S3 cloud object storage, HubSpot will be storing and monitoring internal security log data to enhance insider threat detection and prevention.

Incorporating a data lake philosophy into your security strategy is like putting log analysis on steroids. You can store and process exponentially more data volume and types, protect better, and spend much less.

About the author: Dave Armlin is VP of Customer Success and Solutions Architecture at ChaosSearch. Dave has spent his 25+ year career building, deploying, and evangelizing secure enterprise and cloud-based architectures.

Copyright 2010 Respective Author at Infosec Island]]>
COVID-19 Aside, Data Protection Regulations March Ahead: What To Consider Wed, 26 Aug 2020 00:53:31 -0500 COVID-19 may be complicating organizations’ cybersecurity efforts as they shift more of their operations online, but that doesn’t lessen the pressure to comply with government regulations that are placing increased scrutiny on data privacy.

Despite the pandemic, companies are obligated to comply with many laws governing data security and privacy, including the two most familiar to consumers -- the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). With CCPA enforcement set to begin July 1, organizations’ regulatory responsibilities just got tougher.

The CCPA is similar to GDPR in that it is designed to improve privacy rights and consumer protection, giving Californians the right to know when their personal data is being collected, whether their personal data is being disclosed or sold, and to whom. It allows them to access their personal data, say no to its sale, and request that a business delete it.

The law applies to any business with gross revenues over $25 million and that has personal information on 50,000 or more California citizens, whether the company is based in California or not. Violations can result in stiff fines.

Like GDPR before it, CCPA makes data security and regulatory compliance more of a challenge and requires businesses to create a number of new processes to fully understand what data they have stored in their networks, who has access to it, and how to protect it.

The challenge is especially rigorous for large organizations that collect and store high volumes of data, which is often spread across multiple databases and environments. And CCPA’s enforcement date comes as companies have already been scrambling to deal with COVID-19’s impact – enabling remote workforces while guarding against hackers trying to exploit fresh openings to infiltrate networks.

Here are four things that every business should consider in maintaining a rigid security posture to protect its most important asset – its data – and meet rising regulatory requirements:

1.    Protect headcount.

We may be in an economic downturn, but now is not the time to lay off anyone with data security and privacy responsibility. Oftentimes when a company is forced to fire people, the pain is spread equally across the organization – say 10 percent for each department. Because the CISO organization (as well as the rest of IT) are usually considered “general and administrative” overhead, the target on its back can be just as large.

In the current environment, security staff certainly needs to be exempt from cuts. Most security teams have little to no overlap – there is a networking expert, an endpoint specialist, someone responsible for cloud, etc. And one person who focuses on data and application security, if you’re lucky enough to have this as a dedicated resource.

The data and application security role has never been more vital, both to safeguard the organization as more data and applications move online and to handle data security regulatory compliance, an onus companies continue to carry despite the pandemic. This person should be considered untouchable in any resource action.

2.    Don’t drop the ball on breach notification.

It’s a question mark to what extent officials are aggressively conducting audits to vigorously enforce these laws during the pandemic. However, I would advise companies to assume that stringent enforcement remains the norm.

This is another reason that fostering strong security is all the more crucial now. For example, companies are still required to notify the relevant governing body if it suffers a breach. This initiates a process involving its IT, security, and legal teams, and any other relevant departments. Who wants that distraction anytime, and especially during a global crisis?

Beyond regulatory factors, companies simply owe it to their customers to handle their data responsibly. This was of course true before COVID-19 and CCPA enforcement, but its importance has intensified. A Yahoo-style scandal now could cause reputational damage that the company never recovers from.

3.    Ask the critical questions that regulations raise.

Where is personal data stored? Companies must scan their networks and servers to find any unknown databases, identify sensitive data using dictionary and pattern-matching methods, and pore through database content for sensitive information such as credit card numbers, email addresses, and system credentials

Which data has been added or updated within the last 12 months? You need to monitor all user database access -- on-premises or in the cloud -- and retain all the audit logs so you can identify the user by role or account type, understand whether the data accessed was sensitive, and detect non-compliant access behaviors.

Is there any unauthorized data access or exfiltration? Using machine learning and other automation technologies, you need to automatically uncover unusual data activity, uncovering threats before they become breaches.

Are we pseudonymizing data? Data masking techniques safeguard sensitive data from exposure in non-production or DevOps environments by substituting fictional data for sensitive data, reducing the risk of sensitive data exposure.

4.    Assume more regulation will come.

As digital transformation makes more and more data available everywhere, security and privacy concerns keep growing. One can assume that GDPR and CCPA may just be the tip of the regulatory iceberg. Similar initiatives in Wisconsin, Nevada, and other states show that it behooves organizations to get their data protection houses very much in order. Compliance will need to be a top priority for organizations for many years into the future.

About the author: Terry Ray has global responsibility for Imperva's technology strategy. He was the first U.S.-based Imperva employee and has been with the company for 14 years. He works with organizations around the world to help them discover and protect sensitive data, minimize risk for regulatory governance, set data security strategy and implement best practices.

Copyright 2010 Respective Author at Infosec Island]]>
SecurityWeek Extends ICS Cyber Security Conference Call for Presentations to August 31, 2020 Wed, 12 Aug 2020 12:08:01 -0500 The official Call for Presentations (speakers) for SecurityWeek’s 2020 Industrial Control Systems (ICS) Cyber Security Conference, being held October 19 – 22, 2020 in SecurityWeek’s Virtual Conference Center, has been extended to August 31st.

As the premier ICS/SCADA cyber security conference, the event was originally scheduled to take place at the InterContinental Atlanta, but will now take place in a virtual environment due to COVID-19.

“Due to the impact of COVID-19 and transition to a fully virtual event, we have extended the deadline for submissions to allow more time for speakers to put together their ideas under the new format,” said Mike Lennon, Managing Director at SecurityWeek. “Given SecurityWeek’s global reach and scale, we expect this to be the largest security-focused gathering of its kind serving the industrial and critical infrastructure sectors.” 

ICS Cyber Security ConferenceThe 2020 Conference is expected to attract thousands of attendees from around the world, including large critical infrastructure and industrial organizations, military and state and Federal Government. 

SecurityWeek has developed a fully immersive virtual conference center on a cutting- edge platform that provides attendees with the opportunity to network and interact from anywhere in the world.

As the original ICS/SCADA cyber security conference, the event is the longest-running cyber security-focused event series for the industrial control systems sector. 

With an 18-year history, the conference has proven to bring value to attendees through the robust exchange of technical information, actual incidents, insights, and best practices to help protect critical infrastructures from cyber-attacks.

Produced by SecurityWeek, the conference addresses ICS/SCADA topics including protection for SCADA systems, plant control systems, engineering workstations, substation equipment, programmable logic controllers (PLCs), and other field control system devices.

Through the Call for Speakers, a conference committee will accept speaker submissions for possible inclusion in the program at the 2020 ICS Cyber Security Conference.

The conference committee encourages proposals for both main track, panel discussions, and “In Focus” sessions. Most sessions will be mixed between 30 and 45 minutes in length including time for Q&A.

Submissions will be reviewed on an ongoing basis so early submission is highly encouraged. Submissions must include proposed presentation title, an informative session abstract, including learning objectives for attendees if relevant; and contact information and bio for the proposed speaker.

All speakers must adhere to the 100% vendor neutral / no commercial policy of the conference. If speakers cannot respect this policy, they should not submit a proposal.

To be considered, interested speakers should submit proposals by email to events(at) with the subject line “ICS2020 CFP” by August 31, 2020.

Plan on Attending the 2020 ICS Cyber Security Conference? Online registration is open, with discounts available for early registration.

Copyright 2010 Respective Author at Infosec Island]]>