Based on the demonstrated persistence of their enemies, I have a lot of respect for what Israeli security achieves.
Back to Verb vs Noun.
His point about baggage claim is interesting. It strikes me that this is the kind of location serious terrorists, that is the ones who worked
in Europe through the last century, might attack: not just dramatic, but shows how ineffectual airport security really is. And what will the TSA do about such an attack? Inconvenience passengers further.
“Once the hacker gained access to Honan’s iCloud account, he or she
was able to reset his password, before sending the confirmation email
to the trash. Since Honan’s Gmail is linked to his .mac email address,
the hacker was also able to reset his Gmail password by sending a
password recovery email to his .mac address.
Minutes later, the hacker used iCloud to wipe Honan’s iPhone, iPad
and Macbook Air remotely. Since the hacker had access to his email
accounts, it was effortless to access Honan’s other online accounts
such as Twitter.”
Every new technology has people, the pioneers, who buy into the vendors hype … and pay a price for that.
We should learn from them.
- Hard-Learned Lessons from the Honan Hack (lumension.com)
- 60-minute Security Makeover: Prevent Your Own ‘Epic Hack’ (pcworld.com)
- Former Gizmodo writer Mat Honan’s hacked iCloud password leads to nightmare (nextlevelofnews.com)
- Apple Flooded with iCloud Password Reset Requests Amid Tightened Account Security Controls (macrumors.com)
- How Secure Is the Cloud, Really? (technewsworld.com)
Investigators say Antigua tried to pass himself off as an Air Force veteran, a member of NASA’s Space Shuttle crew, even a doctor complete with hospital ID’s and his own medical bag. He also had blue police-style flashing lights for his black Escalade
“We are going to go to whatever lengths that we need to travel to find out, is he really a threat or is he somebody living a very involved fantasy life,” said Chief James Steffens.
Taking Cosplay too seriously?
The Navy’s premier institution for developing senior strategic and
operational leaders started issuing students Apple iPad tablet
computers equipped with GoodReader software in August 2010,
unaware that the mobile app was developed and maintained by
a Russian company, Good.iWare, until Nextgov reported it in February.
OK so its not news and OK I’ve posted about this before, but …
So the question here is: Why should software produced in the country where there are more evil-minded programmers be superior to software produced in Russia?
So to have great (subjective) protection your layered protection and controls have to be “bubbled” as opposed to linear (to slow down or impede a direct attack).
I have doubts about “defence in depth” analogies with the military that many people in InfoSec use.
Read what they are really talking about in those military examples: its “ablation”: that means burning up resources, like land (the traditional defence the Russian Empire used) or manpower (the northern states used in the US civil war) and resources (the USA in WW2). They try to slow down a direct and linear attack, hopefully to a standstill.
As the Blitzkrieg showed in dealing with the Maginot Line, if you “go around it” the defence isn’t a lot of use.
Through the ages of war and politics and empire-hood and nation-hood and tribalism we’ve seen many threats and attacks and subversions used.
The reality is that many InfoSec defences are more like umbrellas, the assume that the attack in coming from a particular direction in a particular form. What’s needed is more like an all-enclosing “bubble” rather than something linear with the ‘defence in depth’ model. But that gets back to the problem of the perimeter.
Many wifi enabled devices are really “spies inside the defensive perimeter”.
There was a scare a while ago that various networking equipment was made by companies or fabricators in places that were or might be inimical or economic competitors and as such have subversive code hidden in them. No doubt this will come around again when journalists have nothing better to write about or the State Department need to wave a big stick and scare the public — its form of showing that “its doing something”.
But how can we tell? The reality is that “security specialists” are finding errors – never mind deliberately malicious code – in all manner of devices: pacemakers, insulin pumps, automobile throttle controllers. Will they find “errors” that allow subversion in mainstream IT deceives like home wifi routers (aka the next generation of spambots), home PC software (that’s a no-brainer isn’t it!) never mind commercial databases.
I dedicate this to the memory of Ken Thompson
McAfee has released a new study on malware in cars:
Now you may think that this is scaremongering on the part of McAfee because their traditional market is drying up. Not so, this is actually a threat we have been aware of or nearly half a century:
An accused hedge fund fraudster’s mother is showing support, by claiming her son is not to blame for defrauding investors out of over $2.3 million, its his bipolar’s fault.
Well, its better than “The Dog Ate My Homework”.
Keep taking the tablets, Mr Klatch!
“If nothing else, perhaps the frequency, audacity and harmfulness of
these attacks will help encourage Congress to enact new legislation to
make the Internet a safer place for everyone,” the Sony executive said.
“By working together to enact meaningful cybersecurity legislation we
can limit the threat posed to U.S. all,” he said.
It seems that this legislation focuses on the 3rd and not the first.
It might even be seen to discourage the second.
- Sony backs U.S. cybersecurity legislation (canada.com)
- DOD Website Sells Public On Cybersecurity Strategy (informationweek.com)
- Companies To Spend $130 Billion On Cybersecurity In 2011 (teamshatter.com)
- Obama to Introduce Cybersecurity Proposal (circleid.com)
- White House to unveil cybersecurity proposal (theglobeandmail.com)
- What do we need to do to reach “cybersecurity awareness”? (nakedsecurity.sophos.com)
- White House Cybersecurity Plan: What You Need To Know (huffingtonpost.com)
- Microsoft Endorses White House Cybersecurity Plan (blogs.wsj.com)
Does LulzSec’s nonstop hacking campaign, and apparent success at taking
down everyone from Sony to the U.S. Senate, point to fundamental flaws
in website security? “One of the assertions made by the recent run of
high profile attacks was that all networks are vulnerable, and the
groups behind these attacks either had or could have access to many more
systems if they wish,” said the SANS Technology Institute’s Johannes B.
Ullrich in a blog post. “I would like to question the conclusion that
recent attacks prove that all networks are vulnerable, as well as the
successful attacks [prove] a large scale failure of information security.”
I think this so misses the point.
Everybody, every site, very business, every government *is* vulnerable to something, somewhere, sometime.
I’m reminded of the IRA’s statement to Margaret Thatcher:
We only need to be lucky once.
You need to be lucky every time.
Times change. New exploits are uncovered. Every patch and upgrade may – will? – introduce a new vulnerability. Changes in staff; changes in configuration and facilities. Changes, changes, changes.
If you think you can secure your system once and be done then you are, at best, fooling yourself, and more realistically acting in a socially irresponsible manner. We are forever lagging behind, and the evidence is that we are lagging further and further behind.
The fact that so many sites are vulnerable, that even PCI:DSS “certified” sites get hacked, and more, *DOES* at least _demonstrate_ “a large scale failure of information security“.
I hope somebody’s thinking seriously about the implications of this:
Israel has already seen some consequences of soldiers with cellphones.
Here in Toronto we have a law against driving and using a hand-held cell phone. I note that researchers are reporting that even hands-free pones are distracting enough to be a major risk. never the less, I have stood back fro the kerb at an uptown intersection and seen drivers turn against the lights and narrowly miss pedestrians because they were on the phone. The drivers, that is. (I’m still on the look out for pedestrians using phones and being oblivious to their surroundings causing accidents.) Perhaps I need to use my own phone and make videos of this and upload the to YouTube 🙂
So I’m very cynical about the use of distracting technology in the battlefield. Use of the smartphones ‘in barracks’ is one thing; using them in the field is another.
There seems to be a big mental hole here.
The idea of a coms system that has a central control or the cell/tower model is inherently vulnerable; no less so than GPS if you think about it, and probably more so; you don’t need a rocket launch and EMP capability to take out cell phone towers and the phone system.
But the kind of Wifi system that allows the nodes to mesh and forward and heal (WiMax) is just the kind of thing the cell phone companies don’t want.
WiMax – http://www.open-mesh.com/ – may assume an internet backbone
connecting the various meshes, but in a battlefield scenario the local mesh would be adequate. Its simply uses different “smartphones” and software. Maybe there is a back haul WAN, maybe it can download satellite or surveillance images or the front-line commanders.
But OTS cellphones … I can see too many high risk scenarios in a military setting.
- Cell Phones Responsible for Traffic Deaths (cellphones.org)
- Cell Phones Significant Part Of Traffic Deaths (informationweek.com)
- Do Cell Phones Cause Cancer? (everydayhealth.com)
- Vietnam: Cell phones and students (textually.org)
- Do You Have These Cell Phone Accessories Yet? (socyberty.com)
- Cell phone concept phones blow, kiss and touch to make talking intimate (textually.org)
Yes, crime and espionage will cripple us all economically.
We won’t see enemy troops occupying our land.
(We might see the same result from ‘enhanced homeland security’: troops and law enforcement on every corner checking papers, breaking down your front door at 3am and other Stasi SS-Sto�truppen tactics. But that’s another matter, and when it happens you know not only have the
Terrorists have won, but your own government is the main source of Terror..)
Howard Schmidt, the new cybersecurity czar for the Obama administration,
has a short answer for the drumbeat of rhetoric claiming the United
States is caught up in a cyberwar that it is losing.
“There is no cyberwar,” Schmidt told Wired.com in a sit-down interview
Wednesday at the RSA Security Conference in San Francisco.
“I think that is a terrible metaphor and I think that is a terrible
concept,” Schmidt said. “There are no winners in that environment.”
Instead, Schmidt said the government needs to focus its cybersecurity
efforts to fight online crime and espionage.
His stance contradicts Michael McConnell, the former director of
national intelligence who made headlines last week when he testified to
Congress that the country was already in the midst of a cyberwar — and
was losing it.
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- There Is No Cyberwar (yro.slashdot.org)
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- Howard Schmidt, White House Cyber Czar: ‘There Is No Cyberwar’ (huffingtonpost.com)
- USA’s Cyber Generals (tech.bl0x.info)
- White House Cyber Czar: “There is No Cyberwar” (wired.com)
- Cyberwar Doomsayer Lands $34 Million in Cyberwar Contracts (wired.com)
- Is there really a cyberwar? Term might be misused (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- Cyberwar Cassandras Get $400 Million in Conflict Cash (wired.com)
- Check the Hype – There’s No Such Thing As ‘Cyber’ (wired.com)
It seems that to make better cybersecurity-related decisions a senior FBI official recommends considering a simple algebraic equation:
rather than solely focusing on threat vectors and actors.
To be honest, I sometimes wonder why people obsess about threat vectors in the first place. There seems to be a beleive that the more threats you face, the higher your risk, regardless of your controls and regardless of the classification of the threats.
Look at it this way: what do you have control over?
Why do you think that people like auditors refer to the protective and detective mechanisms as “controls”?
Yes, if you’re a 600,000 lb gorilla like Microsoft you can take down one – insignificant – botnet, but the rest of us don’t have control over the threat vectors and threat actors.
What do we have control over?
Vulnerabilities, to some extent. We can patch; we can choose to run alternative software; we can mask off access by the threats to the vulnerabilities. We can do things to reduce the the “vulnerability surface” such as partitioning our networks, restricting access, not exposing more than is absolutely necessary to the Internet (why oh why is your SqlServer visible to the net, why isn’t it behind the web server, which in turn is behind a firewall).
Asset to a large extent. Document them. Identify who should be using them and implement IAM.
And very import: we have control over RESPONSE.
Did the FBI equation mention response? I suppose you could say that ‘awareness’ is a part of a response package. Personally I think that response is a very, very important part of this equation, and its the one you have MOST control over.
And response is – or should be – totally independent of the threats
since it focuses on preserving and recovering the assets.
I think they have it very, very confused and this isn’t the most productive, most effective way of going about it. But then the FBI’s view of policing is to go after the criminals, and if you consider the criminals to be the threat then that makes sense.
But lest face it, most corporations and are not in the business of policing. neither are home users.
Which is why I focus on the issue of “what you have control over”.
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