“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)
- White House Cyber Security Guy: There Is No Cyberwar (techdirt.com)
- 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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- School Spy Program Used on Students Contains Hacker-Friendly Security Hole (wired.com)
- The Top 10 Reports For Managing Vulnerabilities (lockergnome.com)
- FBI searching for ‘Flavor Flav Bandit’ (seattlepi.com)
- Why Security Vendors are loosing (tech.bl0x.info)
- Editorial: Flawed F.B.I. Background Checks (nytimes.com)
- FBI details surge in death threats against lawmakers (americablog.com)
People occasionally ask about InfoSec courses that cover law and cyberlaw and about schools that offer cyberlaw programs.
I’m curious about this whole thing for a slightly tangential reason.
On the one hand there’s the idea of Cyberlaw as part of a general law school curriculum.
On the other, there’s cyberlaw for InfoSec people and managers and executives.
The former will already have covered issues like criminal law, contract law, rules of evidence an so forth. Would all that be necessary for the latter group?
An in general, we do have a domain of the CISSP CBK that covers ‘law an ethics’, but I get the impression that in the effort to “internationalize” it has been gutted; the rationale being that many laws are so regional that the exam can’t address them without being very biased.
Well, I disagree. For a number of reasons.
First, there is a lot of law that is about principles.
I think its important to cover basics like CONTRACTS and LIABILITY, which I have seen one in a way that covers the variety of the western European legal codes.
Second, there is a fair bit of international or internationally recognised law. How else could trade and commerce go on? In addition there are many laws that are being applied or recognized cross-border in
one way or another, especially in the areas of cyber-related crimes such as fraud and extortion. Some of these may only be the basis for extradition, but they are examples of what happens in practice.
Finally the study of law in other jurisdictions is valuable as is the study of history; it gives us examples of the goo and the bad, how they were applied and what their successes, pitfalls and limits were.
This is more relevant that it seems at first. The impact of Sarbines-Oxley (SOX) applies to many of us outside the USA because we deal with companies in our own nation that have offices registered and trading inside the USA. On top of that, SOX has been the basis for – often better thought out – similar legislation in other countries. The same reasoning applies to things like the DMCA, CAN-SPAM and the like.
I ought to mention things like PCI as well, even though they are not “laws” in the same sense. PCI *IS* international, just as other banking standards that those of us who deal with finance InfoSec have to deal
with – BASEL, FFIEC and others.
Purely as a side issue, I think all of us need to know about matters like employment law, many of us are ‘consultants’ and need to know about contract law. Many of us are in situations where InfoSec deals with HR and that justifies knowing about employment law. We my also need to know about matters such as copyright and non-disclosure, and what contracts can and cannot bin one to.
Speaking as a “consultant”, I’d add that I’m very glad of my grounding as part of the management electives of my undergraduate degree in engineering that covered contract law. Many of the contracts I have been offered by small firms where they were drawn up by the owner (often an ‘entrepreneur’ with no business or legal background and often without guidance of a lawyer or even a CMA/accountant) were inequitable, unreasonable and full of ‘traps’ because of poor wording.
I think an understanding of the basics of criminal law, contract law and law pertaining to international trade are essential to members of our profession, regardless of their role. The CBK and exam may avoid them but as individuals we should each recognise the relevance of these and other legal and quasi-legal ‘standards’ and make them part of our ongoing education.