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Archive for the ‘Security’ Category

Aims to bring clarity to cloudy marketing messages through exhibit hall chotskies

Bedford, MA., – April 1, 2014 – RSA, the security division of EMC, today announced their intentions to end the popular RSA security conference and establish a new cloud-security, cloud-only conference.

RSA plans to leverage the increasing popularity and VC spending on cloud-security companies to refocus their security conference efforts on all things cloud-security. “We just felt that since 90% of the security vendors are using cloud logos in their marketing literature that we could better serve the security community by adopting the same tactics.” Said Alex Bender, General Manager of RSA Conference. “For over a decade RSA has provided the security community with a cutting edge conference experience unmatched in the industry, but we also need to recognize that the security industry has become cloudy and if we want to maintain our competitive conference advantage we also needed to get cloudy.” Alex went on to add “who knows maybe we will scrap this whole thing for a advanced security analytics only conference in the next couple of years, that noise is making the rounds as well.”

“Honestly I’m not sure what any of this has to do with nephrology, we have been researching clouds for decades and I still do not quite get the connection between information technology and changes in atmospheric CO2 leading to changes in global climate models – but wow do those cloud-security companies raise a ton of money.” Stated Berkeley Labs Scientist David Romp “A cloud may look like just a billowing mass of air, but cloud dynamics in fact involves complicated physics. IT clouds are just a bunch of interconnected tubes or something.”

RSA will officially announce the new RSA Cloud Security Conference at EMC’s IT technology conference EMC world in Las Vegas.

About RSA Conference

RSA, The Security Division of EMC, is the premier provider of security, risk and compliance management solutions for business acceleration. We help the world’s leading organizations (including 90 percent of the Fortune 500) succeed by solving their most complex and sensitive security challenges. These challenges include managing organizational risk, safeguarding mobile access and collaboration, providing compliance and securing virtual and cloud environments.

Combining business-critical controls in identity assurance, encryption and key management, SIEM, Data Loss Prevention and Fraud Protection with industry-leading eGRC capabilities and robust consulting services, RSA brings visibility and trust to millions of user identities, the transactions that they perform and the data that is generated

FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS: This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of U.S. federal securities laws, including expectations regarding the closing of HP’s acquisition of Symantec and the integration, or lack thereof, of its products and technologies into HP’s products and solutions, that involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied in this press release. Such risk factors include, among others, satisfaction of closing conditions to the transaction, our ability to successfully integrate the merged businesses and technologies, and customer demand for the technologies and integrated product offerings. Actual results may differ materially from those contained in the forward-looking statements contained in this press release. Additional information concerning these and other risk factors is contained in the Risk Factors sections of HP’s and Symantec’s most recently filed Forms 10-K and 10-Q. HPassumes no obligation to update any forward-looking statement contained in this press release.

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chinesehackers

Some of my ‘so-called’ friends that help organize the RSA Security Bloggers event have decided that folks that attend should actually have blogged something recently, well I haven’t so to make them happy…

With the increasing frequency and severity of advanced threats perpetrated by highly-organized and sophisticated groups and nation-states, enterprises need to realize that they are either compromised or will be soon. Traditional techniques need to be augmented with more sophisticated and exhaustive methods to provide visibility into all aspects of the internal environment – this requires continuous monitoring and analysis of all ingress and egress traffic patterns from every host on the network regardless of the source, destination or type of traffic.

There are 5 key initiatives that every organization should implement:

  1. Invest in security professionals that have strong experience with forensic investigation and incident response
  2. Implement incident response programs that complement and extend current prevention approaches to information security
  3. Deploy network security technologies that provide deep visibility into the state of the internal network and can collect, analyze and archive massive amounts of all network flow data
  4. Ensure network monitoring solutions integrate with existing network security tools, such as IDS/IPS, SIEM, and firewalls
  5. Make security awareness throughout the organization an ongoing element of the information security program

Brevity is a gift shared by very few in the security industry =)

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I am not a big fan of AT&T (here), but this video from AT&T released in 1990 is about the most insightful view into modern day infosec I’ve ever seen (here) and since it was produced pre-brick walls on fire and simple clouds to depict complex relationships it is more believable than most security marketing crap.

Neat story;

We began homeschooling this year – why? convictions, ideals, teaching to excellence versus teaching to the medium – as part of this the boys (11 & 13) are to keep up with current affairs of their choosing. My older son was quite intrigued by a story in the Economist about **Iran, something about how if they are bombed it would only slow down their nuclear ambitions, not destroy them, and worse it would dramatically increase global crankiness.

As he was sitting down to prepare his report I received an email from a reporter in Azerbaijan asking for comment on Iran’s cyber-security capabilities, especially as it relates to their nuclear program…a topic I am uniquely unqualified to comment on, but here nor there…so the other morning my son read his report, which included  his dad’s quotes from the Azerbaijani article. As a father it’s cool to draw the world full-circle like that, but the the entire experience made me feel really old and reminded me that a new generation of folks needs to be mentored and enabled.

* why would a disciple of the eternal order of the packet want to party like its 1999?

Perhaps 1999 was the first year that folks actually believed they could make a difference or more likely that was the year that the majority of security products in use today had all been invented by, since then its been a three-way battle between fail, bravado, and dreams deferred to produce iterations of the previously invented, but really nothing new

** disclaimer: I know very little about making money (or Iran), but the markets will be impacted as western powers continue to intentionally spread democracy across the Middle East, do with that information what you will

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“I am not a number, I am a free man”

IDC reported that we generated and replicated 1.8 zettabytes – that’s 1.8 trillion gigabytes – of data in 2011. To give you an example of scale you would need to stack CDs from Earth to the Moon and Back again – twice – to represent that amount of data and its expected to grow 50x by 2020. Interesting factoid: Through April of 2011 the Library of Congress had stored 235TBs of data. In 2011 15 out of 17 sectors in the US have more data per company than the US Library of Congress, much of that data is about you.

Facebook is preparing to raise $100 billion, yes a hundred billion, in a highly anticipated IPO next spring. Twitter is valued at $10 billion, and social media companies are pulling massive valuations. In terms of data, roughly 4 billion pieces of content are shared on Facebook every day, and Twitter registered 177 million tweets per day in March of 2011. The success of these companies, and many others, is trade in human commodity. There is an inherent value to your tweet, your wall post, becoming mayor at some DC cafe or posting your location to wherever people post those things, but the real value is simply in your existence as a number in a sea of other 1 and 0′s.

We are entering a world where every aspect of our lives, short of those thoughts we hold deep, will be processed, indexed, analyzed and archived forever. What we search for, our online activity, where and how we drive, what we buy; when and how often, our health, financial, and personal records digitized for quick sale to the highest bidder. Never before have we had the ability to implement systems to handle massive volumes of disparate data, at a velocity that can only be described as break-neck and with this ability comes the inevitable misuse.

The commercial implications for companies seeking access to this depth and breadth of customer intelligence is clear, but this same information federated with the analysis of unstructured video, picture, voice and text data in the hands of our government or one that meant us harm is truly frightening.

Social media is an interesting experiment in applying a large scale operant conditioning chamber to a mass population, the law of effect is a retweet, a friending, being listed on a top x most influential list, or whatever else elicits the desired response. We leap head first off the cliff of technology and only concern ourselves with the implications when they become a problem for us.

The irony is that in our search for identity and individuality in an increasingly digital world we have willingly surrendered that which we used to hold so dear – our privacy.

May future generations forgive us.

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On December 1, 2011 a Class-action lawsuit was filed in United States District Court Northern District of California against Hewlett-Packard, alleging violations of The California Consumer Legal Remedies Act for Injunctive Relief and the California Unfair Competition Law based on non-disclosure of a known security vulnerability (read the filing here)

Nature of the Action

l. Plaintiff brings this action individually and as a class action against Hewlett-Packard Company (“Hewlett-Packard” or “HP” or “Defendant”) on behalf of all others who purchased a Hewlett-Packard printer (the “HP Printers”).

2. The HP Printer’s suffer from a design defect in the software (which is also sometimes referred to as “firmware” ) that is resident on the HP Printers, which allow computer hackers to gain access to the network on which the HP Printers are connected, steal sensitive information, and even flood the HP Printers, themselves, with commands that are able to control the HP Printers and even cause physical damage to the BP Printers themselves.

3. Despite Defendant’s knowledge of the design defect in the software of the HP Printers. Defendant has failed to disclose the existence of the defect to consumers

4. As a result of the facts alleged herein, Defendant has violated California laws governing consumer protection.

(more…)

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We have entered a new era of information technology, an era where the clouds are moist, the data is obese and incontinent, and the threats are advanced, persistent, and the biggest ever. Of course with all the paradigm-shifting, next generation, FUD vs. ROI marketing, its important to remember that sometimes we need to balance innovation against misunderstood expectations, vendor double-speak, and relentless enterprise sales guys.

Because contrary to the barrage of marketing, these technologies won’t make you rich, teach you how to invest in real-estate, help you lose weight or grow a full head of hair, it won’t make you attractive to the opposite sex, nor will it solve all your problems, in some cases they can improve the efficiency and effectiveness of your operating environment but it requires proper planning, expectation setting and careful deployment…and on that note, I give you the top 10 most overhyped technology terms over the last decade.

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So it appears the Internet went down, or so many claimed when they were presented with 404 errors when attempting to watch “Georgia Hillbilly Massacre 17: The return of the Banjo Man” on Netflix  - Since Netflix is selective on what you can stream they certainly weren’t queuing up the latest and greatest new releases, but that is a totally different rant – or attempting to declare themselves the Mayor of “who gives a rats ass where you are right now” on Foursquare.

Last time this happened some started to claim that it rocked the very foundation of confidence in cloud-computing (here), yet they failed to juxtapose Amazon’s operational failures against the universe of enterprise operational failures, security compromises and general administrative stupidity that plagues nearly 99.98% of every organization on Earth (minus the DPRK’s website, really not more you can do to fudge that one up)

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“Information is not knowledge” – Albert Einstein

I recently read a couple of posts about BigData from my friend Chris Hoff - “Infosec Fail: The Problem With BigData is Little Data” and “More on Security and BigData…Where Data Analytics and Security Collide”

In these posts Hoff posits that the mass centralization of information will benefit the industry and that monitoring tools will experience a boon, especially those that leverage a cloud-computing architecture…

This will bring about a resurgence of DLP and monitoring tools using a variety of deployment methodologies via virtualization and cloud that was at first seen as a hinderance but will now be an incredible boon.

As Big Data and the databases/datastores it lives in interact with then proliferation of PaaS and SaaS offers, we have an opportunity to explore better ways of dealing with these problems — this is the benefit of mass centralization of information.

Hoff then goes on to describe how new data warehousing and analytics technologies, such as Hadoop, would positively impact the industry…

Even when we do start to be able to integrate and correlate event, configuration, vulnerability or logging data, it’s very IT-centric.  It’s very INFRASTRUCTURE-centric.  It doesn’t really include much value about the actual information in use/transit or the implication of how it’s being consumed or related to.

This is where using Big Data and collective pools of sourced “puddles” as part of a larger data “lake” and then mining it using toolsets such as Hadoop come into play…

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There is a dull hum permeating the industry of late – security is dead some say, others think it to be too costly to maintain, others still believe that what is needed is a change of perspective, perhaps a radical shift in how we approach the problem. What underlies all of these positions is a belief that the status quo is woefully ineffective and the industry is slated for self-destruction or, as a whole, we will succumb to a digital catastrophe that would have been avoided if only we had just…well, just done something different from whatever it is we are doing at the time something bad happens.

As we go round and round on the never ending hamster wheels provided as best practice guidelines and securty frameworks by security vendors, consultants, and pundits, we find ourselves trapped in an OODA loop that will forever deny us victory against malicious actors because we will never become faster, or more agile than our opponents. But to believe one can win, implies that there is an end that can be obtained, a victory that can be held high as a guiding light for all those trapped in eternal security darkness. We are as secure as we need to be at any given moment, until we are no longer so – when that happens, regardless of what you may believe, is outside of of our control.

One of the biggest trends in security over the past 5-6 years has been its movement into mainstream IT. Traditionally IT security has been seen as outside of normal business processes. Organizations tended to react driven by a security incident or compromise, an audit or compliance event, or due to perceived changes in the threat landscape. For the most part security has been and still is an afterthought.

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Someone sent me this quote in an attempt to convince me that we should focus on vulnerabilities and not threats…I don’t think they are mutually exclusive, but here nor there…

Our data tells us that focusing on vulnerabilities is more effective in reducing risk than focusing on threats.  In fact, of nine specific types of threats we examined in our survey, none proved to be statistically significantly related to increased risk, although many vulnerabilities were.  The enterprise can do little at best to control threats, especially external ones, but it can do a lot to control vulnerabilities.  Focusing on vulnerabilities reduces an enterprise’s tendency to react to what is apparently most urgent – such as the threat reported in yesterday’s newspaper – and helps the enterprise act instead to reduce vulnerabilities that might be exploited by any number of threats.  No nation can control the level of the sea, but a nation can build dikes to reduce the vulnerabilities of its lands to high waters; no enterprise can control a sea of external hackers, but an enterprise can plug the holes in its network dike that hackers might otherwise exploit.

In short, vulnerabilities, not threats, are the root cause for high risk exposure, and it’s best to focus on the root cause.

- IT Risk:  Turning Business Threats into Competitive Advantage by George Westerman, Richard Hunter, page 126

My response: If you live in the Ghetto, what contributes to your high risk exposure, your lack of steel doors and bullet proof glass or the shitty neighborhood you live in that is full of gangs, thugs, crack whores, and meth addicts?

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I will post more later but given all the blood, sweat, and tears we have poured into BigFix we are extremely excited about this move.

IBM and BigFix are a great fit. The product portfolios are very complementary (data center to the endpoint), the strategy and vision are well-aligned (automated service management and convergence) and the companies respective values and focus will drive greater innovation to the market

Product and market synergies

  • BigFix offers best in class endpoint management (PCs, laptops, and distributed servers) that extends the IBM portfolio enabling their smarter computing vision from the data center to endpoints anywhere in the world
  • Our product portfolios are very complementary, as demonstrated by the many joint customers we successfully serve today

Strategy and vision:

  • We share a common vision for delivering automated service management and security and operational convergence to our customers worldwide
  • IBM intends to continue to evolve the rich capabilities of the BigFix platform and to innovate, integrate, and expand the combined solutions to address a broader set of market requirements than ever before

Company values and market focus

  • We share similar ideals and value around integrity and innovation
  • We both have a workforce that is provisioned and dedicated to solving the problems of the largest and most sophisticated enterprise environments in the world.

(more…)

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Recently I wrote a guest editorial for Virtual Strategy Magazine, although I have to admit I wasn’t made aware of my goofy picture – look away I’m hideous – until the article was published. You can find the full contents at Virtual Strategy Magazine

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I wouldn’t normally read Rolling Stone but strolling through the airport I noticed “The Biggest Cyber Crime in History – Sex, Drugs & Hackers Gone Wild” on the cover and like passing a train wreck you can’t help but stare at I had to buy a copy, that and it appears that Russel Brands armpit was positioned ever so strategically against the reference as well – very apropos I might add.

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Michal Zalewski, a security researcher at Google, recently wrote a guest editorial for ZDNet entitled “Security Engineering: Broken Promises”. The article lays out a series of issues with the security industry, specifically looking at an inability to provide any suitable frameworks for software assurance or code security.

We have in essence completely failed to come up with even the most rudimentary, usable frameworks for understanding and assessing the security of modern software; and spare for several brilliant treatises and limited-scale experiments, we do not even have any real-world success stories to share. The focus is almost exclusively on reactive, secondary security measures: vulnerability management, malware and attack detection, sandboxing, and so forth; and perhaps on selectively pointing out flaws in somebody else’s code. The frustrating, jealously guarded secret is that when it comes to actually enabling others to develop secure systems, we deliver far less value than could be expected.

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Back 
to 
Basics: 
What 
is a Client Hosted Virtual Desktop (CHVD)?

Client 
hosted virtual desktops 
refer 
to 
the 
combination 
of 
a 
management
 system
 and
 a 
hypervisor 
on 
a
 client
PC,
 utilizing 
the 
local 
resources 
to 
execute 
the 
operating
 system.


Figure 1. different desktop virtualization models segmented by central vs. distributed computing environment support and reliance on operating system

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The rising tide of mobile computing, driven by the introduction of consumer devices such as the iPhone and iPad, is crashing against the shores of many an IT shop. Most IT organizations have lived on a diet of corporate policy restrictions and liberal use of the word “No!”, unfortunately their time has come. (more…)

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Beijing, China – April 1, 2010 – The Chinese government announced that effective immediately all US based technology firms and associated products and services will be banned from all Chinese government and state-run agency IT environments. The ban is expected to include critical infrastructure, such as military, finance, utilities, and healthcare as well as education, retail and manufacturing companies. (more…)

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From my recent posting on Computer World UK (here)

Whenever I hear the phrase “identity theft,” I can only imagine what the late, great Rodney Dangerfield would have made of it: “Some guy in Moldova stole my identity. The FBI said, ‘…and you want it back?’ No respect!”

Despite what seems to be a public fascination with identity theft as the latest innovation in cybercrime, it isn’t really new. Even before the Internet came along, criminals could steal and manipulate identity data by modifying the magnetic strip on the back of a credit card to access a different account than the one listed on the front of the card. This would allow the thief to present a credit card and identification that matched and hope that the employee didn’t actually look at the name on the receipt.

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I recently had an opportunity to discuss desktop virtualization with Bill Brenner from CSO online – you can listen to the podcast (here), you can also listen to the most recent Beyond the Perimeter podcast which focuses on Desktop Virtualization (here)

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We all know that IT security and operations is becoming a more challenging and untenable problem day by day – see “Top 10 Reasons Your Security Program Sucks and Why You Can’t Do Anything About it” – The reality is that we continue to build on top of inherently insecure and fundamentally weak foundations, such as the operating systems and routing infrastructures that power much of the global economy.

We need an alternative to the current computing paradigms that all organizations struggle with.

(more…)

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