I was talking with a client about multifactor authentication and they wanted a demo of what that looked like so I showed them the battlenet authenticator.┬á After that, I decided to make this video.
Virtual Chief Security Officers getting small businesses ahead
Security remains a complex discipline.┬á This ever-changing challenge grows in complexity daily as new threats emerge and compliance requirements increase.┬á Several regulations including HIPAA require organizations to have a person whose role is to ensure compliance within the organization.┬á This is why organizations need a designated person with primary responsibility for security and compliance.┬á This person is the Chief Security Officer (CSO).
The Role of a Chief Security Officer
A Chief Security Officer or CSO is first and foremost a business leader in the organization.┬á He or she sets the organizationÔÇÖs security vision and ensures that it is in line with other business objectives.┬á The CSO works with other business leaders such as the senior financial manager such as a Chief Financial Officer (CFO), business owner, senior partners, or Chief Executive Officer (CEO), senior IT executive such as the Chief Information Officer (CIO) and Chief Operating Officer (COO) to implement security and compliance initiatives throughout the company.
Some CSO activities may include:
- Establishing and evangelizing the security vision
- Defining security strategy and goals
- Determining the level of acceptable risk
- Defining and implementing security and compliance governance
- Coordinating compliance activities and communicating with regulatory groups
- Creating, publishing and maintaining security policies
- Ensuring security awareness of risks and of organizational security policies
- Coordinating incident response activities (e.g. data breach, IP theft)
- Ensuring physical security for company facilities including offices, sites and datacenters.
The CSO role is still relatively new and it has seen some challenges in implementation.┬á Information security involves much cooperation from Information Technology (IT) and compliance requirements include many sections on technical controls so it is understandable that IT is often seen as the group responsible for security but this is not ideal because security and compliance both involve much more than just technical controls.┬á The actions of people including employees and outside actors are essential to maintaining security and compliance and this requires someone or a group with more than the technical skills.
Some chief security roles may be given to IT, legal, or HR, employees. However, this approach often results in these individuals handing security as a secondary role so security does not get the priority it is due.┬á Furthermore, a central point of contact is lacking in the organization in this approach.
The Role of a Virtual CSO
A virtual CSO performs the same activities a CSO would but they do so on a part time basis.┬á The role may actually be comprised of several persons to cover a company even when a person is on vacation or otherwise unavailable.┬á Virtual CSOs allow organizations to utilize highly specialized skill sets by provides companies with expert resources in security. This is made possible without the high fixed cost of adding dedicated security executives.
Virtual CSOs are able to assist organizations by developing effective strategies essential to evaluate and mitigate risks, maintain operational continuity and secure the organization. Virtual CSOs address areas of security needs whether these are on personnel issues, timely employee background checks, technology, rehabilitation or procedures and policies to designing.
Virtual CSOs partner with businesses to understand how core information assets have been deployed. They work hand in hand with organizations as they study the security placed around the assets and what improvements can further be made. Virtual CSOs provide assistance in integrating security into organizational strategies and processes and they help companies develop tailor-made delivery plans that are fitting to their needs and budget.
Ideal virtual CSOs should be well-versed at understanding exploits, attacks, controls, countermeasures and vulnerabilities. They should have a thorough understanding of technology such as operating systems, virtualization, storage and networking but business and leadership skills are even more important for this role. ┬áSecurity and compliance is more about people than it is about technology so the virtual CSO should be able to interface and direct people and lead change efforts.
Virtual CSOs need to be able to translate risk to data, information or computers, into the risk to business. They should be able to determine the how to respond to risks including mitigating, accepting, transferring or avoiding risk.
The Chief Security Officer role is more vital to companies of all sizes than ever before.┬á CSOs are in high demand but for those who do not need a full time person and the expense that goes with it, a virtual CSO may be the answer.┬á Sometimes this role is added to a pre-existing role within the organization but this can lead to compliance being treated as a secondary activity and it does little to protect organizational information security.
Virtual CSOs work across business and functional lines. They see through the complete deployment of strategic and holistic approaches in dealing with specific business issues. This is done by carefully assessing risks related to the organizationÔÇÖs reputation, information, assets and all people involved. Such is crucial especially for businesses that are looking at long-term sustainability and expansion.
Safe computing in a digital world | The Union Club
It is a dangerous world out there in cyberspace with organizations losing corporate secrets or private customer data almost daily.┬á Protecting yourself, however, doesnÔÇÖt have to be difficult and neither should it be left to those in IT.┬á The keys to safe computing in a digital world can be yours.
The event will be presentation, and question and answer.
The value to attend is to learn how to secure the privacy of your information that is routinely exchanged and stored digitally.┬á Cybersecurity is in the news.┬á Even President Obama discussed it in the State of the Union Address in February.
Privacy matters even for those who don’t care
There are so many ways to share on social media today and users, especially the younger generation, are sharing almost everything.┬á The problem is that some data is not meant to be shared.┬á A culture of sharing is developing that can be quite harmful for businesses and the confidential information they hold.┬á It is even more important in this day and age to educate employees on what they can and cannot share.┬á Consider implementing a social media policy that specifies sharable data and data that must remain confidential along with sanctions for those who violate the policy.┬á Make sure that all employees are aware of the policy and why it is in place.┬á Lastly, make sure the policy is enforced through both technical and procedural controls.
Fraud techniques revealed in recent debit card case
On May 9, 2013, Federal prosecutors issued indictments against eight individuals for hacking and theft.┬á The case revealed the methods used by hackers to gain access to debit card numbers that were ultimately used to withdraw $45 million.
Hackers gained unauthorized access to credit card processing companies and conducted what hackers term ÔÇ£unlimited operationÔÇØ.┬á Unlimited operation is an attack where debit cards account balances and withdrawal limits are removed.┬á In this case, attackers performed unlimited operation on several prepaid MasterCard debit cards and then distributed the card numbers and pins to groups around the world.┬á These groups recoded gift cards and hotel entry cards with the stolen card numbers and then coordinated withdrawals from ATM machines.
I have spoken of the increase in coordination of cyber-attacks many times and this is an excellent example.┬á In a little over two hours on December 22, 2012, the criminals were able to withdraw $400,000 from 140 ATMs across New York City.┬á A series of thefts in February resulted in the theft of almost $2.4 million in 10 hours and the group is accused of stealing a total of $45 million by following this procedure for different card issuers and locations.
The banks involved in this case might have prevented the theft by monitoring for anomalous behavior such as the excessive use of a card number or the modifications required in unlimited operation attacks.┬á Anomalous behavior monitoring is valuable no matter where the next attack comes from and it is useful in other industries as well.
When and why companies disclose your information
The Electronic Frontier Foundation issued a report on 18 web and technology companies that routinely handle data.┬á The study looked at the following six security policy and practice areas related to how the company responds to requests for user information.
- Does the company require a warrant before releasing information?
- Does the company inform users of requests for data?
- Are statistics published on how often data is provided to requesting agencies?
- Does the company have a policy outlining how they respond to information requests?
- Does the company stand firm when information requests are too broad in scope?
- Does the company support revisions to electronic privacy laws?
Some of the results of the study are surprising.┬á Dropbox, Linkedin, Sonic.net and Twitter were some who ranked the highest.┬á Others such as Amazon, Yahoo, and Apple ranked towards the bottom and Verizon and Myspace were the lowest.
Florida Department of Juvenile Justice Data Breach
The Florida Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) had a mobile device containing 100,000 youth and employee records stolen on January 2, 2013.┬á The device was unencrypted and not password protected despite a policy by the DJJ requiring both encryption and password protection on mobile devices. This latest breach further demonstrates the importance of encrypting mobile devices but more importantly, it shows that a policy alone is not enough.┬á Organizations and government agencies need to make sure that employees are aware and adhering to their policies.┬á Without this, such policies are worthless.
Do you have a mobile device encryption policy?┬á If so, do you know if employees are following it?┬á DonÔÇÖt let this happen to you.
Which cyber security risk are you most concerned about?
Answer this short poll on which security risks concern you most and see how others have voted.
Vobfus malware steals 25,000 student social security numbers
Salem State University in Massachusetts issued a data breach warning to faculty and students on March 11.┬á The warning informed them that information for over 25,000 persons including social security numbers had been breached.┬á The breach was caused when malware, identified as Vobfus, infected the universityÔÇÖs human resources database.
Malware is often seen as a nuisance or a productivity inhibitor but an infected computer can pose a much great risk to organizations and it should not be overlooked.┬á Malware gets behind the organizationÔÇÖs perimeter and it can act with the credentials of legitimate users including administrators.┬á Just because a system is behind a firewall or in a demilitarized zone doesnÔÇÖt mean it is safe as threats from the inside are just as virulent as those from the outside.┬á Recently, malware has been the cause of a number of recent data breaches including supermarkets, banking institutions and retailers.
Antivirus software is essential but it is only the first step in protecting against malware.┬á New malware and revised versions of existing malware are continually being released and antivirus signatures will miss some malware, potentially even the most dangerous ones.┬á Understand what normal traffic looks like on your network so that abnormalities can be quickly identified.┬á Take notifications from users about suspicious activity seriously and consider implementing technologies that utilize behavior based scans to detect viruses and intrusions.┬á Lastly, know what to do and who to call if there is a data breach
Cyber Forensics: Collecting evidence for todayÔÇÖs data breaches | NEO ISACA
NEO ISACA has monthly meetings, and its membership here is primarily IT Auditors, with a number of IT Security Professionals from companies based in and around Cleveland. At each meeting, we get together to discuss a variety of pertinent IT topics, with a speaker leading the discussion.┬á This month I will be leading the discussion on cyber forensics.
Many forensic techniques focus on obtaining data from local machines, servers or data storage equipment but evidence for modern attacks often resides in many places and the techniques for obtaining this data go beyond those used in the typical forensic investigation.┬á In this presentation, ISACA members will learn about:
- Detecting intrusions
- Network evidence
- Attack pattern analysis
- Statistical flow analysis
- Traffic analysis
View the ISACA event.