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Cyber Security Operations Topics, Trends, and Articles


2019 will be the year of cloud-based cybersecurity analytics/operations

CSO article, January 4, 2019


Security information and event management (SIEM) systems first appeared around 2000 from vendors such as Intellitactics, NetForensics, and eSecurity. The original functionality centered around event correlation from perimeter security devices such as IDS/IPS and firewalls.


The SIEM market evolved over the past 19 years, with different vendors, functionality, and use cases. SIEM has also grown into a $2.5 billion market, dominated by vendors such as Splunk, IBM, LogRhythm, and AT&T (AlienVault).


Despite the SIEM evolution, today’s products can be seen as super-sized versions of those of yesteryear. In fact, the original design of SIEM seemed like a knockoff of network and systems management tools CA Unicenter, HP OpenView, and IBM Tivoli. SIEM products were based upon a tiered architecture of distributed data collectors/indexers/processors and a central database used for data analytics, visualization, and reporting.



Prove Cybersecurity’s Value to Build a Culture of Cybersecurity

Security Magazine article, January 3, 2019


If you want senior executives to buy into cybersecurity, you need to prove the value cybersecurity brings to the core business. Read your organization’s annual reports, corporate governance documents, shareholder statements and the like. These documents will give you a better sense for what drives your organization and, in turn, what your executives are thinking about.


You’ll likely find that cybersecurity shows up in these documents but not around specific attacks, zero-days and APTs. You’ll see verbiage about material harm. You may see risk statements around maintaining effective cybersecurity controls, protecting confidentiality and privacy, and the need to safeguard sensitive data.


New ISACA and CMMI Institute research on cybersecurity culture is full of attention-grabbing perspectives and stats regarding the value of a strong cybersecurity culture, such as reduced cyber incidents, stronger customer trust and better brand reputation. This study made me think about how a cybersecurity culture is really created and what a cybersecurity team needs to be able to prove within its organization to earn the support and resources required for a cybersecurity culture.



A Pessimist's Guide to 2019 Cyber Security Predictions

LinkedIn article, January 2, 2019

 

With the introduction of a new year, we are seeing the influx of regular cybersecurity predictions and by most counts, this one is no different. Except, I do not have a product to sell, a book to advertise, or a political position to encourage. These are just the predictions that I see beginning to emerge now and will have some amount of maturity during 2019 and 2020. 



7 Tips for New Cybersecurity Leaders in Their First 100 Days

GovTech article, January 2, 2019


The beginning of a new security chief's tenure is critical. From opening lines of communication to creating a strategic plan, here are seven dos — and three don’ts — for successfully navigating a new position.


 

Let’s say you were just appointed to lead the cybersecurity program within a new government administration — congratulations! You’re likely excited to be a part of a new tech team with a fresh mandate from voters and a group of like-minded professionals. Or maybe you just landed a top job as a chief information security officer (CISO), director of IT security or cybermanager within a new organization.  


Regardless of how you arrived at your new role, it’s an exciting opportunity. After reading a ton of material on security leadership, your ideas are set. You’re determined to be successful and fix everything you’ve been told is wrong with the current cyber team and security culture. 



First-Ever UEFI Rootkit Tied to Sednit APT

ThreatPost article, December 28, 2018


Researchers hunting cyber-espionage group Sednit (an APT also known as Sofacy, Fancy Bear and APT28) say they have discovered the first-ever instance of a rootkit targeting the Windows Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) in successful attacks.


The discussion of Sednit was part of the 35C3 conference, and a session given by Frédéric Vachon, a malware researcher at ESET who published a technical write-up on his findings earlier this fall (PDF). During his session, Vachon said that finding a rootkit targeting a system’s UEFI is significant, given that rootkit malware programs can survive on the motherboard’s flash memory, giving it both persistence and stealth.


“UEFI rootkits have been researched and discussed heavily in the past few years, but sparse evidence has been presented of real campaigns actively trying to compromise systems at this level,” he said.



THE CYBERSECURITY CULTURE GAP AN ISACA AND CMMI INSTITUTE STUDY

ISACA report, December, 2018


The importance of strong cybersecurity is no longer in question in today's harrowing threat landscape, but less clear is how organizations put a strong culture of cybersecurity in place, beginning with leadership from the board of directors and inclusive of all employees. The 2018 Cybersecurity Culture Report from ISACA and CMMI Institute shows there is much progress to be made, as 95 percent of global survey respondents identify a gap between their current and desired organizational culture of cybersecurity.


The research shows that prioritizing investment in training can be a meaningful driver of strong cybersecurity culture, while annually measuring and assessing employee views on cybersecurity is among the other steps that can lead to heightened awareness and improved culture.




Securing the Industrial Internet of Things in OT Networks

CSO article, December 18, 2018


In many organizations, traditional IT and critical Operational Technology (OT)networks are being merged to take advantage of the speed and efficiency of today’s digital marketplace. Typical OT networks are comprised of switches, monitors, sensors, valves, and manufacturing devices managed by an ICS system through remote terminal units (RTUs) and programmable logic controllers (PLCs) over a serial or IP connection. Since these systems manage sensitive and sometimes dangerous environments, they demand safe and continuous operation. To achieve that, they have traditionally tended to be air-gapped from the IT network to avoid the sorts of intermittent network or device crashes that IT systems can tolerate.

These systems are built upon high-value OT assets that can range into the billions of dollars. A system crash on a manufacturing floor can stall production for hours and potentially ruin millions of dollars in materials. Even worse, having to reset an open furnace or a 10,000-gallon boiler processing caustic chemicals can have far more devastating consequences than temporarily losing access to an online printer.



Why Cyber Range Training and Simulation is Key for Effective Security Operations

LinkedIn article, October 19, 2018


The cybersecurity scene has never been so dynamic and complex. The number of attacks and their complexity has grown drastically, and the amount of security solutions collecting endless amounts of alerts and events have raised drastically. A recent Ovum survey sponsored by McAfee, found that 37 percent of respondents in the financial sector had to deal with over 200,000 daily security alerts, and many institutions deploy between 100-200 disparate security solutions. New threats and attack vectors emerge, spanning across a converged attack surface of IT and OT networks, as well as IoT devices. Attacks have become time-sensitive, requiring SOCs to detect and respond within seconds to minutes, and challenging the SOC’s ability to perform effectively. We have seen this new reality once again in the recent attack on the Cosmos Bank in India last month, where over $15M were stolen via ATM hacking. Topping this, new regulatory guidelines are being introduced , requiring strict procedures and comprehensive reporting processes. In parallel, our overall ability to recruit, train and retain our cybersecurity experts has been dropping continuously over the last years. These trends will remain with us and in many cases increase in the foreseen future, making the jobs of our CISOs ever more challenging. 



Cybersecurity Predictions and a Wish List for 2019

LinkedIn article, December 28, 2018

 

As in recent times, the cyber threats will continue to get worse before they get better.  Those that think “good enough” security or risk management will be sorely disappointed in the large gaps they will leave open for the cybercriminals and nation-state actors to easily breach and compromise their enterprise. 



The most interesting and important hacks of 2018

CSO article, December 27, 2018


The hacks, exploits and data breaches security researcher need to most pay attention to are those that do something new or suddenly increase in volume.


Each year a few hackers do something new that begs further examination. The general public and Hollywood paints most hackers as these uber-smart people who can take control of entire city’s infrastructure and crack any password in seconds. The reality is that most hackers are fairly average people with average intelligence. Most don’t do anything new. They just repeat the same things that have worked for years, if not decades, using someone else’s tool based on someone else’s hack from many years ago.


The stuff that we need to pay more attention to are the new, evolutionary or revolutionary hacking methods that gave hackers access to something they didn’t have before. Maybe it isn’t exactly new, but it’s being used more or in more innovative ways than in the past (like ransomware did a few years ago). With that said, here are my choices for most interesting hacks of 2018.



How to boost collaboration between network and security teams

NetworkWorld article, December 21, 2018


When Tim Callahan came to Aflac four years ago to take on the role of CISO, enterprise security at the insurance giant was embedded deep in the infrastructure team.


One of his first requests of the CIO: Let me extract security out into its own group. Callahan readily admits the culture shift was not easy but believes that the demarcation has actually led to better collaboration.


 Arguing for a walled-off security team is not easy for security leaders amid a shrinking talent pool of qualified security professionals. Analyst firm ESG found that from 2014 to 2018, the percentage of respondents to a global survey on the state of IT claiming a problematic shortage in cybersecurity skills at their organization more than doubled from 23% to 51%. 



Cybersecurity 101 For The C-Suite And Board Members

Forbes article, December 17, 2018


Today, most C-Suite and boardroom discussions on cybersecurity are based on gut feelings and incomplete data. We are wasting a lot of money because we don’t know how to deal with cybersecurity effectively.


If you have a mature cybersecurity program, your chief information security officer (CISO) probably provides periodic updates with qualitative (or quasi-quantitative) estimates of cyber-risk organized around categories such as risk to intellectual property, risk of operational disruption from a cyberattack, risk of customer data disclosure, etc. The presenting executive might review status of key cybersecurity projects, and perhaps ask for additional budget to pursue “necessary” initiatives to keep up with the evolving threat landscape. Sometimes these sessions become deeply technical and hard to follow. Come next year (or next quarter), a similar meeting occurs. With the steady stream of cyber breaches in the news, you hope your company is doing the right things to stay out of trouble.



Why the CISO’s Voice Must be Heard Beyond the IT Department

InfoSecurity Magazine article, December 10, 2018


In a recent company board strategy meeting the CFO presented the financial forecast and outcome and made some interesting comments about fiscal risks and opportunities on the horizon. The COO discussed efficiency in operations, explained how the company may need to adjust the hiring procedures to avoid the risk of high turnover and to speed up the candidate selection. She also argued in favor of some new IT initiatives to automate and modernize some processes – including the hiring process. With these in mind, the CEO made some strategic decisions on projects and operations, and the meeting was concluded.


Three months later the company name was in the headlines. A temp employee of the vendor that was selected to implement the new IT system had his laptop stolen, credentials were cached in the browser. The personal details of all applicants in the new system, including previous salary details and diversity data (such as race, religion and sexual orientation), were posted on a public website.



Storytelling Is A Critical Skill Set For CISOs

Forbes article, December 6, 2018


As a recovering CIO and current CISO, I discovered one of the fundamental skill sets useful for technical leaders to drive informed decision making by nontechnical audiences is the art of storytelling. CISOs typically communicate in numerous formats, and I have known many of my peers to be masters at documenting and describing security architectures and emerging threats. However, to be truly effective in evangelizing the worth of a security program to the business, a CISO must describe their vision of cybersecurity, risk management and its business value to company employees and leadership stakeholders. This shift of taking highly technical information and transforming it into a presentation that non-technical people can understand and relate to is not easy. In fact, it is a skill that CISOs today must regularly practice as their role continues to evolve into one that supports business operations. 



What CISOs are Sharing With Their Boards

Cyber Security Hub article, December 12, 2018

 

Regardless of whether you’re in a regulated industry or a publicly-traded industry, you always have “crown jewels” that need to be protected and the same types of motivations to guard them, said Tomas Maldonado, chief information security officer at International Flavors & Fragrances. Maldonado was the guest on Episode 62 of Task Force 7 Radio on Monday night, with host, George Rettas, president and CEO of and Task Force 7 Technologies.


Those crown jewels include intellectual property and trade secrets, which he said are very similar to what is protected in the financial services sector, where he has also worked. The difference is, “In the industry that I'm in now … I have to do more really with less in terms of resources and I have to be creative as to how we make investments because you don't have that enormous amount of open pocketbook.”



10 cyber security trends to look out for in 2019

InformationAge article, December 10, 2018


2018 was an interesting year for all things cyber.


It was the year that brought major breaches pretty much every week. Most recently, the Marriott Hotel group suffered a significant data breach, while Quora fell foul to some cyber criminals.


Cyber security is still the issue on every business leaders mind.


This year, organisations have had to get their house in order with GDPR, amongst others, coming into force on 25 May. The stakes for protecting your organisation from cyber threats have never been higher.


So, what can we expect to see in 2019 then? Here are some things to consider.



The 10 Coolest New Cybersecurity Tools Of 2018

CRN article, December 6, 2018


The 10 products making waves in the cybersecurity market have emphasized stronger detection and correlation of threat data as well as extending and centralizing device management. 



Getting cybersecurity to the top of the boardroom agenda

ITProPortal article, December 5, 2018


The IT industry has undoubtedly shone a bright light on the role of the Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) this year; the increasing responsibility and heightened risks associated with the role and the fact that no organisation appears to be safe from a data breach has given the role a new purpose and place within the structure of a business. 


 CEOs, Boards of Directors and Trustees are now realising how fatal cybersecurity failures can really be. In reality, a major data breach will ruin not only an organisation’s reputation, damage its brand and future prospects or plans, but also have serious consequences on the bottom line. When a breach occurs, and the data of customers, partners, employees or even the general public, is compromised, hard decisions need to be made - and fast. How can a CISO put cybersecurity at the top of the Board’s agenda BEFORE a breach occurs - and make it stay there? 



9 cyber security predictions for 2019

CSO article, November 20, 2018


Predictions are tough, but even moreso in the chaotic world of cyber security. The threat landscape is huge, offensive and defensive technologies are evolving rapidly, and nation-state attacks are increasing in terms of scope and sophistication. 


This cyber “fog of war” makes it hard to see or assess every trend. Last year, for example, CSO’s predictions for 2018 did not anticipate the rapid rise of cryptomining. In hindsight, this relatively easy to execute, lower risk way for cyber criminals to monetize their efforts should have been an obvious choice. 


Still, we got a few things right: more automation of threat-detection processes, significant rise in attacks using compromised IoT devices, and the decline of trust in the face of rising cyber crime, to name a few. 



6 mobile security threats you should take seriously in 2019

CSO article, November 20, 2018


Mobile security is at the top of every company's worry list these days — and for good reason: Nearly all workers now routinely access corporate data from smartphones, and that means keeping sensitive info out of the wrong hands is an increasingly intricate puzzle. The stakes, suffice it to say, are higher than ever: The average cost of a corporate data breach is a whopping $3.86 million, according to a 2018 report by the Ponemon Institute. That's 6.4 percent more than the estimated cost just one year earlier.  


While it's easy to focus on the sensational subject of malware, the truth is that mobile malware infections are incredibly uncommon in the real world — with your odds of being infected significantly less than your odds of being struck by lightning, according to one estimate. That's thanks to both the nature of mobile malware and the inherent protections built into modern mobile operating systems. 



Top security tips revealed by industry experts

TechRepublic article, November 19, 2018


Regardless of your career, when you work with technology you're usually inundated with security risks and threats, many of which are tough to keep up with. Whether you face application or operating system vulnerabilities, insecure passwords, phishing attempts, scams, social engineering gimmicks, or more, it's important to stay nimble and aware. This can be challenging when there is another data breach or must-patch vulnerability on a weekly basis. 


 Here is a compilation of the best security tips recommended by both hands-on tech pros and the executives who lead them. Hopefully, this advice will make your job (or consumer endeavors) easier. 



Texas hospital becomes victim of Dharma ransomware

ZDNet article, November 19, 2018


The Altus Baytown Hospital (ABH) has revealed a ransomware outbreak which may have led to the leak of patient data. 


 In a statement on its website, the Texas-based hospital said that ABH discovered an unauthorized threat actor rifling through the organization's systems on roughly September 3. 


 The ransomware at fault for the infection is known as Dharma. As with most strains, the malware was able to encrypt files and then demanded a ransom payment in return for access. 




The 7 deadly sins of endpoint detection & response

CSO article, November 19, 2018


The average IT environment today includes countless devices running different operating systems. Complexity is growing as the IoT, remote workers, and third parties add more potentially exploitable endpoints into the mix every day. Every organization needs to take steps to secure unmanaged devices and eliminate the IoT blind spot. Complete, real-time visibility into every endpoint on your network should be a priority. 


Breaches often take weeks or even months to uncover, but the right strategy combined with strong endpoint detection & response (EDR) tools can make all the difference. We examine seven vital factors to consider.



12 Specific Techniques to Build Relationships with CISOs

CISO Relationship Series, by David Spark, November 14, 2018


CISOs (chief information security officers) are a prime target for security sales and marketing because they are usually the point person who controls a company’s security budget. Given the overflow of traditional marketing and sales techniques, CISOs often cringe or are turned off, preferring instead to build relationships with vendors. To better understand how those relationships are formed, I asked CISOs to give me specific stories of how a vendor fostered a relationship with them and what they liked about it. Here are their tales and their advice.



The state of ICS and IIoT security in 2019

CSO article, November 12, 2018


According to a new report from CyberX, industrial organizations are doing themselves no favors and making themselves easy targets. The report, 2019 Global ICS & IIoT Risk Report, analyzed real-world network traffic data from more than 850 production ICS networks worldwide to get a view into existing vulnerabilities in ICS environments.

“The data clearly shows that industrial control systems continue to be soft targets for adversaries,” said the report. “Many sites are exposed to the public internet and trivial to traverse using simple vulnerabilities like plain-text passwords. Lack of even basic protections like automatically updated anti-virus enables attackers to quietly perform reconnaissance before sabotaging physical processes such as assembly lines, mixing tanks, and blast furnaces.”




Relaxed, Anxious, Ignorant: Our Attitudes Towards CyberSecurity Are Making The Problem Worse

Forbes article, November 9, 2018


 Data breaches are our own fault. A 2016 study by Phishme found that 91% of all cyber attacks start with a phishing email, and since then these schemes have only gotten more sophisticated in their methods. With recent cybersecurity initiatives in the UK and the US it seems that authorities are waking up to the risks. But the conversation around cybersecurity has to move away from seeing cybercriminals as opportunists if we are to properly address the ever-evolving threats facing us. 



What is adversarial artificial intelligence and why does it matter?

World Economic Forum article, November 21, 2018


Artificial intelligence (AI) is quickly becoming a critical component in how government, business and citizens defend themselves against cyber attacks. Starting with technology designed to automate specific manual tasks, and advancing to machine learning using increasingly complex systems to parse data, breakthroughs in deep learning capabilities will become an integral part of the security agenda. Much attention is paid to how these capabilities are helping to build a defence posture. But how enemies might harness AI to drive a new generation of attack vectors, and how the community might respond, is often overlooked. Ultimately, the real danger of AI lies in how it will enable attackers.


 

Adversarial AI is the malicious development and use of advanced digital technology and systems that have intellectual processes typically associated with human behaviour. These include the ability to learn from past experiences, and to reason or discover meaning from complex data.



With supply chain security grabbing headlines, NIST sees new relevance for its guidance

CSO article, November 19, 2018


Supply chain is sexy again, and NIST hopes that means more companies take its supply chain risk guidance seriously.


Cybersecurity in the supply chain is a dense, massively complicated topic that lies beyond the comprehension of all but a few dedicated experts. It has nonetheless risen to the top of security challenges organizations face today. “Supply chain is the new black. Supply chain is sexy again. That’s kind of hard to imagine,” said Jon Boyens, manager, security engineering and risk management at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Boyens, who manages cybersecurity supply chain efforts at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), made that comment during a plenary session at NIST’s Cybersecurity Risk Management Conference.



Malicious code hidden in advert images cost ad networks $1.13bn this year

ZDNet article, November 16, 2018


Steganography is rapidly becoming a favored tool of fraudsters.


Malvertising, the practice of embedding malicious code in seemingly innocent online adverts, is evolving through the use of steganography.


Files, messages, images, and video can be hidden within content of the same format, potentially leading to malicious redirects and the download of exploit kits.


The steganographic technique is fast becoming a popular method for fraudsters to dupe legitimate ad networks and spread malvertising across legitimate domains, according to researchers from GeoEdge, with a recent string of incidents highlighting the method's capabilities.



What is the cyber kill chain? Why it's not always the right approach to cyber attacks

CSO article, November 15, 2018


Lockheed Martin's cyber kill chain approach breaks down each stage of a malware attack where you can identify and stop it, but be aware of how attack strategies are changing.


As an infosec professional, you’ve likely heard about using a cyber kill chain, also known as a cyber attack lifecycle, to help identify and prevent intrusions. Attackers are evolving their methods, which might require that you look at the cyber kill chain differently. What follows is a recap of what the cyber kill chain approach to security is and how you might employ it in today’s threat environment.



12 Specific Techniques to Build Relationships with CISOs

CISO Series article, November 14, 2018


CISOs (chief information security officers) are a prime target for security sales and marketing because they are usually the point person who controls a company’s security budget. Given the overflow of traditional marketing and sales techniques, CISOs often cringe or are turned off, preferring instead to build relationships with vendors. To better understand how those relationships are formed, I asked CISOs to give me specific stories of how a vendor fostered a relationship with them and what they liked about it. Here are their tales and their advice.



Canadian University Shuts Down Network in Response to Cryptocurrency Mining Attack

SecurityIntelligence article, November 14, 2018


St. Francis Xavier University had to take its critical IT systems offline after it discovered a scheme to mine cryptocurrency using its network resources.


On Nov. 9, the school’s IT team identified an automated attack launched by unknown threat actors in an effort to steal computing power to mine cryptocurrency, otherwise known as cryptojacking.


After consulting with security specialists, the university, which is based in Nova Scotia, made the decision to disable all network systems. Representatives of the school announced plans to reinstate the offline servers across its network in stages to reduce potential security risks.



Internet traffic hijack disrupts Google services

Washington Times article, November 12, 2018

 

An internet diversion that rerouted data traffic through Russia and China disrupted several Google services on Monday, including search and cloud-hosting services.


Service interruptions lasted for nearly two hours and ended about 5:30 p.m. EST., network service companies said. In addition to Russian and Chinese telecommunications companies, a Nigerian internet provider was also involved.


Google confirmed Monday’s disruption on a network status page but said only that it believed the cause was “external to Google .” The company had little additional comment.


The specific method employed, formally known as border gateway protocol hijacking, can knock essential services offline and facilitate espionage and financial theft. Most network traffic to Google services -94 percent as of October 27 - is encrypted, which shields it from prying eyes even if diverted.


The White Company: Inside the Operation Shaheen Espionage Campaign

Cylance ThreatVector blog, November 12, 2018


In a new collection of extensive research reports, the Cylance Threat Intelligence Team profiles a new, likely state-sponsored threat actor called The White Company - in acknowledgement of the many elaborate measures they take to whitewash all signs of their activity and evade attribution. 


 

The report details one of the group’s recent campaigns, a year-long espionage effort directed at the Pakistani government and military – in particular, the Pakistani Air Force.


Cylance calls this campaign Operation Shaheen.


5 Reasons Why Threat Intelligence Doesn't Work

Dark Reading article, November 7, 2018


Offense is the best defense. To defend well, we must take the initiative. When we are aware, we can prepare. Whatever the motto of your cybersecurity team, fighting cybercrime requires keeping an ear to the ground to anticipate threats.


That's what threat intelligence is all about, isn't it? Identifying and mending the weak spots of corporate IT infrastructure before someone maliciously exploits them instead. At least that's what the theory says. And many organizations are buying into it as global spending in threat intelligence services will surpass $1.4 billion in 2018 — up from $905.5 million in 2014.


The problem is, CSOs and cybersecurity folks often struggle to understand threat intelligence's benefits. Let's examine the reasons why and who's to blame — and how to move beyond those problems.


Top ten cybersecurity predictions for 2019

IT Pro Portal article, November 6, 2018


Cybercrime, DDoS, IoT - what should you pay attention to next year?


1. Increase in crime, espionage and sabotage by rogue nation-states


2. GDPR - The pain still to come


3. Cloud insecurity - it's your head on the block


4. Single factor password - the dark ages


5. Malware - protect or fail


6. Shift in attack vectors will drive cyber hygiene growth


7. IoT - the challenge will only increase


8. Increasing risks with shadow IT systems and bad housekeeping


9. DDoS - usually unseen, but still a nightmare


10. Cybersecurity in the boardroom



Veracode Acquired by Thoma Bravo and Splits from CA After Broadcom Deal

InfoSecurity Magazine article, November 5, 2018


Private equity investment firm Thoma Bravo has agreed to acquire Veracode for $950 million, on the same day that its parent CA Technologies were acquired by Broadcom for a reported$18.9 billion.


Veracode were acquired by CA Technologies in March 2017 for $614m. Today’s Thoma Bravo announcement is expected to close in Q4 of 2018.



The Untold Story of NotPetya, the Most Devastating Cyberattack in History

Wired Article, August 22, 2018

 

It was a perfect sunny summer afternoon in Copenhagen when the world’s largest shipping conglomerate began to lose its mind. 


The headquarters of A.P. Møller-Maersk sits beside the breezy, cobblestoned esplanade of Copenhagen’s harbor. A ship’s mast carrying the Danish flag is planted by the building’s northeastern corner, and six stories of blue-tinted windows look out over the water, facing a dock where the Danish royal family parks its yacht. In the building’s basement, employees can browse a corporate gift shop, stocked with Maersk-branded bags and ties, and even a rare Lego model of the company’s gargantuan Triple-E container ship, a vessel roughly as large as the Empire State Building laid on its side, capable of carrying another Empire State Building–sized load of cargo stacked on top of it. 


The first 100 days of the new CISO: how to avoid the “curse of firefighting”

The Digital Transformation People article, November 1, 2018


How an incoming executive needs to approach such a complex role is also a hot debate. Many experts – including us ­– have written about this and have framed the topic using the “first 100 days” journalistic cliché. In our own series, we took issue with the fact that most consultants’ analysis and suggestions fail to consider the incoming CISO within the broader context and organisational complexity of the firm.


In large organisations, no function exists in a vacuum, and getting anything done requires aligning your strategy with other stakeholders’ priorities, business cycles, and budget cycles. It will always take time, as well as political and managerial acumen, but nothing in our opinion that could not be set in motion to an extent with the first 6 months in office.



4 Dangerous Security Assumptions to Avoid

CSO article, November 1, 2018


Many organizations take steps to guard against data breaches, employing new policies, tools and strategies that make them feel protected, but their defenses may not be as strong as they think. Unfortunately, this false sense of security is all-too-easy to come by.


It’s not unusual for companies to start out in the right direction but fall short in their efforts because one specific area is overlooked. Achieving a high standard of cybersecurity requires a thorough, holistic view of the risks and a robust, continuous effort. The truth is that many organizations do one or two things right and then put their feet up, content to bask in the warm, but erroneous sensation that they’re safe.


Here are four common statements that indicate a false sense of security.



Cybersecurity Professional Impressions on Cloud-native Security

CSO article, October 31, 2018


Organizations use cloud-native security controls, but they really want central management for cloud security across heterogeneous clouds.


 In a recent research survey, ESG asked a panel of 232 security and IT professionals a series of questions about cloud-native security (i.e. security controls, management, and monitoring options built into cloud infrastructure and offered by cloud service providers).  Here are a few of the data points ESG uncovered...



Cyber Is a Boardroom Issue in 2018

Infosecurity Magazine article, October 30, 2018


Based on studies and interviews with corporate board members and chief information security officers (CISOs), the Cyber Balance Sheet, published by Focal Point Data Risk and produced by the Cyentia Institute, found that boardrooms are engaging in more conversations about security.


While the talks about cyber risk are more commonplace, the C-suite and security leaders are still struggling to effectively translate security risks into an effective decision-making framework that enables the business to operate within its proper risk appetite.



Communication is Broken Between CISOs and the Rest of the Business

SecurityWeek article, October 29, 2018

 

Time was, the rest of the business might have bought into the idea IT security was unique among business functions, with processes, standards and language too technical to be understood by ordinary business folk.  Cybersecurity management is technical, the thinking went, therefore the results could only be expressed in technical language, too.  


That era came to a crashing end in the last few years when crippling malware and devastating data breaches made cyber risks a clear and present danger for the entire organization. Now, board members and senior management are likely to wave off CISO techno-speak and push to get their questions answered on their terms.



The CSO Guide to Top Security Conferences, 2018-19

CSO article, October 25, 2018

 

There is nothing like attending a face-to-face event for career networking and knowledge gathering, and we don’t have to tell you how helpful it can be to get a hands-on demo of a new tool or to have your questions answered by experts.


Fortunately, plenty of great conferences are coming up in the months ahead.


CSO Online’s calendar of upcoming security conferences makes it easy to find the events that matter the most to our community.



6 Cybersecurity Tools You'll Need to Know About in 2019

HackerNoon article, October 24, 2018


Whether it’s maintaining transparent and reliable voting systems, combatting DDoS attacks at the G20 summit and WTO conference, or even protecting a corporation’s new batch of smart contracts, proactive solutions are necessary in an era when cybercrime seems to reach a new all-time high every few months.


In this vein, smart IT experts and even regular users would be wise to keep an eye on these up-and-comers in the sector. A place on this list means that the company has identified a crucial area of vulnerability in the status quo and develops a unique, airtight solution.



Questions to Ask Before Accepting that CISO Job Offer

LinkedIn article by Gary Hayslip, October 21, 2018


In writing earlier articles and releasing them to our community I have been asked by several people if I could make a list of questions to ask at an interview. These would be questions you could ask the interviewer and interview committee to make sure the role you want is the right one for you. In the past I have had positions I wanted but when asking these questions, the answers I received painted a picture I wanted nothing to do with and I walked away from the position. What is important is not all of these questions will apply to your situation but hopefully they will give you some ideas on what to ask during your interview so you feel comfortable that the role you are interviewing for is a good fit for you and your career. 



How CEOs And Boards Can Manage The Strategic Impacts Of Cyber Risk

Forbes article, October 15, 2018


The digitalization of the business landscape offers never-before-seen opportunities but also makes organizations more vulnerable to cyber attacks and breaches. At the highest level, leaders are focused on maturing their cyber risk programs and dealing with the fact that cyber risk is everywhere—from the light switch in the office to the systems storing the organization’s most sensitive information. 


Irfan Saif, principal at Deloitte Risk and Financial Advisory, Deloitte & Touche LLP, shares his perspective on how organizations are currently managing cyber risk.



Gartner Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2019

Gartner Report, October 15, 2018


The Gartner Top 10 Strategic Technology trends highlight changing or not yet widely recognized trends that will impact and transform industries through 2023. 


Trend No. 1: Autonomous Things

Trend No. 2: Augmented Analytics

Trend No. 3: AI-driven Development

Trend No. 4: Digital Twins

Trend No. 5: Empowered Edge

Trend No. 6: Immersive Technology

Trend No. 7: Blockchain

Trend No. 8: Smart Spaces

Trend No. 9: Digital Ethics and Privacy

Trend No. 10: Quantum Computing



Sednit APT Group Uses First UEFI Rootkit Detected in the Wild to Execute LoJax Malware

SecurityIntelligence article, October 4, 2018


For the first time ever, researchers discovered a Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) rootkit in the wild that they believe the Sednit advanced persistent threat (APT) group used to execute LoJax malware.


Researchers at ESET observed an attack campaign distributing LoJax and three types of tools. The first component dumped system information into a text file. The second tool read the contents of the Serial Peripheral Interface (SPI) flash memory to save an image of the system’s firmware. The third wrote a UEFI module to the SPI flash memory and installed a UEFI rootkit that’s responsible for dropping LoJax onto the machine.



Cyber Security Is A Business Risk, Not Just An IT Problem

Forbes article, from October, 2017


Gone are the days when companies could pass the headaches of cyber security to the IT department, as it has become more of a business issue too. This is especially important as businesses are more digitized, meaning they are exposed to an increasing number of threats if they do not manage the risk of security properly. While more Hong Kong businesses understand the value of shifting their mindset in cyber security from questioning if their business will experience an attack, to when will they be threatened and how will they respond, they still need to address cyber security as the business risk it is.


In Telstra’s recent Cyber Security report, data shows that 59% of Asian organizations experienced a business-interrupting security breach at least once a month. This comes down to the increase in digitization across the board. As we move towards digitization, the number and type of devices requiring enhanced security measures increase too. Mobiles, tablets, wearables and Internet of Things (IoT) enabled devices all fall short in the traditional approach of securing network perimeters by a firewall. Additionally, new technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning are providing attackers with enhanced tools for more complex attacks.



Form factor wars: Cloud-based or on-premises security technologies?

CSO article, September 26, 2018


While most organizations are willing to consider cloud-based or on-premises security solutions, nearly one-third still demand the control associated with on-premises.


Cybersecurity professionals are paid to be paranoid and tend to want to control everything they can to minimize surprises or third-party dependencies. This has always been the case with regards to security technology. Historically, CISOs mistrusted managed services, preferring instead to “own” the deployment and operations associated with their security technologies. 


While cultural attitudes toward security control remain today, demand- and supply-side changes are influencing new security technology decisions.



Lucy Gang Debuts with Unusual Android MaaS Package

ThreatPost article, September 20, 2018


The threat actor’s Android-focused cyber-arms package, dubbed Black Rose Lucy, is limited in reach for now, but clearly has global ambitions.


There’s a fresh bloom in the malware-as-a-service garden: Researchers have uncovered a new Russian-speaking threat actor hawking a proprietary cyber-weapon dubbed “Black Rose Lucy.”


The offering is a malware-as-a-service (MaaS) bundle with two parts, consisting of a controlling web interface (which acts as a dashboard and command-and-control server), and malware that targets Android systems. Infected devices are enslaved to a botnet that’s placed at an operator’s disposal, according to analysis from Check Point.



5 biggest cybersecurity challenges at smaller organizations

CSO article, September 19, 2018


Manual processes, security complexity, and a lack of support from business management plague SMBs.


Aside from security incidents and subsequent actions, what are the major cybersecurity challenges experienced by small and mid-sized organizations? 


ESG asked this question in a survey of 400 IT and cybersecurity professionals working at SMB firms. The results are as follows (multiple responses were accepted):


  • 28% of respondents say their biggest cybersecurity challenge is that their organization depends upon too many manual or informal processes for cybersecurity.
  • 27% of respondents say their biggest cybersecurity challenge is that it is difficult to manage the complexity of too many disconnected cybersecurity tools.
  • 27% of respondents say their biggest cybersecurity challenge is that business managers don’t understand or support strong cybersecurity.
  • 25% of respondents say their biggest cybersecurity challenge is that their organization doesn’t provide an appropriate level of cybersecurity training for non-technical employees, leading to increased risk.
  • 24% of respondents say their biggest cybersecurity challenge is that their organization lacks the right skills to deal with modern types of cyber threats.



The SOC Gets a Makeover

DARK Reading article, September 6, 2018


Today's security operations center is all about reducing the number of alerts with emerging technologies - and enhancing old-school human collaboration. Here's how some real-world SOCs are evolving.


Blame it on the success of the SIEM. For many security operations center (SOC) managers, the security information and event management system was both a blessing and a curse: It was a way to consolidate and correlate security alerts from firewalls, routers, IDS/IPS, antivirus software, and servers, for example, into a centralized console. But with the recent wave of new security tools, threat intelligence feeds, and constantly mutating threats, SOCs are drowning in anywhere from thousands to a million security alerts daily. 



The most important attributes of a cybersecurity platform

CSO article, August 29, 2018


Information security professionals want coverage across major threat vectors, central management, and technologies for prevention, detection, and response in any security platform.


ESG has seen an ongoing cybersecurity technology trend that goes something like this:


  1. Enterprise organizations address cybersecurity using disconnected point tools. This strategy is no longer adequate, as it impacts security efficacy and adds operational overhead.
  2. Security teams address these problems by consolidating and integrating the security tools they use. Many are building security technology architectures a la SOAPA (i.e. security operations and analytics platform architecture).
  3. Seeing this trend in process, security technology vendors push internal development teams to integrate point tools across their portfolio. They then pitch integrated security "platforms" to customers.



Spotlight Shines on Role of CISO

Wall Street Journal article, from June, 2016


Not long ago, many senior management teams regarded their risk executives as “business prevention officers.” For that reason, risk managers often felt like salmon swimming upstream, their advice lost in the press of doing business, according to University of Maryland Executive-in-Residence Clifford Rossi. But large-scale “black swan” events like the 2008 financial crisis demonstrated the perils of leaping after business opportunities without first taking a long, hard look at risk. Since then, chief risk officers (CROs) have gained enormously in respect and prestige and are now seen as “business protectors” essential to success. This has led a number of organizations to increase their risk management budgets (some by as much as 100 percent), raise CRO pay, and make the position a senior management and, in some cases, board-level role, “The Wall Street Journal” reports.



Cybersecurity decisions that can’t be automated

CSO article, September 17, 2018


Encourage those inside and outside your team to identify and challenge daily assumptions in order to adapt to change, think differently and make smarter, faster security related decisions.


Cybersecurity’s future in reducing incident response time is to automate the process. In other words, the process of marking an attack, aggregating key data, identifying the actual threat, assembling the tools and executing actions needs to be as close to machine speed as possible.


Unfortunately, most companies are still outsourcing only 30 percent of the decision-making to AI/cybersecurity programs that allow this, when a minimum of 70 percent is the healthier goal. 


Nevertheless, reaching that goal does not free a CSO or anyone in an organization from making key “human” decisions in the AI/cyber arena. Processes that include automated programs and algorithms are just one part of the job.




CISOs and the Quest for Cybersecurity Metrics Fit for Business

Security Week article, September 17, 2018


Never-ending breaches, ever-increasing regulations, and the potential effect of brand damage on profits has made cybersecurity a mainstream board-level issue. It has never been more important for cybersecurity controls and processes to be in line with business priorities.


A recent survey by security firm Varonis highlights that business and security are not fully aligned; and while security teams feel they are being heard, business leaders admit they aren't listening.


The problem is well-known: security and business speak different languages. Since security is the poor relation of the two, the onus is absolutely on security to drive the conversation in business terms. When both sides are speaking the same language, aligning security controls with business priorities will be much easier.


Well-presented metrics are the common factor understood by both sides and could be used as the primary driver in this alignment. The reality, however, is this isn’t always happening.



A Quantified Approach To Cybersecurity Risk Management

LinkedIn article by Steve King, September 16, 2018


Cybersecurity Risk Assessment should be a hot topic these days. How else can you not only convince your board and management team that you need to do something to protect against cyber-attacks, but also be able to communicate for once in a language they understand


What if Equifax knew that their risk was quantified at more than $100 million along with a high probability of an ugly event actually happening. Do you think they might have installed that patch? I think they probably would have. Because as thing stand right now (one year later) they might not be in business by the second anniversary.



Cybersecurity Skills Report: Today’s CISO is Shifting Toward Strategic Business Enablement

CSO article, September 11, 2018


Businesses and government agencies of all sizes are experiencing cyber attacks that are growing in both frequency and complexity. Cybercriminals, nation-states, and a host of other bad actors are developing new tactics, tools, and procedures to circumvent modern cybersecurity solutions. We are increasingly seeing targeted attacks employing customized malware and the ready availability of dark web market tools and services covering every aspect of the cyber kill chain. In fact, a recent Fortinet Global Threat Landscape Report shows that virtually no firm is immune, with 96% of firms experiencing at least one severe exploit.


In order to address these new threats while maintaining operations, growing the business, executing the mission, and implementing digital transformation, organizations are finding that success requires a balanced focus on both business and security requirements. This development is reflected in the changing roles and responsibilities of the Chief Information Security Officer (CISO). Public sector agencies and private enterprises are now seeking CISOs with the deep technical expertise, organizational leadership, and business acumen needed to achieve business objectives.



PowerShell Obfuscation Ups the Ante on Antivirus

ThreatPost article, September 12, 2018


A new malware sample using a rare obfuscation technique has been spotted that uses the features of PowerShell, a tool that comes built in to Microsoft Windows. Analysis from Cylance shows that the tactic succeeds in bypassing most antivirus products.


Cylance researchers stumbled across a malware file using a PowerShell obfuscation method while looking into a set of malicious scripts that had low antivirus detection. The file was a ZIP file containing both a PDF document and VBS script, and it was flagged by just three antivirus products.



CISOs recommend future actions for their organizations

CSO article, from September 5, 2018


Each year, ESG conducts a research project with the Information Systems Security Association (ISSA) on the mindset of cybersecurity professionals. (The 2017 report is available here.) As part of last year’s research, we asked respondents to identify the top actions their organizations should take in the future to improve cybersecurity. We then looked at this data based upon respondents’ roles, so we could look at the specific recommendations from CISOs (or other titles with equivalent job descriptions). 




Using "Digital Twins" to inform Cyber Security Operations

LinkedIn article by Scott Foote, September 3, 2018


The idea of a “Digital Twin” is not new. Engineers and other professionals have been using digital simulation models for many decades to provide the contextual awareness that informs their decision making. These digital simulations are simply formal, detailed versions of the anecdotally-collected mental models that most of us carry around in our heads. With the added benefit of course that digital models can be shared for continuous evolution, verification & validation; and persisted to survive the turnover of personalities and staff.


What is new… is the application of these digital models to the high-tempo, high-risk decision making of Cyber Security Operations.


The surge toward digital transformation continues to compound the complexities of contemporary business models as well as the underlying information technology that supports them. This exponential growth in inter-dependencies and rapid adoption of leading-edge technologies creates RISK. A direct result of the ever growing attack surface that adversaries are increasingly better prepared to exploit. While Cyber Defenders are hard pressed to keep pace, struggling to maintain effective comprehension of their “enterprise architecture” as it continuously morphs in pursuit of greater business value.



Why CISOs Should Make Friends With Their CMOs

DARK Reading article, August 27, 2018


A partnership between IT security and marketing could offer many benefits to each group - and to the entire enterprise.


It might not seem like CISOs and CMOs have much in common, but both executives stand to gain by becoming allies.


Every day cybersecurity factors, such as bad breach publicity and phishing impersonators, erode enterprise brands — thereby diminishing the effectiveness of a CMO's daily efforts. Brand value goes down, email marketing ROI gets trashed, and customer churn increases, all of which reflect poorly on the chief marketer. CMOs need help from CISOs to lock down risk factors. On the flip side, CISOs grapple with a number of challenges that CMOs could help them with, including insecure marketing technology and communication processes, breach response communication, and inadequate budget for preserving brand value.


While CISOs and CMOs might never become corporate besties, there's clearly a lot of room for some mutual back-scratching. Here are some proof points to show why a partnership between this pair of executives can benefit both parties, as well as their companies.



What are small organizations doing about cybersecurity?

CSO article, August 21, 2018


According to a survey by ESG, firms with 50 to 499 employees are spending more money, purchasing security product suites, and outsourcing security tasks to MSSPs.


From the survey, two-thirds of firms with 50 to 499 employees have experienced at least one cybersecurity incident over the past few years, leading to lost productivity and business disruptions.  Survey respondents claim that the biggest contributing factors to these cybersecurity incidents included human error, a lack of knowledge about cyber risk, and new IT initiatives lacking proper cybersecurity oversight.


Based upon this data, many small organizations don’t have the skills, staff, or cybersecurity infrastructure to keep up with the threat landscape. 


So, what are they doing to bridge this gap?  Spending more money on cybersecurity for starters.  Fifteen percent of organizations claim they will substantially increase their cybersecurity budgets while another 53 percent will increase their cybersecurity budget somewhat.



Balanced Skills for CISOs

LinkedIn article by Luiz Firmino, August 2, 2018


CISOs must have a keen emotional intelligence to allow them to quickly detect whether their audience is closed to suggestions or possibly even hostile to the suggested or required changes. One of the CISO’s key roles is as translator of tech-related terms and threats into a language appropriate for his or her audience. When conversing with business leaders, the CISO needs to be able to communicate clearly and effectively, in the language of the business, through explanations, metaphors or visual aids. This type of interaction is likely to increase as the CISOs communicate ways to reduce cyber risks to other groups.


Ultimately, the CISO’s currency is trust. CISOs must earn the trust of the rest of the executive team and maintain that trust. In turn, executives and boards have to trust that the CISO will be an accurate vessel through which their wishes will be communicated and executed. Just as importantly, they have to trust that the CISO will be honest and transparent in reporting the true security posture of the organization.



The Good & Bad News About Today's Cybersecurity Investment Landscape

DARK Reading article, July 25, 2018


Lots of things keep CISOs up at night. But instead of guessing what CISOs want, investors and vendors should incorporate customer feedback throughout product ideation and development cycles.



Cyberwar: What happens when a nation-state cyber attack kills?

ZDNet article, from July 24, 2018


A cyber attack that kills someone is getting ever more likely. What happens then is a big -- and scary --question.


The increasing sophistication and power of state-backed cyber attacks has led some experts to fear that, sooner or later, by design or by accident, one of these incidents will result in somebody getting killed.


It might sound far-fetched, but a former head of the UK's intelligence agency has already warned about the physical threat posed by cyber attacks and the potential damage they could do.



Leveraging Security to Enable Your Business

DarkReading article,  February 23rd, 2018


"Wouldn't it be great if everyone were trustworthy? No bad guys trying to break in and steal your cyber assets, and everyone is able to do their jobs unobstructed and without fear of negative consequences? That's when businesses succeed, costs go down, productivity skyrockets, and everyone is happy.


Unfortunately, this is not the world we live in. With both external cyberattacks and insider threats on the rise, companies must protect themselves from threats in their own backyard and the far-reaching corners of the cyber world. Because the risks are so high, many businesses have employed security processes and systems that encroach further and further into the business, hindering daily productivity and causing mass frustration among employees. In the most extreme cases, security has become employee enemy No. 1."



The global cyber war is heating up: Why businesses should be worried

CSO article,  February 22nd, 2018


"Nation-state attackers typically go after political targets: the Democratic National Committee, government agencies, critical infrastructure, and defense contractors. It's become increasingly clear that any company, in any industry, could be affected, either as a result of being a deliberate target or as collateral damage in a wider attack.

Campaigns like NotPetya can hit any company, of any size, and even deliberate, targeted, advanced attacks can hit any industry. "Private entities are being targeted every day," says Adam Meyers, VP of intelligence at CrowdStrike."



GDPR is coming, and many organizations aren’t ready

CSO article,  February 22nd, 2018


"Each year, ESG surveys around 700 cybersecurity and IT professionals as part of its annual IT spending intentions research (note: I am an ESG employee). In this year’s survey, ESG asked respondents several questions about General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) readiness.

What we found is alarming. With only a few months until the regulation goes into effect, only 11 percent of those surveyed say they are completely prepared and only 33 percent say their incident response plan meets the GDPR requirement for breach disclosure in 72 hours."



Know Thyself Better Than The Adversary - ICS Asset Identification and Tracking

New SANS blog,  February 22nd, 2018


"Globally, we've passed the point where cyber attackers only target and disrupt information technology networks and business applications. Adversaries have stepped up their attack skills targeting ICS in recent years. However, defense is do-able! Facilities can mature their cybersecurity posture to ensure early detection and protection against these growing threats.


With foundational security already in place, the Active Cyber Defense Cycle (ACDC) empowers ICS defenders to actively hunt for advanced threats in their network, a process which drives informed incident response and quick protective actions.


The different phases of the Active Cyber Defense Cycle support one another to enable proactive security. The four ACDC phases are (1) Asset Identification & Network Security Monitoring, (2) Incident Response, (3) Threat & Environment Manipulation, and (4) Threat Intelligence Consumption. This repeatable process, which requires dedicated assets, involves using and sharing threat intelligence, knowing network layouts and assets, actively hunting for threats, rapidly scoping events of interest, and kicking off containment or protection actions to neutralize threats."



Is This The Year of Reckoning for the CISO - Part One

InfoSecurity article,  February 20th, 2018


"Whichever way you look at it, the role of CISO is becoming an increasingly unattractive prospect. Whether it’s the sheer scale and variety of 24/7 threats facing businesses today, the complex compliance requirements that must be fulfilled, or the growing scrutiny of cybersecurity operations at board level, it’s almost an unwinnable position.


Despite this, the global demand for experienced CISOs has never been higher. Interestingly, we’re now in a situation where many CISOs simply aren’t ready to rise to the enormous challenge presented to them and in many cases, security teams are failing to effectively secure the interests of the business."



Taking cybersecurity beyond a compliance-first approach

CSO article,  February 19th, 2018


"With high profile security breaches continuing to hit the headlines, organizations are clearly struggling to lock down data against the continuously evolving threat landscape. Yet these breaches are not occurring at companies that have failed to recognize the risk to customer data; many have occurred at organizations that are meeting regulatory compliance requirements to protect customer data.

Given the huge investment companies in every market are making in order to comply with the raft of regulation that has been introduced over the past couple of decades, this continued vulnerability is – or should be – a massive concern. Regulatory compliance is clearly no safeguard against data breach."



Introduction to Threat Detection and Response

LinkedIn article,  February 5th, 2018


"Cybersecurity starts with the realisation that adversaries in cyberspace pose a threat to the well being of individuals and organisations. The leaders of an organisation may have been informed by the news, law enforcement agencies, compliance officer, a friend, consultant, etc., about the potential risks associated with operating connected information systems.


The first step to managing the cybersecurity risk is to assess it. The risk assessment results in a risk treatment plan and shapes the cybersecurity strategy of the organisation. If a cybersecurity risk cannot be avoided, transferred, or accepted, mitigating controls and capabilities should be implemented to ensure it is reduced to an acceptable level."



Cyber Advisory Board Experts on Threats to the U.S. Grid

The Cipher Brief article,  February 4th, 2018


"Former Deputy Secretary of State Robert Work, a member of The Cipher Brief’s Cyber Advisory Board, says potential attacks on the U..S power grid would most likely come in two flavors. “A localized attack, such as an attack on a city’s power grid, could be mounted by any number of malicious hackers, minor states or terrorists. And a more widespread “counter-value” strike by a large state competitor could target assets that are not a military threat but that an opponent values, such as cities and civilian populations. Counterforce targeting goes after an opponent’s military forces and capabilities.”


Work warns that the U.S. has largely turned away from the thinking behind counter value targeting, but says that the U.S.’ great power competitors have not. “A widespread counter-value cyberattack on the U.S. power grid that knocked out large parts of the grid for a significant period of time could cause widespread disruption throughout the United States, incalculable economic loss, and potentially loss of life. Such an attack would not be easy. But it is not out of the realm of possibility. And I am less than certain we have hardened the grid enough to thwart a concerted, large-scale cyberattack.”



Russian Dark Web ad for New GandCrab Ransomware-as-a-Service

SC Media article,  February 2nd, 2018


"Researchers investigating the newly discovered GandCrab ransomware have learned how its authors are marketing the malicious program as a ransomware-as-a-service package to potential buyers on the dark web. According to LMNTRIX, the ad offers a partner program, whereby members split GandCrab's profits with the developers 60:40. Additionally, large partners are given the opportunity to increase their share to 70 percent. The authors also offer technical support and updates to buyers.


However, there are caveats: Partners must not target countries in the former Soviet Republics that now comprise the Commonwealth of Independent States, or their accounts will be deleted. Furthermore,"Partners must apply to use the ransomware, and there is a limited amount of ‘seats' available," LMNTRIX explained in an email to SC Media.”



Latest IoT Botnet Displays Evidence of a Halfway Clever Botmaster

Boing Boing article,  February 1st, 2018


"The amazing and frightening thing about the Mirai botnet's reign of terror wasn't that it was a super-sophisticated cyberweapon: rather, it was a clumsy, amateurish fuggly hack that turned out to have been produced by a couple of dum-dums with a Minecraft racket.


A new IoT botnet called Satori is spreading more slowly than Mirai did -- it's compromised about 40,000 devices so far -- but it's mutating a lot faster than Mirai ever did, with regular infusions of code designed to exploit new vulnerabilities. Security researchers fear that a Mirai-alike botnet with a competent patching regime could be far more devastating than Mirai ever was.”



Lazarus Group, Fancy Bear Most Active Threat Groups in 2017

DARK Reading article,  January 31st, 2018


"The busiest threat actor groups of 2017 were Sofacy (otherwise known as Fancy Bear or APT28) and the Lazarus Group, security experts report. As these groups ramped up activity, threat actors operating out of China became quiet.


Analysts at AlienVault leveraged data from its Open Threat Exchange (OTX) threat intelligence sharing platform to take a broad look at threat patterns from last year. They found the most frequently referenced threat group in 2017 was Sofacy.


The second most active group was Lazarus, which is believed to operate out of North Korea (or Democratic People's Republic of Korea, DPRK).”



Securing IoT Devices and Traffic between IoT Sensors and Cloud Analytics

IIoT World article,  January 24th, 2018


"It is well documented that IoT devices have introduced new security risks. Most IoT devices must interface to cloud based management and analytics engines and therefore support a TCP/IP stack for this communication. Our IoT endpoint software is designed to augment a device’s TCP/IP stack with very little overhead, providing authentication to the cloud services.


Informational components are all about the sensors. Sensors have a calibration that provides information within specific tolerances providing known levels of data fidelity. Sensors may produce different information at different tolerance levels, but the receiving analytic system must know what tolerance to apply to each reported measurement. This enables the sensors to provide the necessary input for bounded operation.”



Changing Role of the CISO

McAfee blog,  January 4th, 2018


With the growth of digital world, we have seen growth in cyberthreats. These range from the annoying to the downright catastrophic. And as these threats evolve and permutate, we have also seen the evolution of a formerly overlooked player: the Chief Information Security Officer, or CISO.


Not only is the CISO’s role changing, but so is his/her relationship to the organization they work in. Where once many reported to the Chief Information Officer (CIO), many now report directly to the CEO or the Board. In their new role, the CISOs also need new skills. 



The Disconnect Between Cybersecurity & the C-Suite

Dark Reading article,  December 28th, 2017


Despite all the attention that massive hacks and other breaches have attracted in recent years, organizations everywhere still struggle to comprehend the scale of and manage emerging cyber-risks. Of the more than 9,500 senior executives in 122 countries who participated in PricewaterhouseCoopers' Global State of Information Security Survey (GSISS) 2018, only 39% say they are very confident in their attribution capabilities — that is, their ability to detect and trace cyberattacks.


As highlighted in the GSISS report, US infrastructure is still susceptible to what the World Economic Forum (WEF) deems in its Global Risk Report 2017 as the prime business risk in North America: "large-scale cyber-attacks or malware causing large economic damages, geopolitical tensions, or widespread loss of trust in the internet."