Author: Lance James

The controversy over SSL-busting software on Lenovo laptops keeps getting bigger. Is this the end of SSL?

TRUST: Threat Reduction via Understanding Subjective Treatment

It has become obvious (to me, anyway) that spam, phishing, and malicious software are not going away. Rather, their evolution (e.g. phishing-to-spear phishing) has made it easier to penetrate business networks and increase the precision of such attacks. Yet we still apply the same basic technology such as bayesian spam filters and blacklists to keep the human at the keyboard from unintentionally letting these miscreants onto our networks. Ten years ago, as spam and phishing were exploding, the information security industry offered multiple solutions to this hard problem. A decade later, the solutions remain: SPF (Sender Policy Framework), DKIM (Domain Keys Identified Mail) and DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance). Still: we find ourselves still behind the threat, rather than ahead of it. Do we have the right perspective on this? I wonder. The question commonly today is: “How do we identify the lie?” But as machine learning and data science become the new norm, I’m […]

Can we improve users' choice of passwords with more disciplined password management?

Is Pavlovian Password Management The Answer?

Something hit me straight in the face that may be a method for inducing cognitive awareness to end users in regards to password management. Ironically this also has a side effect of scalability when managing password changes. It isn’t completely flushed out but I wouldn’t mind getting some opinions on this. I am thinking of prototyping this in a PAM module in my spare time. Here goes… For end users we have been trying to get users to understand the importance of constructing good passwords. We provide guidance on what a good password is (even though the guidance that I have seen is still usually unacceptable in most places when compared to NIST guidelines). We spend a lot of time telling the user to “do this because security experts advise it, or it’s part of our policy” but we don’t really provide an incentive or an understanding of why we tell them to do this. Well humans are programmable, and the best […]