Rutger Hauer-Bladerunner

Dan Geer’s Other Keynote: Embedded Devices Need A Time To Die

With the Black Hat Conference well under way and DEFCON starting later this week, the security world’s attention will turn to Las Vegas, where some of the cyber security industry’s top researchers and thinkers will be holding court. One of the most anticipated talks is the Black Hat Briefings opening keynote. This year, the honor goes to none other than Dr. Dan Geer, the CISO of In-Q-Tel, the investment arm of the U.S. intelligence sector. Geer’s talk  on Wednesday, August 6, 2014 is entitled “Cybersecurity as Realpolitik.” In anticipation of Dr. Geer’s Black Hat, we’re releasing another recent talk he gave: this one a keynote speech at our May, 2014 Security of Things Forum in Cambridge, MA. In this talk, Dan focused on the security of embedded devices and the fast-emerging Internet of Things. (A full transcript of the talk is available here.) “The embedded systems space, already bigger than what is normally thought of as […]

Report: CIA Fears the Internet of Things |

A story by Patrick Tucker over at picks up on some comments from Dawn Meyerriecks, the deputy director of the Central Intelligence Agency’s directorate of science and technology regarding the agency’s thinking about the Internet of Things. Meyerriecks was speaking at The Aspen Institute’s Security Forum on Thursday of last week in a panel on “The Future of Warfare.” Speaking about the topic of cyber warfare, she said that current debates about the shape of cyber war don’t address the “looming geo-security threats posed by the Internet of Things.” Meyerriecks cited the now-debunked Proofpoint report about smart refrigerators being used in spam and distributed denial of service attacks.” She also mentioned “smart fluorescent LEDs [that are] are communicating that they need to be replaced but are also being hijacked for other things.” Those might be some sensational (and dubious) examples, but Meyerriecks main point was more pedestrian: that we’re on the cusp of disruptive […]

Moscow International Business Center

Must Read: How Russian Hackers Stole the Nasdaq – Businessweek

If there’s one story you should read this week, its Michael Riley’s extensive report over at Businessweek on the 2010 compromise of systems belonging to the Nasdaq stock exchange, “How Russian Hackers Stole the Nasdaq.” The incident was extensively reported at the time, but not in great depth. Obviously, the parties involved weren’t talking. And Nasdaq’s public statements about the compromise woefully downplayed its severity, as Riley’s report makes clear. Among the interesting revelations: the Nasdaq may have fallen victim to a third-party compromise – similar to the hack of Target earlier this year. In the case of Nasdaq, investigators from the FBI, NSA and (eventually) CIA found discovered that the website run by the building management company responsible for Nasdaq’s headquarters at One Liberty Plaza had been “laced with a Russian-made exploit kit known as Blackhole, infecting tenants who visited the page to pay bills or do other maintenance.” What’s clear is […]

Internet of Things to Increase Shortage of Security Professionals

The tech publication eWeek has an interesting interview with Sujata Ramamoorthy, the director for global information security for Cisco’s Threat Response, Intelligence, and Development (TRIAD) group about the impact of Internet of Things technology on the (already painful) shortage of IT security workers. According to Ramamoorthy, adoption of Internet of Things technologies and platforms will exacerbate the IT security worker shortage.  “These trends are what are fueling the need for additional security skills in the industry, and because the networks themselves are getting more complex, the applications communicating over them are getting more complex,” she told eWeek reporter Rob Lemos. The increasing complexity  of information infrastructure in IoT deployments, an explosion in the number of connected endpoints and a corresponding lack of visibility into cloud services all make the shortage of corporate security experts more critical, Ramamoorthy said. Already there is an estimated 1 million information-security staff and manager shortage globally, according […]

Blade Runner Redux: Do Embedded Systems Need A Time To Die?

The plot of the 1982 film Blade Runner (loosely based on the 1968 novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep by Philip K Dick) turns on the question of what makes us ‘human.’ Is it memories? Pain? Our ability to feel empathy? Or is it merely the foreknowledge of our own certain demise? In that movie, a group of rebellious, human-like androids – or “replicants” – return to a ruined Earth to seek out their maker. Their objective: find a way to disable an programmed ‘end of life’ in each of them.  In essence: the replicants want to become immortal. It’s a cool idea. And the replicants – pre-loaded with fake memories and histories – pose an interesting philosophical question about what it is that makes us humans. Our artificial intelligence isn’t quite to the ‘replicant’ level yet (the fictional tale takes place in 2019, so we have time). But some […]