Cyber Security and IoT: Fundamentals Matter

I really struggled to come up with a clever analogy to start this post. In doing so I realized that this exercise was itself, the exact problem I was trying to describe. So much conversation about cyber security, especially cyber security for the Internet of Things (IoT), focuses on the sexy, the complicated, the one-in-a-million. In doing so, we ignore the most common threats and basic attacks. I would like to argue that if we are to effectively defend ourselves in this new IoT world, we cannot ignore the fundamentals of security. But let’s be honest: the basics are boring. I know that. Many of the practices that are most important are also the ones we’ve heard about before. As we look at them: there isn’t anything new there. That’s true – but I take that as proof that they are sound practices, worthy of keeping top-of-mind, rather than old knowledge that can be discarded. Here’s […]

Internet of Things Demands Visibility-Driven Security

In an earlier blog, I discussed essentials for visibility-driven security and the importance of having both visibility and correlation to quickly assess events in real-time. In this post, we will examine the different dimensions of visibility across the attack continuum and how crucial it is to have these dimensions in place in order to defend against known and emerging threats. Visibility-driven capabilities are critical if cybersecurity professionals are to do their job effectively. In order to accurately see what’s really happening across dynamic, changing, environments and provide a full understanding of malicious incidents, visibility must provide an accurate picture of users, devices, data, threats, and the relationships between them. And it must do so in near real-time and across  a wide range of infrastructures to support new business models related to mobility, cloud, and the Internet of Things (IoT). For many security breaches, the gap between the time of compromise and the […]

Opinion: Toppling the IoT’s Tower of Babel

The five most feared words in the IT support person’s vocabulary are “This. Page. Can’t. Be. Displayed.” And yet, the growth of Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) based enterprises in the past eight years means that these dreaded words show up more and more, as services from different developers and vendors are consumed by larger, up stream platforms and and integrated to provide new capabilities. In this kind of environment, “This Page Can’t Be Displayed” is a cry for help: the first indication of a problem. For enterprise support personnel, that message is often the first step in a long journey complete with Sherlock Holmes-style sleuthing to try to find which service along an orchestrated chain is the bad actor. And, unfortunately, when an application is being attacked or gets hacked, support personnel may not even have an error message to go on. In both cases, the major roadblock for support and incident response staff is that application developers or development […]

IoT Security: The Next-Generation Matters Now

As a cyber security professional, I spend most of my days speaking with customers and colleagues about all of the nefarious ways “the bad guys” can wreak havoc and how we can best defend ourselves. The topics we discuss often include situational awareness, defense-in-depth, threat intelligence, and new cyber security paradigms we may find ourselves adopting as the Internet of Things (IoT) evolves. I would assert that these are extremely important topics to sort out. But there’s a very important element not being discussed: the question of who will sort them out. Simply put: what difference does it make if you have the world’s greatest technology if nobody in your organization knows what to do with it? Cisco estimates that there will be a deficit of one million skilled cyber security professionals over the next five years. By 2015, 90 percent of jobs in the developed world will require some set of […]

Essentials for Visibility-Driven Security

Visibility is surprisingly tricky. The security industry offers many disparate tools to provide customers “visibility” into what is happening on their networks. Among them are tools that track what applications are on the network, tools for enumerating and tracking software vulnerabilities, tools for determining when sensitive data has left a network, tools that indicate when attacks are underway and tools that identify and analyze network data flows – to name just a few. Of course, layered on top of all this “visibility” are further systems that correlate and analyze what the mission-specific tools are seeing. Promises of a “single pane of glass” aside, the result is often a mishmash of data and events that require skilled security practitioners to analyze and interpret. The mishmash, in turn, leads to errors in analysis and prioritization. Albert Einstein famously said  “Any fool can know. The point is to understand.” So it is in the information security industry, where a common refrain is “you can’t protect […]