InfoSec Insider caught up with Cylance's Chief Security and Trust Officer, Malcolm Harkins, who shared why he believes leadership in information security today is sorely lacking, but more importantly, what needs to be done in order for today's security leaders to create an "ideal state" for their departments.
Threat modeling is essential to becoming proactive and strategic in your operational and application security. In this feature article, you'll learn what threat modeling is, how it relates to threat intelligence, and how and why to start.
Tackling GDPR means knowing where all your data reside, even if they're outside of your direct control. Here we take a look at how you can tackle this initiative even if you're a bit late given the time of year and when the regulation goes into effect.
What do running and your career in information technology/information security have in common? At first glance, not a whole lot. But with a couple of quick examples, I think we will find some similarities.
To help security leaders find new ways to better align with business colleagues, we turned to two experts to find out how they’re constantly maneuvering between technical requirements and fueling business priorities.
After conducting 80 interviews with security leaders and board members, these two experts discuss the findings of their research and offer a rare window into how each group viewed progress and setbacks in their oversight of cyber risk.
We’ve all heard about the security staffing shortage; it attracts a lot of press and is hard to ignore. If you’re currently working for an organization that is not hiring, you, yourself, might be receiving regular calls from recruiters about one of the estimated 1 million open positions. Maybe you’re even covertly scoping out your next job opportunity.
Depending on your source, insider threat accounts for anywhere from 27% - 77% of all breaches. Despite the disparity in agreement about size of the problem, most security practitioners agree that the difficulty identifying insider threat is greater than identifying external threats.
The hurdles chief information security officers face today are more daunting than ever, given the evolving threat landscape, but most importantly, the current state of technology within the enterprise.
When I started working in security I was taught, like most of us, to adopt a risk management control framework such as NIST, ISO, PCI, etc. and measure the alignment of security practices with control standards, procedures, and policies from the framework.
While some security professionals have climbed the ranks based on their technical know-how, it’s the transition into the business leadership role that tends to present the challenges for chief security officers.
What is security’s purpose if not to help with risk management? Organizations run on varying degrees of risk—financial risk, operational risk, market risk, sociopolitical risk, etc.—and information security has become a big piece of the risk picture.
As a person who currently focuses on security awareness, hearing about or witnessing successful phishing attacks is frustrating. What is more frustrating is listening to security professionals blame users for falling for a phishing message instead of looking at themselves.
The most fundamental part of incident response planning is to understand that it’s a living, breathing cycle. An organization can’t slap a plan together and expect that plan to carry the team through the next three to five years.
Security staff are infamous for declaring “security does not equal compliance” whenever the topic of compliance is mentioned by a non-security person. The reasoning behind this is sound: Compliance is a set of minimum requirements and auditable actions or technologies.
Cybersecurity staffing—and the industry shortage—is a frequent topic of conversation among security practitioners. But as nation state competition heats up, government and civilian agencies need to develop alternative hiring strategies if the U.S. wants to compete on a global scale.
The Children’s Commissioner for England released a report last week stating the need for sweeping changes to terms and conditions on social networking sites, particularly those with audiences largely comprised of children and young adults.
After planning to prepare to attend a security conference and deliberating your engagement strategy onsite, the next step in maximizing your security conference experience is thinking through how to get the most out of the information, ideas and advice provided during the event.
In part one of this series on “Maximizing Your Security Conference Experience in 2017” we explored how preparing to attend an industry conference can yield positive results in terms of extracting value onsite. It’s not enough, though, to create a plan then sit back and wait for it to unfold.
Jumping back into work at the start of a new year propels many to evaluate plans and commit to better habits, greater value, and generally getting the most out of work and/or life. It’s good to take a step back and think through what worked during the past year, what didn’t, and muse on how to maximize one’s efforts.
Earlier this year, Forbes published its view of the “10 Most Stressful Jobs in 2016.” Admittedly, the security profession isn’t as physically dangerous as fighting fires or piloting an airplane, but security comes with its own unique set of threats that make day-to-day work incredibly stressful.
As we continue to ramp up our efforts in providing you with a resourceful library of content you can rely on, we’ve decided to reflect on some of the top InfoSec insider articles of 2016, based on the engagement we’ve received from our readers.
Many uncertainties await the world when the new United States administration takes office on January 20, 2017. The President-elect, while extremely vocal on the campaign trail, has been disconcertingly cagey in the weeks leading up to inauguration.
The New Year is close upon us and many security firms and media outlets are busy publishing 2017 predictions or “the year in review.” Rather than following suit, we’d like to propose a New Year’s resolution to all security practitioners (and office workers, in general, really).
While security practitioners are thinking about exploits, vulnerabilities, controls, and threat actors’ TTPs, what executives really want to know is, “When the company is the victim of an attack, what effect will that have on the rest of the company, and how quickly can employees resume?"
“Security has a secret power: threat intelligence,” quipped Dave Ockwell-Jenner, Senior Manager, Security Threat & Operational Risk Management (STORM) at SITA, during MISTI’s recent Threat Intelligence Summit in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Indeed, effective, successful organizations are attempting to proactively identify threats and indicators of compromise before they present serious destruction to the victim organization. Even the most robust and mature threat intelligence programs, though, aren’t immune to a breach.
“Insider threat” — it’s a term that gets thrown around a lot in cybersecurity circles. Practitioners want to know who is responsible for attacks and how attacks are being perpetrated so defenses can be appropriately implemented and provisioned.
Over the past few years the security industry has seen a rise in the number of appointed CISOs. At companies where previously the security team was small, secluded, and likely managed by the CIO, it is refreshing that mention of a CISO is no longer followed by puzzled looks or blank stares.
Depending on your media outlet of choice, the current cybersecurity staffing shortage is either pressing or catastrophic. In either case, a staffing shortage exists and the industry needs to take more proactive steps to look beyond current talent pools to fill open positions, as well as positions that will be created as the industry continues to expand.
Today, many organizations’ executive teams and boards of directors conflate cybersecurity and risk. Risk management is a broader practice than security alone, but cybersecurity is an increasingly “big ticket item” on boards’ agendas—alongside other more traditional risk discussions—since it’s clear that a major breach can impact the organization in meaningful ways.
Cybersecurity is a lot like driving; towns and cities and their respective road crews can keep roads in ace condition and post all kinds of clearly marked signs for speed limits, road hazards, dangerous curves, blind driveways, and the like. Police can patrol the roads for dangerous or illegal driving.
With the recent Dyn distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack lighting up media headlines, enterprise security practitioners are being asked how to ensure that the organizations for which they work aren’t the next DDoS victims.
Cybersecurity has been gaining traction as a “board level topic” over the past several years. While boards of directors, along with executive management, all want the answer to, “How secure are we,” security professionals know that that answer doesn’t often come wrapped in a tidy little box.
By Rafal Los, Managing Director, Solutons Research and Development, Optiv
October 31, 2016
For nearly the last twenty years, enterprise security teams have been fighting threats to their business much like hapless teenagers fight demons in horror movies. Let me paint you a scene. Four people fleeing a horde of some type of evil take refuge in a run-down back woods cabin in the middle of nowhere.
By Antonio A. Rucci, Counterintelligence Special Agent (Retired), Information Technology & Technical Security Consultant
October 27, 2016
If you are engaged in in the information security (infosec) community for any length of time, regardless of whether you are Blue Team, Red Team, or Purple, one data point remains constant: You recognize the importance of partnering.
Until last Friday, Internet of Things (IoT) cyber attacks were largely more theoretical than practical, at least for those outside of the cybersecurity research realm. When Reddit, Twitter, Netflix, Spotify, and PayPal, among others, were taken offline or significantly slowed due to a massive distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack last week.
Security teams fight many battles. There are threats, vulnerabilities, exploits, improperly configured systems, legacy equipment, lean budgets, staffing shortages, and users who are fallible. Any of these things, alone, add up to challenge, but possibly the biggest challenge security teams face is the battle between the security department and the CIO.
Remember the “telephone game” played at parties when you were a kid? One person would make up a sentence or phrase which she or he then whispered into the ear of the person sitting next to him/her in a circle. That person would, in turn, whisper what he/she had heard into the ear of the next person in the circle.
Defining a “good” chief information security officer is difficult. On one side, many CISOs have risen through the security ranks due to their technical prowess and were thus handed a “business position,” asked to manage a team, and required to start briefing the executive suite on the state of the company’s security.
Risk management practices date as far back as the Renaissance period, but modern-day risk management, the version we all know and love/hate today, started taking shape only about 40 years ago when risk managers—mainly focused calculating insurance at the time—started looking for alternatives to insurance policies to manage risk.
Rumblings about the security talent deficit are pervasive. Just like news of recent breaches, it’s hard to get through a week without reading an article, viewing a webcast, or attending a conference during which the subject is not addressed.
Ah, the highly controversial call for presentations review process! Many infosec industry events use a CFP to find qualified speakers and tease out fresh topics. From a conference programmer’s perspective, the CFP submission process helps uncover new speakers, and it’s a productive way to learn what’s on the minds of industry speakers.
Rifts between the security team and other groups lead to inefficiency and reduced effectiveness. Information security isn’t getting as much done as is necessary in our breach-of-the-day world, yet old problems like failure to collaborate persist.
As a first time DerbyCon goer, I didn’t quite know what to expect. In its sixth year, DerbyCon is well known throughout the security community, and I’ve worked with several of the speakers, a few of the organizers, and met many security vendor representatives at MISTI and past-job events.
Twenty minutes before the talk was scheduled to begin, attendees anxiously queued up outside the center ballroom to hear Chris Hadnagy present Mindreading for Fun and Profit Using DISC. Hadnagy, a renowned social engineer and DerbyCon staple, promised to share with the audience “how to use a quick and easy profiling tool to make targets feel as if you can read their minds.”
Hiring security staff is a big challenge. Not only does the industry need more people to fill the open positions than it currently has, but to complicate matters further, hiring managers aren’t necessarily security professionals themselves; many organizations’ security teams report to IT, operations, or even finance.
By many estimates, the demand for information security practitioners far exceeds availability. As security becomes an appreciable concern for large and small companies alike, it stands to reason that the industry is going to face a serious shortage in the coming years if new practitioners aren’t found or cultivated.
The term cyber threat intelligence gets thrown around a lot, especially on show floors teeming with security practitioners being approached by vendors with the solution to all their problems. But fundamentally, are organizations successfully leveraging the tactics surrounding it?
Unless you're oblivious to the news, you're well aware that the information security industry is getting a lot of attention. Be it the headline-grabbing breaches taking place on a seemingly frequent basis, or the fact that the number of digital internet-connected devices per capita is increasing constantly.
Like it or not, fall is right around the corner, and for many private enterprises, fall means Q4 which means facing the dreaded budgeting season. If budgeting itself weren’t cumbersome enough, cybersecurity budgets—even if they stand alone—are often part of a larger function.
Information security teams face a serious problem when they are unable to detect the presence of a threat actor inside organizational systems. Knowing who has access to key applications is an imperative for trying to protect the company, yet according to a new report published by Okta that may not be a case.
Calls for presentations: Depending on whom you ask, CFPs are either a great opportunity for subject matter experts to display knowledge and vie for a coveted spot on a conference program, or an absolute nightmare, as the intended speaker carefully calculates the best topic to submit.
Penetration testing is a mandatory component of any thorough information security program, as security pros know. Company networks are vast and complex, and security teams have the (often thankless) job of protecting everything that falls under the general category of “IT” or “IS.”
Listening to the political conventions these past two weeks, I couldn’t help but think about security: the conversations security practitioners have with senior management and other business units, the conversations practitioners have amongst themselves, and yes, even talks given at conferences.
Security teams spend a fair amount of time thinking about incident response. The probability of an information security incident occurring forces teams to consider how to manage intrusions, leaks, and other security vulnerabilities or exploits.
The role of the CISO is changing. We hear about it every day: CISOs must become more business oriented and fine-tune communication skills so other executives consider heads of security business equals.
Security practitioners consistently deal with a slew of issues tied to protecting their organization’s most critical assets. When asked what keeps them up at night, it’s an endless list that features connected devices, shadow IT and making sense of the security and risk organization to board members.
Colleges and universities are generally considered settings for learning, openness, and ideas. Students and professors alike are encouraged to explore new thinking and push boundaries. The best academic universities on the planet have entire departments focused on researching subjects unconsidered universally.
Several years after the introduction of DevOps, the security community continues to laud the method while scant few developers are hopping on the bandwagon. One of the issues is that “security” isn’t part of DevOps.
Cloud Security World 2016 finished up on Wednesday evening after two days of conversation around all-things-cloud security. “We’ve seen this before,” was a common refrain, and thankfully attendees have moved past the points of denying the existence of cloud services connected to their organizations and saying that cloud is “the largest” security concern.
Security is often a battle. In one corner we have the security team warning the rest of the business of the dangers of “X” or fighting to implement new policies and technologies that will help keep the business secure. In the other corner we have lines of business wanting and needing faster, better, more profitable enablement tools and processes.
During the recent EuroCACS conference Raef Meeuwisse, Director of Cybersecurity & Data Privacy Governance at Cyber Simplicity Ltd., referred to the CISO as the “Chief Information Scapegoat Officer,” based on an article posted on Infosecurity Magazine.
“Not even spring breakers, coffee makers, movers and shakers, or working-from home fakers…” This is the voiceover from a Kraft Macaroni & Cheese commercial. Even a company that manufacturers processed foods with no discernable nutritional value pits “movers and shakers” against work-from-home employees, as if, inherently, anyone who regularly works outside of an office is lazy and has questionable ethics.
Recently I was having a conversation with a good friend, a good friend who also happens to be a leadership and communication expert. We were discussing the topic of leadership in the security industry and how, while there are many bosses and executives, there are few truly excellent leaders in security today.
Have you ever slowed your car while driving to gawk at an accident on the side of the road, or been frustrated by the car in front of you that did? Have you caught yourself mesmerized by a ridiculous YouTube video?
The entire security industry knows we have a staffing problem. With demand for security talent far greater than supply, companies with the right resources are positioned to lure top talent from competitors while everyone else is scrambling to find anyone with adequate technical acumen to learn the craft.
InfoSec World 2016 is now in the books. For the better part of a week, infosec pros took over The Contemporary Resort to discuss everything from building an incident response plan to leadership skills to active defense and trust.
How effective is your communication? How do you fare when asked to explain security risks? What about when defending the need for investment? Are you effective? How do you know? How do you measure your communication efforts?
Are you valued as much a leader as you are a security resource (with a team)? It's the gut check question I ask of security leaders. In most cases, the answer is no. Most security leaders say they receive recognition for technical prowess, not for leadership.
U.S. Army Major General John H. Stanford was asked about how one becomes a leader. "When anyone asks me that question, I tell them I have the secret to success in life. The secret to success is to stay in love. Staying in love gives you the fire to really ignite other people."
By George Gerchow, Director, Product Management for Security & Compliance, Sumo Logic
March 09, 2016
From Amber restaurant to Jillian’s at the Metreon, The Marriott Marquee to coffee shops, Chevy's, and of course the Tonga Room at the famous Fairmont Hotel, business meetings light up the conference with a constant exchange of information between colleagues, partners, customers, and attendees.
There is no shortage of quotes to capture the importance of trust: hard to earn, easy to lose, and essential to our success as security leaders. Yet a troubling trend is emerging: the trust we need to be successful as security leaders is eroding.
By Dave McPhee, Information Security Manager, Caterpillar
February 23, 2016
Information security and the business need to be in a partnership, not a dictatorship with one party demanding the other follow certain rules and guidelines. Through a true partnership, information security risks can be mitigated and business disruptions limited, thereby creating an improved relationship and organizational efficacy.
The security field needs more practitioners. The insanity that is our “always-connected” world necessitates more resources to manage, monitor, and maintain personal and enterprise data – from email accounts to mobile phones to chock-full-of-tech refrigerators.
By Michael Santarcangelo, founder, Security Catalyst
February 14, 2016
A few decades ago, we advanced information security with a simple phrase: "the Internet is bad, a firewall is good." We linked the dangers of connecting to others online with a simple method of protecting our companies. Now our ever-changing networks face dynamic, evolving threats.
Almost every morning I wake up and read about another company that has been breached, and consumers' or patients' information has been stolen as a result. It's getting to be so common that social security numbers and credit card numbers posted on dark Web sites sell for less than a dollar each.
Security professionals spend a lot of time thinking about protecting their back end systems and the information contained therein. They think about the scariest and sneakiest vulnerabilities and what an exploit means in real terms: will this disrupt business operations? Will our company lose sensitive data? Will I be fired?