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ESF: Prioritize: Finding the Leaky Buckets

By Mike Rothman
As we start to dig into the Endpoint Security Fundamentals series, the first step is always to figure out where you are. Since hope is not a strategy, you can’t just make assumptions about what’s installed, what’s configured correctly, and what the end users actually know. So we’ve got to figure that out, which involves using some of the same tactics our adversaries use. The goal here is twofold: first you need to figure out what presents a clear and present danger to your organization, and put a triage plan in place to remediate those issues.

Endpoint Security Fundamentals: Introduction

By Mike Rothman
As we continue building out coverage on more traditional security topics, it’s time to focus some attention on the endpoint. For the most part, many folks have just given up on protecting the endpoint. Yes, we all go through the motions of having endpoint agents installed (on Windows anyway), but most of us have pretty low expectations for anti-malware solutions. Justifiably so, but that doesn’t mean it’s game over. There are lots of things we can do to better protect the endpoint, some of which were discussed in Low Hanging Fruit: Endpoint Security. But let’s not

Incite 3/31/2010: Attitude Is Everything

By Mike Rothman
There are people who suck the air out of the room. You know them – they rarely have anything good to say. They are the ones always pointing out the problems. They are half-empty type folks. No matter what it is, it’s half-empty or even three-quarters empty. The problem is that my tendency is to be one of those people. I like to think it’s a personality thing. That I’m just wired to be cynical and that it makes me good at my job. I can point out the problems, and be somewhat constructive about how to solve

FireStarter: Nasty or Not, Jericho Is Irrelevant

By Mike Rothman
It seems the Jericho Forum is at it again. I’m not sure what it is, but they are hitting the PR circuit talking about their latest document, a Self-Assessment Guide. Basically this is a list of “nasty” questions end users should ask vendors to understand if their products align with the Jericho Commandments. If you go back and search on my (mostly hate) relationship with Jericho, you’ll see I’m not a fan. I thought the idea of de-perimeterization was silly when they introduced it, and almost everyone agreed with me. Obviously the perimeter was changing, but it

Security Innovation Redux: Missing the Forest for the Trees

By Mike Rothman
There was a great level of discourse around Rich’s FireStarter on Monday: There is No Market for Security Innovation. Check out the comments to get a good feel for the polarization of folks on both sides of the discussion. There were also a number of folks who posted their own perspectives, ranging from Will Gragido at Cassandra Security, Adam Shostack on the New School blog, to the hardest working man in showbiz, Alex Hutton at Verizon Business. All these folks made a number of great points. But part of me thinks we are missing the forest for the trees

Announcing NetSec Ops Quant: Network Security Metrics Suck. Let’s Fix Them.

By Mike Rothman
The lack of credible and relevant network security metrics has been a thorn in my side for years. We don’t know how to define success. We don’t know how to communicate value. And ultimately, we don’t even know what we should be tracking operationally to show improvement (or failure) in our network security activities. But we in the echo chamber seem to be happier bitching about this, or flaming each other on mailing lists, than focusing on finding a solution. Some folks have tried to drive towards a set of metrics that make sense, but I can

Bonus Incite 3/19/2010: Don’t be LHF

By Mike Rothman
I got a little motivated this AM (it might have something to do with blowing off this afternoon to watch NCAA tourney games) and decided to double up on the Incite this week. I read Adrian’s Friday Summary intro this and it kind of bothered me. Mostly because I don’t know the answers either, and I find questions that I can’t answer cause me stress and angst. Maybe it’s because I like to be a know-it-all and it sucks when your own limitations smack you upside the head. Anyhow, what do we do about this whole

Network Security Fundamentals: Egress Filtering

By Mike Rothman
As we wrap up our initial wave of Network Security Fundamentals, we’ve already discussed Default Deny, Monitoring everything, Correlation, and Looking for Not Normal. Now it’s time to see if we can actually get in the way of some of these nasty attacks. So what are we trying to block? Basically a lot of the issues we find through looking for not normal. The general idea involves implementing a positive security model not just to inbound traffic (default deny), but to outbound traffic as well. This is called egress filtering, and in practice is basically turning your perimeter

Incite 3/17/2010: Seeing the Enemy

By Mike Rothman
“WE HAVE MET THE ENEMY AND HE IS US.” POGO (1970) I’ve worked for companies where we had to spend so much time fighting each other, the market got away. I’ve also worked at companies where internal debate and strife made the organization stronger and the product better. But there are no pure absolutes – as much as I try to be binary, most companies include both sides of the coin. But when I read of the termination of Pennsylvania’s CISO because he dared to actually talk about a breach, it made me wonder – about everything. Dennis hit the

Incite 3/9/2010 - Ten Reasons I Love the RSAC

By Mike Rothman
To stir the pot a bit before the RSA Conference, I did a FireStarter wondering out loud if social media would ever replace big industry conferences. Between the comments and my experiences last week, I’d say no. Though I can say social media provides the opportunity to make business acquaintances into friends and let loudmouths like Rich, Adrian and myself make a living having on an opinion (often 3 or 4 between us). So I figured this week, I’d do a Top 10 list of things I can’t do on Twitter, which will keep me going to the RSA Conference
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