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Network Security Fundamentals: Monitor Everything

By Mike Rothman
As we continue on our journey through the fundamentals of network security, the idea of network monitoring must be integral to any discussion. Why? Because we don’t know where the next attack is coming, so we need to get better at compressing the window between successful attack and detection, which then drives remediation activities. It’s a concept I coined back at Security Incite in 2006 called React Faster, which Rich subsequently improved upon by advocating Reacting Faster and Better. React Faster (and better) I’ve written extensively on the concept of React Faster, so here’s a quick description

Network Security Fundamentals: Default Deny (UPDATED)

By Mike Rothman
(Update: Based on a comment, I added some caveats regarding business critical applications.) Since I’m getting my coverage of Network and Endpoint Security, as well as Security Management, off the ground, I’ll be documenting a lot of fundamentals. The research library is bare from the perspective of infrastructure content, so I need to build that up, one post at a time. As we start talking about the fundamentals of network security, we’ll first zero in on the perimeter of your network. The Internet-facing devices accessible by the bad guys, and usually one of the prevalent attack vectors.

Incite 1/27/2010: Depending on the Kids

By Mike Rothman
Good Morning: Maybe it’s the hard-wired pessimist in me, but I never thought I’d live a long life. I know that’s kind of weird to think about, but with my family history of health badness (lots of the Big C), I didn’t give myself much of a chance. At the time, I must have forgotten that 3 out of my 4 grandparents lived past 85, and my paternal grandma is over 100 now (yes, still alive). But when considering your own mortality, logic doesn’t come into play. I also think my lifestyle made me think about my life expectancy. 3

Low Hanging Fruit: Security Management

By Mike Rothman
To wrap up my low hanging fruit series (I believe Rich and Adrian will be doing their own takes), let’s talk about security management. Yes, there were lots of components of each in the previous LHF posts (network security & endpoint security) that had “management” components, but now let’s talk about the discipline of management, not necessarily the tools. Think and Be Program Some folks would rather think and be rich, but if you do security for a living, you need to be thinking about a security program. To be clear, establishing a security program is the single

The Certification Myth

By Mike Rothman
Back when I was the resident security management expert over at TechTarget (a position since occupied by Mort), it was amazing how many questions I got about the value of certifications. Mort confirms nothing has changed. Alex Hutton’s great posts on the new ISACA CRISC certification (Part 1 & Part 2) got me thinking that it’s probably time to revisit the topic, especially given how the difficult economy has impacted job search techniques. So the question remains for practitioners: are these certifications worth your time and money? Let’s back up a bit and talk about the fundamental motivators for

Low Hanging Fruit: Endpoint Security

By Mike Rothman
Getting back to the Low Hanging Fruit series, let’s take a look at the endpoint and see what kinds of stuff we can do to increase security with a minimum of pain and (hopefully) minor expense. To be sure we are consistent from a semantic standpoint, I’m generally considering computing devices used by end users as “endpoints.” They come in desktop and laptop varieties and run some variant of Windows. If we had all Mac endpoints, I’d have a lot less to do, eh? Yes, that was a joke. Run Updated Software and Patch We just learned

Incite 1/20/2010 - Thanks Mr. Internet

By Mike Rothman
Good Morning: I love the Internet. In fact, I can’t imagine how I got anything done before it was there at all times to help. Two examples illustrate my point. On Monday, I went to lunch with the family at Fuddrucker’s, since they had off from school. They say a big poster of Elvis with a title “The King” underneath. They had heard of Elvis, but didn’t know much about him. The Boss and I were debating how old Elvis was when he had that unfortunate toilet incident. I whipped out the iPhone, took a quick peek

FireStarter: Security Endangered Species List

By Mike Rothman
Our weekly research meeting started with an optimistic plea from yours truly. Will 2010 finally be the year the signature dies? I mean, come on now, we all know endpoint AV using only signatures is an accident waiting to happen. And everywhere else signatures are used (predominantly IPS & anti-spam) those technologies are heavily supplemented with additional behavioral and heuristic techniques to improve detection. But the team thought that idea was too restrictive, and largely irrelevant because regardless of the technology used, the vendors adapt their products to keep up with the attacks. Yes, that was my idea of biting sarcasm.

Low Hanging Fruit: Network Security

By Mike Rothman
During my first two weeks at Securosis, I’ve gotten soundly thrashed for being too “touchy-feely.” You know, talking about how you need to get your mindset right and set the right priorities for success in 2010. So I figure I’ll get down in the weeds a bit and highlight a couple of tactics that anyone can use to ensure their existing equipment is optimized. I’ve got a couple main patches in my coverage area, including network and endpoint security, as well as security management. So over the next few days I’ll highlight some quick things in each

Incite 1/13/2010: Taking the Long View

By Mike Rothman
Good Morning: Now that I’m two months removed from my [last] corporate job, I have some perspective on the ‘quarterly’ mindset. Yes, the pressure to deliver financial results on an arbitrary quarterly basis, which guides how most companies run operations. Notwithstanding your customer’s problems don’t conveniently end on the last day of March, June, September or December – those are the days when stuff is supposed to happen. It’s all become a game. Users wait until two days before the end of the Q, so they can squeeze the vendor and get the pricing they should have
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