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Network Security Fundamentals: Correlation

By Mike Rothman
In the last Network Security Fundamentals post, we talked about monitoring (almost) everything and how that drives a data/log aggregation and collection strategy. It’s great to have all that cool data, but now what? That brings up the ‘C word’ of security: correlation. Most security professionals have tried and failed to get sufficient value from correlation relative to the cost, complexity, and effort involved in deploying the technology. Understandably, trepidation and skepticism surface any time you bring up the idea of real-time analysis of security data. As usual, it comes back to a problem with management of expectations.

FireStarter: Admin access, buh bye

By Mike Rothman
It seems I’ve been preoccupied lately with telling all of you about the things you shouldn’t do anymore. Between blowing away firewall rules and killing security technologies, I guess I’ve become that guy. Now get off my lawn! But why stop now – I’m on a roll. This week, let’s take on another common practice that ends up being an extraordinarily bad idea – running user devices with administrator access. Let’s slay that sacred cow. Once again, most of you security folks with any kind of kung fu are already here. You’d certainly not let

Kill. IE6. Now.

By Mike Rothman
I tend to be master of the obvious. Part of that is overcoming my own lack of cranial horsepower (especially when I hang out with serious security rock stars), but another part is the reality that we need someone to remind us of the things we should be doing. Work gets busy, shiny objects beckon, and the simple blocking and tackling falls by the wayside. And it’s the simple stuff that kills us, as evidenced once again by the latest data breach study from TrustWave. Over the past couple months, we’ve written a bunch of times about the

Incite 2/2/2010: The Life of the Party

By Mike Rothman
Good Morning: I was at dinner over the weekend with a few buddies of mine, and one of my friends asked (again) which AV package is best for him. It seems a few of my friends know I do security stuff and inevitably that means when they do something stupid, I get the call. This guy’s wife contracted one of the various Facebook viruses about a month ago and his machine still wasn’t working correctly. Right, it was slow and sluggish and just didn’t seem like it used to be. I delivered the bad news that he

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
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