Mr. Cranky Faces Reality

There are some mornings I should not be allowed to look at the Internet. Those days when I think someone peed in my cornflakes. The mornings when every single media release, blog post, and news item, looks like total BS. I think maybe they are just struggling for news during the holiday season, or maybe I am just unsually snarky. I don’t know. Today was one of those days. I was combing through my feed reader and ran across Brian Prince’s article, Database Security Reminder: Don’t Let Your Guard Down. The gist is that if you move your database into the cloud you could be hacked, especially if you don’t patch the database. Uh, come again? Brian’s point is that if you don’t have a firewall to protect against port scanning you help hackers locate databases. And if you set Oracle to allow unlimited password attempts, your accounts can be brute-forced. And if you expose an unpatched version of Oracle to the Internet, vulnerabilities can be exploited. Now I am annoyed. Was this supposed to be news because the database was running on Amazon’s EC2, and that’s cloud, so it must be newsworthy? Was this a subtle way of telling us that the database vulnerability assessment and activity monitoring vendors are still important and relevant in the cloudy world? Was there a message in there about the quality of Amazon’s firewall, such that databases can be located by port scans? Or perhaps a veiled criticism that Amazon’s outbound monitoring failed to detect suspicious activity? I figure most companies by now have gotten the memo that databases get hacked. And they know you need to correctly configure and patch them prior to deployment. So how is this different than the database within your own IT data center, and why is this reminder newsworthy? Turns out it is. I continue to read more and more news, and see database hack after database hack after database hack. And that is right on the heels of the Gawker/Lifehacker/Gizmodo screwup. I have lost count of the other hospitals, universities, and Silverpop customers in the last month who are victims of database breaches. Okay, I concede Brian has a point. Maybe a reminder to get the basics right is worthy of a holiday post because there are plenty of companies still messing this up. I was thinking this was pure hyperbole and telling us stuff we already know. Apparently I was wrong. I am calm now, though still depressed. Thanks for sharing, Brian. I think I’ll go back to bed. Share:

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React Faster and Better Chugging along

As we described a while back, we have separated our heavier white paper research out into a complete feed, and slimmed down the main feed. But that means folks subscribing only to the main feed may miss some of the outstanding blog series we do. So every so often we’ll cross-post links to the series as they are developing, inviting those interested to check out the research and provide comments on what is right and wrong. As we recast the series Rich and I did earlier this year on Incident Response Fundamentals, our intention was to go deeper and more advanced on incident response in the React Faster and Better series. We are are almost half-way through that series. Here are a few links to what we’ve posted. Check it out – it’s good stuff. Introduction Incident Response Gaps: We identify why the fundamental process we described won’t be enough as the attackers get better, more persistent, and more innovative. New Data for New Attacks: We start to analyze the kinds of data we need for these advanced techniques, where we can get it, and why. Alerts & Triggers: Data is good, but not enough to understand when the response process needs to be engaged. So we discuss how to figure out when to alert, covering both internal and external sources. The next phase of the series will talk about how to leverage the additional data types to work through a tiered response process. First we’ll deal with what a first-level analyst needs, and then proceed through the advanced tiers of analysis and response. Stay tuned. Share:

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