White Paper: Network Security in the Age of *Any* Computing

We all know about the challenges for security professionals posed by mobile devices, and by the need to connect to anything from anywhere. We have done some research on how to start securing those mobile devices, and have broadened that research with a network-centric perspective on these issues. Let’s set the stage for this paper: Everyone loves their iDevices and Androids. The computing power that millions now carry in their pockets would have required a raised floor and a large room full of big iron just 25 years ago. But that’s not the only impact we see from this wave of consumerization, the influx of consumer devices requiring access to corporate networks. Whatever control you thought you had over the devices in the IT environment is gone. End users pick their devices and demand access to critical information within the enterprise. Whether you like it or not. And that’s not all. We also have demands for unfettered access from anywhere in the world at any time of day. And though smart phones are the most visible devices, there are more. We have the ongoing tablet computing invasion (iPad for the win!); and a new generation of workers who demand the ability to choose their computers, mobile devices, and applications. Even better, you aren’t in a position to dictate much of anything moving forward. It’s a great time to be a security professional, right? In this paper we focus on the network architectures and technologies that can help you protect critical corporate data, given your requirements to provide users with access to critical and sensitive information on any device, from anywhere, at any time. A special thanks to ForeScout for sponsoring the research. Find it in the research library or download the PDF directly: Network Security in the Age of Any Computing: Risks and Options to Control Mobile, Wireless, and Endpoint Devices. Share:

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Friday Summary: April 1, 2011

Okay folks – raise your hands for this one. How many of you get an obvious spam message from a friend or family member on a weekly basis? For me it’s more like monthly, but it sure is annoying. The problem is that when I get these things I have a tendency to try and run them down to figure out exactly what was compromised. Do the headers show it came from their computer? Or maybe their web-based email account? Or is it just random spoofing from a botnet… which could mean any sort of compromise? Then, assuming I can even figure that part out, I email or call them up to let them know they’ve been hacked. Which instantly turns me into their tech support. This is when things start to suck. Because, for the average person, there isn’t much they can do. They expect their antivirus to work and the initial reaction is usually “I ran a scan and it says I’m clean”. Then I have to tell them that AV doesn’t always work. Which goes over great, as they tell me how much they spent on it. Depending on what I can pick up from the email headers we then get to cover the finer points of changing webmail passwords, checking for silent forwards, and setting recovery accounts. Or maybe I tell them their computer is owned for sure and they need to nuke it from orbit (backup data, wipe it, reinstall, scan data, restore data). None of that is remotely possible for most people, which means they may have to spend more than their PoS is worth paying the Geek Squad to come out, steal their drunken naked pictures, and lose the rest of their data. After which I might still get spam, if the attacker sniffed their address book and shoveled onto some zombie PC(s). Or they ignore me. I had a lawyer friend do that once. On a computer used sometimes for work email. Sigh. There’s really no good answer unless you have a ton of spare time to spend hunting down the compromise… which technically might not be them anyway (no need to send the spam from the person you compromised if another name in the social network might also do the trick). For immediate family I will go fairly deep to run things down (including getting support from vendor friends on occasion), but I have trained most of them. For everyone else? I limit myself to a notification and some basic advice. Then I add them to my spam filter list, because as long as they can still read email and access Facebook they don’t really care. On to the Summary: Webcasts, Podcasts, Outside Writing, and Conferences Mike quoted on metrics in Dark Reading. Adrian quoted in ComputerWorld on McAfee’s acquisition of Sentrigo. Favorite Securosis Posts Rich: PROREALITY: Security is rarely a differentiator. There’s a bare minimum line you need to keep customer trust. Anything more than that rarely matters. Adrian Lane: Captain Obvious Speaks: You Need Layers. Mike Rothman: File Activity Monitoring: Index. You’ll be hearing a lot about FAM in the near future. And you heard it here first. Other Securosis Posts White Paper: Network Security in the Age of Any Computing. Incite 3/30/2011: The Silent Clipper. Comments on Ponemon’s “What Auditors think about Crypto”. Quick Wins with DLP Light. FAM: Policy Creation, Workflow, and Reporting. FAM: Selection Process. Security Benchmarking, Going Beyond Metrics: Introduction. Security Benchmarking, Going Beyond Metrics: Security Metrics (from 40,000 feet). Favorite Outside Posts Rich: Errata Security: “Cybersecurity” and “hacker”: I’m taking them back. If I try to describe what I do (security analyst) they think I’m from Wall St. If I say “cybersecurity analyst” they get it right away. To be honest, I really don’t know why people in the industry hate “cyber”. You dislike Neuromancer or something? Adrian Lane: The 93,000 Firewall Rule Problem. Mike Rothman: The New Corporate Perimeter. If you missed this one, read it. Now. GP is way ahead on thinking about how security architecture must evolve in this mobile/cloud reality. The world is changing, folks – disregard it and I’ve got a front end processor to sell you. Rich: BONUS LINK: The writing process. Oh my. Oh my my my. If you ever write on deadline and word count, you need to read this. Research Reports and Presentations Network Security in the Age of Any Computing. The Securosis 2010 Data Security Survey. Monitoring up the Stack: Adding Value to SIEM. Network Security Operations Quant Metrics Model. Network Security Operations Quant Report. Understanding and Selecting a DLP Solution. White Paper: Understanding and Selecting an Enterprise Firewall. Understanding and Selecting a Tokenization Solution. Top News and Posts European Parliament computer network breached. BP loses laptop with private info on 13,000 people. BP Spills Data Too. The DataLossDB project welcomes Dissent! As we mentioned in the intro, you should support this project. GoGrid Security Breach. Restaurant chain fined under Mass privacy law. Mass SQL Injection Attack. NSA Investigates NASDAQ Hack. Dozens of exploits released for popular SCADA programs. Twitter, JavaScript Defeat NYT’s $40m Paywall. Blog Comment of the Week For the past couple years we’ve been donating to Hackers for Charity, but in honor of Dissent joining the DataLossDB project we are directing this week’s donation ($100) to The Open Security Foundation. This week’s best comment goes to SomeSecGuy, in response to PROREALITY: Security is rarely a differentiator. TJ Maxx’s revenues went UP after their big breach. What mattered more to its customers than security? A good deal on clothes, I guess. There probably is a market segment that cares more about security than other factors but I don’t know what it is. Price is typically the primary driver even for business decisions. Share:

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PROREALITY: Security is rarely a differentiator

I’ve been in this business a long time – longer than most, though not as long as some. That longevity provides perspective, and has allowed me to observe the pendulum swinging back and forth more than once. This particular pendulum is the security as an enabler concept – you know, positioning security not as an overhead function but as a revenue driver (either direct or indirect). Jeremiah’s post earlier this week, PROTIP: Security as a Differentiator, brought back that periodic (and ultimately fruitless) discussion. His general contention is that security can differentiate an offering, ultimately leading to security being a vehicle that drives revenue. So before we start down this path again, let me squash it like the cockroach it is. First we examine one of Jeremiah’s contentions: When security is made visible (i.e. help customers be and feel safe), the customer may be more inclined to do business with those who clearly take the matter seriously over others who don’t. That’s not entirely false. But the situations (or in marketing speak, segments) where that is true are very limited. Banks have been telling me for years that churn increases after a breach is publicized, and the one which say they are secure gain customers. I still don’t buy it, mostly because the data always seems to come from some vendor pushing their product to protect bank customer data. The reality is that words do not follow behavior when it comes to security. Whether you sit on the vendor side or the user side you know this. When you ask someone if they are worried about security, of course they say yes. Every single time. But when you ask them to change their behavior – or more specifically not do something they want to because it’s a security risk – you see the reality. The vast majority of people don’t care about security enough to do (or not do) anything. Jeremiah is dreaming – if he were describing reality, everyone related to the security business would benefit. Unfortunately it’s more of a PRODREAM than a PROTIP. Or maybe even a PROHALLUCINATION. He’s not high on peyote or anything. Jer is high on the echo chamber. When you hang around all day with people who care about security, you tend to think the echo chamber reflect the mass market. It doesn’t – not by a long shot. So spending a crapload of money on really being secure is a good thing to do. To be clear, I would like you to do that. But don’t do it to win more business – you won’t, and you’ll be disappointed – or your bosses will be disappointed in you for failing to deliver. Invest in security it because it’s the right thing to do. For your customers and for the sustainability of your business. You may not get a lot of revenue upside from being secure, but you can avoid revenue downside. I believe this to be true for most businesses, but not all. Cloud service providers absolutely can differentiate based on security. That will matter to some customers and possibly ease their migration to the cloud. There are other examples of this as well, but not many. I really wish Jeremiah was right. It would be great for everyone. But I’d be irresponsible if I didn’t point out the cold, hard reality. Photo credit: “3 1 10 Bearman Cartoon Cannabis Skunk Hallucinations” originally uploaded by Bearman2007 Share:

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