FireStarter: Now What?

I have always believed that security – both physical and digital – is a self-correcting system. No one wants to invest any more into security than they need to. Locks, passwords, firewalls, well-armed ninja – they all take money, time, and effort we’d rather spend getting our jobs done, with our families, or on personal pursuits. Only the security geeks and the paranoid actually enjoy spending on security. So the world only invests the minimum needed to keep things (mostly) humming. Then, when things get really bad, the balance shifts and security moves back up the list. Not forever, not necessarily in the right order, and not usually to the top, but far enough that the system corrects itself enough to get back to business as usual. Or, far more frequently, until people perceive that the system has corrected itself – even if the cancer at the center merely moves or hides. Security never wins or loses – it merely moves up or down relative to an arbitrary line we call ‘acceptable’. Usually just below, and sometimes far below. We never fail as a whole – but sometimes we don’t succeed as well as we should in that moment. Over the past year we have gotten increasing visibility into a rash of breaches and incidents that have actually been going on for at least 5 years. From RSA and Comodo, to Epsilon, Nasdaq, and WikiLeaks. Everyone – from major governments, to trading platforms, to banks, to security companies, to grandma – has made the press. Google, Facebook, NASA, and HBGary Federal. We are besieged from China, Eastern Europe, and Anonymous mid-life men pretending to be teenage girls on 4chan. So we need to ask ourselves: Now what? The essential question we as security professionals need to ask is: is the quantum dot on the wave function of security deviating far enough from acceptable that we can institute the next round of changes? We know we can do more, and security professionals always believe we should do more, but does the world want us to do more? Will they let us? Because this is not a decision we ever get to make ourselves. The first big wave in modern IT security hit with LOVELETTER, Code Red, and Slammer. Forget the occasional website defacement – it was mass malware, and the resulting large-scale email and web outages, that drove our multi-billion-dollar addiction to firewalls and antivirus. Up and down the ride we started. The last time we were in a similar position was right around the time many of the current trends originated. Thanks to California SB1386, ChoicePoint became the first company to disclose a major breach back in 2005. This was followed by a rash of organizations suddenly losing laptops and backup tapes, and the occasional major breach credited to Albert Gonzales. PCI deadlines hit, HIPAA made a big splash (in vendor presentations), and the defense industry started quietly realizing they might be in a wee bit of trouble as those in the know noticed things like plans for top secret weapons and components leaking out. And there were many annual predictions that this year we’d see the big SCADA hack. The combined result was a more than incremental improvement in security. And a more than incremental increase in the capabilities of the bad guys. Never underestimate the work ethic of someone too lazy to get a legitimate job. In the midst of the current public rash of incidents, we have also seen far more than an incremental increase in the cost and complexity of the tools we use – not that they necessarily deliver commensurate value. And everyone still rotates user passwords every 90 days, without one iota of proof that any of the current breaches would have been stymied if someone had added another ! to the end of their kid’s birthday. 89 days ago. Are we deep into the next valley? Have things swung so far from acceptable that it will shift the market and our focus? My gut suspicion is that we are close, but the present is unevenly distributed — never mind the future. Share:

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Quick Wins with DLP Light: The Process

The objective of the Quick Wins process is to get results and show value as quickly as possible, while setting yourself up for long-term success. Quick Wins for DLP Light is related to the Quick Wins for DLP process, but heavily modified to deal both with the technical differences and the different organizational goals we see in DLP Light projects. Keep this process in perspective – many of you will already be pretty far down your DLP Light path and might not need all these steps. Take what you need and ignore the rest. Prepare There are two preparatory steps before kicking off the project: Establish Your Process Nearly every DLP customer we talk with discovers actionable offenses committed by employees as soon as they turn the tool on. Some of these require little more than contacting a business unit to change a bad process, but quite a few result in security guards escorting people out of the building, or even legal action. Even if you aren’t planning on moving straight to enforcement mode, you need a process in place to manage the issues that will crop up once you activate your tool. You should set up two different processes to handle the three common incident categories: Business Process Failures: DLP violations often result from poor business processes, such as retaining sensitive customer data and emailing unencrypted healthcare information to insurance providers. This process is about working with the business unit to fix the problem. Employee Violations: These are often accidental, but most DLP deployments result in identification of some malicious activity. Your process should focus on education to avoid future accidents; as well as working with business unit managers, HR, and legal to handle malicious activity. Security Incidents: Traditional security incidents, usually from an external source, which require response and investigation. Determine Existing DLP Capabilities The next step is to determine which DLP Light capabilities you have in-house, even if the project is driven by a particular tool. You might find you already have more capability than you realize. Check for existing DLP features in the main technology areas covered in our last post. It’s also worth reviewing whether you are current on product versions, as DLP features might be cheap or even free if you upgrade (discounting upgrade costs, of course). Build a list of the DLP Light tools and features you have available, with the following information: The tool/feature Where it’s deployed Protected “channels”: Network protocols, storage locations, endpoints, etc. Content analysis capabilities/categories Workflow capabilities: DLP-specific vs. general-purpose; ability to integrate with SIEM and other management tools This shouldn’t take long and will help you choose the best path for implementation. Determine Objective The next step is to determine your goal. Are you more concerned with protecting a specific type of data? Or do you want to look more broadly at overall information usage? While the full-DLP Quick Wins process is always focused on information gathering vs. enforcement, this isn’t necessarily the case in a DLP Light project. No matter you specific motivation, we find that individual projects then sift into three main categories: Focused Monitoring: The goal is to track usage of, and generate alerts on, a specific kind of information. This is most often credit card numbers, healthcare data, or other personally identifiable information. Focused Enforcement: You concentrate on the same limited data types as above, but instead of merely alerting you plan to enforce policies and block activity. General Information Gathering: Rather than focusing on a single type of data, you use tools to get a better sense of information usage throughout the organization. You turn on as many policies to monitor information of interest as possible. Choose Deployment Type This is a three-step process for making the final decisions required to deploy: Map desired coverage channels: Determine where you want to monitor and/or enforce – email, endpoints (USB), etc. List every place you want to cover vs. what you know you already can cover with your existing capabilities. This also needs to map to your objective, and content analysis requirements. Match desired to existing coverage: Now figure out what you have and where the gaps are. Fill the gaps: Obtain any additional products or licenses so that your project can meet your objectives. Your entire project might be as simple as, “we want to catch credit card numbers in email using our existing tool”, in which case this entire process up to now probably took about 10 seconds. But if you need a little more guidance, this will help. Implement and Monitor Now it’s time to integrate the product (if needed), turn it on, and collect results. The steps are: Select content analysis policies: For a focused deployment, this will only include the policy that targets the specific data you want to protect, although if you use multiple products that aren’t integrated you will use the most appropriate policies in each tool. For a general deployment you turn on every policy of interest (without wrecking performance – check with your vendor). Install (if needed) Integrate with other tools/workflow: If you need to integrate multiple components, or with a central workflow or incident management tool, do that now. Turn on monitoring We have a few hints to improve your chance of success: Don’t enable enforcement yet – even if enforcement is your immediate goal, start with monitoring. Understand how the tool will can impact workflow first, as we will discuss next. Don’t try to handle every incident at first. You will likely need to tune policies and educate users over time before you have the capacity to handle every incident – depending on your focus. Handle the most egregious events now and accept that you will handle the rest later. Leverage user education. Users often don’t know they are violating policies. One excellent way to reduce your incident volume is to send them automated notifications based on policy violations. This has the added advantage of helping you identify the egregious violators later on. Analyze At this point you have focused your project, picked your tools, set your policies, and started monitoring. Now it’s

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Fool us once… EMC/RSA Buys NetWitness

To no one’s surprise (after NetworkWorld spilled the beans two weeks ago), RSA/EMC formalized its acquisition of NetWitness. I guess they don’t want to get fooled again the next time an APT comes to visit. Kidding aside, we have long been big fans of full packet capture, and believe it’s a critical technology moving forward. On that basis alone, this deal looks good for RSA/EMC. Deal Rationale APT, of course. Isn’t that the rationale for everything nowadays? Yes, that’s a bit tongue in cheek (okay, a lot) but for a long time we have been saying that you can’t stop a determined attacker, so you need to focus on reacting faster and better. The reality remains that the faster you figure out what happened and remediate (as much as you can), the more effectively you contain the damage. NetWitness gear helps organizations do that. We should also tip our collective hats to Amit Yoran and the rest of the NetWitness team for a big economic win, though we don’t know for sure how big a win. NetWitness was early into this market and did pretty much all the heavy lifting to establish the need, stand up an enterprise class solution, and show the value within a real attack context. They also showed that having a llama at a conference party can work for lead generation. We can’t minimize the effect that will have on trade shows moving forward. So how does this help EMC/RSA? First of all, full packet capture solves a serious problem for obvious targets of determined attackers. Regardless of whether the attack was a targeted phish/Adobe 0-day or Stuxnet type, you need to be able to figure out what happened, and having the actual network traffic helps the forensics guys put the pieces together. Large enterprises and governments have figured this out and we expect them to buy more of this gear this year than last. Probably a lot more. So EMC/RSA is buying into a rapidly growing market early. But that’s not all. There is a decent amount of synergy with the rest of RSA’s security management offerings. Though you may hear some SIEM vendors pounding their chests as a result of this deal, NetWitness is not SIEM. Full packet capture may do some of the same things (including alert on possible attacks), but it analysis is based on what’s in the network traffic – not logs and events. More to the point, the technologies are complimentary – most customers pump NetWitness alerts into a SIEM for deeper correlation with other data sources. Additionally some of NetWitness’ new visualization and malware analysis capabilities supplement the analysis you can do with SIEM. Not coincidentally, this is how RSA positioned the deal in the release, with NetWitness and EnVision data being sent over to Archer for GRC (whatever that means). Speaking of EnVision, this deal may take some of the pressure off that debacle. Customers now have a new shiny object to look at, while maybe focusing a little less on moving off the RSA log aggregation platform. It’s no secret that RSA is working on the next generation of the technology, and being able to offer NetWitness to unhappy EnVision customers may stop the bleeding until the next version ships. A side benefit is that the sheer amount of network traffic to store will drive some back-end storage sales as well. For now, NetWitness is a stand-alone platform. But it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to see some storage/archival integration with EMC products. EMC wouldn’t buy technology like NetWitness just to drive more storage demand, but it won’t hurt. Too Little, Too Late (to Stop the Breach) Lots of folks drew the wrong conclusion, that RSA bought NetWitness because of their recent breach. But these deals doesn’t happen overnight, so this acquisition has been in the works for quite a while. But what could better justify buying a technology than helping to detect a major breach? I’m sure EMC is pretty happy to control that technology. The trolls and haters focus on the fact that the breach still happened, so the technology couldn’t work that well, right? Actually, the biggest issue is that EMC didn’t have enough NetWitness throughout their environment. They might have caught the breach earlier if they had the technology more widely deployed. Then again, maybe not, because you never know how effective any control will be at any given time against any particular attack, but EMC/RSA can definitely make the case that they could have reacted faster if they had NetWitness everywhere. And now they likely will. Competitive Impact The full packet capture market is still very young. There are only a handful of direct competitors to NetWitness, all of whom should see their valuations skyrocket as a result of this deal. Folks like Solera Networks are likely grinning from ear to ear today. We also expect a number of folks in adjacent businesses (such as SIEM) to start dipping their toes into this water. Speaking of SIEM, NetWitness did have partnerships with the major SIEM providers to send them data, and this deal is unlikely to change much in the short term. But we expect to see a lot more integration down the road between NetWitness, EnVision Next, and Archer, which could create a competitive wedge for RSA/EMC in large enterprises. So we expect the big SIEM players to either buy or build this capability over the next 18 months to keep pace. Not that they aren’t all over the APT marketing already. Bottom Line This is a good deal for RSA/EMC – acquiring NetWitness provides a strong, differentiated technology in what we believe will be an important emerging market. But with RSA’s mixed results in leveraging acquired technology, it’s not clear that they will remain the leader in two years. But if they provide some level of real integration in that timeframe, they will have a very compelling set of products for security/compliance management. This is also a good

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