Friday Summary (Not Too Morbid Edition): August 26, 2011

Last Thursday I thought I was dying. Not a joke. Not an exaggeration. As in “approaching room temperature”. I was just outside D.C. having breakfast with Mike before going to teach the CCSK instructors class. In the middle of a sentence I felt… something. Starting from my chest I felt a rush to my head. An incredibly intense feeling on the edge of losing consciousness. Literally out of nowhere, while sitting. I paused, told Mike I felt dizzy, and then the second wave hit. I said, “I think I’m going down”, told him to call 9-1-1, and had what we in the medical profession call “a feeling of impending doom”. I thought I was having either an AMI (acute myocardial infarction (heart attack), not the cloud thing) or a stroke. I’ve been through a lot over the years and nothing, nothing, has ever hit me like that. The next thoughts in my head were what I know my last thoughts on this planet will be. I never want to experience them again. Seconds after this hit I checked my pulse, since that feeling was like what many patients with an uncontrolled, rapid heart rate described. But mine was only up slightly. It tapered off enough that I didn’t think I was going to crash right then and there. Fortunately Mike is a bit… inexperienced… and instead of calling 9-1-1 with his cell phone he got up to tell the restaurant. I stopped him, it relented more, and I asked if there was a hospital close (Mike lived in that area for 15 years). There was one down the road and he took me there. (Never do that. Call the ambulance – we medical folks are freaking idiots.) I spent the next 29 hours in the hospital being tested and monitored. Other than a slightly elevated heart rate, everything was normal. CT scan of the head, EKG, blood work to rule out a pulmonary embolus (common traveling thing), echocardiogram, chest x-ray, and more. I ate what I was told was a grilled cheese sandwich. Assuming that was true, I’m certain it was microwaved and the toast marks airbrushed. Once they knew I wasn’t going to die they let me loose and I flew home (a day late). I won’t lie – I was pretty shaken up. Worse than when I fell 30 feet rock climbing and punctured my lung. Worse than skiing through avalanche terrain, or the time my doctor called to ask “are you close to the hospital” after a wicked infection. Especially with my rescue and extreme sports background I’ve been in a lot of life-risking situations, but I never before thought “this is it”. Tuesday I went to the doctor, and after a detailed history and reviewing the reports she thinks it was an esophageal spasm. The nerves in your thorax aren’t always very discriminating. They are like old Ethernet cables prone to interference and cross talk. A spasm in the wrong spot will trigger something that is essentially indistinguishable from a heart attack (to your brain). I’ve been having some reflux lately from all the road food, so it makes sense. There are more tests on the way, but it seems you all are stuck with me for much, much longer. All that testing was like the best physical ever, and I’m in killer good shape. but I am going to chill a bit for the next few weeks, which was in the works anyway. False positives suck. Now I know why you all hate IDS. Update: I was talking with our pediatrician and he went through the same thing once. He asked “can I ask you a personal question?” “Sure” I replied. “So what was running through your head when it happened?” I said, “I can’t believe I won’t be there for my girls”. “Oh good” he went, “I’ve never talked to anyone else who went through it, but I was trying to figure out if I had enough life insurance for my family”. And a coworker of my wife’s mentioned she had the same thing, and called her kids to say goodbye. To be honest, now I don’t feel so bad. On to the Summary: Webcasts, Podcasts, Outside Writing, and Conferences Adrian quoted on dangers to law enforcement from recent hack. My Spanish is good, no? Adrian’s DR article on Fraud Detection and DAM. Rich, Zach, and Martin on the Network Security Podcast. Favorite Securosis Posts Adrian Lane: Cloud Security Q&A from the Field. Mike Rothman: Spotting That DAM(n) Fake. Grumpy Adrian is a wonder to behold. And he is definitely grumpy in this post. David Mortman: Spotting That DAM(n) Fake. Rich: Beware Anti-Malware Snake Oil Other Securosis Posts Security Management 2.0: Revisiting Requirements. Fact-based Network Security: Outcomes and Operational Data. Incite 8/24/2011: Living Binary. Security Management 2.0: Platform Evolution. Favorite Outside Posts Adrian Lane: Visa Kills PCI Assessments and Wants Your Processor to Support EMV. This is the carrot I mentioned, which Visa is offering to encourage adoption. As Branden points out, most merchants take more than Visa, but I expect MC to follow suit. Mike Rothman: National Archives Secret Question Fail. H/T to the guys at 37Signals for pointing out this security FAIL. David Mortman: Soft switching might not scale, but we need it. Rich: Wim Remes petitioning to get on the ISC2 ballot. Although I burned someone’s certificate on stage at DefCon, the organization could do some good if they changed direction. (No, I don’t have a CISSP… as a DefCon goon I’m not sure how to answer that whole “Do you associate with hackers?” question.) Research Reports and Presentations Tokenization vs. Encryption: Options for Compliance. Security Benchmarking: Going Beyond Metrics. Understanding and Selecting a File Activity Monitoring Solution. Database Activity Monitoring: Software vs. Appliance. React Faster and Better: New Approaches for Advanced Incident Response. Measuring and Optimizing Database Security Operations (DBQuant). Network Security in the Age of Any Computing. The Securosis 2010 Data Security Survey. Top News and Posts Chinese Military

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Security Management 2.0: Revisiting Requirements

Given the evolution of both the technology and the attacks, it’s time to revisit your specific requirements and use cases – both current and evolving. You also need to be brutally honest about what your existing product or service does and does not do, as well as your team’s ability to support and maintain it. This is essential – you need a fresh look at the environment to understand what you need today and tomorrow, and what kind of resources and expertise you can bring to bear, unconstrained by what you need and do today. Many of you have laundry lists of things you would like to be able to do with current systems, but can’t. Those are a good place to start, but you also need to consider the trends for your industry and look at what’s coming down the road in terms of security and business challenges that will emerge over the next couple years. Capturing the current and foreseeable needs is what our Security Management 2.0 process is all about. Blank Slate In order to figure out the best path forward for security management, start with the proverbial blank slate. That means revisiting why you need a security management platform with fresh eyes. It means taking a critical look at use cases and figuring out their relative importance. As we described in our Understanding and Selecting a SIEM/Log Management Platform paper, the main use cases for security management really break down into 3 buckets: Improving security, increasing efficiency, and automating compliance. When you think about it, security success in today’s environment comes down to a handful of key imperatives. First we need to improve the security of our environment. We are losing ground to the bad guys, and we need to make some inroads on figuring out what’s being attacked more quickly and protecting it. Unfortunately nobody’s selling (working) crystal balls that tell you how and when you will be attacked, so the blank slate strategy entail monitoring more and determining how your detection and response systems will react more quickly. Next we need to do more with less. It does look like the global economy is improving but we can’t expect to get back to the halcyon days of spend first, ask questions later – ever. And while that may sound like “work smarter, not harder” management double-speak, there are specific automation and divide & conquer strategies that help reduce the burden. With more systems under management, we have more to worry about and less time to spend poring over reports, looking for the proverbial needle in the haystack. Given the number of new attacks – counted by any metric you like – we need to increase the efficiency of resource utilization. Finally, auditors show up a few times a year, and they want their reports. Summary reports, detail reports, and reports that validate other reports. The entire auditor dance focuses on convincing the audit team that you have the proper security controls implemented and effective. That involves a tremendous amount of data gathering, analysis, and reporting to set up – with continued tweaking required over time. It’s basically a full time job to get ready for the audit, dropped on folks who already have full time jobs. So we must automate those compliance functions to the greatest degree possible. Increasingly technologies that monitor up the stack are helping in all three areas by collecting additional data types like identity, database activity monitoring, application support, and configuration management – along with different ways of addressing the problems. As attacks target these higher-level functions and require visibility beyond just the core infrastructure, the security management platform needs to detect attacks in the context of the business threat. Don’t forget about the need for advanced forensics, given the folly of thinking you can block every attack. So a security management platform to help React Faster and Better within an incident response context may also be a key requirement moving forward. You might also be looking for a more integrated user experience across a number of security functions. For example, you may have separate vendors for change detection, vulnerability management, firewall and IDS monitoring, and database activity monitoring. You may be wearing out your swivel chair switching between all the consoles, and simplification via vendor consolidation can be a key driver. Understand that your general requirements may not have changed dramatically, although you may prioritize the use cases a little differently now. For example, perhaps you first implemented Log Management to crank out some compliance reports. It wouldn’t be the first time we’ve seen that as the primary driver. But you just finished cleaning up a messy security incident your existing SIEM missed. If so, you probably now put a pretty high value on making sure correlation works better. Once you are pretty clear within your team about the requirements for a security management team, start to discuss the topic a bit with external influencers. You can consult the ops teams, business users, and perhaps the general counsel about their requirements. Doing this confirms the priorities you already know and sets the stage to provide you support if the decision involves moving to a new platform. Critical Evaluation Now it’s time to check your ego at the door. Unless you weren’t part of the original selection team – then you can blame the old regime. Okay, we’re kidding. Either way the key to this step involves a brutally honest assessment of how your existing platform meets the needs that drove the initial implementation. This post-mortem type analysis evaluates the platform in terms of each of the main use cases (security, efficiency, compliance automation), as well as some other aspects of real world use. Even better, you’ll need to determine why the product/service isn’t measuring up. Common reasons we see include: Ease of use: Are there issues getting the product/service up and running? Did it require tons of professional services? Were you able to set up sufficiently granular rule sets

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