Incite 9/4/2013: Annual Reset

This week marks the end of one year and the beginning of the next. For a long time I took this opportunity around the holidays to revisit my goals and ensure I was still on track. I diligently wrote down my life goals and break those into 10, 5, and 1 year increments. Just to make sure I was making progress toward where I wanted to be. Then a funny thing happened. I realized that constantly trying to get somewhere else made me very unhappy. So I stopped doing that. That’s right. I don’t have specific goals any more. Besides the stuff on Maslow’s hierarchy, anyway. If I can put a roof over our heads, feed my family, provide enough to do cool stuff, and feel like I’m helping people on a daily basis, I’m good. Really. But there are times when human nature rears its (ugly) head. These are the times when I wonder whether my approach still makes sense. I mean, what kind of high-achieving individual doesn’t need goals to strive toward? How will I know when I get somewhere, if I don’t know where I’m going? Shouldn’t I be competing with something? Doesn’t a little competition bring out the best in everyone? Is this entire line of thinking just a cop-out because I failed a few times? Yup, I’m human, and my monkey brain is always placing these mental land mines in my path. Sustainable change is very hard, especially with my own mind trying to get me to sink back into my old habits. These thoughts perpetually attempt to convince me I’m not on the right path. That I need to get back to constantly striving for what I don’t have, rather than appreciating what I do have. Years ago my annual reset was focused on making sure I was moving toward my goals. Nowadays I use it to maintain my resolve to get where I want to be – even if I’m not sure where that is or when I will get there. The first year or two that was a real challenge – I am used to very specific goals. And without those goals I felt a bit lost. But not any more, because I look at results. If you are keeping score, I lead a pretty balanced life. I have the flexibility to work on what I want to work on with people I enjoying working with. I can work when I want to work, where I want to work. Today that’s my home office. Friday it will be in a coffee shop somewhere. Surprisingly enough, all this flexibility has not impacted my ability to earn at all. If anything, I am doing better than when I worked for the man. Yes, I’m a lucky guy. That doesn’t mean I don’t get stressed out during crunch time. That I don’t get frustrated with things I can’t control. Or that everything is always idyllic. I am human, which means my monkey brain wins every so often and I feel dissatisfied. But I used to feel dissatisfied most of the time, so that’s progress. I also understand that the way I live is not right for everyone. Working on a small team where everyone has to carry their own weight won’t work if you can’t sell or deliver what you sold. Likewise, without strong self-motivation to get things done, not setting goals probably won’t work out very well. But it works for me, and at least once a year I take a few hours to remind myself of that. Happy New Year (Shanah Tova) for those of you celebrating this week. May the coming year bring you health and happiness. –Mike Photo credit: “Reset” originally uploaded by Steve Snodgrass Heavy Research We are back at work on a variety of blog series, so here is a list of the research currently underway. Remember you can get our Heavy Feed via RSS, where you can get all our content in its unabridged glory. And you can get all our research papers too. Firewall Management Essentials Introduction Ecosystem Threat Intelligence Use Cases and Selection Criteria Assessing Ecosystem Risk The Risk of the Extended Enterprise Continuous Security Monitoring Migrating to CSM The Compliance Use Case The Change Control Use Case The Attack Use Case Classification Defining CSM Why. Continuous. Security. Monitoring? Database Denial of Service Countermeasures Attacks Introduction API Gateways Implementation Key Management Developer Tools Newly Published Papers The 2014 Endpoint Security Buyer’s Guide The CISO’s Guide to Advanced Attackers Defending Cloud Data with Infrastructure Encryption Network-based Malware Detection 2.0: Assessing Scale, Accuracy, and Deployment Quick Wins with Website Protection Services Incite 4 U Wherefore art thou, cyber-liability insurance?: Interesting circumstances around Liberty Mutual suing their customer to define what they will and won’t cover with cyber insurance. As Dan Glass says, Liberty Mutual treats cyber just like physical assets. That means they will pay for the cost of the breach (like they pay for the destruction of physical assets), but they don’t want to cover other losses (such as regulatory fines or customer privacy lawsuits, etc.). If they are successful in defining these boundaries around their liability, Dan correctly points out: In other words, cyber insurance will be a minor part of any technology risk management program. Don’t let your BOD, CFO, or CIO get lulled into thinking cyber insurance will do much for the organization. – MR Big R, Little r, what begins with R? My views on risk management frameworks have seriously changed over the past decade or so. I once wrote up my own qualitative framework (my motivation now eludes me, but youthful exuberance was likely involved), I have mostly been disillusioned with the application of risk management methodologies to security – particularly quantitative models that never use feedback to match predictions against reality. Russell Thomas has a great post showing the disconnect between how many of us in security look at risk, compared to more mature financial models. To paraphrase, we often take a reductionist approach and try and map vulnerabilities and threats to costs –

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[New Paper] Dealing with Database Denial of Service

We are pleased to put the finishing touches on our Database Denial of Service (DB-DoS) research and distribute it to the security community. Unless you have had your head in the sand for the past year, you know DoS attacks are back with a vengeance. Less visible but no less damaging is the fact that attackers are “moving up the stack” to the application and database layers. Rather than “flooding the pipes” with millions of bogus packets, we now see cases where a single request topples a database – halting the web services it supported. Database DoS requires less effort for the attacker, and provides a stealthier approach to achieving their goals. Companies that have been victimized by DB-DoS are not eager to share details, but here at Securosis we think it’s time you know what we are hearing about so you can arm yourself with knowledge of how to defend against this sort of attack. Here is an except from the paper: Attackers exploit defects by targeting a specific weakness or bug in the database. In the last decade we have seen a steady parade of bugs that enable attackers – often remotely and without credentials – to knock over databases. A single ‘query of death’ is often all it takes. Buffer overflows have long been the principal vulnerability exploited for Db – DoS. We have seen a few dozen buffer overflow attacks on Oracle that can take down a database – sometimes even without user credentials by leveraging the PUBLIC privilege. SQL Server has its own history of similar issues, including the named pipes vulnerability. Attackers have taken down DB2 by sending UDP packets. We hear rumors at present of a MySQL attack that slows databases to a crawl. We would like to thank DBNetworks for licensing the content in this paper. Obviously we wouldn’t be able to do the research we do, or offer it to you for this most excellent price, without clients licensing our content. If you have comments of questions about this research please feel free to email us with questions! Download the paper, free of charge: Dealing with Database Denial of Service. Share:

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