My 2015 Personal Security Guiding Principles and the New Rand Report

In 2009, I published My Personal Security Guiding Principles. They hold up well, but my thinking has evolved over six years. Some due to personal maturing, and a lot due to massive changes in our industry. It’s time for an update. The motivation today comes thanks to Juniper and Rand. I want to start with my update, so I will cover the report afterwards. Here is my 2015 version: Don’t expect human behavior to change. Ever. Simple doesn’t scale. Only economics really changes security. You cannot eliminate all vulnerabilities. You are breached. Right now. In 2009 they were: Don’t expect human behavior to change. Ever. You cannot survive with defense alone. Not all threats are equal, and all checklists are wrong. You cannot eliminate all vulnerabilities. You will be breached. The big changes are dropping numbers 2 and 3. I think they still hold true, and they would now come in at 6 and 7 if I wasn’t trying to keep to 5 total. The other big change is #5, which was You will be breached. and is now You are breached. Why the changes? I have always felt economics is what really matters in inciting security change, and we have more real-world examples showing that it’s actually possible. Take a look at Apple’s iOS security, Amazon Web Services, Google, and Microsoft (especially Windows). In each case we see economic drivers creating very secure platforms and services, and keeping them there. Want to fix security in your organization? Make business units and developers pay the costs of breaches – don’t pay for them out of central budget. Or at least share some liability. As for simple… I’m beyond tired of hearing how “If company X just did Y basic security thing, they wouldn’t get breached that particular way this particular time.” Nothing is simple at scale; not even the most basic security controls. You want secure? Lock things down and compartmentalize to the nth degree, and treat each segment like its own little criminal cell. It’s expensive, but it keeps groups of small things manageable. For a while. Lastly, let’s face it, you are breached. Assume the bad guys are already behind your defenses and then get to work. Like one client I have, who treats their entire employee network as hostile, and makes them all VPN in with MFA to connect to anything. Motivated by Rand The impetus for finally writing this up is a Rand report sponsored by Juniper. I still haven’t gotten through the entire thing, but it reads like a legitimate critical analysis of our entire industry and profession from the outside, not the usual introspection or vendor-driven nonsense FUD. Some choice quotes from the summary: Customers look to extant tools for solutions even though they do not necessarily know what they need and are certain no magic wand exists. When given more money for cybersecurity, a majority of CISOs choose human-centric solutions. CISOs want information on the motives and methods of specific attackers, but there is no consensus on how such information could be used. Current cyberinsurance offerings are often seen as more hassle than benefit, useful in only specific scenarios, and providing little return. The concept of active defense has multiple meanings, no standard definition, and evokes little enthusiasm. A cyberattack’s effect on reputation (rather than more-direct costs) is the biggest cause of concern for CISOs. The actual intellectual property or data that might be affected matters less than the fact that any intellectual property or data are at risk. In general, loss estimation processes are not particularly comprehensive. The ability to understand and articulate an organization’s risk arising from network penetrations in a standard and consistent matter does not exist and will not exist for a long time. Most metrics? Crap. Loss metrics? Crap. Risk-based approaches? All talk. Tools? No one knows if they work. Cyberinsurance? Scam. Overall conclusion? A marginally functional shitshow. Those are my words. I’ve used them a lot over the years, but this report lays it out cleanly and clearly. It isn’t that we are doing everything wrong – far from it – but we are stuck in an endless cycle of blocking and tackling, and nothing will really change until we take a step back. Personally I am quite hopeful. We have seen significant progress over the past decade, and I fell like we are at an inflection point for change and improvement. No Related Posts Share:

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Incite 6/10/2015: Twenty Five

This past weekend I was at my college reunion. It’s been twenty five years since I graduated. TWENTY FIVE. It’s kind of stunning when you think about it. I joked after the last reunion in 2010 that the seniors then were in diapers when I was graduating. The parents of a lot of this year’s seniors hadn’t even met. Even scarier, I’m old enough to be their parent. It turns out a couple friends who I graduated with actually have kids in college now. Yeah, that’s disturbing. It was great to be on campus. Life is busy, so I only see some of my college friends every five years. But it seems like no time has passed. We catch up about life and things, show some pictures of our kids, and fall right back into the friendships we’ve maintained for almost thirty years. Facebook helps people feel like they are still in touch, but we aren’t. Facebook isn’t real life – it’s what you want to show the world. Fact is, everything changes, and most of that you don’t see. Some folks have been through hard times. Others are prospering.   Even the campus has evolved significantly over the past five years. The off-campus area is significantly different. Some of the buildings, restaurants, & bars have the same names; but they aren’t the same. One of our favorite bars, called Rulloff’s, shut down a few years back. It was recently re-opened and pretty much looked the same. But it wasn’t. They didn’t have Bloody Marys on Thursday afternoon. The old Rulloff’s would have had galloons of Bloody Mix preparing for reunion, because that’s what many of us drank back in the day. The new regime had no idea. Everything changes. Thankfully a bar called Dunbar’s was alive and well. They had a drink called the Combat, which was the root cause of many a crazy night during college. It was great to go into D-bars and have it be pretty much the same as we remembered. It was a dump then, and it’s a dump now. We’re trying to get one of our fraternity brothers to buy it, just to make sure it remains a dump. And to keep the Combats flowing. It was also interesting to view my college experience from my new perspective. Not to overdramatize, but I am a significantly different person than I was at the last reunion. I view the world differently. I have no expectations for my interactions with people, and am far more accepting of everyone and appreciative of their path. Every conversation is an opportunity to learn, which I need. I guess the older I get, the more I realize I don’t know anything. That made my weekend experience all the more gratifying. The stuff that used to annoy me about some of my college friends was no longer a problem. I realized it has always been my issue, not theirs. Some folks could tell something was different when talking to me, and that provided an opportunity to engage at a different level. Others couldn’t, and that was fine by me; it was fun to hear about their lives. In 5 years more stuff will have changed. XX1 will be in college herself. All of us will undergo more life changes. Some will grow, others won’t. There will be new buildings and new restaurants. And I’ll still have an awesome time hanging out in the dorms until the wee hours drinking cocktails and enjoying time with some of my oldest friends. And drinking Combats, because that’s what we do. –Mike Photo credit: “D-bars” taken by Mike in Ithaca NY The fine folks at the RSA Conference posted the talk Jennifer Minella and I did on mindfulness at the 2014 conference. You can check it out on YouTube. Take an hour and check it out. Your emails, alerts and Twitter timeline will be there when you get back. Securosis Firestarter Have you checked out our new video podcast? Rich, Adrian, and Mike get into a Google Hangout and.. hang out. We talk a bit about security as well. We try to keep these to 15 minutes or less, and usually fail. May 26 – We Don’t Know Sh–. You Don’t Know Sh– May 4 – RSAC wrap-up. Same as it ever was. March 31 – Using RSA March 16 – Cyber Cash Cow March 2 – Cyber vs. Terror (yeah, we went there) February 16 – Cyber!!! February 9 – It’s Not My Fault! January 26 – 2015 Trends January 15 – Toddler December 18 – Predicting the Past November 25 – Numbness October 27 – It’s All in the Cloud October 6 – Hulk Bash September 16 – Apple Pay August 18 – You Can’t Handle the Gartner 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, with our content in all its unabridged glory. And you can get all our research papers too. Threat Detection Evolution Why Evolve? Network-based Threat Detection Operationalizing Detection Prioritizing with Context Looking for Indicators Overcoming the Limits of Prevention Applied Threat Intelligence Building a TI Program Use Case #3, Preventative Controls Use Case #2, Incident Response/Management Use Case #1, Security Monitoring Defining TI Network Security Gateway Evolution Introduction Recently Published Papers Endpoint Defense: Essential Practices Cracking the Confusion: Encryption & Tokenization for Data Centers, Servers & Applications Security and Privacy on the Encrypted Network Monitoring the Hybrid Cloud Best Practices for AWS Security Securing Enterprise Applications Secure Agile Development Trends in Data Centric Security Leveraging Threat Intelligence in Incident Response/Management The Future of Security Incite 4 U Vulnerabilities are not intrusions: Richard Bejtlich is a busy guy. As CSO of FireEye, I’m sure his day job keeps him pretty busy, as well as all his external responsibilities to gladhand big customers. So when he writes something on his personal blog you know he’s pissed off. And he’s really pissed that it seems parties within the US federal government doesn’t understand the different between vulnerabilities and intrusions. In the

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