Summary: April 28, 2016

Rich here. Okay, have I mentioned how impatient I’m getting about updating our site? Alas, there is only so fast you can push a good design and implementation. The foundation is all set and we hope to start transferring everything into our new AWS architecture within the next month. In the meantime I just pushed some new domain outlins for the Cloud Security Alliance Guidance into the GitHub repository for public feedback. I’m also starting to tie together the labs for our Black Hat USA 2016 | Advanced Cloud Security and Applied SecDevOps training. I have this weird thing where I like labs to build up into a full stack that resembles something you might actually deploy. It works well, but takes a lot more time to piece together. If you want to subscribe directly to the Friday Summary only list, just click here. Top Posts for the Week This continues the huge legal problems due to pressures from U.S. law enforcement. It’s aligned with the Microsoft case in Ireland and the Apple vs. FBI issues here. Basically, it’s going to be very hard for U.S. tech companies to compete internationally if they can’t assure customers they meet local privacy and security laws: Microsoft sues US government over ‘unconstitutional’ cloud data searches This topic comes up a lot. One interesting thing I hadn’t seen before is the ability to inject activity into your AWS account so you can run a response test (slide 13). Let me know if this is possible on other cloud providers: Security Incident Response and Forensics on AWS Google Compute Platform racks up some more certifications. Normally I don’t cover each of these, but from time to time it’s worth highlighting that the major providers are very aggressive on their audits and certifications: Now playing: New ISO security and privacy certifications for Google Cloud Platform There are two papers linked on this Azure post on security and incident response. The IR one should be of particular interested to security pros: Microsoft Incident Response and shared responsibility for cloud computing An interview and transcript from some top-notch DevOps security pros: Rugged DevOps: Making Invisible Things Visible Zero trust is a concept that’s really starting to gain some ground. I know one client who literally doesn’t trust their own network and users need to VPN in even from the office, and all environments are compartmentalized. This is actually easier to do in the cloud vs. a traditional datacenter, especially if you use account segregation: Zero Trust Is a Key to DevOps Security. While it doesn’t look like anyone exploited this vulnerability, still not good, and Office365 is one of the most highly tested platforms out there. Office 365 Vulnerability Exposed Any Federated Account I keep bouncing around testing the different platforms. So far I like Ansible better for deployment pipelines, but Chef or Puppet for managing live assets. However, I don’t run much that isn’t immutable, so I thus don’t have a lot of experience running them at scale in production. If you have any opinions, please email me: Ansible vs Chef . Nothing interesting…. Tool of the Week Two weeks ago I picked the Gauntlt security testing tool as the Tool of the Week. This week I’ll add to the collection with BDD-Security by ContinuumSecurity (it’s also available on GitHub). BDD stands for “Behavior Driven Development”. It’s a programming concept outside of security that’s also used for application testing in general. Conceptually, you define a test as “given A when X then Y”. In security terms this could be, “given a user logs in, and it fails four times, then block the user”. BDD-Security supports these kinds of tests and includes both some internal assessment features as well as the ability to integrate external tools, including Nessus, similar to Gauntlt. Here’s what it would look like directly from an Adobe blog post on the topic: Scenario: Lock the user account out after 4 incorrect authentication attempts Meta: @id auth_lockout Given the default username from: users.table And an incorrect password And the user logs in from a fresh login page 4 times When the default password is used from: users.table And the user logs in from a fresh login page Then the user is not logged in These tools are designed to automate security testing into the development pipeline but have the added advantage of speaking to developers on their own terms. We aren’t hitting applications with some black box scanner from the outside that only security understands, we are integrating our tools in a familiar, accepted way, using a common language. Securosis Blog Posts this Week Incite 4/27/2016–Tap the B.R.A.K.E.S.. Building a Vendor IT Risk Management Program: Ongoing Monitoring and Communication. Building a Vendor IT Risk Management Program: Evaluating Vendor Risk. Other Securosis News and Quotes Quiet week Training and Events I’m keynoting a free seminar for IBM at the Georgia Aquarium on May 18th. I’ve been wanting to go there for years, so I scheduled a late flight out if you want to stalk me as I look at fish for the next few hours. I’m presenting a session and running a half-day program at Interop next week. Both are on cloud security. I’m also presenting at the Rocky Mountain Information Security Conference in Denver on May 11/12. Although I live in Phoenix these days Boulder is still my home town and I’m psyched anytime I get back there. Message me privately if you get in early and want to meet up. We are running two classes at Black Hat USA. Early bird pricing ends in a month, just a warning: Black Hat USA 2016 | Cloud Security Hands-On (CCSK-Plus) Black Hat USA 2016 | Advanced Cloud Security and Applied SecDevOps Share:

Read Post

Totally Transparent Research is the embodiment of how we work at Securosis. It’s our core operating philosophy, our research policy, and a specific process. We initially developed it to help maintain objectivity while producing licensed research, but its benefits extend to all aspects of our business.

Going beyond Open Source Research, and a far cry from the traditional syndicated research model, we think it’s the best way to produce independent, objective, quality research.

Here’s how it works:

  • Content is developed ‘live’ on the blog. Primary research is generally released in pieces, as a series of posts, so we can digest and integrate feedback, making the end results much stronger than traditional “ivory tower” research.
  • Comments are enabled for posts. All comments are kept except for spam, personal insults of a clearly inflammatory nature, and completely off-topic content that distracts from the discussion. We welcome comments critical of the work, even if somewhat insulting to the authors. Really.
  • Anyone can comment, and no registration is required. Vendors or consultants with a relevant product or offering must properly identify themselves. While their comments won’t be deleted, the writer/moderator will “call out”, identify, and possibly ridicule vendors who fail to do so.
  • Vendors considering licensing the content are welcome to provide feedback, but it must be posted in the comments - just like everyone else. There is no back channel influence on the research findings or posts.
    Analysts must reply to comments and defend the research position, or agree to modify the content.
  • At the end of the post series, the analyst compiles the posts into a paper, presentation, or other delivery vehicle. Public comments/input factors into the research, where appropriate.
  • If the research is distributed as a paper, significant commenters/contributors are acknowledged in the opening of the report. If they did not post their real names, handles used for comments are listed. Commenters do not retain any rights to the report, but their contributions will be recognized.
  • All primary research will be released under a Creative Commons license. The current license is Non-Commercial, Attribution. The analyst, at their discretion, may add a Derivative Works or Share Alike condition.
  • Securosis primary research does not discuss specific vendors or specific products/offerings, unless used to provide context, contrast or to make a point (which is very very rare).
    Although quotes from published primary research (and published primary research only) may be used in press releases, said quotes may never mention a specific vendor, even if the vendor is mentioned in the source report. Securosis must approve any quote to appear in any vendor marketing collateral.
  • Final primary research will be posted on the blog with open comments.
  • Research will be updated periodically to reflect market realities, based on the discretion of the primary analyst. Updated research will be dated and given a version number.
    For research that cannot be developed using this model, such as complex principles or models that are unsuited for a series of blog posts, the content will be chunked up and posted at or before release of the paper to solicit public feedback, and provide an open venue for comments and criticisms.
  • In rare cases Securosis may write papers outside of the primary research agenda, but only if the end result can be non-biased and valuable to the user community to supplement industry-wide efforts or advances. A “Radically Transparent Research” process will be followed in developing these papers, where absolutely all materials are public at all stages of development, including communications (email, call notes).
    Only the free primary research released on our site can be licensed. We will not accept licensing fees on research we charge users to access.
  • All licensed research will be clearly labeled with the licensees. No licensed research will be released without indicating the sources of licensing fees. Again, there will be no back channel influence. We’re open and transparent about our revenue sources.

In essence, we develop all of our research out in the open, and not only seek public comments, but keep those comments indefinitely as a record of the research creation process. If you believe we are biased or not doing our homework, you can call us out on it and it will be there in the record. Our philosophy involves cracking open the research process, and using our readers to eliminate bias and enhance the quality of the work.

On the back end, here’s how we handle this approach with licensees:

  • Licensees may propose paper topics. The topic may be accepted if it is consistent with the Securosis research agenda and goals, but only if it can be covered without bias and will be valuable to the end user community.
  • Analysts produce research according to their own research agendas, and may offer licensing under the same objectivity requirements.
  • The potential licensee will be provided an outline of our research positions and the potential research product so they can determine if it is likely to meet their objectives.
  • Once the licensee agrees, development of the primary research content begins, following the Totally Transparent Research process as outlined above. At this point, there is no money exchanged.
  • Upon completion of the paper, the licensee will receive a release candidate to determine whether the final result still meets their needs.
  • If the content does not meet their needs, the licensee is not required to pay, and the research will be released without licensing or with alternate licensees.
  • Licensees may host and reuse the content for the length of the license (typically one year). This includes placing the content behind a registration process, posting on white paper networks, or translation into other languages. The research will always be hosted at Securosis for free without registration.

Here is the language we currently place in our research project agreements:

Content will be created independently of LICENSEE with no obligations for payment. Once content is complete, LICENSEE will have a 3 day review period to determine if the content meets corporate objectives. If the content is unsuitable, LICENSEE will not be obligated for any payment and Securosis is free to distribute the whitepaper without branding or with alternate licensees, and will not complete any associated webcasts for the declining LICENSEE. Content licensing, webcasts and payment are contingent on the content being acceptable to LICENSEE. This maintains objectivity while limiting the risk to LICENSEE. Securosis maintains all rights to the content and to include Securosis branding in addition to any licensee branding.

Even this process itself is open to criticism. If you have questions or comments, you can email us or comment on the blog.