Incite 10/13/2010: the Rise of the Cons

By Mike Rothman
No we aren’t going to talk about jailbreaks or other penal system trials and tribulations. This one is about how the conference circuit is evolving in a really positive way. Most folks attend the big security shows – you know, RSA and BlackHat and maybe some others. Most folks also hate these shows. I hear a lot of complaints about weak content and vendor whoring putting a damper on the experience. Of course, since myself and my ilk tend to speak at most of these shows, we can only point the finger at ourselves. Personally, unless I’m speaking I

IT Debt: Real or FUD?

By Adrian Lane
I just ran across Slashdot’s mention of the Measuring and Monitoring Technical Debt study funded by a research grant. Their basic conclusion is that a failure to modernize software is a form of debt obligation, and companies ultimately must pay off that debt moving forward. And until the modernization process happens, software degrades towards obsolescence or failure. From Andy Kyte at Gartner: “The issue is not just that maintenance keeps on getting deferred, it is that the lack of an application inventory and the absence of a structured review process for the application portfolio. This means the IT management

FireStarter: Consumer Internet Penalty Box

By Mike Rothman
A few weeks back, the fine folks at Microsoft used a healthcare analogy to describe a possible solution to the Internet’s bot infestation. Scott Charney suggested that every PC should have a health certificate which would provide access to the Internet. No health certificate, no access. Kind of like a penalty box for consumer Internet users. It’s an interesting idea, and clearly we need some kind of solution to the reality that Aunt Bessie has no idea her machine has been pwned and is blasting spam and launching DDoS attacks. Unfortunately it won’t work, unless mandated by

Monitoring up the Stack: User Activity Monitoring

By Gunnar
The previous Monitoring up the Stack post examined Identity Monitoring, which is a set of processes to monitor events around provisioning and managing accounts. The Identity Monitor is typically blind to one very important aspect of accounts: how they are used at runtime. So you know who the user is, but not what they are doing. User Activity Monitoring addresses this gap through reporting not on how the accounts were created and updated in the directory, but by examining user actions on systems and applications, and linking them to assigned roles. Implementing User Activity Monitoring User Activity Monitors can be

Friday Summary: October 8, 2010

By Adrian Lane
Chris Pepper was kind enough to forward this interview with James Gosling on the Basement Coders blog earlier in the week. I seldom laugh out loud when reading blogs, but his “Java, Just Free It” & “Set Java Free” t-shirts that were pissing off Oracle got me going. And the “Google is kind of a funny company because a lot of them have this peace love and happiness version of evil” quote had me rolling on the floor. In fact I found the entire article entertaining, so I recommend reading it all the way through if you have a chance.

Monitoring up the Stack: Identity Monitoring

By Gunnar
As we continue up the Monitoring stack, we get to Identity Monitoring, which is a distinct set of concerns from User Activity Monitoring (the subject of the next post). In Monitoring Identity, the SIEM/Log Management systems gain visibility into the provisioning and Identity Management processes that enterprise use to identify, store and process user accounts to prepare the user to use the system. Contrast that with User Activity Monitoring, where SIEM/Log Management systems focus on monitoring how the user interacts with the system at runtime and looks for examples of bad behavior. As an example, do you remember

Incite 10/6/2010: The Answer is 42

By Mike Rothman
One of my favorite passages in literature is when Douglas Adams proclaims the Ultimate Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, The Universe, and Everything to be 42 in Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Of course, we don’t know the Ultimate Question. Details. This week I plan to discover he was right as I finish my 42nd year on the planet. That seems old. It’s a big number. But I don’t feel old. In fact, I feel like a big kid. Sometimes I look at my own kids and my house and snicker a bit. Can you

Monitoring up the Stack: App Monitoring, Part 2

By Gunnar
In the last post on application monitoring, we looked at why applications are an essential “context provider” and interesting data source for SIEM/Log Management analysis. In this post, we’ll examine how to get started with the application monitoring process, and how to integrate that data into your existing SIEM/Log Management environment. Getting Started with Application Monitoring As with any new IT effort, its important to remember that it’s People, Process and Technology – in that order. If your organization has a Build Security in software security regime in place, then you can leverage those resources and tools

Friday Summary: September 30, 2010

By Rich
So you might have heard there’s this thing called ‘Stuxnet’. I was thinking it’s like the new Facebook or something. Or maybe more like Twitter, since the politicians seem to like it, except Sarah Palin who is totally more into Facebook. Anyway, that’s what I thought until I realized Stuxnet must be a person. Some really bad dude with some serious frequent flier miles – they seem to be all over Iran, China, and India. (Which isn’t easy – I had to get visas for the last two and even a rush job takes 2-3 days unless you

Monitoring up the Stack: Application Monitoring, Part 1

By Gunnar
As we continue to investigate additional data sources to make our monitoring more effective, let’s now turn our attention to applications. At first glance, many security practitioners may think applications have little to offer SIEM and Log Management systems. After all, applications are built on mountains of custom code and security and development teams often lack a shared collaborative approach for software security. However, application monitoring for security should not be dismissed out of hand. Closed-minded security folks miss the fact that applications offer an opportunity to resolve some of the key challenges to monitoring. How? It comes back
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