Friday Summary: June 4, 2010

By Rich
There’s nothing like a crisis to bring out the absolute stupidity in a person… especially if said individual works for a big company or government agency. This week alone we’ve had everything from the ongoing BP disaster (the one that really scares me) to the Israeli meltdown. And I’m sure Sarah Palin is in the mix there someplace. Crisis communications is an actual field of study, with many examples of how to manage your public image even in the midst of a major meltdown. Heck, I’ve been trained on it as part of my disaster response

The Public/Private Pendulum Keeps Swinging

By Mike Rothman
They say the grass is always greener on the other side, and I guess for some folks it is. Most private companies (those which believe they have sustainable businesses, anyway) long for the day when they will be able to trade on the public markets. They know where the Ferrari deal is, and seem to dismiss the angst of Sarbanes-Oxley. On the other hand, most public companies would love the freedom of not having to deal with the quarterly spin cycle and those pesky shareholders who want growth now. Two examples in the security space show the pendulum in action

White Paper Released: Endpoint Security Fundamentals

By Mike Rothman
Endpoint Security is a pretty broad topic. Most folks associate it with traditional anti-virus or even the newfangled endpoint security suites. In our opinion, looking at the issue just from the perspective of the endpoint agent is myopic. To us, endpoint security is as much a program as anything else. In this paper we discuss endpoint security from a fundamental blocking and tackling perspective. We start with identifying the exposures and prioritizing remediation, then discuss specific security controls (both process and product), and also cover the compliance and incident response aspects. It’s a pretty comprehensive paper, which means it’

Understanding and Selecting a SIEM/LM: Correlation and Alerting

By Adrian Lane
Continuing our discussion of core SIEM and Log Management technology, we now move into event correlation. This capability was the holy grail that drove most investment in early SIEM products, and probably the security technology creating the most consistent disappointment amongst its users. But ultimately the ability to make sense of the wide variety of data streams, and use them to figure out what is under attack or compromised, is essential to any security practice. This means that despite the disappointments, there will continue to be plenty of interest in correlation moving forward. Correlation Defining correlation is akin to kicking

Thoughts on Privacy and Security

By Rich
I was catching up on my reading today, and this post by Richard Bejtlich reminded me of the tension we sometimes see between security and privacy. Richard represents the perspective of a Fortune 5 security operator who is tasked with securing customer information and intellectual property, while facing a myriad of international privacy laws – some of which force us to reduce security for the sake of privacy (read the comments). I’ve always thought of privacy from a slightly different perspective. Privacy traditionally falls into two categories: The right to be left alone (just ask any teenage boy in the bathroom).

Incite 6/2/2010: Smuggler’s Blues

By Mike Rothman
Given the craziness of my schedule, I don’t see a lot of movies in the theater anymore. Hard to justify the cost of a babysitter for a movie, when we can sit in the house and watch movies (thanks, Uncle Netflix!). But the Boss does take the kids to the movies because it’s a good activity, burns up a couple hours (especially in the purgatory period between the end of school and beginning of camp), and most of the entertainment is pretty good. Though it does give me some angst to see two credit card receipts from every

On “Security engineering: broken promises”

By David Mortman
Recently Michael Zalewski posted a rant about the state of security engineering in Security engineering: broken promises. I posted my initial response to this on Twitter: “Great explanation of the issue, zero thoughts on solutions. Bored now.” I still stand behind that response. As a manager, problems without potential solutions are useless to me. The solutions don’t need to be deep technical solutions – sometimes the solution is to monitor or audit. Sometimes the solution is to do nothing, accept the risk, and make a note of it in case it comes up in conversation or an audit. But as

FireStarter: In Search of… Solutions

By Mike Rothman
A holy grail of technology marketing is to define a product category. Back in the olden days of 1998, it was all about establishing a new category with interesting technology and going public, usually on nothing more than a crapload of VC money and a few million eyeballs. Then everything changed. The bubble popped, money dried up, and all those companies selling new products in new categories went bust. IT shops became very risk averse – only spending money on established technologies. But that created a problem, in that analysts had to sell more tetragon reports, which requires new product categories. My

The Hidden Costs of Security

By Mike Rothman
When I was abroad on vacation recently, the conversation got to the relative cost of petrol (yes, gasoline) in the States versus pretty much everywhere else. For those of you who haven’t travelled much, fuel tends to be 70-80% more expensive elsewhere. Why is that? It comes down to the fact that the US Government bears many of real costs of providing a sufficient stream of petroleum. Those look like military, diplomatic, and other types of spending in the Middle East to keep the oil flowing. I’m not going to descend into either politics or energy dynamics here,

Friday Summary: May 28, 2010

By Adrian Lane
We get a lot of requests to sponsor this blog. We got several this week. Not just the spammy “Please link with us,” or “Host our content and make BIG $$$” stuff. And not the PR junk that says “We are absolutely positive your readers would just love to hear what XYZ product manager thinks about data breaches,” or “We just released version of our product, where we changed the order of the tabs in our web interface!” Yeah, we get fascinating stuff like that too. Daily. But that’s not what I am talking about. I am talking about really
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