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ESF: Controls: Firewalls, HIPS, and Device Control

By Mike Rothman
Popular perception of endpoint security revolves around anti-malware. But they are called suites for a reason – other security components ship in these packages, which provide additional layers of protection for the endpoint. Here we’ll talk about firewalls, host intrusion prevention, and USB device control. Firewalls We know what firewalls do on the perimeter of the network: selectively block traffic that goes through gateways by port and protocol. The functionality of a host firewall on an endpoint is similar. They allow an organization to enforce a policy governing what traffic the device can accept (ingress filtering) and transmit (egress filtering).

FireStarter: No User Left Behind

By Rich
Not to bring politics into a security blog, but I think it’s time we sit down and discuss the state of education in this country… I mean industry. Lance over at HoneyTech went off on the economics/metrics paper from Microsoft we recently discussed. Basically, the debate is over the value of security awareness training. The paper suggests that some training isn’t worth the cost. Lance argues that although we can’t always directly derive the desired benefits, there are legitimate halo effects. Lance also points out that the metrics chosen for the paper might not be the

ESF: Controls: Anti-Malware

By Mike Rothman
As we’ve discussed throughout the Endpoint Security Fundamentals series, adequately protecting endpoint devices entails more than just an endpoint security suite. That said, we still have to defend against malware, which means we’ve got to figure out what is important in an endpoint suite and how to get the most value from the investment. The Rise of Socially-Engineered Malware To state the obvious, over the past few years malware has dramatically changed. Not just the techniques used, but also the volume. It’s typical for an anti-virus companies to identify 1-2 million new malware samples per month. Yes,

Friday Summary: April 9, 2010

By Rich
So I’m turning 39 in a couple of weeks. Not that 39 is one of those milestone birthdays, but it leaves me with only 365 days until I can not only no longer trust myself (as happened when I turned 30), but I supposedly can’t even trust my bladder anymore. I’m not really into birthdays with ‘0’ at the end having some great significance, but I do think they can be a good excuse to reflect on where you are in life. Personally I have an insanely good life – I run my own company, have a great family, enjoy my (very flexible)

Database Security Fundamentals: Auditing Transactions

By Adrian Lane
I am now switching gears to talk about some of the ‘detective’ measures that help with forensic analysis of transactions and activity. The preventative measures discussed previously are great for protecting your system from known attacks, but they don’t help detect fraudulent misuse or failure of business processes. For that we need to capture the events that make up the business processes and analyze them. Our basic tool is database auditing, and they provide plenty of useful information. Before I get too far into this discussion, it’s worth noting that the term ‘transactions’ is an arbitrary choice on

ESF: Controls: Secure Configurations

By Mike Rothman
Now that we’ve established a process to make sure our software is sparkly new and updated, let’s focus on the configurations of the endpoint devices that connect to our networks. Silly configurations present another path of least resistance for the hackers to compromise your devices. For instance, there is no reason to run FTP on an endpoint device, and your standard configuration should factor that in. Define Standard Builds Initially you need to define a standard build, or more likely a few standard builds. Typically for desktops (no sensitive data, and sensitive data), mobile employees, and maybe, kiosks.

Incite 4/7/2010: Everybody Loves the Underdog

By Mike Rothman
Come on, admit it. Unless you have Duke Blue Devil blood running through your veins (and a very expensive diploma on the wall) or had Duke in your tournament bracket with money on the line, you were pulling for the Butler Bulldogs to prevail in Monday night’s NCAA Men’s Basketball final. Of course you were – everyone loves the underdog. If you think of all the great stories through history, the underdog has always played a major role. Think David taking down Goliath. Moses leading the Israelites out of Egypt. Pretty sure the betting line had long odds on

ESF: Controls: Update and Patch

By Mike Rothman
Running old software is bad. Bad like putting a new iPad in a blender. Bad because all software is vulnerable software, and with old software even unsophisticated bad guys have weaponized exploits to compromise the software. So the first of the Endpoint Security Fundamentals technical controls is to make sure you run updated software. Does that mean you need to run the latest version of all your software packages? Can you hear the rejoicing across the four corners of the software ecosystem? Actually, it depends. What you do need to do is make sure your endpoint devices are patched within

Who to Recruit for Security, How to Get Started, and Career Tracks

By Rich
Today I read two very different posts on what to look for when hiring, and how to get started in the security field. Each clearly reflects the author’s experiences, and since I get asked both sides of this question a lot, I thought I’d toss my two cents in. First we have Shrdlu’s post over at Layer 8 on Bootstrapping the Next Generation. She discusses the problem of bringing new people into a field that requires a fairly large knowledge base to be effective. Then over at Errata Security, Marisa focuses more on how to get a job

Anti-Malware Effectiveness: The Truth Is out There

By Mike Rothman
One of the hardest things to do in security is to discover what really works. It’s especially hard on the endpoint, given the explosion of malware and the growth of social-engineering driven attack vectors. Organizations like ICSA Labs, av-test.org, and VirusBulletin have been testing anti-malware suites for years, though I don’t think most folks put much stock in those results. Why? Most of the tests yield similar findings, which means all the products are equally good. Or more likely, equally bad. I know I declared the product review dead, but every so often you still see comparative
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