ESF: Triage: Fixing the Leaky Buckets

By Mike Rothman
As we discussed in the last ESF post on prioritizing the most significant risks, the next step is to build, communicate, and execute on a triage plan to fix those leaky buckets. The plan consists of the following sections: Risk Confirmation, Remediation Plan, Quick Wins, and Communication Risk Confirmation Coming out of the prioritize step, before we start committing resources and/or pulling the fire alarm, let’s take a deep breath and make sure our ranked list really represents the biggest risks. How do we do that? Basically by using the same process we used to come up with

Database Virtualization and Abstraction

By Adrian Lane
When you think of database virtualization, do you think this term means: a) Abstracting the database installation/engine from the application and storage layers. b) Abstracting the database instance across multiple database installations or engines. c) Abstracting the data and tables from a specific database engine/type, to make the dependent application interfaces more generic. d) Abstracting the data and tables across multiple database installations/engines. e) Moving your database to the cloud. f) All of the above. I took a ‘staycation’ last month, hanging around the house to do some spring cleaning. Part of the cleaning process was cutting

ESF: Prioritize: Finding the Leaky Buckets

By Mike Rothman
As we start to dig into the Endpoint Security Fundamentals series, the first step is always to figure out where you are. Since hope is not a strategy, you can’t just make assumptions about what’s installed, what’s configured correctly, and what the end users actually know. So we’ve got to figure that out, which involves using some of the same tactics our adversaries use. The goal here is twofold: first you need to figure out what presents a clear and present danger to your organization, and put a triage plan in place to remediate those issues.

Friday Summary: April 2, 2010

By Adrian Lane
It’s the new frontier. It’s like the “Wild West” meets the “Barbary Coast”, with hostile Indians and pirates all rolled into one. And like those places, lawless entrepreneurialism a major part of the economy. That was the impression I got reading Robert Mullins’ The biggest cloud on the planet is owned by … the crooks. He examines the resources under the control of Conficker-based worms and compares them to the legitimate cloud providers. I liked his post, as considering botnets in terms of their position as cloud computing leaders (by resources under management) is a startling concept. Realizing that

Endpoint Security Fundamentals: Introduction

By Mike Rothman
As we continue building out coverage on more traditional security topics, it’s time to focus some attention on the endpoint. For the most part, many folks have just given up on protecting the endpoint. Yes, we all go through the motions of having endpoint agents installed (on Windows anyway), but most of us have pretty low expectations for anti-malware solutions. Justifiably so, but that doesn’t mean it’s game over. There are lots of things we can do to better protect the endpoint, some of which were discussed in Low Hanging Fruit: Endpoint Security. But let’s not

Database Security Fundamentals: Configuration

By Adrian Lane
It’s tough for me to write a universal quick configuration management guide for databases, because the steps you take will be based upon the size, number, and complexity of the databases you manage. Every DBA works in a slightly different environment, and configuration settings get pretty specific. Further, when I got started in this industry, the cost of the database server and the cost of the database software were more than a DBA’s yearly salary. It was fairly common to see one database admin for one database server. By the time the tech bubble burst in 2001, it was

Hit the Snooze on Lancope’s Data Loss Alarms

By Rich
Update- Lanscope posted some new information positioning this as a compliment, not substitute, to DLP. Looks like the marketing folks might have gotten a little out of control. I’ve been at this game for a while now, but sometimes I see a piece of idiocy that makes me wish I was drinking some chocolate milk so I could spew it out my nose in response the the sheer audacity of it all. Today’s winner is Lancope, who astounds us with their new “data loss prevention” solution that detects breaches using a Harry Potter-inspired technique that completely eliminates the

Help a Reader: PCI Edition

By David Mortman
One of our readers recently emailed me with a major dilemma. They need to keep their website PCI compliant in order to keep using their payment gateway to process credit card transactions. Their PCI scanner is telling them they have vulnerabilities, while their hosting provider tells them they are fine. Meanwhile our reader is caught in the middle, paying fines. I don’t dare to use my business e-mail address, because it would disclose my business name. I have been battling with my website host and security vendor concerning the Non-PCI Compliance of my website. It is actually my host’

Incite 3/31/2010: Attitude Is Everything

By Mike Rothman
There are people who suck the air out of the room. You know them – they rarely have anything good to say. They are the ones always pointing out the problems. They are half-empty type folks. No matter what it is, it’s half-empty or even three-quarters empty. The problem is that my tendency is to be one of those people. I like to think it’s a personality thing. That I’m just wired to be cynical and that it makes me good at my job. I can point out the problems, and be somewhat constructive about how to solve

How Much Is Your Organization Telling Google?

By Rich
Palo Alto Networks just released their latest Application Usage and Risk Report (registration required), which aggregates anonymous data from their client base to analyze Internet-based application usage among their clients. For those of you who don’t know, one of their product’s features is monitoring applications tunneling over other protocols – such as P2P file sharing over port 80 (normally used for web browsing). A ton of different applications now tunnel over ports 80 and 443 to get through corporate firewalls. The report is pretty interesting, and they sent me some data on Google that didn’t make it into the final
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