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Database Security Fundamentals: Introduction

By Adrian Lane
I have been part of 5 different startups, not including my own, over the last 15 years. Every one of them has sold, or attempted to sell, enterprise software. So it is not surprising that when I provide security advice, by default it is geared toward an enterprise audience. And oddly, when it comes to security, large enterprises are a little further ahead of the curve. They have more resources and people dedicated to the subject than small and medium sized businesses, and their coverage is much more diverse. But security advice does not always transfer well from one audience to the

Incite 1/27/2010: Depending on the Kids

By Mike Rothman
Good Morning: Maybe it’s the hard-wired pessimist in me, but I never thought I’d live a long life. I know that’s kind of weird to think about, but with my family history of health badness (lots of the Big C), I didn’t give myself much of a chance. At the time, I must have forgotten that 3 out of my 4 grandparents lived past 85, and my paternal grandma is over 100 now (yes, still alive). But when considering your own mortality, logic doesn’t come into play. I also think my lifestyle made me think about my life expectancy. 3

Security Strategies for Long-Term, Targeted Threats

By Rich
After writing up the Advanced Persistent Threat in this week’s FireStarter, a few people started asking for suggestions on managing the problem. Before I lay out some suggestions, it’s important to understand what we are dealing with here. APT isn’t some sort of technical term – in this case the threat isn’t a type of attack, but a type of attacker. They are advanced – possessing strong skills and capabilities – and persistent, in that if you are a target they will continue to attempt attacks until they succeed or the costs are greater than the potential rewards. You

Low Hanging Fruit: Security Management

By Mike Rothman
To wrap up my low hanging fruit series (I believe Rich and Adrian will be doing their own takes), let’s talk about security management. Yes, there were lots of components of each in the previous LHF posts (network security & endpoint security) that had “management” components, but now let’s talk about the discipline of management, not necessarily the tools. Think and Be Program Some folks would rather think and be rich, but if you do security for a living, you need to be thinking about a security program. To be clear, establishing a security program is the single

Some APT Controls

By Rich
Now, all of that said, the world isn’t coming to an end. Just because we can’t eliminate a threat doesn’t mean we can’t contain it. The following strategies aren’t specific to any point technology, but can help reduce the impact when your organization is targeted: Segregate your networks and information. The more internal barriers an attacker needs to traverse, the greater your likelihood of detection. Network segregation also improves your ability to tailor security controls, especially monitoring, to the needs of each segment. Invest heavily in advanced monitoring. I don’t mean only simple signature-based

FireStarter: APT—It’s Called “Espionage”, not “Information Warfare”

By Rich
There’s been a lot of talk on the Interwebs recently about the whole Google/China thing. While there are a few bright spots (like anything from the keyboard of Richard Bejtlich), most of it’s pretty bad. Rather than rehashing the potential attack details, I want to step back and start talking about the bigger picture and its potential implications. The Google hack – Aurora or whatever you want to call it – isn’t the end (or the beginning) of the Advanced Persistent Threat, and it’s important for us to evaluate these incidents in context and use them to

The Certification Myth

By Mike Rothman
Back when I was the resident security management expert over at TechTarget (a position since occupied by Mort), it was amazing how many questions I got about the value of certifications. Mort confirms nothing has changed. Alex Hutton’s great posts on the new ISACA CRISC certification (Part 1 & Part 2) got me thinking that it’s probably time to revisit the topic, especially given how the difficult economy has impacted job search techniques. So the question remains for practitioners: are these certifications worth your time and money? Let’s back up a bit and talk about the fundamental motivators for

Friday Summary: January 22, 2010

By Rich
One of the most common criticisms of analysts is that, since they are no longer practitioners, they lose their technical skills and even sometimes their ability to understand technology. To be honest, it’s a pretty fair criticism. I’ve encountered plenty of analysts over the years who devalue technical knowledge, thinking they can rely completely on user feedback and business knowledge. I’ve even watched as some of them became wrapped around the little fingers (maybe middle finger) of vendors who took full advantage of the fact they could talk circles around these analysts. It’s hard to maintain

Pragmatic Data Security: The Cycle

By Rich
Back in Part 1 of our series on Pragmatic Data Security we covered some of the guiding concepts of the process, and now it’s time to dig in and show you the process itself. Before I introduce the process cycle, it’s important to remember that Pragmatic Data Security isn’t about trying to instantly protect everything – it’s a structured, straightforward process to protect a single information type, which you then expand in scope incrementally. It’s designed to answer the question, “How can I protect this specific content at this point in time, in my existing environment?” rather

Low Hanging Fruit: Endpoint Security

By Mike Rothman
Getting back to the Low Hanging Fruit series, let’s take a look at the endpoint and see what kinds of stuff we can do to increase security with a minimum of pain and (hopefully) minor expense. To be sure we are consistent from a semantic standpoint, I’m generally considering computing devices used by end users as “endpoints.” They come in desktop and laptop varieties and run some variant of Windows. If we had all Mac endpoints, I’d have a lot less to do, eh? Yes, that was a joke. Run Updated Software and Patch We just learned
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