When I take a step back I see I am pretty lucky. I’ve seen a lot of very cool places. And experienced a lot of different cultures through my business travels. And now I’m at a point in life where I want to explore more. Not just do business hotels and see the sights from the front seat of a colleague’s car or taxi. I want to explore and see all the cool things this big world has to offer.

It hasn’t always been this way. For the first two decades of my career, I was so focused on getting to the next rung on the career ladder that I forgot to take in the sights. And forget about smelling the roses. That would take time away from my plans for world domination. In hindsight that was ridiculous. I’m certainly not going to judge others who still strive for world domination, but that does not interest me any more.

I’m also at a point in life where my kids are growing up, and I only have a few more years to show them what I’ve learned is important to me. They’ll need to figure out what’s important to them, but in the meantime I have a chance to instill a love of exploration. An appreciation of cultures. And a yearning to see and experience the world. Not from the perspective of their smartphone screen, but by getting out there and experiencing life.


XX1 left for a teen tour last Saturday. Over the next month she’ll see a huge number of very cool things in the Western part of the US. The itinerary is fantastic, and made me wonder if I could take a month off to tag along. It’s not cheap and I’m very fortunate to be able to provide her with that opportunity. All I can do is hope that she becomes an explorer, and explores throughout her life. I have a cousin who just graduated high school. He’s going to do two years of undergrad in Europe to learn international relations – not in a classroom on a sheltered US campus (though there will be some of that), but out in the world. He’s also fortunate and has already seen some parts of the world, and he’s going to see a lot more over the next four years. It’s very exciting.

You can bet I’ll be making at least two trips over there so we can explore Europe together. And no, we aren’t going to do backpacks and hostels. This boy likes hotels and nice meals.

Of course global exploring isn’t for everyone. But it’s important to me, and I’m going to try my damnedest to impart that to my kids. But I have multiple goals. First, I think individuals who see different cultures and different ways of thinking are less likely to judge people with different views. Every day we sees the hazards of judgmental people who can’t understand other points of view and think the answer is violence and negativity.

But it’s also clear that we move in a global business environment. Which means to prosper they will need to understand different cultures and appreciate different ways of doing things. It turns out the only way to really gain those skills is to get out there and explore.

Coolest of all is the fact that we all need travel buddies. I can’t wait for the days when I explore with my kids – not as a parent/child thing, but as friends going to check out cool places.


Photo credit: “Dora the Explorer” originally uploaded by Hakan Dahlstroem

The fine folks at the RSA Conference posted the talk Jennifer Minella and I did on mindfulness at the 2014 conference. You can check it out on YouTube. Take an hour and check it out. Your emails, alerts and Twitter timeline will be there when you get back.

Securosis Firestarter

Have you checked out our new video podcast? Rich, Adrian, and Mike get into a Google Hangout and.. hang out. We talk a bit about security as well. We try to keep these to 15 minutes or less, and usually fail.

Heavy Research

We are back at work on a variety of blog series, so here is a list of the research currently underway. Remember you can get our Heavy Feed via RSS, with our content in all its unabridged glory. And you can get all our research papers too.

Threat Detection Evolution

Network-based Threat Detection

Applied Threat Intelligence

Network Security Gateway Evolution

Recently Published Papers

Incite 4 U

  1. Polishing the crystal ball: Justin Somaini offers an interesting perspective on The Future of Security Solutions. He highlights a lot of disruptive forces poised to fundamentally change how security happens over the next couple of. To make the changes somewhat tangible and less overwhelming, Justin breaks the security world into a few buckets: Network Controls Management, Monitoring and Threat Response, Software Development, Application Management, Device Management, and Risk Management/GRC. Those buckets are as good as any others. We could quibble a bit about where the computing stack resides, which is really about the data. But he highlights a lot of concepts we published in our own Future of Security research. Suffice it to say, it really makes no difference whose version of the future world you believe, because we will all be wrong somehow. Just understand that things are changing for security folks, and you’ll either go headlong into the change or get run over. – MR
  2. Less bad: Bruce Schneier offered a personal look into his selection of full disk encryption options for Windows machines. Surprised he didn’t write his own? Don’t be. Design principles and implementation details make this a hard problem to simplify, and that’s what most users need. He calls his selection “the least bad option”, but honestly it’s noteworthy that the industry has (mostly) progressed past some kid fresh out of school forming a new company based on an algorithm he cobbled together during his graduate studies. Historically you couldn’t audit this superduper new encryption code, because it was someone’s intellectual property and might compromise security if anyone else could see it. The good news is that most of you will be fine with any of Bruce’s options, because you just need to make sure the contents of your drive can’t be copied by whoever steals your laptop. As long as you’re not worried about governments breaking into your stuff, you’re good. If you are worried about governments, then you understand how hard it is to defend against an adversary with vast resources, and why “the least bad option” is really the only option for you. – AL
  3. Due care and the profit motive: Given the breach du jour we seem to read about every day, Trey Ford on the Rapid7 blog reiterates a reasonable question he heard at a recent convention from a government employee: “How do you build a standard of due care?” The Feds think putting Mudge in charge of a CyberUL initiative is a good place to start. I can’t disagree – yet. But I still believe we (as an industry) cannot legislate our way out of the issues of crap security and data protection. Trey mentions the need for information sharing (a NTSB of sorts for breaches) and cyberinsurance underwriting based on data instead of voodoo. I agree on both counts, but add that we need a profit driver to focus the innovation on options that make sense for enterprises, large and small. NIST puts out a bunch of great stuff, but it’s not always relevant to everyone. But if they had to pay their own way, Mr. Market says they’d figure out something that works for a large swath of businesses. Or they’d go away. We have threat intel as a business, and have always talked about the need for metrics/benchmarking businesses to help organizations know how they compare to others, and to optimize their limited resources accordingly. Needing to generate money to keep the lights on tends to help organizations narrow their efforts down to what matters, which legislation doesn’t. – MR
  4. The failure of documentation: I had a peer to peer (P2P) session at the RSA Conference this year on moving security into the Agile development process. But that is not what happened – instead security played a small part, and general process failures a much larger one. In fact it was a room filled mostly with people who had recently tried to move to Agile, and were failing miserably. The number one complaint? “How do we handle documentation?” QA, design, and all the other groups demand their specifications. I stepped on my instinct to say “You’re doing it wrong” – documentation is one of the things you are striving to get rid of, but a lack of agility across the rest of the company trips up many Agile efforts. A handful of people in the room had adopted continuous integration and continuous deployment, which offer one or more solutions to the group’s problems. I am not saying all problems are solved by DevOps – just that the failure common modes in that P2P discussion can be traced back to the silos we created in the days of waterfall, and need to be broken up for Agile processes to thrive. Darknet’s discussion on Agile Security raises the same concerns, and reached a similar conclusion. Security – and the rest of the team for that matter – needs to be better integrated with development. Which we have known for a long time. – AL
  5. Bootstrapping the IR report: Too many incident response reports are pretty short. Slide 1: We got owned. Slide 2: Please don’t fire me. Ugh. Okay, maybe not quite that short, but it’s not like the typical practitioner has models and guides to help document an incident – and, more importantly, to learn from what happened. So thank Lenny Zeltser, who posted a template which combines a bunch of threat, intrusion, and response models into a somewhat coherent whole. It is obviously valuable to have a template for documentation, and you can refine the pieces that work for you after a response or ten. Additionally you can use his template to guide your response if you don’t have an established incident response process. Which is really the first thing you should create. But failing that, Lenny’s template can help you understand the information you should be gathering and its context. – MR