Phoenix can be a wild place for weather. We don’t get much rain, but when we do it often arrives with fearsome vengeance. When I first moved down here I thought “monsoon season” was just a local colloquialism to make Phoenicians think they were all tough or something. I mean, surely the weather here couldn’t rival what I was used to in Colorado, where occasional 100mph gusts are called ‘invigorating’ rather than ‘tornadoes’ – tornadoes go in circles.
The last 7 years have educated me.
The winds out here aren’t as consistently powerful as those in Colorado. No catabolic winds screaming down the mountains. The storms are tamer and less frequent.
Therein lies the problem.
Storms in the desert, especially during monsoon season, are as arbitrary as my cat. The bitchy one, not the nice one. The weather sits here calmly humming away at a nice 107F with a mild breeze, and then come evening storms roll in. No, not one big storm that hits the metro area, but these tiny little thunderstorms that slam a few square miles like a dainty little hammer.
Except when it’s the big one.
Friday night it looked a little stormy out but I didn’t think much about it. With a 5-month-old messing with our sleep I take full advantage of any opportunity for rest I can snag. I went to bed around 9pm.
At 5:40am our four-year-old woke us up.
“Daddy, a tree fell on my little house”.
Having worked many a night shift in the firehouse, I normally wake up pretty cognizant of my surroundings, but this one threw me.
That’s when my wife, who went to sleep an hour after me, informed me that a tree might have fallen in our yard.
This is what I saw.
For perspective, that is the biggest tree in our yard – the one that shades everything. An hour after the landscapers started clearing it out.
Storms in Phoenix are intense for very short periods of time, and are arbitrary and dispersed enough that the landscape doesn’t necessarily adjust. The ground doesn’t absorb water, many native plants and trees don’t have deep roots, and microbursts destroy as randomly as our four-year-old.
I called our landscapers early and they cleared it. We’ll get a replacement in, but will have to spend a couple years wearing pants in the yard so we don’t scare the neighbors. Which sucks. The wind didn’t merely uproot the tree – it literally snapped it clean off two of the three roots that held tight in the hard-packed dirt.
I was depressed, but life goes on. Another storm hit on Sunday, missing our yard but flooding my in-laws’ neighborhood so bad they couldn’t drive down the street. It was less than a localized inch of rain, but a mere half-inch or less, landing on hard-pack, funneled into a few culverts, is a serious volume of water. Flash flooding FTW.
Our kid’s playhouse survived surprisingly well. If I ever move to Oklahoma I’m totally building my house out of pink injection-molded plastic. That stuff will survive the heat death of the universe.
On to the Summary:
Webcasts, Podcasts, Outside Writing, and Conferences
- Mike in Dark Reading on the emerging threat of APIs.
- Mike quoted in SC Magazine on Cisco/Sourcefire.
- CSO Online lifts some of our Cisco/Sourcefire analysis.
- Mike quoted in Dark Reading on Cisco/Sourcefire.
- Mike’s column in Dark Reading on M&A Success.
- Dave Lewis writing for CSO Online: Screaming Machines And Situational Awareness.
- Dave again: On Coffee Rings And Data Exfiltration
- Securosis highlighted in an article on cybersecurity business in Arizona. Okay, we might know the author.
- Rich mentioned in a post on security APIs at LayeredTrust.
Favorite Securosis Posts
- Mike Rothman: Database Denial of Service: Countermeasures. I like this series from Adrian, especially when it gets down to how to actually do something about DoS targeting. Waiting for it to blow over isn’t a very good answer.
- Adrian Lane: Cisco FIREs up a Network Security Strategy. Mike nails why this is acquisition is a great move for CISCO, despite its $2.7b price tag.
- Rich: My post, since I learned a lot piecing together even that minimal code – Black Hat Preview 2: Software Defined Security with AWS, Ruby, and Chef.
Other Securosis Posts
- Gonzales’ Partners Indicted.
- API Gateways: Buyers Guide.
- Incite 7/23/2013: Sometimes You Miss.
- Continuous Security Monitoring: The Attack Use Case.
- Bastion Hosts for Cloud Computing.
- New Paper: Defending Cloud Data with Infrastructure Encryption.
- If You Don’t Have Permission, Don’t ‘Test’.
- Exploit U.
- Apple Developer Site Breached.
- Endpoint Security Buyer’s Guide: The Impact of BYOD and Mobility.
- Endpoint Security Buyer’s Guide: Endpoint Hygiene and Reducing Attack Surface.
Favorite Outside Posts
- Mike Rothman: How To Self-Publish A Bestseller: Publishing 3.0. Some days when the grind gets overly grindy, I dream of just writing novels. It seems like a dream – or is it?
- Adrian Lane: Data Fundamentalism. Good perspective on CVE and vulnerability statistics.
Research Reports and Presentations
- Defending Cloud Data with Infrastructure Encryption.
- Network-based Malware Detection 2.0: Assessing Scale, Accuracy and Deployment.
- Quick Wins with Website Protection Services.
- Email-based Threat Intelligence: To Catch a Phish.
- Network-based Threat Intelligence: Searching for the Smoking Gun.
- Understanding and Selecting a Key Management Solution.
- Building an Early Warning System.
- Implementing and Managing Patch and Configuration Management.
- Defending Against Denial of Service (DoS) Attacks.
- Securing Big Data: Security Recommendations for Hadoop and NoSQL Environments.
Top News and Posts
- Feds put heat on Web firms for master encryption keys.
- PayPal Cuts Off “Pirate Bay” VPN iPredator, Freezes Assets.
- Cybercrime said to cost US $140 billion, radically less than previous estimates.
- White House opposes amendment to curb NSA spying.
- Hackers foil Google Glass with QR codes.
- Healthcare data breaches: Reviewing the ramifications.
Blog Comment of the Week
This week’s best comment goes to John, in response to Continuous Security Monitoring: The Attack Use Case.
Sometimes I forget about the Securosis blog, and then when I rediscover it, there’s a great series of posts like this one.
There are two things that jump out at me here. The first post started by knocking the ‘get ahead of the threat’ strategy, but at the conclusion of this post we’re back to what I would characterize as ‘get ahead of the threat’ actions, like fixing vulnerable hosts and addressing insecure configurations. Are these kind of attack surface shrinking activities part of the “protective controls that have been proven over and over again to be ineffective,” or are they something else?
The second thing that caught my attention was the collection of data sources, which is a nice, concise list. One of the challenges I see many organizations facing is that there isn’t an effective ‘CSM aggregation point’ for these data sources, let alone the others that may be available to specific organizations. Maybe this is coming in the next post, but guidance around not only how to automate the data aggregation, but also how to avoid the problem of ‘aggregation as success’ would be great to see.