My New Year’s Day ritual has been the same for nearly 10 years now: a late breakfast, a cup of strong coffee and a scan of security blogs and news for two things that always make me chuckle: cyber predictions for the new year, and a retrospective that declares the past year the “Year of the Data Breach.” Kelly Shortridge perfectly parodied the former and I actually thought we might go a year without the latter, until I found this headline on Bloomberg news in which 2017 is named the Year of the Data Breach.Read More
Would you be surprised to find that “nearly 40% of ransomware victims pay attackers,” according to a recent article published by DarkReading? I sure was. The number of victims that pay ransomware and the amount paid has been an elusive figure for years now. To date, law enforcement has not collected and published ransomware crime statistics like they have for other forms of criminal activity.Read More
Word clouds are a great way to visualize text, especially on platforms like Twitter where a great amount of people can be talking about one subject. I recently spent the last 6 days at two San Francisco information security conferences: BSides San Francisco and RSA.
BSides this year was February 28–29 and RSA was February 29-March 4. There’s some overlap in attendees, but the talks and the feeling you get from being at the cons couldn’t be more different. BSides is community driven and the talks are mostly by security practitioners; RSA has a trade-show feel and most talks are conducted by people that work for security vendors.
I was curious about what words showed up most in tweets with the hashtags #BSidesSF and #RSAC and see how different or alike they were. I used the twitteR and wordcloud packages in R to generate these images.
and here’s #RSAC:
People were definitely tweeting about different things; BSides attendees generally had more positive language and tweeted about presenters. RSA attendees tweeted about keynote speakers (like Sean Penn) and contained a lot of retweets mentions. I am also not surprised the word “booth” was a top keyword in #RSAC, from vendors tweeting out “Come to our booth and get a free pen!”
It was interesting to see the similarities and differences. Let me know what you think.
In May, Lastpass announced an intrusion on its network that led to a data breach of user account information. LastPass is a cloud-based password manager; users load the LastPass extension into their web browsers and all the pesky password management tasks are taken care of. The user is given one-click access to fill in the username and password on known sites and the option to generate a long password and save credentials on new sites.Read More
It’s been a tough few weeks for those of us that are responsible for patching vulnerabilities in the companies we work at. Not only do we have the usual operating system and application patches, we also have patches for VENOM and Logjam to contend with. The two aforementioned vulnerabilities are pretty serious and deserve extra attention. But, where to start and what to do first? Whether you have hundreds or thousands or hundreds of thousands of systems to patch, you have to start somewhere. Do you test and deploy patches for high severity vulnerabilities first, or do you continue to deploy routine patches, prioritizing systems critical to the functioning of your business?Read More
Last week, an interesting story made the rounds on social media about a researcher named Samy Kamkar who discovered a flaw in Master-brand combination locks and was able to open the lock in eight tries or less. It’s a great discovery and is of particular interest to security professionals because it teaches us about encryption, the concept of brute-force attacks and weaknesses in implementation.Read More
An often overlooked, but very important process in the development of any Internet-facing service is testing it for vulnerabilities, knowing if those vulnerabilities are actually exploitable in your particular environment and, lastly, knowing what the risks of those vulnerabilities are to your firm or product launch. These three different processes are known as a vulnerability assessment, penetration test and a risk analysis. Knowing the difference is critical when hiring an outside firm to test the security of your infrastructure or a particular component of your network.Read More
It was one of those typical, cold February winter days in Indianapolis earlier this year. Kids woke up hoping for a snow day and old men groaned as they scraped ice off their windshields and shoveled the driveway. Those were the lucky ones, because around that same time, executives at Anthem were pulling another all-nighter, trying to wrap their heads around their latest data breach of 37.5 million records and figuring out what to do next. And, what do they do next? This was bad — very bad — and one wonders if one or more of the frenzied executives thought to him of herself, or even aloud, “At least we’re not Sony.”Read More