Cybersecurity!! Or Else!

Mr. Business owner/manager if you do not take Cybersecurity seriously then it will bite you but how exactly?

 

Spend money on cybersecurity or you will eventually get attacked… I know that is hard to understand fully

As discussed before The Psychology of Security (Oversitesentry post from 8/22/14)

Believe it or not on a regular basis we tend to seek risks when there could be losses .  So what does that mean with regards to Cybersecurity?  Well, if you do nothing with Cybersecurity efforts on your computers and network devices then you are risking ransomware taking all of your data and thus testing your IT backup processes.   But knowing or not knowing  (maybe subconscious) we do not accept that we have to address a risk  such as ransomware. Even if ransomware could destroy our data. Part of the problem is that we are running our business and home life with certain levels of computing and every day things are working as we expect. So why should we spend more time with Cybersecurity concerns?

  1. the right thing to do – create a proper cybersecurity
  2. The more we disregard the threat and the potential impact could be higher

So this phenomenon becomes a vortex of

NOTHING to see here – keep moving

to

When attackers find weaknesses then the attack could put your small business out-of-business (if no backup tests were done and the right circumstances create the perfect storm).

Eventually this weird sense of not wanting to deal with cybersecurity because it increases risk will be your undoing.

So what does it really mean??   Cybersecurity or Else?

It means you can go out of business if you lose all your data and cannot recreate them in a reasonable amount of time or at all.

This has happened before:

The above is an old picture, but likely has not changed much if at all. We are unfortunately creatures of habit.

 

So these are your choices

Everyone makes an unconscious decision to spend some, more or no time on Cybersecurity for a variety of reasons.

What has to be done is to check your systems with testing and auditing process, such as with a CISA certified person. Like Us – Contact Us

 

So what is really happening is the CISA audit is a type of catastrophic insurance. If audits are done on a regular basis then the computer systems will not get to the point of catastrophe (losing all data with no recovery).

Maybe what is needed is to frame the debate of cybersecurity is to focus on the business aspects.

No cybersecurity attention? then $100k in costs or loss of business outright.

How to fix this? Management must be more cybersecurity savvy, and ask the right questions to the cybersecurity professionals.

 

More Security or More Business? is it Us vs Them?

When we say We need to be more secure in cyberland, does that mean small business needs to change what they do to be more secure?

ISACA says we need governance:

Governance and management for Enterprise business should use the COBIT 5 principles

  1. Principle 1: Meet stakeholder needs
  2. Principle 2: Covering the enterprise from end-to-end
  3. Principle 3: Applying  single integrated framework
  4. Principle 4: Enabling a holistic approach
  5. Principle 5: Separating governance from management

The COBIT framework ‘simplified’ means for the business to drive “cybersecurity”. I.e. if you need to sell widgets on the Internet you have to have cybersecurity on the Internet with credit card processing then that is what you have to say: ” We have to protect our systems to sell our products and stay in business”.

The conversation cannot start with ” I need security more than sales” because we know how that conversation ends. In fact the Cybersecurity person needs to say we facilitate sales, and make sure they are done safely. We take care of government compliance.

Besides  some good sound bites, the hard work of creating a truly secure organization is to set up a framework of weighing risks versus threats and impact.

A methodology must be used instead of just telling your IT department “keep us as secure as possible” ok?

What consistent methods do we need to operate to make Cybersecurity for companies work effectively for the stakeholder?

I listed the 5 principles of COBIT, and one of the most important piece of one of the principles is to assess risk (likelihood * impact) for each computer and IT device in your company.

An Audit has to be performed where all the pieces of the network and computer systems for the business needs are cataloged and rated for importance and weaknesses.

Once this inventory has been created a Risk analysis with expenditure of money has to be accumulated and reviewed with the stakeholders.

The process of reporting is also important, how to report and whom to report to.

Principle 5: separating governance from management has it’s reasons. The IT department must be overseen and directed by a governing body. If you want to discover these details get an audit from an ISACA Auditor and get on the path to become more secure within your business needs and requirements.

Contact us to audit your business

 

Who is Responsible For Cybersecurity?

I am talking about the reality that someone must be responsible so we can hold their feet to the fire. We don’t want to get to the point of too many directions of responsibility, as then when a breach does happen it is dangerous to see what will happen from there? So the CISA (Certified Information Systems Auditor) exam prep says that the Board of the company is responsible as they are the stakeholders. The board ultimately controls the purse strings, and hiring/firing of the CEO. But the problem with Cybersecurity is the changing nature of threats with increasing use of technology. Thus if the CEO changed some parameters unknown to the board, or if the board has not had time to digest then the CEO should be part responsible as well.

So if the CEO is part responsible because of changes that are occurring without the board’s knowledge…  or is it that the board should have contingency plans for unknown changes?

Let’s review what responsibility means?

Definition from Google:

The state or fact of having a duty to deal with something or of having control over someone.

The state of fact of being accountable for something

The opportunity or ability to act independently and make decisions without authorization

I want to restate this dictionary definition for cybersecurity specifically:

The ISACA Auditing standard will stay as the “Financially” responsible entity will stay in the board.

But I want to pick into who is responsible for Cybersecurity? Is it the person who misuses one of the definitions:

“The opportunity or ability to act independently and make decisions without authorization”

We all use computers (and mobile devices) independently, and in fact more devices are coming into our lives that will  create problems if we do not use them properly.

So even though the board is financially responsible, we are all responsible for using our devices with a certain amount of Cybersecurity intelligence.

The board has to set the stage with enough funding for firewalls, and audits and the like, but the users are responsible for using the devices without clicking on phishing emails or going to questionable websites that will cause problems even in the most secure environments.

Contact Us to create a security policy for the future.

How Can You Tell If Hackers Are Hacking You?

Obviously if you have been hacked and have ransomware that is too late to know that you have been hacked:

I would like to discuss how we can find out if hackers are altering your files or are looking around in your network. There are several ways to explain what is happening when a criminal hacker is trying to attack your machines. Usually it starts with reconnaissance of your computers, online profile and other system methods.

 

The cybersecurity  industry has  created something called the Cyber Kill Chain which explains this phenomena(how does a criminal hacker attack you). CSOonline explains it a little… But Cyber Kill Chain was created by Lockheed Martin, a defense contractor with defense terminology.

Advanced (targeted)                 Persistent(month after month)       Threat (person with intent, opportunity and capability)

 

The cybersecurity industry is obsessed with this Cyber Kill Chain – why? because the explanation is a good method of detailing the steps an attacker uses to find a way into your network.

If you think about it there must be a way for us to explain how an attacker attacks, so that we can look and find this attack.

I tried to use less technical  terms with my SVAPE & C diagram using the Mandiant attack analysis of the Chinese hackers.

Scan Vulnerability Analysis – Penetrate Exploit and Control  – i.e. SVAPE & C

The portion of criminal attack we want to dissect is the Penetrate and Exploit.  In other words, recon has already been done, vulnerabilities analyzed, and reviewed.Or as in the Cyber Kill Chain, somewhere between delivery, exploitation, and installation.

Now the attacker is actually trying to take over the machine, by exploiting the system somehow.

What is it that we are looking for? If a system is being altered by a human being the event logs  will also be altered. So keeping an eye on event logs is a good idea.

But if this attack is by an automated program (bot or virus or other malware) then the event logs will only be changed if the bot decides to do this, so likely the bot needs to send information back to the programmer at some point (information like cc numbers, health info, whatever data that you keep on your computer).

How do these criminal hackers attack your computers?

It turns out they use the same techniques as people in DEFCON 25 would (latest convention in Las Vegas). So you can browse through the media server to see what the presentations were.

I like the Leveraging-Powershell-Basics by Carlos Perez

In this presentation the theme is to run little known commands using Powershell which you have to be looking for when trying to find hackers in your network.

The Powershell commands can perform many things for the hackers, and to find out whether commands are run you must turn on advanced auditing enabled, some command line jiu-jitsu is also required.  Hackerhurricane Blog discusses the commands  and settings in Win7 and Windows 2008  and later.

So the key is to find what the hackers do and then try to detect these types of actions.  But then there is another issue, including making sure there are people to modify the scripts to detect the criminal hackers.

Target had the methods(detection) but failed in personnel to act on the detection, because one has to find the real problem within the many false positives.

Most important there must be a will to defend and act.

Contact Us to review your plans, we can audit your defensive plans.

 

Why Spend Time On Cybersecurity?

Security does not add value to the company, people, or product.  Why is Cybersecurity important?

As our lives become more connected (not less). Our communications are on the Internet, our phone conversations are on the Internet, our devices that we keep on us and we depend on for business and pleasure have to connect to the Internet.

This video is an attempt at explaining this complex subject:

https://www.youtube.com/edit?o=U&video_id=QNLB185u9Nw

If we connect to the Internet the problem is that we are also connected to all the digital criminals in the world. Ransomware can destroy our data and even ruin our businesses (40% of businesses were hit by Ransomware and 20% were forced to shut down).

The problem with these digital criminal software makers is that like all software it does not act like it is supposed to. So sometimes when your data is encrypted  and lost, it may not get decrypted even if you pay them.

So the issue is if we do not pay any attention to Cybersecurity then eventually you will bump into the frailty of our digital lives. The simple truth is that the people who do not pay attention may not know they may go out of business if hit with a catastrophic Cybersecurity event.   We are used to watching the news and in our connected world we see a storm coming where the storm is going to potentially destroy our buildings etc.  But in Cybersecurity everything is below the radar, there is even a “Darknet” where the Digital criminal sells your information they stole.

Didyou know that you are playing Cybersecurity Russian Roulette? Do you have a 500Barrel Gun or a 1000barrel gun?

What is you risk level? Tells what size your Russian Roulette gun is.

Well we have to find out what kind of software you have…  and the vulnerabilities they have.

Attack timeline vulnerabilities tell the story of how the criminal gets into your systems and inserts Ransomware.

What can be done? Patch your devices, learn how to perform risk management with all digital devices.

You are playing Cybersecurity roulette whether you know it or not.

I know Cybersecurity is not simple, but you must start working on tackling it, or it will come to you soon enough.

Contact me to create a risk management profile and move away from risky cybersecurity practices.