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.

What Are The Cybersecurity Top-10?

There is only so much time to work on anything. And Cybersecurity is not any different, it requires a focus of IT Management (and Cybersecurity specifically)

 

As far as Cybersecurity goes, what is it that we all must know and understand thoroughly?

  1. Ransomware defense, IT basics such as test your backup (this means you have a valid backup)
  2. Weakest link = Human Social Engineering – If someone  can call you and you give them access how does a security department defend against this?
  3. NGFW (Next Generation FireWall) and other automation – A new updated firewall is a must these days
  4. Threat Analysis
  5. Compliance only is weak
  6. Password Failure
  7. Simplify Instructions to Employees  re: Cybersecurity
  8. Not enough training
  9. Governance process and procedure
  10. Good defense is a good offense (what does that mean in Cybersecurity)

 

How can I come up with this list?

 

Previous posts and research.

Here are the previous posts or “reference points”:

#1 Ransomware:   http://oversitesentry.com/another-hospital-computer-system-down-due-to-ransomware/ A German hospital was affected by Ransomware and was down a considerable length of time due to having to rebuild all machines infected. (likely from scratch).  But that is not the only story  I tried to answer why ransomware is effective in this post:

7 common mistakes (listed in post) are mistakes or failures in security procedures. The German hospital that got hit with ransomware did not have a proper backup

#2 Social Engineering:  This is a primary cause of concern as human error is a major cause of security breaches including at DEFCON22 at the social engineering Capture the Flag event, needless to say the retail teams were breached. If somebody calls you to ask for information on your computer and network be very careful.

#3 NGFW The Next Generation FireWall, the successor to a standard firewall, and really a must in this day and age in a decent size operation.

(A NGFW can inspect applications as well as filter traffic by origin or destination)

 

#4  Threat analysis: Cyber Threat Intelligence is used to help us defend and make the job of the attacker harder. I.e. the attackers “Pyramid Of Pain” needs to be closer to the top.

FireEye has attempted to explain Threat Intel with a Pyramid representation and I use it here to use the info as an industry standard.

#5 Compliance only is weak – And I discuss that in several ways

 

If your focus is so narrow as to only focus on crossing all the checks to be marked off a compliance list, then you will miss the overall company security.

#6 Weak passwords and other Password Failures (like 90% of all Point of Sale systems still have default passwords)   Our weakness of not solving password management hurts many organizations

#7 Simplify Instructions to Employees as logistical problems create issues and thus hamper Cybersecurity. Some security issues are complicated and IT terms may cloud what non-IT people have to review and learn.  Why is simple important?   Tom Kolditz of West Point explains: “No plan survives contact with the enemy.”

#8 Not enough training with regards to cybersecurity. No employee should ever answer a phone call and give out too much information, click on bad emails, set up good passwords, but there is a bigger problem. The general sense that we are getting inundated with more and more information. IoT – and Denial of Service and more complexity. But this complexity creates confusion in regular people that needs to be reviewed and trained.

#9 Governance Process and Procedure. Writing complete procedures will be difficult as all are, but once done will be good for the people and the company

#10  Test your network by getting a red team which will act like an attacker — This issue could be higher, and maybe one of the most important items.  The best defense is a good offense is well known adage. And the way it is used in Cybersecurity red team is the offense and the blue team is the defense.

This post and image explain red vs blue team as well:

 

Contact US to review your own Cybersecurity priorities.