The Old FUD – Fear Uncertainty Doubt

The FUD techniques are certain to come up again and again as they are effective (to a degree).

FUD is a marketing technique to sow fear into cost conscious customers that are thinking of going to a competitor. Pushing safety in numbers and other uncertainty creates FUD in the mind of potential customers. Thus it is not so easy to go with a competitor unless one is armed with knowledge.

the first FUD campaign happened when IBM mainframes finally receive some competition with Amdahl mainframe company.

Above picture is an Amdahl mainframe (with red-hued panels instead of the familiar IBM blue). Newcastle university in picture)

So obviously Newcastle University did not pay attention to FUD by IBM

Why do I mention this FUD business? Because it is an old tactic and is being used by competitor Firewalls in the security firewall market space.  Palo Alto is muscling into a larger marketshare (due to developing and running a good firewall operation)

So the competitors have developed a youtube video 

First one selects an exploit 

Then configure the test environment which means setting up what kind of attack will be ‘tested’.

then conveniently one can Run the attack.

So the competitor ran the Evader software with specific evasion techniques to see if they can evade the Palo Alto firewall they have set up so they can evade it.


This is exactly why FUD works, make future Palo Alto customers(or current ones) see that they can have a firewall that is not bullet proof.

Yes we know that – no firewall is bulletproof no matter how well you configure it, there is always one item that is missed over the days and years. Since we are assaulted day after day and all the hackers have to do is get one attack to work. We have to be cognizant to not be complacent and invincible (it will not happen to me attitude).

It is true we have better firewalls and the only thing to combat FUD no matter your industry is massive amounts of information, thus knowing what you have backwards and forwards.

Contact us to review your environment so that you don’t worry about FUD.

2nd Quarter Almost Over – Time to Reassess and Plan

There seem to be a few posts doing a bit of reflection:

Internet Storm Center:  “An occasional Look in the Rear View Mirror”, discusses that every so often look into what you can do to see if anything can be retired.

At year end we look over the year and look into next year for new goals etc.

So what will happen in 3Q/4Q? Will we  develop new and better procedures, guidelines and other items to improve our organizations?

With a couple of weeks left in the quarter it would be great to review and reassess any plans you had and redo if necessary.

Dark Reading: “Why Compromised Identities Are IT’s Fault”

Yes it is IT’s fault because IT has to do a better job policing itself where it matters. But since it is hard to police “yourself” an outside entity should do it.

Dark reading claims:

“Before an organization can fight identity-based attacks, it must survive its own internal battle between IT and security. There are two battle fronts. The first: identity access management (IAM) typically comes under the control of the CIO, where more access is better than less to enable business processes at customer speed, even more so for mobility and cloud projects. IAM is not managed by the CISO, even though identity-based risks are at the core of security issues that keep CISOs up at night. This first front can be summarized as the CIO and CISO divide.”

So somewhere along the lines security lost a small battle (or a big one). In an Audit program (or framework) the outside entity  is independent and ultimately reports to accountable people (the board or exec team).

It does not have to be a fight… errr discussion between CISO and CIO and whether it is productivity or security that should ‘win’.

ISACA framework(ITAF) is an audit guideline, and the basics are the following:

  1. Plan the audit
  2. Risk assessment of the plan
  3. Audit IT functions under Supervision (test the network, servers, software function and more)
  4. Document audit function
  5. Create reportsout of the tests – signifying the ineffective controls, control deficiencies, and what these problems would cause for the business
  6. Evidence of the test results and conclusions must be presented.
  7. May have to use other experts to find specific issues(like a DBA (Data Base Admin) for example)
  8. Note Irregularity or illegal acts and reduce risks to an acceptable level

One of the tenets of an Auditor is being ethical in creating the audit tests. The reason for this is if one does not have expertise in a section of IT that needs audit work, then an expert in that field must be brought in. For example if the company has an agile  programming project and the auditor does not understand agile programming techniques, it means the auditor must get an agile programming expert to review the project.


So the ethics of the auditor is very important, as knowing when to ask for help is good, as well as  having the good sense of when to stop. Knowing to do the right thing is important.

contact  us to review your situation.

OneLogin Security Failure Spotlights Even the “Experts” Get Hacked

So what to make of the OneLogin Security Incident?

So what to do when even the “experts” get hacked and potentially have lost confidence and your data.

Unfortunately in this case it is usernames and passwords (potentially), as it is not obvious what was removed or accessed, as a lot of data is encrypted at OneLogin.

The function of onelogin is of course to have a secure method of logging into your environment with one password/ authentication method.

so what is a user and an IT department to do with password management?

Don’t do what Sony did, and store your passwords in an excel file.

compliance standards require password management to be with a minimum set of parameters:

  1. at least a certain size (~10 or more) letters with a certain complexity (numbers and letters/specials)
  2. set lockout duration (i.e.) with an incorrect entry lock the access for 30 min.
  3. inactivity idleness lockouts
  4. unique ids and passwords (do not reuse)
  5. Do not reuse passwords across multiple entities


So why did you set up a oneLogin system? To make it easier to access a variety of platforms and networks.  We did not expect for oneLogin to have a security problem which causes the very act of logging in securely to fail, as now the potential is there that the hackers have your userid and password, and since you have made it easier to access your network the whole network is accessible to hackers.

This is usually an acceptable risk for the most part, but if you had a computer system and database that is especially problematic if hacked I would set up a seperate authentication from the OneLogin setup, even though this makes things more difficult.

As I have discussed before Perfect security is not possible. Especially if you also want functionality.


The real question is what kind of Russian Roulette did you want to play for your business?

The game is this… (it depends on your situation of course) every day you are shooting a X barrel gun and if it actually has a bullet then a security event occurred. So the idea is to have a very large gun, with lots of barrels (like 500) so then at least the chance is low for a security event.

The funny thing with probability comes into being.

In a true 1 in 500 event, you may never actually hit it. The odds are that you will hit it once every 2 years or so. But we have another problem, how do we accurately represent our risk of the organization? How big is your “risk gun”?

I made these 1000 gun barrels units as well as a 500 gun barrel to try and represent what a physical Security risk gun would look like.

So Since Risk = Impact * Likelihood

The higher the impact is therefore your risk is higher.

If the impact is high risk is higher than where the impact is low. Now we get into the subjective gauge of likelihood. Here is where this setting can be fluid and can create many problems as circumstances change. As new malware is introduced and machines are not patched or other situations.

So RISK becomes a moving target that has to be assessed by an independent person so as to approximate it as best as possible under the circumstances. Here is where you figure out is it a risk of 1 in 1000(low) or 1 in 500(not low – but higher)

or 1 in 300 (medium) or a 1 in 150 (high) for each day.

So when you have a Single sign on application it better be checked for security otherwise the risk is greater since the impact is great.

Contact US to review.

Heart Pacemakers Need Cybersecurity Upgrades

Ok, so this has not happened yet, where somebody hacks your pacemaker connects to your phone and says:

Pay up or you heart will flutter.

But according to Threatpost story we are almost there (my interpretation):

“Pacemaker Ecosystem Fails Its Cybersecurity Checkup”

there have not been any cases of ransomware or other cybersecurity issues on pacemakers, but this report suggests that it would be good if some authentication (any) would be built into the devices, as no one knows what kind of shenanigans could  be created by criminal hijackers.

And mark this point in time, Criminal Hackers will create shenanigans. There will be methods yet unknown that will be done —

think DOS -or Denial Of Service.

Sure you may not need the pacemaker all the time, but you need it at certain times. What if it does not operate as it should? Whose fault is it? the hacker, doctors, or pacemaker manufacturer.

I found this email very interesting:

“They need to make sure projects meet requirements should it touch any government data

  • #1 priority is a technical person, they can teach security guidelines”

The email is a recruiter looking for a certain type of security analyst that will look over the shoulder, review code and help programmers and others to code with a security mindset.

Now you can see that here we have a germination of a security agenda at this entity.

This is a good thing, and this position should be just one part with another part a security testing regime, which I did not see mentioned in the qualifications.

Overall Cybersecurity problem is the complexity and thus needs an unfettered testing department checking on a programming department even one where Cybersecurity is important and built-in.

Just because you write good code with Cybersecurity in mind does it mean it is secure?

One must still test the code to reduce the risk of security problems further.


Should CyberSecurity Be An IT Thing?

Before we can answer who should be in charge of Cybersecurity…

What is Cybersecurity?

Here is Google definition:

“The state of being protected against the criminal or unauthorized use of electronic data, or the measures taken to achieve this.

So Cybersecurity really means to patch and upgrade your devices.  Configure devices so unauthorized access is not possible. create good security practices that reduce the chance of  Cybersecurity ‘events’. I.e. we want the people that are supposed to use computer resources to use them not others – like criminals or ransomware bots.

ISACA (Information Systems Auditing and Control Association) has another cybersecurity definition that adds CyberRisk.

“To understand Cybersecurity we must define the term cyberrisk”

“Cyberrisk is not one specific risk, it is a group of risks, which differ in technology, attack vectors, means, etc. “

The problem with this definition is that you have to have an understanding of risk, which is fine for most IT professionals, but the risk in IT is not understood by IT lay people(people that do not understand IT).

The CxO makes the decisions ultimately and cannot understand IT to the depth most IT people understand. So there will always be a gulf of misunderstanding. But the CEO does understand business risk, so we as IT professionals need to set up an environment where we can explain cybersecurity in terms of business risk.

The disconnect is as to what can happen and how much money needs to be budgeted to ensure that Cyberrisk is minimized?

Due to Cyberrisk of Ransomware – enough resources must be budgeted to ensure there is enough to successfully complete a Plan A or Plan B

  1. Plan A – patch all systems (assuming resources available)
  2. Plan B – If you do get attacked with ransomware – better have a functioning backup.

Your decision loop takes longer than the attackers which all they do is find new exploits and attack.

Businesses have to budget, purchase stuff, and execute. This always takes longer than the attacker finding new exploits.

So the attackers are always ahead of the game.


Now how should we answer the question? Who should be in charge of Cybersecurity? Should IT be in charge?  I think that there is no way around it, the new executive must understand a  certain level of Cybersecurity to talk to IT in a good manner(with understanding) and since Cybersecurity affects the whole company only the Senior execs should be in charge. But they just drive the whole thing (or are supposed to). The true answer is everyone is in charge of security

Contact Us to discuss your Cybersecurity cyberrisk.