What to expect from DeepINTEL

Mika/ May 31, 2012/ Conference, Security Intelligence

Preliminary schedule soon (CFP is still open) DeepINTEL will be a conference about security intelligence on September 3rd and 4th 2012 in the heart of Europe. We have prepared this project for a long time and we were monitoring the security intelligence landscape for quite a while. During the last year we had many chances to discuss different approaches and talk to many people involved in security intelligence, either on the provider, research or customer side. Our vision is now clear and here are some details which might have been covered here and here or which might be new: Our understanding of security intelligence We know quite well that security intelligence isn’t defined very clearly. Methods and tools differ as wildly as expectations and goals do. We find almost as many approaches as we

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Securing Walled Gardens

René Pfeiffer/ May 31, 2012/ Discussion, Security

Setting up walled gardens around fancy mobile devices (and probably other computers) is very fashionable among vendors. In theory there is a controlled environment where malicious software is virtually unknown. The vendor can implement a strict quality assurance and can tether any aberrant developers to policies. Since a wall is a fundamental security device the vendor gets the psychological bonus of users feeling protected. So with all security issues solved there is no need to break out of the walled garden, right? How do you explain this tweet about the newly released Absinthe jailbreak then? @chronicdevteam: Some stats since release of #Absinthe – 211,401 jailbroken iPad3’s and 973,086 devices newly jailbroken! If walled gardens are so perfect, why do millions of users want to break out? Paul Ducklin has explored this phenomenon in an

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Bring Your Own Spy – BYOD gone wrong

René Pfeiffer/ May 25, 2012/ Discussion, High Entropy, Security

It is reasonably safe to assume that anyone doing business has meetings from time to time. Meeting people and talking to them (or listening) is part of many company’s culture. What do you bring for your meeting? A computer? Maybe. Paper and pencils? Old school but why not. Your cell phone? Most probably! Unfortunately this also means that you might invite some spies to the conference. We have already bashed described talked about the BYOD conundrum challenge. Combining the BYOD approach with information security is hard bordering on the impossible. There are some strategies out there for securing your device(s) (in this case from Software Advice, but others have check lists, too). You can also use the Might of Security Policies™ against the threat (we all know that all users follow any written policy

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Coding Skills and Security Competence

René Pfeiffer/ May 23, 2012/ Discussion, Security

Occasionally we get questions regarding the technical level of presentations at DeepSec. Some are worried about talks at DeepSec being too „in-depth“ for their level of knowledge. You are either a coder turned security researcher hacking bits and bytes, or you are someone dealing with hierarchies and the organisational aspects of information security. It seems there is no middle ground. Well, there should be and here’s why. Information security covers a very broad spectrum of components and technologies. You can start at the physical level and work your way up, just like the OSI model of networking. The OSI layers end where the human interaction starts, and while the network engineers and software developers go to rest, security administrators still have problems to address (they always have „issues“, their psychotherapists will confirm). In other

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Cloud Security Promises out of thin Air

René Pfeiffer/ May 15, 2012/ Discussion, Security

The „Cloud“ is a wonderful link between the BYOD disaster, data loss and broken security promises. Yet users of all kinds are lured into the web interfaces with eye candy. The German IT magazine Golem.de has published an article about the cloud security study of the Fraunhofer Institute for Secure Information Technology SIT. Researchers have put Dropbox, Cloudme, Crashplan, Mozy, Teamdrive, Ubuntu One and Wuala under scrutiny. The results should be a wake-up call for businesses who blissfully shove all kinds of data out into the thin air of the „Cloud“. The quintessence of the study is that none of the listed „Cloud“ services can provide a basic security or even sensible encryption technology. Some registration forms do not verify the e-mail addresses entered. Some platforms do not use SSL/TLS. Some use their own

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Data Loss Prevention

René Pfeiffer/ May 14, 2012/ Discussion, Security

None of us likes to lose data. Usually data loss is tied to defects of storage media. You can counter physical data loss by having sufficient and recent copies of your data. This is where the logical data loss kicks in – unauthorised copies. Espionage thrives on these copies, and since information can be sold so does crime. Establishing a proper data loss prevention strategy and implementing it, requires a combination throughout all branches of information security. First you need to define some classifications for all your data. Public, private and confidential is common. Then you must find all places where your data is stored. You noticed the small word „all“. Yes, that’s right, all places and every single bit of your data. If you start getting sloppy at this stage, your defence against

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BYOD Madness

René Pfeiffer/ May 7, 2012/ Discussion, Security

When it comes to computing we all like convenience, just like in other areas of personal or business life. It’s nice to use familiar tools. Provisioning is much easier for your IT department if your users bring their own hardware. So, let’s sprinkle this idyllic setting with some security in terms of malware protection, data loss prevention and policies. This is a recipe for a lot of fun and sleepless nights at the same time. The laisser-faire bring your own device (BYOD) approach is all the fashion these days. Since your users really like to do serious business on electronics and software designed for entertainment, why not combine both ends of the spectrum and create a worse starting point than with using either one technology. While being able to view, edit and create confidential

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Unlearn to Hack?

René Pfeiffer/ May 6, 2012/ Discussion, High Entropy, Security

Security is heavily influenced by the inner workings of the (human) mind. We all know about social engineering and tricks used by con men. The game of smoke and mirrors now hits the „uncontrolled spread of hacking tools“. We have already pointed out that the European Union is preparing a proposal for „banning“ „hacking tools“. There is now a case on-line where a print magazine was allegedly removed from the shelves of Barnes & Noble. Apparently the cover story was too dangerous, because it announced how to „teach you to break into networks, exploit services running remotely, beat encryption techniques, crack passwords, and more.“ The real dark side of this story is that these skills are discussed at most self-respecting security conferences. These skills are even part of a very basic job description in

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Security in the Light of Emergency Situations

René Pfeiffer/ May 5, 2012/ High Entropy, Security

Let’s assume you have put proper security measures into place and you have spiced them up with proper policies so that everyone always knows what to do in certain situations. So far, so good. Now let’s combine this solid security framework with something out of the ordinary. Catastrophic storage failures are a very good example. Imagine your shared storage array goes AWOL (including the disk images of your precious virtualised servers). In this case your operating status has gone from „all green“ to „full red alert“. Your staff can’t restart the storage array, so you have to rely on experts in the field of data rescue. Due to the critical nature of the data you yank out the disks, label them and send your storage components by messenger to a laboratory. Since time is

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