Skip to main content

Take Your Head Out the Sand - (You WILL be Hacked Eventually)

Do it now please.  Stop ignoring the fact.  Stop living with your head in the sand, the 'it won't to happen to us' syndrome.  It will.  Sooner rather than later your corporate network, your information assets, your company Intellectual Property, the brand that has taken half a century to create and protect, they (or if you're lucky only one) of them will be hacked in the future.  The likelihood of it not happening is actually quite small, so you might as well start preparing for when the attack will happen and develop a plan for an effective response and recovery.

2011 saw the terms cyberwars, APT and malware command and control all become pretty much house hold terms.  Organisations with any sort of web based presence (how many don't?) continually went through vulnerability scanning exercises, patching roll-outs and IDS testing in an attempt to provide external auditors, board members and shareholders with some sort of assurance that the IS teams were in control of the infrastructure that protects their key information assets.

Many organisations within the financial services industry have separate IS teams that are now responsible for information security and governance, not only from a technical infrastructure perspective, but also from a policy and control perspective.  Whilst the main compliance procedures are focused on insider threats (who has access to what?, access control, reporting etc) many are now focusing on web based Advanced Persistent Threats.  APT's are becoming more complex, often being run and directed by large corporate-like groups involved with organised crime.  Where there's a successful APT there is cash.

Whilst most security programmes argue for pro-active measures (patching, account management policies, access provisioning, zero-day attack scanning and so on), it is equally important to have a re-active procedure and mindset when facing new age cyber security.  If a breach does occur is there a clear escalation plan and procedure to manage the 'who, what why?'  This could be viewed like a DR plan for cyber attacks.  Whilst the main security programme is focussed on making sure attacks never happen, in the increasingly likely outcome they will, an effective and and rapid response is imperative in order to lessen the impact and return to BAU operations.  In certain circumstances based on a detailed risk assessment the response could be more cost effective than the prevention (don't put a $100 padlock on a $10 bike...).

Whilst doctors will forever argue the virtues of healthy living, immunisation and health & safety legislation, each town and city still has a well funded Accident and Emergency department.  The same could be applied to corporate cyber security programmes.

(Simon Moffatt)


Popular posts from this blog

2020: Machine Learning, Post Quantum Crypto & Zero Trust

Welcome to a digital identity project in 2020! You'll be expected to have a plan for post-quantum cryptography.  Your network will be littered with "zero trust" buzz words, that will make you suspect everyone, everything and every transaction.  Add to that, “machines” will be learning everything, from how you like your coffee, through to every network, authentication and authorisation decision. OK, are you ready?

Machine Learning I'm not going to do an entire blog on machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI).  Firstly I'm not qualified enough on the topic and secondly I want to focus on the security implications.  Needless to say, within 3 years, most organisations will have relatively experienced teams who are handling big data capture from an and identity, access management and network perspective.

That data will be being fed into ML platforms, either on-premise, or via cloud services.  Leveraging either structured or unstructured learning, data fr…

Customer Data: Convenience versus Security

Organisations in both the public and private sector are initiating programmes of work to convert previously physical or offline services, into more digital, on line and automated offerings.  This could include things like automated car tax purchase, through to insurance policy management and electricity meter reading submission and reporting.

Digitization versus Security

This move towards a more on line user experience, brings together several differing forces.  Firstly the driver for end user convenience and service improvement, against the requirements of data security and privacy.  Which should win?  There clearly needs to be a balance of security against service improvement.  Excessive and prohibitive security controls would result in a complex and often poor user experience, ultimately resulting in fewer users.  On the other hand, poorly defined security architectures, lead to data loss, with the impact for personal exposure and brand damage.

Top 5 Security Predictions for 2016

It's that time of year again, when the retrospective and predictive blogs come out of the closet, just before the Christmas festivities begin.  This time last year, the 2015 predictions were an interesting selection of both consumer and enterprise challenges, with a focus on:

Customer Identity ManagementThe start of IoT security awarenessReduced Passwords on MobileConsumer PrivacyCloud Single Sign On
In retrospect, a pretty accurate and ongoing list.  Consumer related identity (cIAM) is hot on most organisation's lips, and whilst the password hasn't died (and probably never will) there are more people using things like swipe login and finger print authentication than ever before.

But what will 2016 bring?

Mobile Payments to be Default for Consumers

2015 has seen the rise in things like Apple Pay and Samsung Pay hitting the consumer high street with venom.  Many retail outlets now provide the ability to "tap and pay" using a mobile device, with many banks also offer…