Tag Archives: SearchSecurity

Closing the gender gap at cybersecurity conferences

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In this week’s Risk & Repeat podcast, SearchSecurity editors discuss the under-representation of women at cybersecurity conferences and how it affects the infosec industry.

This week’s Risk & Repeat podcast looks at the lack of women at cybersecurity conferences and explores what can be done to improve those numbers, as well as to increase diversity as a whole in the infosec industry.

Earlier this year, RSA Conference came under fire for having just one woman keynote speaker among nearly two dozen keynote spots. The criticism led members of the infosec community to form a new event, dubbed Our Security Advocates, or OuRSA. And while cybersecurity conferences such as Black Hat 2018 will prominently feature women infosec professionals as keynote speakers, there is still a significant gender gap at cybersecurity conferences.

Why aren’t more women speaking at industry events? How can organizations increase the number of women attending and participating in these events? Is the lack of women at cybersecurity conferences a symptom of the larger gender gap in infosec or a contributor to it? SearchSecurity editors Rob Wright and Maddie Bacon discuss those questions and more in this episode of the Risk & Repeat podcast.

U.S. government eyes offensive cyberattacks

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In this week’s Risk & Repeat podcast, SearchSecurity editors discuss the risks of the U.S. Cyber Command engaging in offensive cyberattacks against foreign adversaries.

The prospect of the U.S. government using offensive cyberattacks against foreign adversaries appears to be gaining steam.

According to the New York Times, the Pentagon approved a policy that empowers the U.S. Cyber Command to initiate constant offensive cyberattacks designed to disrupt foreign networks. The Times report details a vision statement from military leadership that calls for cyber activities that are “short of war” to retaliate against hacking campaigns from adversarial nation states. The Pentagon’s new strategy for the U.S. Cyber Command, which has traditionally led the nation’s cyber defensive efforts, comes in the wake of many recent high-profile cyberattacks attributed to the governments of Russia, North Korea and Iran.

The concept of “hacking back” against cyber adversaries has gained momentum in both the private sector as well as the government. Some cybersecurity experts, however, have warned that the risks and unintended consequences of offensive cyberattacks can put private enterprises in the crosshairs of nation-state hackers.

What are the implications of the U.S. Cyber Command turning its attention to offensive hacking? What activities would be considered short of cyberwarfare? Could the Pentagon’s policy lead to an escalation of cyberattacks? SearchSecurity editors Rob Wright and Peter Loshin discuss those questions and more in this episode of the Risk & Repeat podcast.

More trouble for federal cybersecurity

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In this week’s Risk & Repeat podcast, SearchSecurity editors discuss the recent federal cybersecurity report, which found the majority of agencies have significant security gaps.

The latest government report on the state of federal cybersecurity brought more bad news for Washington, D.C.

The Federal Cybersecurity Risk Determination Report and Action Plan, which was commissioned by the Office of Management and Budget and the Department of Homeland Security, found the vast majority of government agencies have significant gaps in their security postures. Specifically, the report found that 59 of 96 agencies are considered to be at risk, while 12 agencies are at high risk.

Key issues, according to the report, included ineffective and outdated identity and access management processes, a lack of communication between security operations centers, and a lack of accountability for agency leadership. The report also found that just 16% of agencies have deployed encryption for data at rest.

How serious are the federal cybersecurity report’s findings? What steps should be taken to improve the situation? What are the primary causes of the poor state of security in Washington? SearchSecurity editors Rob Wright and Peter Loshin discuss those questions and more in this episode of the Risk & Repeat podcast.

Breaking down the Efail flaws

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In this week’s Risk & Repeat podcast, SearchSecurity editors discuss the Efail vulnerabilities in PGP and S/Mime protocols, as well as the rocky disclosure process for the flaws.

The unveiling of the Efail flaws in encryption client software led to spirited debates about the rocky disclosure of the vulnerabilities and who, ultimately, was responsible for them.

The vulnerabilities, which were discovered by a team of academic researchers in Germany and Belgium, affect some client software that implements two popular protocols for email encryption in Pretty Good Privacy (PGP) and Secure Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions (S/Mime). The Efail flaws could allow threat actors to obtain the plaintext of messages encrypted with the affected client software.

The researchers’ technical paper pointed to faulty email clients rather than the protocols themselves, which sparked a debate about who was responsible for the Efail flaws. While some infosec experts argued the developers were on the hook, others such as Matthew Green, professor at Johns Hopkins University’s Information Security Institute, criticized organizations like GnuPG for not taking a more active role in addressing the problem. Additionally, a broken embargo for the branded vulnerabilities led to questions and concerns about coordinated disclosure processes.

Was there an overreaction to Efail? Who takes the majority of the blame for these vulnerabilities? Did the Efail disclosure actually fail? SearchSecurity editors Rob Wright and Peter Loshin discuss these questions and more in this episode of the Risk & Repeat podcast.

The Bitcoin boom and its infosec effects

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In this week’s Risk & Repeat podcast, SearchSecurity editors discuss the recent bitcoin boom and how the cryptocurrency’s rising value could affect the cybersecurity landscape.

The bitcoin boom that saw a dramatic rise in the cryptocurrency’s value in recent weeks could have big implications for information security.

In the last month, the price of a single bitcoin tripled, jumping from approximately $5,700 to more than $17,000. A number of factors, including interest in the opening of the first regulated bitcoin futures exchanges and a hard fork in the cryptocurrency, could be contributing to the bitcoin boom beyond a general increase in buying and selling volumes.

But the surge also comes at a time of rampant global ransomware attacks, many of which demand payment from victims in bitcoin. While some enterprises have disclosed ransomware attacks, experts generally believe that many more attacks are kept quiet.

Could cybercriminals and ransomware attacks be contributing to the bitcoin boom? What will the rising price of the cryptocurrency mean for the cybercrime economy? Will the high value of bitcoin lead to more cyberattacks on bitcoin owners and exchanges, like NiceHash, which recently lost approximately $80 million in bitcoin following a massive data breach?

SearchSecurity editors Rob Wright and Peter Loshin discuss those questions and more on the bitcoin boom in this episode of the Risk & Repeat podcast.

Analyzing the accidental data breach

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In this week’s Risk & Repeat podcast, SearchSecurity editors discuss the rise of accidental data breaches following a series of enterprise exposures of user data online.

Data breaches are so common these days that some of them don’t even include threat actors or malware of any kind.

Troy Hunt, security researcher and creator of the website HaveIbeenpwned.com, recently testified before Congress in a hearing titled “Identity Verification in a Post-Breach World,” in which he discussed how organizations are often committing accidental data breaches. Such incidents typically involve enterprises mistakenly making corporate or user data public on the internet through cloud services, web services and other technologies.

Hunt’s testimony comes on the heels of a number of accidental data breaches via Amazon Web Services (AWS); several organizations, including the NSA and U.S. Army, have exposed sensitive data through misconfigured instances of AWS’ Simple Storage Service. More recently, Kromtech Security Center revealed that mobile app developer Ai.type exposed more than 370 million personal records of users, including, in some cases, users’ contact lists, through a misconfigured MongoDB database.

During the congressional hearing last week, Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-Va.) asked Hunt why these accidental breaches keep happening. “Is it really that easy to accidentally share your cloud services with the world?” Griffith asked.

“The simple answer to the last question is, yes, it is that easy,” Hunt said. “It’s very often just a simple misconfiguration.”

Why are enterprises committing so many accidental breaches? Do these incidents reflect a lack of security competency? Should cloud providers and software developers do more to protect customers from making these types of errors? SearchSecurity editors Rob Wright and Peter Loshin discuss those questions and more in this episode of the Risk & Repeat podcast.

Sale of Symantec Website Security completed

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In this week’s Risk & Repeat podcast, SearchSecurity editors discuss the sale of Symantec Website Security to DigiCert and what it means for Symantec’s troubled certificate business.

DigiCert Inc.’s acquisition of Symantec Website Security was completed last week, but concerns in the browser community still remain about Symantec’s SSL certificates.

DigiCert agreed to acquire the Symantec Website Security division, which includes the vendor’s public key infrastructure (PKI) business, in August, following months of negotiations between Symantec and web browser giants Google and Mozilla regarding widespread issues with the security vendor’s certificate authority. Those issues included certificate mis-issuance and a lack of proper auditing, which led Google and Mozilla to propose a removal of trust for certificates issued by Symantec Website Security.

After tense negotiations and delays, Symantec ultimately agreed to a remediation plan that would turn over its SSL certificate operations to another trusted certificate authority that would oversee issuance and validation. Instead of choosing a third-party partner, Symantec agreed to sell its PKI business to DigiCert.

However, Mozilla expressed concerns that Symantec’s old PKI operations, as well as its culture and processes, would continue to operate despite DigiCert assuming ownership of the business — DigiCert has said that all Symantec certificates will be issued and validated by DigiCert’s PKI by Dec. 1.

Questions still remain about how DigiCert will address the systemic problems within the Symantec Website Security division and when they will be resolved. SearchSecurity editors Rob Wright and Peter Loshin discuss those questions and more in this episode of the Risk & Repeat podcast.

Risk & Repeat: Is vulnerability marketing problematic?

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In this week’s Risk & Repeat podcast, SearchSecurity editors discuss vulnerability marketing and compare how the recent KRACK attack and ROCA flaw were publicized and promoted.

Should security vulnerabilities be marketed like products? That was the question after two major security flaws brought to light last week — the KRACK attack and the ROCA flaw — offered a contrast in the practice of vulnerability marketing.

While the KRACK attack, which exploits a vulnerability in the WPA2 protocol, received more marketing and media attention, some infosec experts argued the ROCA flaw, which affects RSA encryption in Infineon Technologies chips, was equally, if not more serious than KRACK.

Both vulnerabilities were discovered primarily by security researchers at universities, not by vendors. Yet, ROCA appeared to have taken a backseat to the KRACK attack; the latter discovery benefited from vulnerability marketing efforts, which included a dedicated website and promotional efforts to raise awareness of the WPA2 flaw.

What are the potential drawbacks of vulnerability marketing? Should the researchers that discovered the ROCA flaw have done more to promote their findings, or is the infosec community treating vulnerabilities too much like products? SearchSecurity editors Rob Wright and Peter Loshin discuss those questions and more in this episode of the Risk & Repeat podcast.

Risk & Repeat: Kaspersky ban turns ugly

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In this week’s ‘Risk & Repeat’ podcast, SearchSecurity editors discuss the U.S. government’s Kaspersky ban and how competitors like McAfee are trying to capitalize on it.

The ongoing controversy surrounding the U.S. government’s ban on antivirus vendor Kaspersky Lab took another ugly turn, thanks to a competitor.

Last week, it was revealed that McAfee, formerly Intel Security, was using the Kaspersky ban to promote its McAfee Total Protection software. Specifically, the promotion highlighted the fact that McAfee is headquartered in the U.S., while Kaspersky is based in Russia. It also included an inflammatory headline, which claimed, “FBI advises removal of Kaspersky for suspected ties to Russia spies.” McAfee has since changed the promotion page, but not before Kaspersky Lab CEO Eugene Kaspersky criticized the vendor’s actions on Twitter.

The Kaspersky ban came amid investigations regarding the Russian government’s alleged interference in the 2016 presidential election. While there’s no evidence of wrongdoing, the Department of Homeland Security this month ordered every federal agency to remove Kaspersky products from their systems within 90 days.

Should antivirus competitors try to capitalize on the Kaspersky ban? Was McAfee’s approach out of line? Is Kaspersky being treated unfairly by the U.S. government? SearchSecurity editors Rob Wright and Peter Loshin discuss those questions and more in this episode of the Risk & Repeat podcast.