Tag Archives: web2.0

Information Security Intelligence Report for 2010 and Predictions for 2011

Looking back at 2010 shows a widening gap between cybercrime and law enforcement capabilities, in conjunction to nations that have started the cyber-race to develop defensive and offensive capabilities. Most of the attacks analyzed in 2010 depict organizations that fall behind in their defensive strategies as attackers take advantage of a hybrid approach that merges technical merits alongside human weaknesses to cash-out on their attacks.

Cybercrime widens the gap between attack capability and defense mechanisms. Analyzing several of the major attacks of 2010, Security Art notes that organizations were attacked in two key ways. Firstly, through technical exploits such as Aurora, Mariposa, ZeuS, and SpyEye. Secondly, by attacks that bypassed traditional protection methods, and gained access to targets through human-weakness areas such as social media. While businesses focused on defending themselves using security mechanisms such as anti- virus software and perimeter defenses, attackers jumped over these defenses, and proceeded to flood the market with a high volume of malware that now poses a serious threat to security providers in terms of detection rates and response time. However, law enforcement agencies have focused mainly on menial cybercriminals, and have not successfully reduced the impact of online criminal activities. On a national level, we see nations have embarked upon the race to develop defensive and offensive cyber capabilities.

Cyberwar arms race sends nations to shopping frenzy. As CyberWar gained merit (and criticism) during 2010, with the movie-material Stuxnet incident being the poster-boy for news outlets that published every spin-off, speculation, and plain old gossip, the international scene had its own race for the latest and greatest defense mechanisms. The implications of Aurora and Stuxnet made most countries feel their lack of a critical infrastructure defense and the capability to deliver a similar cyber-blow, and many went shopping for weapons. Security Art witnessed the strategic build up of capabilities in some countries, and a more hurried shopping spree (that usually led to amassment of CyberCrime provided tools) in others. This, and the delayed response of organizations such as the UN, the EU, and NATO, left the scene looking more like the Wild West than Silicon Valley.

Expanding digital domain and improved understanding of security will reign in 2011. Our prediction for 2011, drawn from the criminal, political and diplomatic sides of cybercrime that dominated 2010, is that more focus is going to be given to approaching security from a strategic standpoint. Rather than buying “best of breed” products and ticking off compliance sheets, we predict that organizations and countries will apply a more sensible executive-level understanding of what information security means to them. In the expanding personal digital domain (smartphone, tablets, and suchlike), and the continued digitization of all organizational information (from scanned materials to VOIP telephony), security must be applied to more layers than ever before. Countries and organizations will have to adopt additional skill-sets and look for solutions in areas they have not dealt with before.

Please go to http://www.security-art.com/download-report to download the full report, or email [email protected] for additional information.

The Botnet Wars – industry Q&A

I was approached recently by Bart P from Panda security in order to participate in an industry expert Q&A about the botnet wars (apparently he did his homework as he got quite the lineup to participate in this, guessed he can count me as a close miss :-)…).

He managed to compile a great Q&A where you can read some of the views and opinions on the current state of business at the Botnet (including exploit kits and crimeware kits) marketplace.

The full article is available at: http://bartblaze.blogspot.com/2010/10/botnet-wars-q.html


AHA! A blast from the past…

I just ran across this great blog post from Lori MacVittie at Web2.0 Journal. Can’t say exactly why it sparked my interest, but after reading it I realized this may be Freudian… The proposed Anonymous Human Authentication (AHA – great acronym Lori!) proposed in it closely resembles a technology we worked on back in the days of BeeFence.

I’m not putting any links to BeeFence since it was a startup I had the honor to be one of the founders of (which obviously went down the road of many other startups…), but the neat thing about it was the technology (did I mention I was the CTO 😉 ). Basically – we had what we called “Active Validation” (or sometimes “Interrogation”) of sessions. We generalized it a bit more to cover additional protocols rather than just focus on Web2.0 (think what it can do to the NIDS/IPS world…).

Makes me think of getting back on the startup bandwagon, although I’d have to make some sense out of the drawer-full of ideas I’ve been filling over the past few years having been engaged in web security and cloud security recently… you never know 🙂

Two steps forward, one step back – controling botnets…

Just stumbled across this: http://www.symantec.com/connect/blogs/google-groups-trojan – basically, botnets are utilizing Google groups (could have been any other mailing list system for the sake of argument) to communicate between the bots (trojans) and their command and control centers.

Funny how technology sometimes is way simpler than you imagine it would be. As per the new twitter based botnet channels, and the fancy web2.0 communications that are available for usage (see older post at here), utilizing the age-old mechanism of anonymously posing messages on a newsgroup is humbling.

Nevertheless, it’s the same new story (Google groups were chosen because of the web interface and the uptime reputation), just dressed up in old clothes (pun intended…). The same advice that I gave 2 years ago, which I gave last year, and again 3 months ago, is still valid – forget about putting out fires (that’s your off-the-shelf AV). Focus on proper mitigation, a solution that shows you how the technology is an extension of the company’s research, and forward thinking attitude. Look for solutions that are more behavioral in nature in order to identify mal-intent communications, and act proactively based on the predictions and research done.

Basically – don’t settle for mediocracy!

Stay safe.

Drawing the line – securing an organization while thinking of users…

My latest post on the Israeli Insurance Association (http://www.igudbit.org.il/Index.asp?ArticleID=1235&CategoryID=98 [HEBREW]) discusses the challanges of managing risk in a complex organizational environment where you have to take into account end-users meddling with data.

In Israel, insurance agencies are not yet at the stage where they provide full access to insured parties online to their insurance and policy information, but should be getting ready to do so. Some of the considerations and implications of creating the infrastructure for such access is discussed in the article in light of the risk management requirements set forth by regulation for such organizations. Financial institutions have been facing the same issues for years now since online banking have become a standard so it’s a great opportunity to reexamine what policies are applicable and what technologies can be used to enforce them in a very similar environment.