Analytics // Security Monitoring
4/23/2013
02:23 AM
Wendy Nather
Wendy Nather
Commentary
Connect Directly
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Did The Dog Bark In the Night?

What we still don't know, despite the data

There are many threat and breach reports out there, and many are very good, but I do confess that my favorite after all these years is still the Verizon Business Data Breach Investigations Report. Not only does it have the largest sample size (with 19 partners adding their data this year), but it also has innovative graphics and an open discussion about the limitations of its data. It's hilarious to read. By "hilarious," I don't mean, "Do they realize their fly is open?" hilarious, but the kind of hilarity you get when you buy enough tureen-sized drinks for risk analysis geeks.

When you have bad data, you quickly run out of things to do with it. When you have great data, the more you examine it, the more questions it prompts. Take, for example, the updated statistics on third-party notification -- 52% of breaches at large enterprises and 23% at small enterprises were first noticed by unrelated third parties, and almost all of those were cases of espionage. (This doesn't include breaches that were detected by common point-of-purchase fraud detection, by the way; those are considered to be related parties.)

First of all, you would think that the larger percentage would be at smaller enterprises; aren't they the ones who are less likely to be able to find things themselves? On the other hand, espionage probably targets larger enterprises, so maybe it makes more sense the way it is.

But there's a third thought buried in here: Could it be that more breaches are discovered by unrelated third parties because of the growth of threat intelligence overall? If you put more intelligence in the hands of central traffic nodes such as ISPs, then they're bound to find more in what they're already seeing. And if there are more threat intelligence vendors, then they are more likely to contact enterprises when they see indicators of compromise that they already know from other cases. So this increase might actually be a good sign.

One more heretical thought: The DBIR doesn't contain any information about the failures of organizations to detect their own breaches. Is it that they weren't doing any monitoring? Were they monitoring, but just not doing it very well? Or did they have all the latest and greatest security monitoring tools, but they didn't actually work?

I'm just going to leave that out there for the next round of drinks.

Wendy Nather is Research Director of the Enterprise Security Practice at the independent analyst firm 451 Research. You can find her on Twitter as @451wendy. Wendy Nather is Research Director of the Enterprise Security Practice at independent analyst firm 451 Research. With over 30 years of IT experience, she has worked both in financial services and in the public sector, both in the US and in Europe. Wendy's coverage areas ... View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Cartoon
Current Issue
Dark Reading, September 16, 2014
Malicious software is morphing to be more targeted, stealthy, and destructive. Are you prepared to stop it?
Flash Poll
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2014-2886
Published: 2014-09-18
GKSu 2.0.2, when sudo-mode is not enabled, uses " (double quote) characters in a gksu-run-helper argument, which allows attackers to execute arbitrary commands in certain situations involving an untrusted substring within this argument, as demonstrated by an untrusted filename encountered during ins...

CVE-2014-4352
Published: 2014-09-18
Address Book in Apple iOS before 8 relies on the hardware UID for its encryption key, which makes it easier for physically proximate attackers to obtain sensitive information by obtaining this UID.

CVE-2014-4353
Published: 2014-09-18
Race condition in iMessage in Apple iOS before 8 allows attackers to obtain sensitive information by leveraging the presence of an attachment after the deletion of its parent (1) iMessage or (2) MMS.

CVE-2014-4354
Published: 2014-09-18
Apple iOS before 8 enables Bluetooth during all upgrade actions, which makes it easier for remote attackers to bypass intended access restrictions via a Bluetooth session.

CVE-2014-4356
Published: 2014-09-18
Apple iOS before 8 does not follow the intended configuration setting for text-message preview on the lock screen, which allows physically proximate attackers to obtain sensitive information by reading this screen.

Best of the Web
Dark Reading Radio