Risk
1/26/2010
11:57 PM
Bob Evans
Bob Evans
Commentary
Connect Directly
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Global CIO: After Google Cyber Attack, CIOs Must Find The Body

The Aurora attacks from China are incredibly advanced and malicious, says McAfee's CTO: "Where's the body?"

Saying that "the world has changed" since the Chinese began their cyberattacks under the name Operation Aurora, McAfee CTO George Kurtz said CIOs need to adapt their threat models "to the new reality of these persistent threats." But these latest attacks are making it hard for CIOs to make their case to the CEO because the post-Aurora threats are almost undetectable. They leave no evidence. They leave no body.

Writing on McAfee's "Security Insights Blog," Kurtz described this latest challenge for CIOs in chilling terms in a post called "Where's The Body?":

Global CIO
Global CIOs: A Site Just For You
Visit InformationWeek's Global CIO -- our new online community and information resource for CIOs operating in the global economy.

I know many of the technical teams are working around the clock to figure out what happened. While one might believe that it should be a relatively straightforward exercise of forensically examining the infected systems and correlating any activity with the associated firewall log files, it isn't that easy.

You may ask, "Why is that?" Well, there are three key questions that upper management, namely the CEO and CIO, ask before they rate this incident above "media hype."

1. Did we have a breach?

2. Was data stolen?

3. If so, what data was taken and by whom?

The problem, Kurtz says, is that today's cyberattacks are so sophisticated that they do great damage without leaving a trace, which leads to "one major problem that seems to be a common theme. There is no body to be found."

And without that body—the data—the CEO and CIO won't necessarily believe there's an urgent issue because in the past, all serious security threats came with a very obvious body included at no extra charge, Kurtz says.

The new challenge: "While a sophisticated attacker will leverage insidious malware, don't expect them to drive a truck through your network and leave a calling card on the way out," Kurtz writes. "Instead, expect low and slow movements of data that 'blend' into the massive amount of traffic flow that happens on a daily basis on your network."

In another recent blog post, Kurtz had described the threats and, again, painted a scary picture. And while I realize he's a high-level executive at a company that would love to sell you some security products and services to stave off such attacks, Kurtz's writing has always impressed me as straightforward and honest. So here's more of his description of the Aurora threat from a recent post called "Google Attack Is Tip Of Iceberg":

Previous
1 of 2
Next
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Flash Poll
Current Issue
Cartoon
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2014-0761
Published: 2014-08-27
The DNP3 driver in CG Automation ePAQ-9410 Substation Gateway allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service (infinite loop or process crash) via a crafted TCP packet.

CVE-2014-0762
Published: 2014-08-27
The DNP3 driver in CG Automation ePAQ-9410 Substation Gateway allows physically proximate attackers to cause a denial of service (infinite loop or process crash) via crafted input over a serial line.

CVE-2014-2380
Published: 2014-08-27
Schneider Electric Wonderware Information Server (WIS) Portal 4.0 SP1 through 5.5 uses weak encryption, which allows remote attackers to obtain sensitive information by reading a credential file.

CVE-2014-2381
Published: 2014-08-27
Schneider Electric Wonderware Information Server (WIS) Portal 4.0 SP1 through 5.5 uses weak encryption, which allows local users to obtain sensitive information by reading a credential file.

CVE-2014-3344
Published: 2014-08-27
Multiple cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerabilities in the web framework in Cisco Transport Gateway for Smart Call Home (aka TG-SCH or Transport Gateway Installation Software) 4.0 allow remote attackers to inject arbitrary web script or HTML via unspecified parameters, aka Bug IDs CSCuq31129, CSCuq3...

Best of the Web
Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
This episode of Dark Reading Radio looks at infosec security from the big enterprise POV with interviews featuring Ron Plesco, Cyber Investigations, Intelligence & Analytics at KPMG; and Chris Inglis & Chris Bell of Securonix.