Risk
4/9/2008
06:20 PM
Connect Directly
Google+
LinkedIn
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

RSA: Cyber Storm II Builds Network To Defend Against Cyber Crisis

The latest government-sponsored simulated computer security crisis shows there are still some shortfalls in information sharing.

Among the goals for Cyber Storm II, a government-sponsored computer security exercise that occurred last month, was testing information sharing capabilities across organizations during a crisis.

By the accounts of panelists at the RSA Conference in San Francisco who participated in the exercise, the simulated cyber crisis was hugely valuable; they just couldn't share very much information about what went on.

Detailed information about Cyber Storm II will be made available later this summer in an after-action report, said Greg Garcia, assistant secretary for cybersecurity with the Department of Homeland Security.

It thus came as no surprise when U.S. CERT's deputy director Randy Vickers acknowledged that the exercise showed there were still some shortfalls in information sharing during the simulated crisis.

Other panelists included Michigan CIO Dan Lohrmann, New Zealand's managing director of critical infrastructure protection Paul McKittrick, Microsoft senior security specialist Paul Nicholas, and Dow senior information systems manager Christine Adams.

After listening to the panelists talk for forty-five minutes in very general terms about what their organizations hoped to accomplish and in similarly vague terms about various "learnings" that emerged, questions were solicited from the audience.

One pony-tailed RSA attendee, presumably a security pro, expressed dissatisfaction with the lack of specific information disclosed about Cyber Storm II and asked bluntly, "Was there a red team and did they win?"

According to the color traditions observed by the military and security professionals, the red team typically represents an attacking enemy and the blue team typically represents the defenders or home country.

"We don't have a firm answer about winning or losing," said panel moderator Jordana Siegel, acting deputy director at Department of Homeland Security. She however did allow that the exercise had taught everyone a lot.

Generally speaking, the U.S. government has not been shy when it comes to proclaiming its successes.

But if the blue team got trounced, that should not be an entirely unexpected result given that in real world version Cyber Storm II -- now playing on the Internet and coming soon to a network near you -- the red team scores victories daily, against government agencies, businesses, organizations, and individuals.

Vickers insisted that the red team-blue team dynamic didn't quite fit Cyber Storm II. That may be Cyber Storm III. But Cyber Storm II in March was more about getting ready to be tested. It was more about networking, which is to say building interpersonal relationships across organizations among those who may one day face a real cyber crisis.

Citing the words used by Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff at his RSA keynote speech on Tuesday, Garcia said, "It takes a network to defeat a network, and that network is the adversary."

Whatever else it did, Cyber Storm II strengthened the foundations of the blue team's network, the public-private partnership that oversees critical cyber infrastructure.

And as Microsoft's Nicholas observed, public-private partnership "is easy to say but it's hard to do."

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Cartoon
Current Issue
Flash Poll
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2015-1637
Published: 2015-03-06
Schannel (aka Secure Channel) in Microsoft Windows Server 2003 SP2, Windows Vista SP2, Windows Server 2008 SP2 and R2 SP1, Windows 7 SP1, Windows 8, Windows 8.1, Windows Server 2012 Gold and R2, and Windows RT Gold and 8.1 does not properly restrict TLS state transitions, which makes it easier for r...

CVE-2014-2130
Published: 2015-03-05
Cisco Secure Access Control Server (ACS) provides an unintentional administration web interface based on Apache Tomcat, which allows remote authenticated users to modify application files and configuration files, and consequently execute arbitrary code, by leveraging administrative privileges, aka B...

CVE-2014-9688
Published: 2015-03-05
Unspecified vulnerability in the Ninja Forms plugin before 2.8.10 for WordPress has unknown impact and remote attack vectors related to admin users.

CVE-2015-0598
Published: 2015-03-05
The RADIUS implementation in Cisco IOS and IOS XE allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service (device reload) via crafted IPv6 Attributes in Access-Accept packets, aka Bug IDs CSCur84322 and CSCur27693.

CVE-2015-0607
Published: 2015-03-05
The Authentication Proxy feature in Cisco IOS does not properly handle invalid AAA return codes from RADIUS and TACACS+ servers, which allows remote attackers to bypass authentication in opportunistic circumstances via a connection attempt that triggers an invalid code, as demonstrated by a connecti...

Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
How can security professionals better engage with their peers, both in person and online? In this Dark Reading Radio show, we will talk to leaders at some of the security industry’s professional organizations about how security pros can get more involved – with their colleagues in the same industry, with their peers in other industries, and with the IT security community as a whole.