Perimeter
11/3/2009
01:00 PM
Commentary
Commentary
Commentary
Connect Directly
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Fundamental Failures With Incident Response Plans

I recently got back from a sizable IT security conference in London. As I've experienced countless times at shows, everyone was most intrigued by the war stories about organizations that were victims of a data breach. Security folks have an innate desire to learn what happened to others so they can prevent encountering the same fate -- or so they say. However, after personally investigating hundreds of data breaches for my clients, there seems to be a number of recurring themes that nobody seems

I recently got back from a sizable IT security conference in London. As I've experienced countless times at shows, everyone was most intrigued by the war stories about organizations that were victims of a data breach. Security folks have an innate desire to learn what happened to others so they can prevent encountering the same fate -- or so they say. However, after personally investigating hundreds of data breaches for my clients, there seems to be a number of recurring themes that nobody seems to catch. One in particular is with respect to developing and maintaining an incident response plan.Now I know what you're thinking: "Of course I have an incident response plan. Everyone has one." Interestingly, everyone I spoke to at the conference similarly claimed to have an incident response plan for their organization. When I followed that up with a question regarding the last time they did a mock incident drill or post mortem -- I received the "deer in headlights" look from almost everyone. Most were familiar with the concept of a post mortem, but few had actually done them. Only one had ever undertaken a mock incident drill.

How is that we can be so fascinated with data breaches, yet also miss one of the most basic fundamentals of handling them? Is it because there is nothing sexy about an incident response plan? Or maybe it’s just difficult to get excited about something for which there is no fancy appliance?

Time and again I have seen organizations of all sizes suffer data breaches that nearly put them out of business. However, in many of those cases it wasn't the loss of data that caused the most damage. It was their poor and often sluggish response that put them under the spotlight of a regulator (i.e. the FTC and others) or made them a target of a class-action lawsuit (too many to list).

In most of those cases, they could have completely avoided that negative attention (and costs) if they had an up-to-date incident response plan, were performing mock incident drills and executed the plan accordingly. Having a solid incident response plan can be the determining factor as whether you are leading your organization through an incident or being dragged through it.

-- Christopher Novak is a Managing Principal and a founding member of Verizon Business' Investigative Response Team. Mr. Novak is also a senior investigator and has more than 10 years of experience investigating both civil and criminal computer-based data breaches along with acting in a litigation support capacity. He continues to respond to high-profile cases on a global basis and works closely with local, state, federal, and foreign law enforcement agencies. He was an author of this year's Data Breach Investigations Report, is a frequent source in technology related media, and a regular speaker at industry conferences. He most recently spoke at the RSA Europe Conference (10/2009).

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-2013-6117
Published: 2014-07-11
Dahua DVR 2.608.0000.0 and 2.608.GV00.0 allows remote attackers to bypass authentication and obtain sensitive information including user credentials, change user passwords, clear log files, and perform other actions via a request to TCP port 37777.

CVE-2014-0174
Published: 2014-07-11
Cumin (aka MRG Management Console), as used in Red Hat Enterprise MRG 2.5, does not include the HTTPOnly flag in a Set-Cookie header for the session cookie, which makes it easier for remote attackers to obtain potentially sensitive information via script access to this cookie.

CVE-2014-3485
Published: 2014-07-11
The REST API in the ovirt-engine in oVirt, as used in Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization (rhevm) 3.4, allows remote authenticated users to read arbitrary files and have other unspecified impact via unknown vectors, related to an XML External Entity (XXE) issue.

CVE-2014-3499
Published: 2014-07-11
Docker 1.0.0 uses world-readable and world-writable permissions on the management socket, which allows local users to gain privileges via unspecified vectors.

CVE-2014-3503
Published: 2014-07-11
Apache Syncope 1.1.x before 1.1.8 uses weak random values to generate passwords, which makes it easier for remote attackers to guess the password via a brute force attack.

Best of the Web
Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
Marilyn Cohodas and her guests look at the evolving nature of the relationship between CIO and CSO.