Perimeter
11/3/2009
01:00 PM
Commentary
Commentary
Commentary
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
Cartoon
Current Issue
Flash Poll
Title Partner’s Role in Perimeter Security
Title Partner’s Role in Perimeter Security
Considering how prevalent third-party attacks are, we need to ask hard questions about how partners and suppliers are safeguarding systems and data.
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2013-7441
Published: 2015-05-29
The modern style negotiation in Network Block Device (nbd-server) 2.9.22 through 3.3 allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service (root process termination) by (1) closing the connection during negotiation or (2) specifying a name for a non-existent export.

CVE-2014-9727
Published: 2015-05-29
AVM Fritz!Box allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary commands via shell metacharacters in the var:lang parameter to cgi-bin/webcm.

CVE-2015-0200
Published: 2015-05-29
IBM WebSphere Commerce 6.x through 6.0.0.11 and 7.x before 7.0.0.8 IF2 allows local users to obtain sensitive database information via unspecified vectors.

CVE-2015-0751
Published: 2015-05-29
Cisco IP Phone 7861, when firmware from Cisco Unified Communications Manager 10.3(1) is used, allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service via crafted packets, aka Bug ID CSCus81800.

CVE-2015-0752
Published: 2015-05-29
Cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability in Cisco TelePresence Video Communication Server (VCS) X8.5.1 allows remote attackers to inject arbitrary web script or HTML via a crafted URL, aka Bug ID CSCut27635.

Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
After a serious cybersecurity incident, everyone will be looking to you for answers -- but you’ll never have complete information and you’ll never have enough time. So in those heated moments, when a business is on the brink of collapse, how will you and the rest of the board room executives respond?