Perimeter
2/18/2013
12:59 PM
Gunnar Peterson
Gunnar Peterson
Commentary
50%
50%

RSA: What To Watch For And What Vaccinations To Get Before Rocking The Casbah

Pro tip: It's not threats, it's not capabilities -- it's integration

Spending on security and identity continues to progress and vendors, nothing if not observant, have tried their best to productize the gap between enterprise want and what currently exists. Shopping for rugs in Tangier feels sedate compared to walking the RSA showroom floor.

RSA Conference 2013
Click here for more articles.

This trade show is a necessary part of the industry because as Whit Diffie said, "I understood the importance of cryptography and, in a sense, I understood the scale. I imagined myriad devices encrypting billions of bits communicated among millions of people. What I didn't understand was the business aspect, how many thousands of people had to be hustling to turn a buck to make it happen."

One problem is that all this hustling around a pretty abstract topic like security can create a lot of confusion. I have observed over the years a large number of otherwise sane, pragmatic people who board the plane for SFO and return dazzled by bright and shiny "solutions" that were apparently whispered to them, said behind closed doors or inside a reality distortion field.

So here is the antidote, the vaccination regime before your flight lands at SFO. There is an endless stream of "solutions", each with some ability to foster reasonable doubt that, ceteris paribus, they may lay claim to a marginal security improvement for your company. Here is the part that matters in that sentence for your company.

The focus will, of course, be on the heavy threats they've seen (the whisper part), and their double secret IP (another whisper part best left til we're behind closed doors, or a couple drinks in). These are enough to fool even smart observers, consider Bruce Schneier's time inside the reality distortion field circa 2008:

    Talk to the exhibitors, though, and the most common complaint is that the attendees aren't buying.

    It's not the quality of the wares. The show floor is filled with new security products, new technologies, and new ideas. Many of these are products that will make the attendees' companies more secure in all sorts of different ways. The problem is that most of the people attending the RSA Conference can't understand what the products do or why they should buy them. So they don't.

I think the quality of the wares has a lot to do with it, but leaving that aside, what I think matters much more is not how is any particular product or service, its how good is it for your company. This means integration.

So here is the Pro Tip, before landing at SFO have in mind a checklist of how any product set you are looking at, what are the key questions around process, organizational and technical integration? Sure solution X maybe improves authentication in some way, but what does the API look like, how will my developers work with it, how does it work with my existing web apps' authorization services? What protocols does it use, what type of communications, what endpoints, synchronous or asynchronous, what's the session manager, what identity providers does it work with, what relying parties, what's the token type, what are the failure modes, what security gaps remain? What development or operational processes need to change, what training do my people need, can my people even do this or is it a outsourced only? Question one is for sure on product efficacy and what its trying to solve, but questions two through two hundred should focus on process, organization and technical integration, the steps necessary to realize the efficacy in your company. Gunnar Peterson (@oneraindrop) works on AppSec - Cloud, Mobile and Identity. He maintains a blog at http://1raindrop.typepad.com. View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win a Starbucks Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: This comment is waiting for review by our moderators.
Current Issue
Security Operations and IT Operations: Finding the Path to Collaboration
A wide gulf has emerged between SOC and NOC teams that's keeping both of them from assuring the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of IT systems. Here's how experts think it should be bridged.
Flash Poll
New Best Practices for Secure App Development
New Best Practices for Secure App Development
The transition from DevOps to SecDevOps is combining with the move toward cloud computing to create new challenges - and new opportunities - for the information security team. Download this report, to learn about the new best practices for secure application development.
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2017-0290
Published: 2017-05-09
NScript in mpengine in Microsoft Malware Protection Engine with Engine Version before 1.1.13704.0, as used in Windows Defender and other products, allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary code or cause a denial of service (type confusion and application crash) via crafted JavaScript code within ...

CVE-2016-10369
Published: 2017-05-08
unixsocket.c in lxterminal through 0.3.0 insecurely uses /tmp for a socket file, allowing a local user to cause a denial of service (preventing terminal launch), or possibly have other impact (bypassing terminal access control).

CVE-2016-8202
Published: 2017-05-08
A privilege escalation vulnerability in Brocade Fibre Channel SAN products running Brocade Fabric OS (FOS) releases earlier than v7.4.1d and v8.0.1b could allow an authenticated attacker to elevate the privileges of user accounts accessing the system via command line interface. With affected version...

CVE-2016-8209
Published: 2017-05-08
Improper checks for unusual or exceptional conditions in Brocade NetIron 05.8.00 and later releases up to and including 06.1.00, when the Management Module is continuously scanned on port 22, may allow attackers to cause a denial of service (crash and reload) of the management module.

CVE-2017-0890
Published: 2017-05-08
Nextcloud Server before 11.0.3 is vulnerable to an inadequate escaping leading to a XSS vulnerability in the search module. To be exploitable a user has to write or paste malicious content into the search dialogue.

Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
In past years, security researchers have discovered ways to hack cars, medical devices, automated teller machines, and many other targets. Dark Reading Executive Editor Kelly Jackson Higgins hosts researcher Samy Kamkar and Levi Gundert, vice president of threat intelligence at Recorded Future, to discuss some of 2016's most unusual and creative hacks by white hats, and what these new vulnerabilities might mean for the coming year.