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12/11/2014
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FBI Calls For Law Facilitating Security Information Sharing

Uniform breach notification laws and amendments to the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act are also on the list.

FBI officials are calling for updates to the US Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) and for new legislation that encourages threat data information sharing and establishes a uniform federal standard for data breach notification.

In a statement before the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs yesterday, Joseph M. Demarest, assistant director of the FBI's Cyber Division, described some of the bureau's recent successes and stressed the importance of information sharing. "And I cannot make the following statement frequently enough," he said. "The private sector is an essential partner if we are to succeed in defeating the cyber threat our nation confronts."

The federal government has been banging that drum for several years, urging the private sector to pass on threat intelligence voluntarily, and promising to reciprocate. The government has established several units to facilitate such communication: the Guardian Victim Analysis Unit, the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), the Domestic Security Alliance Council, the National Cyber-Forensics and Training Alliance, the National Industry Partnership Unit, and the FBI Liaison Alert System (FLASH), which disseminated 34 critical threat alerts between April 2013 and July 2014.

There was, understandably, some resistance from organizations that weren't eager to spread around details of security failures. Now, however, Demarest reports that the IC3 alone receives approximately 800 complaints per day.

    The FBI would support legislation that would establish a clear framework for sharing and reduce risk in the process, in addition to providing strong and straightforward safeguards for the privacy and civil liberties of Americans. US citizens must have confidence that threat information is being shared appropriately, and we in the law enforcement and intelligence communities must be as transparent as possible.

Demarest also described examples of how information sharing and collaboration efforts between American and foreign law enforcement entities -- including placing FBI cyberspecialists in "key international locations" -- have paid dividends. He cited the GameOver Zeus disruption in May and the November Silk Road 2.0 disruption that resulted in the seizure of more than 400 .onion addresses on the Tor network, along with the arrest of Blake Benthall, a.k.a. "Defcon," a Silk Road owner-operator.

    A decade ago, for example, if an FBI agent tracked an Internet Protocol address to a criminal investigation, and if that IP address was located in a foreign country, this meant the effective end of the investigation. Since that time, however, the FBI has placed cyberspecialists in key international locations to facilitate the investigation of cybercrimes affecting the US.

Colby DeRodeff, chief strategy officer of ThreatStream, provides another reason for openness and collaboration. "The major challenge is the adversary has no obstacles when it comes to sharing and collaboration," he says. "Malware and attack methods, as well as credentials are available to even the most unsophisticated criminals with no legal teams or governing bodies restricting what can be done.

"With that said, obviously, as security has the upmost sensitivity, organizations want to collaborate but need secure methods in which to do so."

Demarest also pushed for amendments to the CFAA, which has not been updated since 2008. "The intervening years have again created the need for the enactment of modest incremental changes."

Sara Peters is Senior Editor at Dark Reading and formerly the editor-in-chief of Enterprise Efficiency. Prior that she was senior editor for the Computer Security Institute, writing and speaking about virtualization, identity management, cybersecurity law, and a myriad ... View Full Bio

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smalpree
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smalpree,
User Rank: Apprentice
12/15/2014 | 10:19:39 AM
Not soon enough, but a step in the right direction
I spent about a year fdoing research on thist opic and how business implements and depends on Defense in Depth and published a peer reviewed white paper via the SANS institute which can be found here in the SANS Reading room.

In this paper I discuss how we specifi9cally must start sharing sanitized attack data with law enforcement and each other if we are to even have a chance of slowing down the attackers much less stopping them

My paper can be found here: https://www.sans.org/reading-room/whitepapers/warfare/defense-depth-impractical-strategy-cyber-world-33896

I am glad to see that there is a trend now to do what I have been advocating for with the FBI and others since 2011.

I refer to the threatscape we face as Sustained Cyber-Siege Defense:

Excerpt from my publication: (Ignore the numbering - the web page won't let me change it.)

Keystones of Sustained Cyber-Siege Defense:

  1. Abundant participation - The greater the number of participants then the more effective participants will be in their strategies for Prevent, Detect, Contain and Eradicate. As a result, the metrics should show a reduction in detection times and reduce the amount of time it takes to push attackers out.
  2. Rapid and sanitized information sharing. 
    1. Vertical Markets must share the data

i.      Strip out company specifics, but share the data.  In order for there to be success it is critical for IT Security Professionals to not only have accurate, actionable data, they must get it in a timely fashion as well.

    1. Vendor sharing of sanitized data, even amongst competitors, is also essential to success.  Vendors have to cooperate and share sanitized and standardized data to detect and eradicate the attackers.  Vendors must develop a standard to share data in a format that is able to be correlated.

i.      All Malware should be identified by hash values and not the dozens of text based aliases seen today.

  1. Vendor Relations – many competitors often use the same vendors.
    1. Use market pressures on vendors, even those that compete with one another to deliver required services in a collaborative manner. 
    2. Place the demand on vendors to work together, with the business and vertical market peers to deliver a higher quality of combined services.
  2. Vendor Specialization – Place pressures on vendors to have services and sales engineers that come from vertical markets that get trained up on the business and processes.  The better the vendor understands the business and processes then the more valuable that vendor will be in the long term.
  3. Knowledge sharing between vendors and the business. Consideration of an employee exchange program would be a highly effective method for knowledge transfer and sharing.
  4. Corporate Citizenship – Corporations need to learn to work with local and federal authorities.  The lack of information reaching the state and federal level is inhibiting the government's ability to accurately measure and weigh the risks from criminal and state sponsored attackers.  IT Security Professionals must openly cooperate with and share information with the authorities so that their representatives have the information they need to apply pressures through law enforcement and political avenues to help reduce the threats.  In order to do so the authorities will require accurate information that paints a clear picture of what is happening nationwide to create opportunity, budgets and develop appropriate resources and responses.

 

 
Joe Stanganelli
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Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Ninja
12/13/2014 | 5:04:37 AM
CFAA
It'll be interesting to see what kind of change they're looking for here specifically.  One of the biggest complaints about the CFAA is that it is not infrequently used to punish white-hat hackers/security researchers when instead those hackers and researchers should be recruited for collaboration to help secure vital cyber infrastructure.
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