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The Disconnect Between Cybersecurity & the C-Suite
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imispgh
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imispgh,
User Rank: Strategist
12/28/2017 | 10:22:50 PM
Most organizations avoid best cybersecurity practices on purpose
Lockheed DHS Whistleblower – Most organizations are avoiding a critical best practice on purpose! Making hacks far easier to accomplish. Privileged Account Management

This is why Equifax, Yahoo, OPM, Anthem, FedEx, Blue Cross Blue Shield and others were hacked. And why most organizations and companies have already been hacked, do not know it, or will be. Hacks will never be significantly diminished until this practice and all the underlying issues keeping it from happening, are fixed.

My name is Michael DeKort. I am a former engineering manager for NORAD, a lead C4ISR systems engineer for DHS and a software project manager for an Aegis Weapon System baseline. I also worked in counter-terrorism at the US State Department and in Commercial IT. I  received the IEEE Barus Ethics Award for whistleblowing regarding the DHS/USCG Deepwater program post 9/11. (That included cybersecurity issues not mentioned in most articles).

·  http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/stamp/stamp.jsp?arnumber=4468728

The overwhelming majority of companies and government organizations are avoiding the most critical cybersecurity practice of all. Dealing with Privileged Account security. It's the biggest dirty secret in cybersecurity. Which is extremely unfortunate because virtually every hack on record was accomplished by someone gaining access to a privileged account then moving through the system. This usually occurs due to a successful phishing expedition. (Of which 22% are successful. Keep in mind only one is needed). Also most hackers are in a system for almost 6 months before being detected.

Of the small fraction of companies that even say they deal with this area and purchase products few of them actually use the products they purchase properly.  Many install them then slow roll actually using them to any significant degree for decades. Often this is meant to purposefully deceive C-Suite and regulators. This puts everyone at risk. (Note - cloud data, including emails over 6 months old, are not protected by the 4th amendment in the US).

Here is how bad things are. CMU CERT is the premier authority on cyber-security best practices. Especially for DoD. I found out that CMU CERT has no solution for themselves in this area. They actually defer to CMU IT for their own security and they have no solution in this area. Shouldn't the organization responsible for telling others what best practice is use best practices for its own security?

Why is this happening? IT leaders have no problem with firewalls, anti-virus or monitors of any systems except privileged accounts etc because those things are additive, don't cause them to drive cultural habit changes or expose massive best practice issues. That leaves huge cybersecurity best practice gaps.

Examples include having 4X more accounts than people. Non-encrypted password files or spreadsheets and emails with passwords. Software programs with passwords hard coded in them and many not knowing where they all are. As a result of this many passwords are not changed for decades. Especially for applications or databases. There is also the problem of having local admin permissions available on laptops and end points and not knowing where they all are either. Fixing those issues would also require forcing the masses to do things differently. Few have the desire to be part of any of that. In spite of "continuous process improvement" etc.

Governing bodies and regulators mean well but they don't help much either. They try to avoid being too specific to let the industry figure out best practices, do what is right for them or avoid government being too involved. Most of it is nonsense. This gives organizations far too much room to wiggle. Which they have no problem exploiting. Most companies and organizations doing the least amount possible.

This is not a technical issue. Or even one of money since it cost more to not fix this given the hiring of way too many cybersecurity people to work around best practices. It's one of Courage. Courage to admit the problems exist and to deal with the culture and lead them to fix them. And to not sacrifice customers or the public to protect egos or let the bean counters justify it's cheaper to harm customers than the bottom line. 
SchemaCzar
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SchemaCzar,
User Rank: Strategist
12/29/2017 | 10:53:00 AM
Re: Most organizations avoid best cybersecurity practices on purpose
Suggest you contact the editors here and write a piece about this with your byline.
eVestigator-Simon-Smith
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50%
eVestigator-Simon-Smith,
User Rank: Apprentice
12/29/2017 | 11:04:15 AM
Thumbs up from Simon Smith - frontline Cybersecurity Investigator
Well you hit the nail on the head. However I would bet that those percentages are inflated telling you what you want to hear. In my experience many C-Suite just don't understand what Cybersecurity actually is. They don't realise that it is predominantly cybercrime and predominantly inside espionage. This rules out 3/4 of the world's understanding of Cybersecurity as a discipline and has created a new species of overnight short course experts who have no idea about management, investigations, fraud, process, program and people management, criminology, all IT SDLC areas at a practical expert level, mediation, conciliation and expert witness skills - to be able to present in court expert evidence and know the system including the people and their micro managed processes inside out. This can only be C-Level and multiple skills and years of expertise in about eight different industry's is a must. Bottom line: If C-Suite don't want to take the role to protect their shares, not so long they will receive a call stating the shares have no value and the company is in Administration, full stop. Simon Smith
REISEN1955
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50%
REISEN1955,
User Rank: Ninja
1/5/2018 | 1:12:50 PM
Generic attitude of C-Suite
Those IT guys, they sit around all day doing nothing and the servers rarely go down.  What they hell are they doing and why do we pay them salary and benefits?  Listen, Ed in Finance suggested we outsource to WiproTate in India whever everything is "cheaper-faster-better."  We can cut down our salary expense and benefit costs by firing 140 workers and increase shareholder value too!!!  It's a win-win-win!!!

THAT is the view of management.  Period. 

Outsourcin to IBM is always a recipe for double diaster.  See Indiana. 


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