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CISOs' Cyber War: How Did We Get Here?
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Brook S.E.S308
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Brook S.E.S308,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/9/2018 | 1:53:30 PM
Software == Bugs
The Turing Proof has not yet fallen. Short summary: an automated process cannot prove that an automated process is correct.

IOW, software can be proven to have errors, but not proven to be absolutely correct. That means that we will be living with software errors for sometime - imagining that viulnerability is entirely a business problem missed a key technical fact of life. 

Plus, not all vulnerabilities are equal. Many are not really of value to real-world adversaries. Risk assessment will continue to be important.

As I have noted both in my books and elsewhere, error is also an artifact of innovation. When attempting something new, it's not going to be "right" for a while; mistakes will be made. 

Finally, designs for yesteryear will likely not survive tomorrow's research.

Meltdown/Spectre is precisely this situation. Speculative execution has provided enormous CPU gains. We now know that those gains came with a security cost, because dedicated researchers probed and prodded to find holes in the design. future designs are thus improved. 

This last point is key: it's very hard to anticipate every possible use case and mis-use case for a design. While analytic tools like Threat Modeling can anticipate known techniques, it's very hard to see far into research and attack future.

While your points are certainly valid, the argument, I believe is incomplete without my additions

cheers

/brook s.e. schoenfield
jackmillerciso@gmail.com
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[email protected],
User Rank: Author
1/9/2018 | 11:39:06 PM
Re: Software == Bugs
Thank you for your comment. I do agree with you, these points you clearly articulate are valid and must be taken into consideration for developing any meaningful and workable policies or regulations.

While some discovered vulnerabilities might have been virtually impossible to find with even the best QA program, unfortunately, there have been many that should have easily been identified and remediated but were not and that problem must be resolved. 

Likewise, with concern to innovation, I don't think it is an either/or conversation.  Even in the most regulated industries there is always innovation, the most important thing is that we have a level playing field. 
Dimitri Chichlo
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Dimitri Chichlo,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/14/2018 | 4:23:33 AM
Re: Software == Bugs
Thnak you for your article, Jack. Indeed, software==bugs but, yes, we know means of programming that avoids most of code mistakes. Plus by stretching the time to market, you are putting your business at risk (ex.: Diginotar).

What puzzles me in this industry, is that we take for granted something which is completely unacceptable in other industries. Take automotive for instance. Do you imagine that every month the car dealer calls you to fix something in your newly acquired car (ABS, airbag, brakes, etc.)? By the way, this can very much be the case in the future, as cars are no more than driving appliances but so far, we have seen limited cases, but they do exist. 

However, do you have to be a CISO to understand the need for security? I do not completely agree with that. I think that this is rather a question of common sense. One of the challenges we face as infosec professionals is to pass the message higher. Do we really succedd in that? I doubt. It is just that security is still not embedded in IT (yet) and not considered as a (potential) competitive advantage. 

Not sure also about the concept of cyber war. I would leave that term to a state level concern, not at business level, although some businesses are strategic for countries, but this is another story. I would rather use "IT security" (not really sexy though :). 

 

 


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