Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Operational Security

1/4/2018
05:45 PM
Curtis Franklin
Curtis Franklin
Curt Franklin
50%
50%

Cybersecurity on the Attack: Security Now Poll Results

The readers of Security Now have weighed in on the idea of cybersecurity teams going on the offense against hackers. Hackers might want to start worrying.

IT security tends to be all about defense: We leave the offensive tactics to the criminals. But according to the results of the latest Security Now poll, it might be time to rethink that strategy.

According to the 160 members of the community who responded to the flash poll, taking the battle to the hackers is something for IT security professionals to consider, even if they're only taking the step in conjunction with the efforts of law enforcement. No matter how it's done, though, it would be a major policy change for most organizations.

Roughly two thirds of those responding felt that "fighting fire with fire" in some way is justified, with almost twice as many favoring a blanket "fight-back" stance than those who prefer the idea of working with law enforcement.

In comments to the poll, community member (and Security Now blogger) Joe Stanganelli pointed out that there could be legal consequences to taking hacker-like steps without the explicit sanction of law enforcement. His cautionary note was echoed by community member Michelle, who brought up the ominous threat of unintended consequences if organizations suddenly felt free to hack back against criminals and criminal organizations.

Of course, taking the battle to the hackers can take many forms. Security Now community member mhhfive pointed out that he favors bug bounty and similar programs over more aggressive hack-back tactics for cybersecurity organizations. He also brought up the possibility of "doxxing" -- publicly giving out identifying information of hackers and hacking organizations so that the community at large can be aware of who the criminals are and take appropriate social action. Stanganelli once again weighed in with a voice of caution, citing costs to both society and innocent individuals from doxxing gone wrong.

There's no doubt that frustration is mounting regarding the asymmetrical nature of the current cybersecurity environment; hacking is a low-risk activity for which the payoff can be huge. As with so many other frustrating law-enforcement situations, though, it's worth thinking about the total cost to organizations and society of any remedy we decide to sanction. We could just fine that the cure, while emotionally satisfying in the short run, carries costs that we struggle to pay in the long run.

What do you think? Is it time to hack back? Let us know in the comments below and be sure to look for the next Security Now flash poll.

Related posts:

— Curtis Franklin is the editor of SecurityNow.com. Follow him on Twitter @kg4gwa.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
COVID-19: Latest Security News & Commentary
Dark Reading Staff 9/25/2020
Hacking Yourself: Marie Moe and Pacemaker Security
Gary McGraw Ph.D., Co-founder Berryville Institute of Machine Learning,  9/21/2020
Startup Aims to Map and Track All the IT and Security Things
Kelly Jackson Higgins, Executive Editor at Dark Reading,  9/22/2020
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
Special Report: Computing's New Normal
This special report examines how IT security organizations have adapted to the "new normal" of computing and what the long-term effects will be. Read it and get a unique set of perspectives on issues ranging from new threats & vulnerabilities as a result of remote working to how enterprise security strategy will be affected long term.
Flash Poll
How IT Security Organizations are Attacking the Cybersecurity Problem
How IT Security Organizations are Attacking the Cybersecurity Problem
The COVID-19 pandemic turned the world -- and enterprise computing -- on end. Here's a look at how cybersecurity teams are retrenching their defense strategies, rebuilding their teams, and selecting new technologies to stop the oncoming rise of online attacks.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2020-15208
PUBLISHED: 2020-09-25
In tensorflow-lite before versions 1.15.4, 2.0.3, 2.1.2, 2.2.1 and 2.3.1, when determining the common dimension size of two tensors, TFLite uses a `DCHECK` which is no-op outside of debug compilation modes. Since the function always returns the dimension of the first tensor, malicious attackers can ...
CVE-2020-15209
PUBLISHED: 2020-09-25
In tensorflow-lite before versions 1.15.4, 2.0.3, 2.1.2, 2.2.1 and 2.3.1, a crafted TFLite model can force a node to have as input a tensor backed by a `nullptr` buffer. This can be achieved by changing a buffer index in the flatbuffer serialization to convert a read-only tensor to a read-write one....
CVE-2020-15210
PUBLISHED: 2020-09-25
In tensorflow-lite before versions 1.15.4, 2.0.3, 2.1.2, 2.2.1 and 2.3.1, if a TFLite saved model uses the same tensor as both input and output of an operator, then, depending on the operator, we can observe a segmentation fault or just memory corruption. We have patched the issue in d58c96946b and ...
CVE-2020-15211
PUBLISHED: 2020-09-25
In TensorFlow Lite before versions 1.15.4, 2.0.3, 2.1.2, 2.2.1 and 2.3.1, saved models in the flatbuffer format use a double indexing scheme: a model has a set of subgraphs, each subgraph has a set of operators and each operator has a set of input/output tensors. The flatbuffer format uses indices f...
CVE-2020-15212
PUBLISHED: 2020-09-25
In TensorFlow Lite before versions 2.2.1 and 2.3.1, models using segment sum can trigger writes outside of bounds of heap allocated buffers by inserting negative elements in the segment ids tensor. Users having access to `segment_ids_data` can alter `output_index` and then write to outside of `outpu...