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.

Risk

12/1/2017
08:40 AM
Connect Directly
Twitter
LinkedIn
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

'Blocking and Tackling' in the New Age of Security

In a pep talk to CISOs, the chief security strategist at PSCU advises teams to prioritize resilience in addition to security.

INSECURITY CONFERENCE 2017 - Washington, DC - Prioritizing resilience is the new normal for modern cybersecurity leaders, said Gene Fredriksen, chief security strategist for PSCU, in his closing keynote remarks here at Dark Reading's INSecurity conference this week.

"If we look at the recent breaches … the one thing we cannot afford to do is forget how to block and tackle," he said to his audience of security pros. "We're not just talking about security anymore; we're talking about resilience."

It's no longer enough to be content that things are secure, Fredriksen explained. Systems have to be robust; they have to be able to withstand glitches in the infrastructure. "We need to look at developing systems that not just survive, but thrive," he added.

This need is part of a "new normal" for CISOs. Unlike those who entered the role through networking or IT, CISOs of the future need to understand increasingly advanced and numerous actors and their motivations. "It's gotten much bigger," said Fredriksen of their concerns. CISOs need to network, talk with their peers, learn about new risks, and implement new controls.

"Traditional perimeter security doesn't really cut it anymore," he continued, or it's so porous we can't rely on it. It's time to look at extensions outside the perimeter. As Fredriksen listed in his rules for successful cybersecurity, "evolution is always preferable to extinction."

Fredriksen pointed to criminals' uses for data analytics as an example of modern threats. Data from breaches like those at Equifax, social media platforms, and resources like press releases and company websites can give attackers sufficient information to take over a bank account: Social security numbers, account numbers, schools and mascots, family members, friends, pets, birthdate, job history, and hobbies are available to those who know where to look.

The Equifax breach is an example of what can happen when proper precautions aren't taken. It doesn't matter how big your company is, Fredriksen noted. Equifax has a 225-person security staff and it still took 138 days to issue a patch for the flaw leading to the breach, 78 days to figure out people were using their systems, and 117 days to notify the public.

Fredriksen shared a few additional security lessons framed in the context of the Equifax breach:

  • Visibility is key for detection and prevention: You cannot detect what you cannot see
  • Detection isn't fast enough: One day is too long for an attacker to be in your system undetected
  • Secure data, not just the network: The root cause of the Equifax breach was a website vulnerability but data resided on the endpoint
  • Encryption is a must: It isn't easy, and it takes time, but the benefits outweigh the risks
  • Secure vendor connections: This is your responsibility
  • We're all connected: Data is linked; one breach can be leverage for the next and the next

Technology alone cannot make you secure, he continued, emphasizing the importance of people, process, and technology. His sentiments echoed those of Greg Touhill, the first US federal government CISO and Cyxtera president, who gave INSecurity's opening keynote.

Fredriksen closed his presentation with a hint of optimism for business leaders. "The boards are getting very engaged," he said of business involvement, adding that executives are "beginning to understand [security] is not just a technology issue."

It's critical for board members to understand the legal implications of cybersecurity and have access to cybersecurity expertise. Risk management should be given "regular and adequate time" on the board meeting agenda, and directors should set the expectation that management will establish an enterprise-wide risk management framework with adequate staff and budget.

If that sounds like a tall order, Fredriksen advised chatting with the CFO and CTO to learn how they discuss funding with the CEO. "Learn how things work in your company, and you can build that business case," he said. If the CISO walks in with business acumen, people will listen.

"Show progress and get going," he concluded.

Related Content:

Kelly Sheridan is the Staff Editor at Dark Reading, where she focuses on cybersecurity news and analysis. She is a business technology journalist who previously reported for InformationWeek, where she covered Microsoft, and Insurance & Technology, where she covered financial ... View Full Bio
 

Recommended Reading:

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
SchemaCzar
50%
50%
SchemaCzar,
User Rank: Strategist
12/4/2017 | 9:23:46 AM
Fredriksen is just discovering this now?
Fredriksen's points are completely valid, yet I cannot for the life of me understand why he is treating these as new discoveries.  The "resilience" he mentions is simply another way to describe integrity and availability, part of the "C-I-A" triad for decades.  Fredriksen doesn't mention either of these, nor does he mention "C" - confidentiality - or the triad at all.

Also, "traditional perimeter security" has never "cut it."  Defense in depth is another time-proven concept of information security, and not only does Fredriksen not seem to know it's a longstanding practice, he doesn't even identify it.

The points in this article are not timeworn, but timeless.  Is Fredriksen really ignorant of these well-known principles?  Or - perhaps worse - does he have to assume his audience doesn't?

Either way, this article is rather worrying.
News
Inside the Ransomware Campaigns Targeting Exchange Servers
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  4/2/2021
Commentary
Beyond MITRE ATT&CK: The Case for a New Cyber Kill Chain
Rik Turner, Principal Analyst, Infrastructure Solutions, Omdia,  3/30/2021
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
2021 Top Enterprise IT Trends
We've identified the key trends that are poised to impact the IT landscape in 2021. Find out why they're important and how they will affect you today!
Flash Poll
How Enterprises are Developing Secure Applications
How Enterprises are Developing Secure Applications
Recent breaches of third-party apps are driving many organizations to think harder about the security of their off-the-shelf software as they continue to move left in secure software development practices.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2021-30481
PUBLISHED: 2021-04-10
Valve Steam through 2021-04-10, when a Source engine game is installed, allows remote authenticated users to execute arbitrary code because of a buffer overflow that occurs for a Steam invite after one click.
CVE-2021-20020
PUBLISHED: 2021-04-10
A command execution vulnerability in SonicWall GMS 9.3 allows a remote unauthenticated attacker to locally escalate privilege to root.
CVE-2021-30480
PUBLISHED: 2021-04-09
Zoom Chat through 2021-04-09 on Windows and macOS allows certain remote authenticated attackers to execute arbitrary code without user interaction. An attacker must be within the same organization, or an external party who has been accepted as a contact. NOTE: this is specific to the Zoom Chat softw...
CVE-2021-21194
PUBLISHED: 2021-04-09
Use after free in screen sharing in Google Chrome prior to 89.0.4389.114 allowed a remote attacker to potentially exploit heap corruption via a crafted HTML page.
CVE-2021-21195
PUBLISHED: 2021-04-09
Use after free in V8 in Google Chrome prior to 89.0.4389.114 allowed a remote attacker to potentially exploit heap corruption via a crafted HTML page.