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Threat Intelligence

3/5/2018
10:00 AM
Levi Gundert
Levi Gundert
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Hacking Back & the Digital Wild West

Far from helping organizations defend themselves, hacking back will escalate an already chaotic situation.

Source: Recorded Future
Source: Recorded Future

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este1976
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este1976,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/10/2018 | 10:45:21 PM
Re: prevention better than prosecution
Good analysis and wonderful say sir. Your in-depth post has cleared my many doubts. Of course, prevention is better than prosecution.
macker490
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macker490,
User Rank: Ninja
3/10/2018 | 8:48:51 AM
prevention better than prosecution
Prevention is better than Prosecution

The Internet has been described as a "Fool's Paradise" from time to time.   I always liked that characterization.

The troubles on the net today largely originate in a general failure to authenticate.

Consider for example the troubles with fraudulent 1040 tax forms.    Or the new mortgage loan scams.  or the grand-daddy of them all: e/mail "phishing" (BEC).

For prevention we need to turn to the work of Whitfield Diffie and Martin Hellman.    These gentlemen understood this issue and knew what they needed to do.   What we need to do is to understand our part in their work: authentication.

When my daughter sat down in the office at the Credit Union to open a new account: that is when the Credit Union -- and my daughter -- should have authenticated the keys needed -- for her online interface(s).

This will need to be incorporated into systems as packaged technology.

We are talking about Public Key Cryptology: PGP, PKI, SSL, TLS, X.509 GnuPG ... it's "out there" -- but to make it work it is necessary to authenticate the keys.

I could give you the "fingerprint" for my key: 4DEA0DAD.  and you could download it from the servers.   But you still wouldn't know who I am.  Once you find a way to identify me and verify the fingerprint on my key THEN you can SIGN my key.   This will make my key VALID in your system meaning you are satisfied that you know who I am.    This doesn't happen with X.509: it's too easy for anybody to acquire an x.509 certificate -- and -- generally -- users have no idea what the certificates are supposed to look like or what data they should contain.

That doesn't matter: HERE -- but -- at the Credit Union or with my tax software and such : yes, it does matter.

Note: the most important aspect of PKI/PGP/GnuPG --- is AUTHENTICATION.

what was the cost of hacking last year:   I'm remembering $600B - .8% of GDP
dave.dittrich
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dave.dittrich,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/6/2018 | 1:08:14 AM
"Active Response Continuum" is a better phrase, better model, than "active defense"
I fully agree with Levi, that current proposals to modify existing computer crime statutes are insufficiently nuanced, insufficiently framed, and not ready to move forward. He is right that the consequences of allowing the private sector to become too agressive, too casually, will likely make the situation for law enforcement more difficult rather than easier. I published my own analysis of the ACDC Act 2.0 (and proposals to improve it) along the lines of Levi's suggestions. You can find that analysis on Medium (search for "Medium Dittrich Active Defense Certainty Act", since URLs are not allowed in comments) and read about the Active Response Continuum (search "Dittrich Active Response Continuum").

I believe the end goal here should be to facilitate victims' reporting of meaningful evidence of computer crimes in a timely manner to law enforcement, to better enable the U.S. government to use its sovereign levers of power (diplomacy, intelligence, military, economic sanctions and law enforcement, DIME-LE for short) to pursue criminal actions and violations of international norms and laws against foreign and domestic actors. The private sector does not have the authorities, nor the "whole of government" options, necessary to reduce international incidents like those Levi listed.

There are many examples of corporations using civil legal process (e.g., botnet "takedowns" using temporary restraining orders) within the U.S. justice system. When and if a victim determines that the situation is sufficiently grave to justify violating domestic laws and taking aggressive uncooperative actions on systems not under their authority, outside of civil or criminal legal process, they already have the option under U.S. law to make an affirmative defense for their actions. The idea in the ACDC Act of forcing a harmed intermediary to bring suit in civil court for damages resulting from an entity taking ill considered "active defense measures" seems to me to be unfair and unecessary.
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