Verizon 2017 DBIR: Key Takeaways

Summary The 2017 DBIR is an essential read for organizational leaders, cybersecurity practitioners and security industry professionals. The report provides clear information that helps cyber security practitioners and executives devise strategy, and implement tactical responses to the cyber battlefield of today. In this year’s 10th publication of Verizon’s Data Breach Investigation Report, data from nearly 2,000 confirmed breaches were submitted by IT professionals and analyzed by Verizon security experts. In the report, 88% (up from last year’s 83%)  of incidents fall into same industry categories (up from last year’s 83%) that were first identified in the 2014 report. These attacks…

PWN2OWN 2017 Outcome: Implement Multi-factor Authentication & Least Privilege

Zero Day Initiative, a security research program that offers rewards for successful hacks, reported that on last day of their recent “PWN2OWN 2017” competition, a team of contestants pulled off an unique and challenging feat: they compromised a virtual machine and managed to “escape” to the host system running the virtualization software.  The hack involved three distinct and challenging tasks: Compromising Microsoft’s Edge Browser Compromising the Guest Operating System (running Windows 10) Compromising the VMware Workstation virtualization software And this was all accomplished through a controlled website. Although this may not be the first time each individual layer was compromised, this…

More Thoughts on Vendor Consolidation in the Security Market

In my last blog post, I discussed a new major trend in the security market, which is that security buyers are increasingly looking to consolidate vendors and want more of a platform approach to security versus stitching together point solutions. Besides hearing this directly from customers over the last few months, I documented in the blog how two different analysts, who were both doing comprehensive security customer surveys, both independently found that around “70% of enterprise security buyers are consolidating vendors.”  In this blog post I want to further elaborate on this trend and share some additional data points that…

Federated Identity Management vs. SSO

Last time I wrote about how much it costs to protect yourself, so I want to follow up  with another topic that hits close to home: your wallet. Federated identity management (FIM) and single sign-on (SSO) are not synonymous — FIM gives you SSO, but SSO does not give you FIM. That minor detail is very important to understand, as you make the leap to the cloud and adopt more SaaS applications. While you will have some initial startup cost with FIM by building out an identity service provider (IDP), it is cheaper in the long run than using simple SSO with FIM….

Pass(word)ing the buck!

The start of the New Year is always an interesting time in the security community. Out come the statistics and stories about the worst passwords and the most common ones chosen by online users during the previous year. A recent story in the UK national press suggests that half of all online users worldwide use just 25 passwords between them — and of course, none of the passwords are very secure and hackers could easily crack them. In what seems like Groundhog Day the most common password is once again 123456, followed by 123456789 (so we can assume some popular…

Commission on Enhancing National Cybersecurity: Implement MFA

At the end of 2016, the Commission on Enhancing National Cybersecurity, a nonpartisan committee charged with developing actionable recommendations for securing and growing the digital economy, presented its report to then President Obama. While Obama has left office, the report still provides a valuable path towards ensuring cybersecurity, mapped out in a series of key action items. The most relevant for readers of this blog are found in Recommendation 1.3, summarized below. Recommendation 1.3: The next Administration should launch a national public–private initiative to achieve major security and privacy improvements by increasing the use of strong authentication to improve identity…

Does Multi-Factor Authentication Have to Be Difficult?

Before we go into how Multi-factor authentication (MFA) has changed, let’s have a quick look at what MFA is. With MFA, users must provide two or more “factors” of authentication when they access applications, networks and resources. MFA implementations use a combination of the following factors: Something you know: such as a username, password, PIN or the answer to a security question. Something you have: such as a smartphone, one-time pass token or smart card. Something you are: biometrics like your fingerprint, retina scans or voice recognition.   Now that we understand what MFA is, I’d like to point out that in today’s IT…

Modernizing Legacy Apps to Boost Security: Part II

As we discussed in part I of this article, many companies are still in the process of modernizing their legacy apps. There are a number of reasons to do this, but securing your environment is typically the main goal. We’ve already identified that a (software) token-based system as essential. Let’s continue with a couple more best practices. Provide for User Provisioning An application needs user data — not for authentication, but because it needs to know the role and responsibilities of the person logging in so that privileges inside the app can be managed and regulated. Therefore, a database of…

SSO for Cloud-Based Apps a Key to Collaboration Success for Shiseido

At the end of last year, PC Magazine published an article about the five collaboration trends to expect in 2016. The article stated that, “Distributed teams have more ways than ever to communicate and collaborate in real time, and 2016 is set to bring another wave of innovation around cloud-based connectivity, cross-platform integration, and next-generation multimedia conferencing.” They were pretty accurate. Collaboration between employees and contractors — working from anywhere but the office – is more common every day. And, as the article predicted, “cloud-connected everything” (the #2 trend) and “seamless interoperability” (#4) are the name of the game. But building a truly collaborative…

Modernizing Legacy Apps to Boost Security: Part I

The subject of modernizing apps has been around for years, but while talking to a partner organization recently, I was reminded that there are a number of companies with legacy apps that are just now getting around to dealing with them. What Apps Need Modernization? The commercial apps you’re implementing into your environment today should not need to be modernized. If, however, you’ve developed your own apps or you continue to use legacy commercial apps developed several years back, you may have some work to do. Why Modernize an App? Companies most often modernize apps as a method of improving…