Sunday, June 18, 2017

Who falls for this?

Sometimes a spammer hits my inbox with something so amusing I feel like I have to share. Check this one out. I can't tell you the last time I received something with such bad grammar, trying so hard to sound official yet catastrophically failing.

Anyway, I think you'll enjoy this one as much as I did.

/---------------------
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
Anti-Terrorist And Monitory Crime Division.
Federal Bureau Of Investigation.
J.Edgar.Hoover Building Washington Dc
Customers Service Hours / Monday To Saturday
Office Hours Monday To Saturday:
 
Dear Beneficiary,
 
Series of meetings have been held over the past 7 months with the secretary general of the United Nations Organization. This ended 3 days ago. It is obvious that you
 
have not received your fund which is to the tune of $16.5million due to past corrupt Governmental Officials who almost held the fund to themselves for their selfish
 
reason and some individuals who have taken advantage of your fund all in an attempt to swindle your fund which has led to so many losses from your end and unnecessary
 
delay in the receipt of your fund.for more information do get back to us.
 
The National Central Bureau of Interpol enhanced by the United Nations and Federal Bureau of Investigation have successfully passed a mandate to the current Prime
 
Minister of Cambodia Excellency Hun Sen to boost the exercise of clearing all foreign debts owed to you and other individuals and organizations who have been found not
 
to have receive their Contract Sum, Lottery/Gambling, Inheritance and the likes. Now how would you like to receive your payment? because we have two method of  payment
 
which is by Check or by ATM card?
 
ATM Card: We will be issuing you a custom pin based ATM card which you will use to withdraw up to $5,000 per day from any ATM machine that has the Master Card Logo on
 
it and the card have to be renewed in 4 years time which is 2022. Also with the ATM card you will be able to transfer your funds to your local bank account. The ATM
 
card comes with a handbook or manual to enlighten you about how to use it. Even if you do not have a bank account.
Check: To be deposited in your bank for it to be cleared within three working days. Your payment would be sent to you via any of your preferred option and would be
 
mailed to you via FedEx. Because we have signed a contract with FedEx which should expire 25th of June 2017 you will only need to pay $180 instead of $420 saving
 
you $240 so if you
Pay before the one week you save $240 note that any one asking you for some kind of money above the usual fee is definitely a fraudsters and you will have to stop
 
communication with every other person if you have been in contact with any. Also remember that all you will ever have to spend is $180.00 nothing more! Nothing less!
 
And we guarantee the receipt of your fund to be successfully delivered to you within the next 24hrs after the receipt of payment has been confirmed.
 
Note: Everything has been taken care of by the Government of Cambodia,The United Nation and also the FBI and including taxes, custom paper and clearance duty so all
 
you will ever need to pay is $180.
DO NOT SEND MONEY TO ANYONE UNTIL YOU READ THIS: The actual fees for shipping your ATM card is $420 but because FedEx have temporarily discontinued the C.O.D which
 
gives you the chance to pay when package is delivered for international shipping We had to sign contract with them for bulk shipping which makes the fees reduce from
 
the actual fee of $420 to $180 nothing more and no hidden fees of any sort!To effect the release of your fund valued at $16.5million you are advised to contact our
 
correspondent in Asia the delivery officer Miss.Chi Liko with the information below,
 
 
Tele:+855977558948
Email: chiliko7@e-mail.ua
 
You are adviced to contact her with the informations as stated below:
Your full Name..
Your Address:..............
Home/Cell Phone:..............
Preferred Payment Method ( ATM / Cashier Check )
 
 
Upon receipt of payment the delivery officer will ensure that your package is sent within 24 working hours. Because we are so sure of everything we are giving you a
 
100% money back guarantee if you do not receive payment/package within the next 24hrs after you have made the payment for shipping.
 
Yours sincerely,
 
Miss Donna Story
 
FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION
UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20535
---------------------\

Saturday, January 31, 2015

In Defense of Ethical Hacking

Pete Herzog, wrote an interesting piece on Dark Matters (Norse’s blog platform) a while back, and I’ve given it a few days to sink in because I didn’t want my response to be emotional. After a few days I’ve re-read the post a few more times and still have no idea where Pete, someone I otherwise is fairly sane and smart (see his bio - http://blog.norsecorp.com/author/pherzog/) , gets this premise he’s writing about. In fact, it annoyed me enough that I wrote up a response to his post… and Pete, I’m confused where this point of view comes from! I’d genuinely like to know… I’ll reach out and see if we can figure it out.

— For the sake of this blog post, I consider ethical hacking and penetration testing to effectively be the same thing. I know not everyone agrees, and that’s unfortunate, but I guess you can’t please everyone.

So here on my comments on Pete’s blog post titled “The Myth of Ethical Hacking (http://blog.norsecorp.com/2015/01/27/the-myth-of-ethical-hacking/)”

Friday, January 16, 2015

Beyond the Buzzwords: Why You Need Threat Intelligence

I dislike buzzwords.

Let me be more precise -- I heavily dislike when a properly useful term is commandeered by the army of marketing people out there in the market space and promptly loses any real meaning. It makes me crazy, as it should make you, when terms devised to speak to some new method, utility, or technology becomes virtually meaningless when everyone uses it to mean everything and nothing all at once. Being in a highly dynamic technical field is hard enough without having to play thesaurus games with the marketing people. They always win anyway.

Monday, December 15, 2014

When the Press Aids the Enemy

Let's start with this- Freedom of the press is a critical part of any free society, and more importantly, a democratically governed society.

But that being said, I can't help but think there are times when the actions of the media aid the enemy. This is a touchy subject so I'll keep it concise and just make a few points that stick in my mind.

First, it's pretty hard to argue that the media looks for ever-more sensational headlines, truth be damned, to get clicks and drive traffic to their publication. Whether it's digital or actual ink-on-paper sensationalism sells, there's no arguing with that.

What troubles me is that like in the war on terrorism, the enemy succeeds in their mission when the media creates hysteria and fear. This much should be clear. The media tend to feed into this pretty regularly and we see this in some of the most sensational headlines from stories that should told in fact, not fantasy.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Sony Pictures - Lessons From a Real Worst-Case Scenario

There is a lot of junk floating around on the Internet and in the media regarding the Sony Pictures breach. Who did it? What were the motives? These are all being violently discussed in the Twitter-sphere and elsewhere, and if you happen to read the articles and blogs being churned out by the media your head is probably spinning right now.
While I don't think we (the public) generally know enough to be able to talk about the breach with any certainty yet - and perhaps we never will - there is an critical point here which I think is being missed.

What is the lesson the public should take away from the breach, and subsequent consequences?

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Is Bigger Budget an Adequate Measure of Security Efficacy?

Bigger budgets - the envy of security professionals and the scourge of CISOs the world over. While we'd all like bigger budgets to make security better within our organizations, getting more money to spend isn't necessarily a harbinger of goodness to come.

Monday, December 1, 2014

When Your Marquee Client Gets Hacked

There are people who will tell you that all PR is good PR. In my years in security I have seen both sides of that debate true. Lately though, particularly for security companies who are selling into the enterprise - this may be a double-edged sword that cuts deep.

Look at any reputable (and some not-so-much) security vendor's website and you'll notice there's always a page that gives you all the different logos of the companies who use their products. Most times the vendor pays dearly for that either through deep discounts, or some other concessions just to be able to use the reference. Generally this works to the vendor's advantage because seeing Vendor X used by your peers means that perhaps it's a good idea to give them a look.

Except, maybe, when those peers are getting hammered for being a data breach victim.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The Absolute Worst Case - 2 Examples of Security's Black Swans

You know that saying "It just got real"? If you're an employee of Sony Pictures - it just got real. In a very, very bad way. There are reports that the entire Sony Pictures infrastructure is down, computer, network, VPN and all - and that there isn't an ETR on target.

There are reports that there is highly sensitive information being held for "ransom", if you can call it that, by that attackers. There is even some reporting that someone representing the attackers has contacted the tech media and disclosed that the way they were able to infiltrate so completely was through insider help. In other words, the barbarians were literally inside the castle walls.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

SIEM 3.0 - Continuing to Deliver on Failed Promises

SIEM - Security Information and Event Management - has been a product for many, many years now and virtually every organization out there has bought into the promise of what SIEM will bring. Since the term was coined in 2005, the security industry has largely struggled to deliver on all the promises the product family made.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Having Fun with Password Self-Rest Mechanisms

You know what makes me crazy? Security people who don't understand how crappy attempts to push security policy actually drive security (in the real world) lower. Sometimes, and this makes it a little bit less bad, it's not security people that are responsible but well-meaning developers, project managers, or others who simply don't understand.

The quintessential example of this phenomena is the password self-service reset functionality built into many websites. It's almost 2015 and I was forced to register for a website the other day where I can't really tell you why they needed me to set up a username and password, but I couldn't do what I needed to without that unfortunate string of events that all but guaranteed that I would be upset.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Other Side of Breach Hysteria

In a world where everyone is trying to sell you something, security is certainly no exception. But separating the hype from the truth can easily turn into a full time job if you're not careful.

With all the recent retail data breaches, it would appear as though the sky is falling in large chunks right on top of us. Every big-name retailer, and even some of the smaller ones, are being hacked and their precious card data is bring whisked away to be sold to miscreants and criminals.

Now enter the sales and marketing pitches. After every breach it would seem our mailboxes fill up with subject lines such as-
"Learn how not to be the next , read how our latest gizmo will keep you secure!"
I don't know about you, but the snake-oil pitch is starting to get old. While it's clear that the average buyer is getting the message about data breaches and hackers - I believe there are two other aspects of this which aren't talked about enough.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Security Lessons from Complex, Dynamic Environments

Security is hard.

Check that- security is relatively hard in static environments, but when you take on a dynamic company environment security becomes unpossible. I'm injecting a bit of humor here because you're going to need a chuckle before you read this.

Some of us in the security industry live in what's referred to as a static environment. Low rate of change (low entropy) means that you can implement a security control or measure and leave it there, knowing that it'll be just as effective today as tomorrow or the day after. Of course, this takes into account the rate at which effectiveness of security tools degrades, and understanding whether things were effective in the first place. It also means that you don't have to worry about things like a new system showing up on the network very often or a new route to the Internet. And when these do happen, you can be relatively sure something is wrong.

Early on in my career I worked for a technical recruiting firm. Computers were just a tool and companies having websites was a novelty. The ancient Novell NetWare 3.11 systems had not seen a reboot in literally half a decade but nothing was broken so everything just kept running and slowly accumulating inches of dust in the back room. When I worked there we modernized to NT 3.51 (don't laugh, I'm dating myself here) and built an IIS-based web page for external consumption. That place was a low entropy environment. We changed out server equipment never, and workstations every 5 years. If all of a sudden something new showed up in the 30 node network, I'd immediately suspect something was amiss. At the time, nothing that exciting ever happened.

Fast forward a few years and I'm working for a financial start-up. It's the early 2000's and this company is the polar opposite of a static company. We have at least 1 new server coming online a day, typically 5-10 new IP addresses showing up that no one can identify. We get by because we have one thing going for us. That one thing is the on-ramp to the Internet. We have a single T1 which connects us to the rest of the world. We drop a firewall and an IDS (I think we used an early SNORT version, maybe, plus a Sonic Wall firewall). When that changed and our employees started to go mobile and thus VPN things got a little hairy.

Fast forward another few years and I'm working at one of the world's largest companies on arguably one of the most complex networks mankind has ever seen. Forget trying to understand or know the everything - we're struggling to keep track of the few things we DO know. Heck we spend 4 weeks NMap'ing (and accidentally causing a minor crisis, oops) our own IP subnets to find all the NT4 systems when support finally and seriously for real this time, ran out.

Now let's look at security in the context of this article (and reported breach) - http://www.nextgov.com/cybersecurity/2014/10/dhs-attackers-hacked-critical-manufacturing-firm-months/96317/. Let me highlight a few key quotes for you-
"The event was complicated by the fact that the company had undergone corporate acquisitions, which introduced more network connections, and consequently a wider attack surface. The firm had more than 100 entry and exit points to the Internet."
You may chuckle at that, but I bet you have pretty close to this at your organization. Sure, maybe the ingress/egress points you control are few, and well protected, but it's the ones you don't know about which will hurt you. Therein lies the big problem - the disconnect between business risk and information security ("cyber") risk. If information security isn't a part of the fabric of your business, and a part of the core of the business decision-making process you're going to continue to fail big, or suffer by a thousand papercuts.

While not necessarily as sexy as that APT Defender Super Deluxe Edition v2.0 box your vendor is trying to sell you, network and system configuration management, change management and asset management are things you absolutely must get right, and must be involved in as a security professional for your enterprise. The alternative is you have total chaos wherein you're trying to plug each new issue as you find out about it, while the business has long forgotten about the project and has moved on. This sort of asynchronous approach is brutal in both human effort and capital expenditure.

Now let's focus on another interesting quote from the article. Everyone like to offer advice to breach victims, as if they have any clue what they're saying. This one is a gem-
"Going forward, “rearchitecting the network is the best approach to ensure that the company has a consistent security posture across its wide enterprise," officials advised."
What sort of half-baked advice is that?! Those of you who have worked incidents in your careers, have you ever told someone that the best thing to do with your super-complex network is to totally rearchitect it? How quickly would you get thrown out of a 2nd story window if you did? While this advice sounds sane to the person who's saying it - and likely has never had to follow the advice - can you imagine being given the task of completely rearchitecting a large, complex network in-place? I've seen it done. Once. And it took super-human effort, an army of consultants, more outages than I'd care to admit, and it was still cobbled together in some places for "legacy support".

Anyway, somewhere in this was a point about how large, complex networks and dynamic environments are doomed to security failure unless security is elevated to the business level and becomes an executive priority. I recognize that not every company will be able to do this because it won't fit their operating and risk models - but if that's the case you have to prepare for the fallout. In the cases where risk models say security is a business-level issue you have a chance to "get it right"; this means you have to give a solid effort and align to business, and so on.

Security is hard, folks.

Monday, October 6, 2014

To Reform and Institutionalize Research for Public Safety (and Security)

On October 3rd, 2014 a petition appeared on the Petitions.WhiteHouse.gov website titled "Unlocking public access to research on software safety through DMCA and CFAA reform". I encourage you to go read the text of the petition yourself.

While I believe that on the whole the CFAA and more urgently the DMCA need dramatic reforms if not to be flat-out dumped, I'm just not sure I'm completely on board with there this idea is going. I've discussed my displeasure for the CFAA on a few of our recent podcasts if you follow our Down the Security Rabbithole Podcast series, and I would likely throw a party if the DMCA were repealed tomorrow - but unlocking "research" broadly is dangerous.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Software Security - Hackable Even When It's Secure

On a recent call, one of the smartest technical folks I can name said something that made me reach for a notepad, to take the idea down for further development later. He was talking about why some of the systems enterprises believe are secure really aren't, even if they've managed to avoid some of the key issues.

Let me explain this a little deeper, because this thought merits such a discussion.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Managing Security in a Highly Decentralized Business Model

Information Security leadership has and will likely continue to be part politicking, part sales, part marketing, and part security. As anyone who has been a security leader or CISO in their job history can attest to, issuing edicts to the business is as easy as it is fruitless- Getting positive results in all but the most strictly regulated environments is nearly impossible. In high centralized organizations, at least, the CISO stands a chance since the organization likely has common goals, processes, and capital spending models. When you get to an organization that operates in a highly distributed and decentralized manner the task of keeping security pace grows to epic proportions.

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