Tag Archives: Information Security Management System

Threat intelligence is the new Hype, but can threat intel actually defend you against future attacks?

19 January 2016

Can threat intel actually defend you against future attacks?

Tim Holman’s answer is simple, although not surprising:

‘Most of the time, yes. But by far the best way is to take a pro-active approach, presume attackers are already on the inside and tailor your defences from the inside out.’

For effective treatment of the inevitable he recommends to invest in a ISMS:

‘No firm can ever defend against 100% of attacks, 100% of the time, but without a doubt you can create resilient systems and business processes that are 100% effective in restoring your firm to business-as-usual when the inevitable cyber attack happens.’

For the full report please see ‘Security Think Tank: Security intelligence demands getting the basics right‘ published on ComputerWeekly.com

 Have a good day.

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Lessons learned from Tom Clancy’s ‘Novel Red Strom Rising’

14 December 2015

In the past weeks I listened to Tom Clancy’s ‘Novel Red Strom Rising’ during my ride to the office. Red Storm Rising is about a Third World War in Europe around the mid-1980s. From a IT security point of view one of the most impressive scenes is about a missile attack against the carrier Nimitz.

Nimitz has a layered defense system which successfully destroys all missiles except of two which cause severe damage. However, the continual emergency drill was successful, the carrier achieves the dry dock under its own steam and is soon back in combat.

In the IT world we are facing similar problems when a cyber attacker manages to get across first line of defense, i.e. the firewall which separates the company network from the internet. In the best case, if a Information Security Management System (ISMS) is in place, everyone reacts the right way and serious damage is prevented.

But reacting the right way requires some practice, and the lack of practice is the crux of the matter. Is all software available to rebuild a system from scratch? Have you ever performed a restore test to make sure your backup concept works and your business critical systems could be restored to the required point in time, and in the defined time frame?

Practicing of security procedures is often avoided because of the risk for the systems and the costs. But without practicing you cannot ensure the effectiveness of your ISMS. It is all a question of finding the proper balance.

I digged somewhat deeper into military strategy in the past weeks. In publication ‘The Strategic Game of ? And ?‘ John Richard Boyd shows the direction to a strategic approach to defense in cyber war:

The Strategic Game is one of Interaction and Isolation. A game in which we must be able to diminish adversary’s ability to communicate or interact with his environment while sustaining or improving ours.

Seems to be a good motto for 2016.

That’s it for today, and for this year. I will take a Christmas break.

A merry Christmas to you all and the best wishes for health, happiness and prosperity in the New Year.

Christmas Trees

Would the European NIS Directive have averted the TV5 Monde hack?

16 April 2015

‘Never one to miss a chance to push policy, Oettinger also suggested that the proposed Network and Information Security (NIS) Directive could have averted the hack in the first place.’ This excerpt from Jennifer Baker’s post ‘What would have stopped TV5Monde hack? Yup, MOAR LAWS’, published on 14 April 2015, shows once again the naïvety of top European leaders.

The implementation of an information security risk management will not raise the security level. It just manages the structural weaknesses of a security strategy. That’s much more than most of the companies have in place today, but it’s not enough to fight the current attacks and, to stay secure in future. This is best explained by an example.

One of the required controls for implementation of an Information Security Management System (ISMS) is a security standard or security baseline. The baseline lays down the security configuration of e.g. the servers in a company. It’s very important to define a security baseline because it allows you to find deviations of an individual server from the baseline. Each deviation is a vulnerability that could be exploited by an attacker and should be mitigated as soon as possible.

But a security baseline lays down the structural weaknesses of a security configuration as well. If your baseline was originated on the basis of Windows 2008 R2 Server, and if you use it for Windows 2012 R2 Server without changes, a Windows 2012 Server will show the same structural weaknesses as a Windows 2008 Server.

Thus, the baseline has to be continually improved to at least keep the security level because the threat level develops faster than vendors release new security features.

Would the European NIS Directive have averted the TV5 Monde hack?

The answer is: Definitely Not!

Information Security is more than implementing policies and the obligation to inform the authorities in the case of a cyber-attack.

Take care! And check the complexity of your passwords!

For details about the NIS directive please see the NIS platform.