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Snowmageddon 2015 is upon us! At this moment, the east coast of the United States is in the early stages of a snowstorm that is expected to be one of the greatest of all time, with a forecast of snow accumulation in the New York between 2 and 3 feet. Considering that snowfalls of a foot can bring this region to a standstill, this is clearly going to be quite a disruption.
In this world of always online, always connected communication, how can you avoid being disrupted.
First, you should take whatever steps you can to be able to work at home. Most companies will allow employees to access their company email from home and on their mobile devices. Many companies allow employees to login remotely to their intranet from home using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) or a remote desktop system, but this might require special approval. The important thing is to know what your company allows and get setup. Setup procedures are not intuitive and you may need tech support.
Don’t wait until the flakes are falling!
Second, and this is important for general survival of weather emergency, take whatever steps you can to deal with power outages. Power is the weakest link in staying connected.
- Ideally, you should have a backup gas powered generator. You might this is extravagant if this is just for emergencies, but you can get an inexpensive one for about $100. It seems that power outages in the Northeast are increasing.I have experienced outages of about week 3 times since Hurricane Irene in 2011. That is three more than I had ever experienced in my entire life!
- A car charger will come in handy for recharging your cell phone and laptop.
- Keep a supply of batteries for radios, flashlights and lanterns. When I was out of power after hurricane sandy, a battery powered lantern was great. I couldn’t have worked on my laptop without.
Most of all, keep your perspective and make safety your first priority. If you have work at the office that you think just has to get done, ask yourself if it is worth the safety risks before heading off in your car or staying late while snow piles up. If you rely on mass transit, consider that if you get to work you may have to sleep at work because you could be stranded there.
As you endure the trials and tribulations of mother nature, remember this motto: “Remain Calm and Rely on Comodo.”
The past six months has proven that the threat landscape has changed forever. Threat intelligence is one of those posture-forward initiatives. Our upcoming Year-End Report will shed light on the fact that it is a growing focus for the community. In concert with that growing focus, we asked a few of our close friends, what has changed and what should executives do now?
HOW HAS THREAT INTELLIGENCE CHANGED IN THE PAST SIX MONTHS?
Santosh Kamane, Vice President Information Security, DBS Bank
“Phishing, malware, ransomware attacks are on the rise because adversaries know that users are isolated from their workplaces. Organizations who worked in a security environment where they were not prepared to work remotely have had a particularly hard time. They did not have do’s and don’ts on how to handle phishing emails, malware, and ransomware, what to click, what not to click, when to report incident, etc.- those base practices in place.”
Santosh notes that security awareness was low on our way into the pandemic. That means that all of the security awareness focus for the past two years simply got the community to a less than optimal outcome. Security awareness campaigns continue- but it’s possible the strategy of communication needs to be examined.
What might be most interesting about Kamane’s response is that he’s not discussing feeds- he’s talking about basic human threat intelligence. What good do the best feeds do you if Dave from accounting just opened the wrong email?
Kayne McGladrey, Senior Member, IEEE
“We were in the hype cycle with threat intelligence, and as a direct consequence, organizations are evaluating their threat intelligence providers and asking, is this actionable? Is this relevant? You can have two separate threat intelligence feeds covering the exact same industry, and you’re getting entirely different signaling information out of them. So I think that there’s a hesitancy to invest more in threat intelligence rather than to pick the feeds and providers that are providing the most actionable information.”
Kayne is talking about feeds. But all feeds are not created equal and a great way to know if your given feeds are of any value to you is if you’ve taken action on anything anytime recently. Another way to know if you’re feeds are of any value is to quantify.
“Have a KPI about value that came out of your threat intelligence feed. Did it actually cause you to do something differently? Were your analysts able to act on this, or was it just another thing that they had to go look at? Because when you think of time as being our chief enemy, if it’s sucking time and not producing value, why do you keep it? It’s a data feed, ultimately. At the end of the day, you have to contextualize it in terms of your organization. Threat actors tend to vary in terms of behavior in their TTPs. And consequently, you need to really tailor your threat intelligence. And if you’re not getting that tailored information, drop it.”
One might argue that tailored information for your organization is more valuable than general information. Kayne is arguing that general information is not valuable. But he stops short of offering that company-specific feeds are the only feeds that matter.
“Is there an ISAC, an information security association, that’s sharing similar information that you could just get by being a member? That could also be a better public/private partnership to address these issues, in addition to a commercial entity that’s allegedly providing intelligence, whereas, in fact, they’re just providing data.”
Make some friends. Share some information. Which brings us to our second question.
THREAT INTELLIGENCE: WHAT SHOULD CISOs DO NOW?
Kayne McGladrey, Senior Member, IEEE
“Definitely, make a contact with your local veterans employment representative, your LVER. You can find those through America’s job network, and just find out. Like the other thing, ultimately, your HR departments will be pleased with because LVERs are not a paid service. You can basically hire people- with no hiring or headhunter fee or associated cost structure- who are going to be motivated and talented. They might need to learn your tool chain, but the actual intelligence skills to disambiguate and make sense of a threat intelligence feed or feeds, as well as what you’re seeing off your SIEM telemetry- that’s invaluable. You cannot put a price on that.”
Many folks are talking about investing more into threat intelligence. And many of those folks are talking about investing in automated analysis of threat intelligence feeds. An alternative to automating your (potentially unproven) feeds is hiring a veteran who all-in will likely be cheaper while having intelligence chops that are proven.
Santosh Kamane, Vice President Information Security, DBS Bank
“The key is zero trust architecture. It talks about addressing your internal and external traits at the same time. We always considered our employees, as non-mobile, internal resources that would always be in-office, now everybody’s on the move. That makes the threat level for external and internal players pretty much same. And in some cases with the internal employees it’s higher, because they hold so much knowledge, they already have keys to enter into your network.”
Again Santosh discusses heading off threats at the pass. It seems he in fact is on the pulse of where the industry’s issues lie. How can we justify unproven investment on “detect” threat landscape initiatives if “protect” threat landscape initiatives are vulnerable?
“The focus would be on how you build, purely a good a zero trust architecture to gain better visibility into everything that goes into your network- a centralized view- to have centralized security administration. Everything that goes in and out of the network that needs to be built, scrutinized, everything needs to be logged. Everything needs to be assessed on why that particularly activity was allowed or denied.”
As a coda to his contribution, Kamane urges folks to focus on the solution as opposed to the problem. So one might suggest that even if you’ve got the VPN in place because you just invested in that architecture. Rather than invest further in threat intelligence feeds or automation, use that money on a ZTNA (Zero Trust Network Architecture). Or, close the doors before you worry about the windows.
Jeff Campbell, CISO, Horizon Power
“Adopt that model of sharing. It’s all about knowledge sharing. It doesn’t really matter which threat Intel feed to which you subscribe. Don’t be overwhelmed by the number of available services- choose a framework, choose a model that you feel comfortable with, or that is purpose fit for your organization- and then start to structure your intelligence feeds or threat Intel around what you’re trying to achieve. If you’re trying to mature your cybersecurity practice, then look at threat feeds that will actually give you practical ways of remediating.”
Jeff makes like Steven Covey and suggests that you begin with the end in mind. What outcome are you trying to achieve? Answer that question. Then- just as Kayne suggested- customize your feeds as well as you can to your particular organization. And- just as Kayne suggested- ensure that you are getting information which is actionable.
Dennis Leber, CISO, University of Tennessee
“Review your program and look at how you’re operationalizing that program. Look at what you’re doing with the data. You know how to improve. Look for opportunities to improve on what you’re doing already, and then share it, share your best practices with your peers and other companies.”
No matter what you do- once you have your threat intelligence working for you. A great final point by Dennis- share with your peers. The cyber security community is stronger and safer when collaboration occurs.
Huobi expands fiat gateway to support AUD, GBP and EUR through Banxa
Huobi Global, the world’s leading digital asset exchange, today announced support for the Australian dollar (AUD), British pound sterling (GPB), and Euro (EUR) through Banxa, an internationally compliant fiat-to-crypto gateway solution. The partnership allows users in Australia, UK, and the European Union to purchase cryptocurrencies with their official fiat currencies.
By integrating with Banxa’s payment solutions, Huobi is able to provide users with more flexibility and choice in payment methods, while also enabling a seamless user experience. Users can access the new fiat-to-crypto gateway directly from the Huobi OTC site and deposit AUD, GBP, or EUR to begin trading cryptocurrencies in just a few clicks. Funds can be instantly added to a user’s account using bank transfers, debit/credit card, and other preferred payment methods with zero fees.
“Our partnership with Banxa allows us to support three of the world’s most widely-used fiat currencies, marking a significant milestone in our global expansion,” said Ciara Sun, Vice President, Global Markets at Huobi Group. “With our newly expanded fiat gateway, we want to help accelerate crypto adoption by making digital assets much more easily accessible to the masses. This integration introduces a new point of access for users in Australia, UK, and the European Union looking to enter the crypto market.”
Domenic Carcosa, founder and Non-Executive Chairman of Banxa said. “Huobi is a first mover heavyweight, with some of the most innovative products and services in the industry. As digital assets become mainstream and move toward mass adoption, regulation and transparency are key to building trust. That is why we’ve chosen to partner with Huobi.”
From the ‘Buy Crypto’ page on Huobi OTC, users can select the digital asset they’d like to purchase, choose their fiat currency, and enter the fiat value or asset quantity for purchase. After selecting their preferred payment method, which includes Visa and Mastercard transactions, users can purchase up to $20,000 USD worth of digital assets in a single transaction. The daily purchase limit is $15,000 and the monthly purchase limit is $60,000.
Users are also required to submit a one-time identity verification as part of the transaction process. Once completed and the payment approved, users can access their assets in their exchange account within a few minutes. From there, users can immediately select a trading pair and start crypto-to-crypto trading.
Sun added, “As we bolster our global presence and expand into new markets, we will continue adding new fiat on-ramps to give all users a frictionless onboarding experience. We recently set out on an ambitious new goal to empower 100 million households worldwide to own digital assets, so we want to ensure we make it faster, easier, and more secure for new users to get started.”
Australian Cyber Week 2020 showcases vibrant, growing sector
Today, the Federal Minister for Industry, Science and Technology, The Hon Karen Andrews MP, launched the fourth annual Australian Cyber Week, a week-long series of events and activities nationally coordinated by AustCyber – the Australian Cyber Security Growth Network.
The official launch event, featuring Minister Andrews, Innes Willox of the Australian Industry Group, Chris Painter of the Global Forum on Cybersecurity Expertise, industry heavyweight David Thodey and AustCyber’s CEO Michelle Price, will highlight the shift to digital through the COVID-19 pandemic and how it is accelerating the economy – a theme that will be explored further throughout the week through almost 30 events spanning the full breadth of the cyber security landscape for those within the sector, but also well beyond.
Held from 26-30 October, Australian Cyber Week 2020 provides opportunities for Australian cyber security and related organisations to showcase their capabilities and network with peers, potential investors and customers. It also provides an excellent way for cyber curious individuals and organisations to better understand what cyber security can do and mean for them.
“Cyber Week 2020 is one of AustCyber’s key programs under our mission to grow a globally competitive cyber security sector,” said Michelle Price, CEO of AustCyber. “The events during Australia’s Cyber Week connect Australian cyber capabilities with key domestic and international stakeholders who are contributing to the growth and success of the sector and creates further opportunities to enhance future economic growth.”
Australian Cyber Week has traditionally featured in-person events and activities at various locations across Australia. In 2020, AustCyber is debuting a new virtual conference platform which features 100% Australian technology. The 3D ‘circuit board city’ is the gateway to daily live events, a networking hub and exhibition hall showcasing booths which feature sovereign products and services. Online events will be complemented by in-person events in South Australia and Western Australia, facilitated through AustCyber’s National Network of Cyber Security Innovation Nodes.
“Each day, Australian Cyber Week has a feature event to demonstrate our globally completive cyber security ecosystem,” said Ms. Price. “The range of speakers is broad – ranging from CEOs of large corporates and venture capital investors, to ethical hackers, school students with a keen interest in cyber, and those with disabilities working within the sector.”
Later today, AustCyber in partnership with Cynch Security, Deakin University and RMIT University, will explore small business attitudes towards cyber security. While small businesses have had to fight for survival during the COVID-19 crisis, the unprecedented period of digital adoption has left many exposed to threats they are unprepared for. As Australia looks towards the future again, there has never been a more important time than now to understand the challenges this sector faces. This event will provide paths forward for building cyber fitness in the most vulnerable businesses.
AustCyber has partnered with CISO Lens and cyber security accelerator CyRise to host Sky’s the Limit on Tuesday 27 October. This event will feature ten Australian cyber security companies delivering short pitches to executives from ASX listed companies from key Australian sectors including advanced manufacturing, health, consumer services, mining and financial services.
To underline the importance of digital trust in keeping our digital activity secure and resilient, during an event on 28 October, AustCyber will simulate a significant cyber-attack on Australia through a hypothetical situation. Experts from the Australian Energy Market, Siemens Digital Industries Australia, TOLL Group and cohealth come together to examine the impact on critical infrastructure, crucial parts of our society and how it would impact almost all of us.
The National Missing Persons Hackathon 2020, held on 29 October, is one of the most innovative events to be held in Australia this year and is being held in partnership with the Australian Federal Police, National Missing Persons Coordination Centre and Trace Labs.
This event will see the gathering of ethical hackers and investigators using online investigative techniques within the bounds of the law to find new leads on 12 real missing persons cases in Australia. Contestants will be using their cyber skills to gather open source intelligence (OSINT) on long-term and current missing persons using only information that is publicly available on the internet. The goal of this is to generate new leads on cases that can aid the relevant Australian policing jurisdictions in their investigations.
“We are excited to be returning for 2020 and going virtual for the first time,” said Linda Cavanagh, National Network Lead at AustCyber and Founder of the National Missing Persons Hackathon. “Theoretical concepts are put aside so participants can operate in real time, with real data, for real human impact. Imagine the possibility of a missing person case being solved by the community using crowdsourced cyber skills! Helping close a case would be a great result and show the value and power of OSINT.”
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