Articles

 

  • Do Not Respond to Fake Contracts

    Perhaps someone at Google might explain the following: Suppose that a new Gmail account is established with a portion of the user ID seemingly matching some company name. Maybe the new account is Main-Street-Insurance-123@gmail.com, or something like that. If that account suddenly starts blasting out PDF attachments that resemble fake contracts, then why don’t your filters drop the send? (I’ll hum the Jeopardy tune, while you think.)

  • Randomized Rethinking of Anti-Virus

    The 1973 Chevrolet Impala has a unique history: Originally a top-seller for GM during the waning years of Nixon's Administration, the full-sized vehicle surged in retro-interest during the 90s when it appeared as Kramer’s car on Seinfeld. This seems less noteworthy, however, than the fact that it was also one of the first cars to include an airbag. This design decision was much debated within GM, however, because airbags emphasized crashes over speed.

  • The Who and What of Email Security

    In the days of circuit-switched telephony, when Grandma dialed Grandpa, the phone company could easily determine that the caller’s identity was, in fact, Grandma. Such confidence melted away, however, with TCP/IP and the Internet. That is, when Kahn and Cerf decided to allow senders, instead of the network, to specify their identity, they created a flexible Internet protocol – but also one that required add-on overlays for authentication.

  • Chained Breach Simulation

    The first time I saw signatures used to detect attacks more than two decades ago, I knew that intrusion detection systems (IDS) would become a new protection category. It was thrilling to see a new security control come to life, and I give credit to the Air Force Information Warfare Center for leading the way on practical implementation. I became so enthused with IDS that I spent a year writing a textbook on the topic.

  • Tough Love for Israeli Cyber Start-Ups

    There’s an awesome scene in an old Michael J. Fox movie where he’s asked if he’s ever been to Italy. His clever response is this: “Wear the shoes, eat the food, never been.” Such dialogue illustrates what can happen when a country like Italy becomes a stereotypical caricature of its better-known products. Just add olive oil to the shoes and pasta, and for many observers – this is the sum of the entire Italian economy.

  • How China Will Achieve Global Cyber Superiority by 2025

    Daran habe ich gar nicht gedacht. (I did not even think about that). This was Einstein’s reaction when Leó Szilárd explained that a chain reaction in uranium could be used to produce a bomb. A letter was quickly dashed to FDR – and just six years later, the United States would detonate two nuclear weapons over the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Had the President been too busy to heed this warning, German physicists might have altered the course of history.

  • Cracking Open Soft Cell

    For banks, it’s accounts. For factories, it’s assembly. For retail, it’s inventory. And for telecoms, it’s call detail. In each case, some critical asset must be protected from hackers at all costs. Banks cannot allow accounts to be deleted, retail firms cannot allow inventory to be corrupted, and telecom firms absolutely, positively cannot allow call detail records to be compromised. Period. This just cannot happen.

  • Addressing Magecart

    The notorious hacking group Magecart surfaced back in 2018, terrorizing websites with an attack known as card skimming. Normally, hacking groups tend to come and go quickly, but Magecart hit a serious nerve with their targeted breaches of enterprise websites and web applications. Wide ranges of companies saw their sites formjacked, and solutions were not immediately evident to most victims. So, I’ve been intrigued by Magecart for some time.

  • HMG Tech News Digest June 21

    Trending News on Zoom's CIO Focusing on the Cyber Threat Challenge, Facebook's New Cryptocurrency, 5G Smart Phones Posing Potential Health Hazard, and Saving the World Through AI

  • A Process for Testing Email Security

    Mimecast’s recent Email Security Risk Assessment (ESRA) is a great read on the topic of threats to email (not to mention including a nice infographic suitable for printing and framing). Let me provide here a brief summary of how the Mimecast team executes ESRA tests, which it has been doing for the past couple of years. Their fine process illustrates how source selection or review might be performed for any number of email security offers.

  • Book Review: Malware Data Science by Joshua Saxe with Hillary Sanders

    One perk of teaching is the free books. Lots of them. They usually come with a lovely letter suggesting that the new edition of The Grand Handbook of Cyber Security – and they all sound like that – would be just perfect for your graduate or undergraduate students. I usually hand these freebies, unopened, to the nearest student I can find. I’m not saying the books are always terrible, but I prefer to select books on my own, thank you.

  • Risk-Based Vulnerability Lifecycle - Prediction and Validation

    When an enterprise examines its cyber risk, an attack surface emerges. This is the set of entry points where vulnerabilities can be exploited by malicious actors. Viewing cyber risk in this way results in the strategic objective to reduce that attack surface, generally through discovery of vulnerabilities, combined with purposeful action designed to reduce the risk of exploits to such weak points. Prediction and validation are key activities in this regard.