2015 has seen a staggering number of high profile data breaches and attacks, covering almost every major industry segment imaginable. There have been several major attacks on healthcare organizations, resulting in medical and patient data stolen. The Hacking Team breach exposed numerous 0-day vulnerabilities, and the LastPass and Kaspersky breaches demonstrated that security software companies aren't immune to attacks, either. The OPM breach has some of the most significant implications for long-term identity theft across government and military sectors, and the Ashley Madison breach and subsequent data exposure has led to a number of scandalous revelations about what people are really doing in their spare time.
The pace of these breaches is accelerating, and the impact on companies, government agencies, and society as a whole is getting worse. Marriages are wrecked, people are committing suicide, identities are being stolen, and the level of trust in the Internet and software overall has never been lower. We have to ask ourselves in the security industry what we’re doing wrong, and how these attackers are able to break into our environments and steal data so readily and easily.
For those in the information security industry for any length of time, cynicism is high. We’ve pushed for more strenuous application of controls, more monitoring and response tools and capabilities, and better integration of security into the very fabric of IT for many years, often with little to show for it. Today, it’s tempting to say “I told you so” to those who ignored or overlooked security controls for so long. However, cynicism alone won’t really get us anywhere, and it’s time to start looking for new options that can help convince stakeholders to take action, as well as prevent and detect these attacks much more effectively than in the past.
The attackers are innovating quickly, and the pace of security innovation isn’t keeping up. Our tools are getting better, and more people are listening, but we still have deep foundational problems that just won’t go away. People still insist on clicking things. I have actually had great success in pen tests convincing people that they were about to view the BEST CAT VIDEOS EVER upon clicking a link. We don’t do a good job of patching and locking down systems, and we have too many legacy systems and applications to count, many of which are incredibly vulnerable. People still don’t choose good passwords, and this extends all the way to the most privileged users in many organizations. What gives? How can we be expected to prevent or detect really sophisticated attacks when the simple issues are still plaguing us?
We’ve got a lot of work to do, unfortunately, and turning the ship will take some time. We’re really battling ingrained behaviors and cultural issues that will only change when enough damage has been done to really get the majority of people and organizations concerned. So will the problems keep getting worse? I think the answer is “yes”, and we’ll probably be facing this uphill battle for a while longer. Can we do anything about it? Most definitely, join me in this webinar and we’ll explore some ways to accomplish this.
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Dave Shackleford, Cybersecurity Expert and Founder of Voodoo Security
Dave Shackleford is the owner and principal consultant of Voodoo Security and a SANS analyst, senior instructor, and course author. He has consulted with hundreds of organizations in the areas of security, regulatory compliance, and network architecture and engineering, and is a VMware vExpert with extensive experience designing and configuring secure virtualized infrastructures. He has previously worked as CSO for Configuresoft, CTO for the Center for Internet Security, and as a security architect, analyst, and manager for several Fortune 500 companies.