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Comment: Re:Security = Liability (Score 1) 227

by endus (#44776673) Attached to: Survey: Most IT Staff Don't Communicate Security Risks

"if we don't do X, we going to get pwned" into "if we don't spend X$ and Y man-hours, we are exposing our business to $Z,000,000 -sized liability".


This sounds a lot like risk management.

Risk management is for COMMUNISTS.

Never do a risk assessment when you start a new project, it will just bring up uncomfortable information and make everyone feel sad. :(

Comment: Re:Of course not. (Score 1) 227

by endus (#44776637) Attached to: Survey: Most IT Staff Don't Communicate Security Risks

In the case of security, it falls into this classification of 'technical things nobody even wants to understand' and also into the classification of 'preventative measures that people will not recognize the importance of, until after it bites them in the ass.' You tell people that it's a bad idea to use "password" as your password, and they'll blow you off. The more you stress the point, the more annoyed the'll become-- all the way up until someone malicious gains access to their accounts. Once they've been hacked, they'll come back angry, demanding, "Why didn't anyone tell me it was a bad idea."

Until there's an actual security breach, people think you're chicken little. They'll tell you, "I've been using 'password' for my password for 10 years and I've never had a problem."

Face that kind of attitude for a several years, and you get awfully tired of warning people.

Exactly right.

Security professionals have had to be budget-minded for a while now. We're not telling you this because we want to bankrupt the business, we're telling you this because it is a reasonable precaution to take, in line with standards and industry norms, and will save your ass and pay for itself 100x over if there is a breach. People view their own internal security department as the enemy, rather than someone who is on the same side trying to get people to do things properly. We get that there's a margin and a budget, but if you always decide in favor of, "get it done now, as cheaply as possible, we don't have time to do it right" eventually it will catch up with you.

Comment: Adversarial (Score 1) 227

by endus (#44776573) Attached to: Survey: Most IT Staff Don't Communicate Security Risks

Adversarial is the key word here. Business doesn't view security as an entity trying to protect them from liability, get them on par with industry norms, and maybe even create some efficiency and ease support burdens, they view security as an impediment to signing the contract. Your own security team is just trying to save you from yourself...arguing with them as a proxy for the customer doesn't get you anywhere but into even more trouble.

Comment: Handwriting Notes (Score 1) 313

by endus (#44574327) Attached to: Using Laptop To Take Notes Lowers Grades

I was in college just at the cusp of people starting to take notes on laptops. It never appealed to me. Even today in meetings, the information just doesn't sink in like it does with hand writing notes. I take notes in meetings that I know I will never read, just because it helps pound it into my memory.

I can never keep notes on the computer organized either. Not that my paper notes are super organized, but at least there is an indestructible (unless I rip pages out) linear timeline to everything. You know everything is there somewhere and if you can't remember where the other things you were taking notes on at the time can help you zero in.

Comment: Re:Happy President (Score 1) 569

by endus (#44555103) Attached to: Obama's Privacy Reform Panel Will Report To<nobr> <wbr></nobr>... the NSA

Only in theory, not in practice. Without ranked voting, a vote for a 3rd party candidate is effectively a vote against whoever your second choice is, so voters are often faced with voting for the lesser of 2 evils. In the past 4 presidential elections, the only time a 3rd party candidate managed to get more than 1% of the popular vote (yet still 0% of the electoral votes) was in 2000 when Nader had 2.78% of the popular vote and if a fraction of his votes had gone to Gore, George W Bush wouldn't have made it to the white house.

I agree that ranked voting would be a much better option and would make third parties more viable.

However, this transfers the responsibility for the sad state of affairs in which we find ourselves to the government. There is nothing stopping people from voting third party. If people are serious about their dissatisfaction with the government, they need to vote third party and not for the, "lesser of two evils". We bear the responsibility for the situation we're in.

To further complicate things, when we transfer that responsibility to the government, i.e. electoral process reform, we are transferring the responsibility to the one entity with a vested interest in maintaining the status quo. Washington has no interest in enabling third parties or democracy, and they have attacked them at every possible opportunity.

Bottom line, the responsibility lies with the citizens whether we like it or not and whether we choose to accept that responsibility or not.

Comment: Typical (Score 1) 193

by endus (#44258105) Attached to: HP Keeps Installing Secret Backdoors In Enterprise Storage

No one listens to the security group no matter how badly they get hammered. This is just dumb shit. If I ran the world everyone who was involved with implementing this would be fired immediately.

Remote access for customer support is a great thing...just build it right. It's really not that hard at all to build it right...probably even easier than building it this stupid ass way.

Comment: Re:This is the slope before the cliff (Score 1) 385

by endus (#44251345) Attached to: PC Sales See 'Longest Decline' In History

The PC is here to stay. What we are seeing is a longer life cycle. There is no need to update the hardware these days, there's plenty of power and storage for people writing the odd letter/email, social media and most games. Unless you're a developer or working with huge amounts of media data, PC users aren't going to notice a shit load of RAM, loads of cores CPU and a GPU capable of real-time Avatar level of rendering.

This is exactly what I was going to reply. There haven't been significant advancements in processing power, or in applications which require that increased power. Everyone has what they need. They'll replace them when they break or maybe upgrade them once in a while, but there's no need for the turnover we used to see...we've reached a point of diminishing returns where upgrading every 2 years or less just isn't worth it.

Comment: Re:Encryption (Score 1) 127

The big problem is that the database uses a shared hosting plan and a shared database server run by my ISP. I have no control over whether the database is encrypted on disk or in transit between the shared hosting server and the database server.

You're freaking out over nothing. Hosting providers are not going to leave people high and dry. Actually, it would be nice if they started encrypting their databases. Shared hosting will live on and solutions will be generated.

In order to add that protection, I would have to crank my hosting plan up to a dedicated server at a monthly cost that is equivalent to several years on my current hosting plan and buy a multi-subdomain SSL cert that also costs (annually) as much as several years worth of service.

You're being extremely, extremely silly. SSL certs can be had for next to nothing. Do they provide as much assurance as better certs? No, but they encrypt the traffic and the root cert is trusted by common platforms. Depending on the law you could use self signed certs as well.

Everything you're saying here is hyperbole.

And then, because I cannot possibly dedicate the time to manage my own server on an ongoing basis (hence the shared hosting plan as opposed to a VPS for the web server side), I would have to hire someone to manage that on an ongoing basis.

So if this law is not very narrowly tailored to sites that contain SSNs, financial information, and medical information, I'll have no choice but to shut my site down. I can't afford to personally spend potentially many thousands of dollars each year to run a website out of the goodness of my heart.

Even if everything you're saying here about the requirements of certs and VPSes is true (which its not), you're still wildly inflating the costs. I run a site with a cert and a fully managed VPS that I can take as much interest in or leave up to support as I want. The cost is under $400/year for the hosting and like...I think like 6 bucks a year for the cert? That's super high, because I am a bit picky and because I run a site that needs a bit of performance overhead, but the service is actually amazing.

In my experience, any security practice that is not onerous also has little effect on security.

Then your experience is extremely limited.

Physical theft of spinning storage is an exceptionally rare cause of data breaches.

Which is why I didn't cite that among my reasons for supporting this.

However, data theft caused by attackers remotely cracking into servers overshadows both of those loss mechanisms by orders of magnitude.

Right, and to restate, depending on how the encryption is implemented (database/table/row level) this may help with that...especially with breaches resulting from the installation of malware.

Because remote data compromises are completely unaffected by encrypting the database on disk,

You're looking at one particular type of very common breach. There are others.

There are already laws that require encryption for anything that could be considered high-risk. HIPAA has strict requirements for how health-related data can be stored.

Actually, no it doesn't. There is no requirement to encrypt data at rest within HIPAA. Have you even read the reg, or are you just making assumptions based on what seems like it must be true? (Hint: you're making the assumptions)

PCI DSS compliance requires encryption of credit card data.

Sigh. I feel like I'm writing an email at my job.

PCI is an industry regulation, not a government one. Compliance with it can be very subjective, and auditing of compliance can also be very subjective. Actually, no external audit is even required if you're under a certain number of transactions per year, and auditors vary greatly in quality. There can be some overlap with local regs, which is absolutely a good lets have more local regs. The fear of legal consequences is usually more motivating than the fear of failing an audit conducted internally.

And so on. Any company that sanely should be required to use database encryption is already compelled by law to do these things.

You're just not correct at all, sorry.

Comment: Re:Encryption (Score 1) 127

Yea, I work in the security industry and I don't really agree. I hear what you're saying about considering each application and you're not wrong, but I think the potential benefits of this easily outweigh the negatives. It will apply pressure to companies who really do need to encrypt their data and just cannot get the will from the business to do it.

Its not a magic bullet, but especially in the absence of any legitimate way to wipe data from databases in a secure manner it's a reasonable compensating control to put in place. It really depends on the actual implementation whether or not the encryption will help if the server is compromised while it's running. If companies encrypt at the database or table level and implement things decently then at least it's not just a matter of compromising the server and copying the entire database off to get the information. Web based attacks are probably going to compromise the database's security, but at least information secured in this way would be safe(er) from network based worms and other malware. That is not a trivial or uncommon attack vector, and I think it's worth serious consideration.

The other aspect of this is that it would force a lot of companies to implement real key management procedures in order to not lose access to their data. Once they need to do that to maintain the business, they'll be much more receptive to rotating and expiring keys, etc. because it's a low hanging fruit. Right now key management is kind of a nightmare and not something I see a lot of companies handling effectively. If you have to deal with key management in order not to take down your entire business being more selective about who has access to those keys, split knowledge, etc. become a much more realistic proposition. That will demonstrably increase security as well as compliance with other regs/standards.

I'm both a Libertarian and a security professional...I am suspicious of government regs but I think they are needed in this case. The industry is not keeping up with the security landscape well enough, and this stuff is far enough out of the public's line of view that it has the potential to negatively impact their lives out of nowhere, and there is no ability for them to audit or verify a companies security measures before engaging with them. I think that is a threat to the public welfare, and something that does fall within the role of government. Implementing encryption in this way is not going to be that onerous, and it will have a tremendous impact on people who really REALLY do need to encrypt their data at the price of a bit of a hassle for those who don't. As this becomes more widespread key management and implementation of encryption will also become easier, making it less onerous for people who don't necessarily need extremely tight security.

Comment: US Infosec Incompetence summed up in one sentence! (Score 4, Funny) 209

'Even following the general principle of secret-keeping, it should not have been linked to the Internet.'"

You think so??? Really? This is a novel concept to our American Information Security Industry, please, tell us more! Surely you don't mean that power plants and water treatment facilities and power grids and other sensitive facilities should not be linked to the internet...HOW THE FUCK ARE THE OPERATORS GOING TO GET TO FACEBOOK IF WE DISCONNECT THEM!?!?!?!?

Comment: Re: Obama lied, Chris Stevens Died (Score 1) 457

by endus (#43669059) Attached to: US DOJ Say They Don't Need Warrants For E-Mail, Chats

These are essentially the same people who had solid intel that could have prevented the 9/11/2001 attacks, but did nothing with it.

At best, their excuse for this is that they just had too much information to process and could not sift out the relevant information.

And yet they continue to delve further and further into sources of information which wouldn't have identified any attack on us that's ever taken place. They just keep increasing their surveillance powers with no concrete justification and, in fact, most likely to the detriment of their ability to predict attacks.

At first, this was due to the culture of "doing something about something" which pervades politics now. An invisible solution that solves the problem doesn't get politicians reelected. A solution which is visible, controversial, and inconvenient allows pols to send the message that they're, "getting tough on _______". Most people in America are pretty stupid, shortsighted, and fearful so they go right along with this.

Now surveillance has become an end in and of itself. The legal framework for collecting basically any communications at all times has been laid and there's no more political capital to be gained from it. Now the paranoid, the statists, the contractors who need contracts have taken over the fight. They have the legislative framework already, so it's best to keep their operations as quiet as possible to avoid scrutiny of both the obvious unconstitutionality of their actions, and the immense budgets they are getting with no real justification or goals at all. The politicians benefit from the campaign contributions paid for by the tax dollars they funnel in to these companies, and so they keep towing the line.

I work in infosec, and you can even see this mentality at a corporate level when you have poor security management. More tools! More information! More money! Never mind that the quality of information keeps declining, the need for additional analysts to handle that information keeps increasing and that the incidents these systems are identifying are almost entirely the most trivial and inconsequential events which the organization experiences. Meanwhile, the tools fail to identify really serious issues because they're too immature to do so, and all the analysts are too busy chasing nonsense to have the time to look at the big picture. Policy and product-impacting security measures which would make a real difference are never implemented, because they're too much of a pain in the ass for the people holding the purse strings who, by the way, know absolutely nothing about security and even the regulatory framework in which they operate.

It's a failing of humans in general. You can see it pretty clearly in US foreign policy since WWII. We escalate conflicts we're ostensibly trying to avoid. We arm and fund people who will eventually become our enemies and cost us even more lives and money to eradicate.

Comment: Why does this surprise anyone? (Score 1) 457

by endus (#43668883) Attached to: US DOJ Say They Don't Need Warrants For E-Mail, Chats

The government has been wrangling this legislation since (at least) the first iteration of the Patriot Act. There are no 4th amendment protections on electronic communications. None. People need to realize that. Since phone calls all traverse digital networks now, even those are subject to eavesdropping without a warrant.

The 4th amendment doesn't apply to communications, and barely applies to your personal spaces. This is the world we live in, the world which we have allowed to come about through our own laziness, ignorance, and fear. This should surprise no one.

"A great many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices." -- William James