Protecting Information About Networks, The Organisation and Its Systems

I recently wrote a report with a number of colleagues for the Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure (CPNI) on the Network Reconnaissance phase of a targeted attack following initial exploitation. The report covers what is targeted, how the attackers operate and what controls help. Below is a summary infographic and below the cut is the briefing presentation I delivered and the full report.

Infographic:

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Big Data Security Analytics Paper

I wrote this paper with a colleague recently. A practical guide for getting started in Big Data Security Analytics. This should be the first of a series of posts on the application of big data technologies and data science approaches to cyber security.

I understand the impact of pervasive mobile, I get the risks of ‘consumerisation’ and I can see the challenges of cloud but it’s the opportunities of big data that have me excited about the future of security, both cyber security and traditional information security.

Cross-Domain Gateway Functions

Cross-Domain Gateways are a concept from multi-level government and military networks that are increasingly being deployed into traditionally flat commercial networks. I’ve spoken before about ‘trust zones‘ and the concept of choke-points between trust zones concept combined with a view of the threat exposure for each trust zone underlies the need for cross-domain gateways. (Domain is the historical term commonly used in government and military settings for zones of trust.)

There are a wide variety of applications to which cross domain gateways can be applied and a wide variety of gateway patterns and designs. However there is a common set of possible gateway functions that such patterns and designs can commonly call upon.
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Follow the Money

When we talk about security with the business we need to talk about money.

I have occasionally run into colleagues whose answer to risk-based governance approaches and performance-based management approaches has been to say “Show me the money!”. I understood their desire to see security operate in the language of business but was always reticent to jump feet first into financially-driven security for a couple of reasons; firstly  I just couldn’t see how we could put a reliable value on what we did and secondly I was nervous about what that might expose. In hindsight I find myself increasingly becoming a financial fundamentalist for security.

Business is fundamentally the generation of profits to maximise the returns of investors. It is the result of one equation:

Profit = Revenue – Costs

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Cyber Exercising

Cyber Exercises are a powerful and valuable tool but it is easy to confuse what we mean.

I was a member of the Scenario Design Group for the Bank of England’s Waking Shark 2 cyber exercise this year. It was a fascinating experience, seeing how the top cyber/technology risk people at the banks view a massive cyber attack, what really concerns them as well as seeing the regulators and other government agencies engaging with industry.

Waking Shark 2 garnered a lot of headlines but little of real meat made it to the public domain. I signed up to the participants non-disclosure agreement so I won’t be  adding any details here. There will be a publicly published report from the Bank of England for that soon enough.

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