Trust Series I

Over the next few weeks or so I will be focusing on issues of trust, these blog posting will cover the following sub topics:
– What is trust?
– Trust in Relationships
– How is trust different in computing?
– Trust based technologies
– Behavioral analysis
– Future thoughts on behavioral analysis


iGoogle gadgets used to spam with McAfee,Inc. name

I was searching for a new iGoogle gadgets to add to my iGoogle dashboard for my security research and  came across something quite interesting. If you search the iGoogle gadget directory for “mcafee security” you come up with some interesting spam gadgets that are using the images to advertise within the directory’s search results titled “Do you know?”. I’ve not been brave enough on my production machine to click to add them but I imagine there’s some nice malware linked if a user were to add them to their iGoogle and click on the links the iGoogle gadget creates.

Check this screenshot:

mcafee-gadgetsTry the iGoogle Directory search by clicking here



Kevin Mitnick kicked off AT&T network

In a surprise move by AT&T Kevin Mitnick (famous social engineering hacker) was told he was too difficult to protect by AT&T and his accounts terminated. Its funny that a corporation with so many customers would do such a thing to such a widly syndicated person. If I were AT&T I would take the oppprtunity to use Mitnick’s accounts as a honeypot adding extra monitoring so I could boost security, but instead it appears AT&T decided it was easier to boot him out. Makes me wary of using AT&T because it says to me they lack dedication and proper infosec strategy. Who am I though? I am only one voice in a very large crowd.



The great debate: Is compliance security?

Recently I made the statement to a colleague that compliance is not security and he got all up tight and disagreed with me. But even after our little debate it’s still truely my belief that although security and compliance are intertwined and compliance has driven companies to do much more security than they would have without it, compliance does not equal security. Here is how I explain the separation and what I would encourage you do at your own company.

How do we define security?
Security is an ever changing and unattainable goal that probably began when humans first battled for the availability to keep and retain life supporting resources such as food and water. Back then I imagine a big hairy man and woman guarding over the food they gathered the day before or the land with water on it. Today what we protect is more complex and consist of such things as money, intellectual property, goods, services etc. One thing that many of us tend to forget is that things we do in our lives and the jobs we have still equate to protecting our basic staples from the threat of having them taken away.

What is Compliance?
Compliance in the past was a simple process of checking that a family member were stationed appropriately to keep watch over our valuable goods. They would simply ensure that the person had the right amount of sleep, coffee or tea to keep them up if they had night duty, or the family would ensure they had something to wake them in the event one of the barn doors were to open or a host of other small things done to ensure we’d trigger a response. Compliance is basically a process of “checking” to see that we are doing what we know we ought to do.

Why is security not compliance?
The fact is the family could ensure that all the protections were in place and that the right person were out guarding the fort but meanwhile someone could be digging under the ground right past the guard or hiding behind a bush and moving it closer to the food each time the guard looked away. Compliance sets the BASIC known mechanisms of protection, what compliance does not do is protect against the unknown or the “being discovered” through active research. So my advice to all the security practitioners out there is sure comply…. but then focus on security and create for yourself what I call “natural compliance”, the act of being ahead of the game. Cutting edge security requires that you go beyond the known and invest in technologies that will protect you even if not required by a law or regulation or policy. That my friends is how I make the distinction between security and compliance.



Symantec’s top 100 dirtiest websites

Something interesting you may want to check out is the Symantec website that shows stats on the websites with the most threats detected. It is astounding the number of threats some sites have. Some have had threats for over 5 months. Now I have to be critical here that Symantec should be a good netizen and follow up with the ISP’s that host these to remove these sites, at the very least it should be attempting it and showing that in their reports.

Check out the report website here


New Facebook apps stealing login information

Saw a report today at CNET by Trend Micro that talks about how facebook apps are being loaded that spread malware across their network. I would venture to say that anyone that allows applications to be uploaded into a modular architecture such as facebook without a complete security review before deployment to users is asking for these issues to exist. I call upon facebook to implement code review and code scanning technologies in the process of their apps submission. It comes back to proper SDLC like always.

The CNET article is here


Register for Cornerstones of Trust 2009!

Join Silicon Valley and San Francisco ISSA and the Bay Area InfraGard for our annual Cornerstones of Trust 2009 security conference in Foster City, CA on October 14, 2009. The theme of this year’s conference is “Meeting Security Challenges in Changing Times”.

If you are in the San Francisco Bay/Silicon Valley area security community, Cornerstones of Trust 2009 is the place to meet top security experts from the business and technology communities and learn about real world solutions. Come and find out how other companies are effectively and successfully managing their security postures in these changing and challenging times.

Featuring Two Keynote Speakers:


Mark Weatherford, Executive Officer and CISO of California Office of Information Security and Privacy Protection

“Security: From the Left Side of the Equation” Future threats, much ado about SOMETHING


Pascal Levensohn, Founder and Managing Partner of Levensohn Venture Partners

“Why We Must Develop a New Model for Collaboration in Cyber Security: A Perspective on America’s Innovation Crisis”

Featuring Four Parallel Tracks (including both panels and individual presentations)

  • The business side of security – becoming a business enabler and staying ahead of the curve
  • Disruptive Technology – From Data Bits to Clouds
  • E-Discovery and Digital Evidence
  • Governance Risk and Compliance in today’s changing and challenging landscape

CPE credit

Earn 8 CPE credits when you attend


  • 20 + technology vendors exhibiting the latest security solutions

Food and Entertainment

  • Great food (breakfast, lunch and snacks)
  • Post conference vendor reception

Vendor Raffle Prizes

  • iPod Gear
  • Memory Sticks

Who should attend?

  • CIO’s, CSO’s & CISO’s
  • Information security managers and directors
  • Security practitioners and specialists

Registration Costs

Level Pre-Pay Day of Pay Type
Member $60.00 $70.00 ISSA & InfraGard
Associate Member $90.00 $100.00 ISACA, ASIS, ISC2, OWASP
Non-Member $120.00 $130.00 Any

Click here to Register