Becoming a Mentor
Over the last couple of weeks, I have become more involved with training and education as it relates to the information security realm. Finding myself thinking more and more about the need for advancing information security knowledge, I've realized how important becoming a cyber security mentor is to those in need.
Those of us who are more senior and have deep expertise and firm grasp on the concepts and practices relating to information security, have the ability to help others in our field. By becoming a mentor, you can share your security knowledge, help others learn and develop their own skills, create a larger population of skilled people, and ultimately help advance the overall knowledge level in the field.
Mentoring works because it lets one learn from the other person’s successes and – yes – failures. Being a mentor can take a formal route. You can, for example, be an instructor at a college, university, or technical school. You... read more >
Ways to safeguard against gift card exploitable vulnerabilities
In my previous blog, Hacking Gift Cards, I outlined how you can get free food by enumerating valid gift cards with Burp Intruder. This blog continues that narrative, but adds in other types of cards and attack vectors. In addition, I’ll illustrate some problems with gift card balance checking, and how gift cards can be easily enumerated without the card holder’s knowledge or permission. In some cases, the security surrounding a gift card is so bad you don’t even need to use Burp Intruder.Prerequisites:
Burp Suite Professional
In Hacking Gift Cards Part 1, I discussed six gift cards that had a discernible pattern. Identifying the pattern allowed us to find values on cards that were already sold and had value. In searching for more targets, I... read more >
With consulting work comes travel. Over the years, I have traveled extensively and stayed in a variety of hotels and suites. Through this experience, I have noticed several issues with hotel (specifically room) security. In this blog, I am going to walk you through some of the consistent issues that I notice in hotel room security, due diligence and awareness.
As many of you probably know, you never want to leave your valuables laying around your hotel room when you aren’t in it. This is one of the reasons hotels provide a safe, a lock on the door and hotel staff. At least one of these should stop a criminal, as well as keep me, my valuables and my room safe, right?Replacement Room Keys
I cannot tell you how many times I have observed people casually walk up to the front desk and ask for a replacement room key. Depending on how you deliver this request will probably land you a room key without having to say anything but the room number. Just... read more >
Make your incident response team smarter and more effective
We’ve all heard it time and time again, “it’s not if, but when.” Being prepared for that imminent critical security incident is becoming essential. A small amount of investment can pay off tenfold in the effectiveness and efficiency of a response. Investing in an incident response plan can save time, frustration and minimize the impact on an organizations reputation, even if an organization decides not to invest in a full blown incident response program.
Being on the service end of incident response, I see a unique perspective on the challenges that organizations experience when faced with an actual cyber security incident. I see over and over again how utterly unprepared many organizations are in handling an incident. As J.R.R. Tolkien so graciously stated in “The Hobbit,” “It does not do to leave a live dragon out of your calculations, if you live near him.” I promise you, if you have internet facing assets; the... read more >
How to Use ELK to Solve Your One-off Log Analysis Problems
Performing log analysis with divergent data sets can be the stuff nightmares are made of. If you are lucky, your organization may have only a few dozen different log types throughout your environment. If you perform log analysis as a service, forget about it. There are many fantastic log management solutions on the market today, including our own ActiveGuard service. These solutions have robust log collection, analysis, and search capability. For a comprehensive, enterprise log analysis solution they are ideal, however they require substantial implementation and tuning for your specific environment and are intended for long term log aggregation and monitoring.
It is not always feasible to stand up one of these solutions on short notice or for a one-off project.
So where does that leave you? Manual log normalization and analysis? Manual techniques do have their... read more >
Understanding the How and Why Ransomware Targets are Identified and Pursued
Welcome back to our discussion about the Second Victim. You’ll recall that these are the unknown victims in a ransomware campaign. These are the servers used to deliver a message or accept payment, completely under someone else’s control and all without your knowledge. Today we are exploring some of the aspects that elevates a server from unknown, to target, and finally a victim. Whether its contents are being held for ransom, or they are a pawn in the actor’s nefarious game.
A researcher that I follow recently issued a “Heads Up” warning that new ransomware is targeting servers. At the time of the reporting there were at least 400 affected servers. After doing some digging, I confirmed that at least 40 servers are victims of ransomware and at least two dozen others may be affected, but are taking steps to remediate the problem. But how did this happen? What was it about these servers that made them vulnerable? Plagued by these questions, I... read more >
Your Backup Strategy Can Minimize the Risk
Ransomware is grabbing a lot of security news headlines these days, not necessarily because it’s worse than other types of malware, but perhaps because it’s more annoying. Older malware might simply have erased your hard drive. Ransomware encrypts it, saying “your data is still here, but you can’t have it.” To add insult to injury, it then tells you to pay a ransom “or else.”
Of course, paying the ransom is no guarantee that your data will be recovered. Once a system is infected with ransomware, there is no sure way to recover all of the data. But a robust backup strategy can get you most of the way back, and that’s a lot better than nothing. It’s hard to believe that large organizations or government offices have been caught without adequate backups, but it has happened to hospital groups, law firms, police departments, and even NASA (see links at the end of this... read more >