Data Integrity: The Next Big Challenge

Data integrity is an important issue to keep an eye on because of that entire confidence thing we talked about earlier. Without confidence, we’re going to run into a lot of problems that will not be easy to untangle. And that untangling will be mega-expensive.

Many of us in the cybersecurity world have followed this general mantra: protect the data, protect the data, protect the data. It’s a good mantra to follow, and ultimately that is what we are all trying to do.

But there are different ways to protect data. The obvious method is to make sure it doesn’t get ripped off, but as we have noted in previous pieces, the lexicon we use can be troublesome at times. This is particularly true when there is room for cultural interpretation (that’s one of the reasons why curbing international cybercrime is real hard).

That lexicon problem extends into many different areas, including what “protecting” the data means. “Protecting” data goes well beyond making sure it doesn’t get stolen. It means the data isn’t tampered with and is still usable, as it was originally intended to be used. That data can be financial statements, design schematics, or RFP bids.

Here’s the key that makes the world go around and around: confidence. If counterfeit data starts to circulate widely, our confidence in the data begins to diminish. Therefore, it’s just a matter of time before I start asking: do I really trust this financial statement, design schematic – whatever really – to be legitimate? If I don’t, I got a problem. And if I no longer want to accept the data you’re giving me as legitimate, you got a problem, too. Continue reading “Data Integrity: The Next Big Challenge”

SEC Releases Updated Guidance For Cybersecurity Disclosure

Overall, the updated SEC guidance set the bar a little higher and provided clear reminders — or, when needed, warnings — about the responsibilities of management and the board regarding cybersecurity disclosure.

“Today, the importance of data management and technology to business is analogous to the importance of electricity and other forms of power in the past century.” — SEC Commission Statement and Guidance on Public Company Cybersecurity Disclosures

On Feb. 21, 2018, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) released updated guidance on cybersecurity disclosure for public companies. The agency updated the document’s previous language, which was released in 2011, regarding cyber risks and their impact on investment decisions. Continue reading at SecurityIntelligence.com.

Listen to Your Cassandras to Avoid Cybersecurity Disasters

Just as business leaders have shifted their mindset to account for the inevitability of a data breach, the many cybersecurity calamities of 2017 should influence them to reassess how they treat Cassandras and prepare their security teams for a potentially catastrophic cyber event.

After such a tumultuous 2017, it’s hard to imagine things getting worse in the cybersecurity world, but one book predicted just that. While not solely focused on cybersecurity disasters, “Warnings: Finding Cassandras to Stop Catastrophes” by Richard A. Clarke and R.P. Eddy is a wake-up call for business leaders and lawmakers who often fail to heed warnings from experts about future calamities in the making, many of which are related to the evolving technology landscape.

Chief information security officers (CISOs) are sure to appreciate the many references to IT and security, and will likely want to share the book with the top leadership at their organization. In fact, The Washington Times called the book “essential reading” to understand how to improve our ability to deal with the “pervasive and continuous turbulence” of our times. Continue reading at SecurityIntelligence.com.

The End of Evidence

We’ve clearly fallen behind the times legislatively with respect to cybersecurity laws.

Perhaps you noticed from a recent Vanity Fair publication that Oprah Winfrey has three hands and Reese Witherspoon has some odd looking legs. Of course they really don’t. This was just “magic gone wrong” in the world of photo editing and likely invoked more than a few Homer Simpson “d’ohs!” and forehead smacks.

Goofy mistakes aside though, some photo editing and CGI work has been quite impressive and will surely get better. AI is even playing a role in this space. We’re going to keep this blog G-rated, but if you’re following the technology, it is possible to put somebody’s face on somebody else’s body in videos that are highly suggestive. Thankfully, at quick glance you can still tell these are fakes, but for how long will the naked eye be able to spot a fake?

So what do fake images and videos have to do with cybersecurity? Well, it’s a question of data integrity. Continue reading “The End of Evidence”

The Principles of a Safe Secure & Intelligent (S2I) Communications System

And that’s it. That is the entire basis for developing these principles, the rules of the road, these guiding lights, so that we can protect these systems we so dearly rely on.

What is a principle? The “know all” (aka, Google) tells us a principle is: “a fundamental truth or proposition that serves as the foundation for a system of belief or behavior or for a chain of reasoning.”

What is a communication system? The other “know all” (aka, Wikipedia) tells us a communication system is: “In telecommunication, a communications system is a collection of individual communications networks, transmission systems, relay stations, tributary stations, and data terminal equipment usually capable of interconnection and interoperation to form an integrated whole.” Continue reading “The Principles of a Safe Secure & Intelligent (S2I) Communications System”

What Can We Learn From the World Economic Forum’s Cyber Resilience Playbook

While it may be tempting to dismiss this document as a directive aimed solely at politicians and policymakers, the playbook lays out very real risks that organizations around the world must face when dealing with their own cyber resilience capabilities.

When the World Economic Forum (WEF) released its “Global Risks Report 2018,” in January, it also issued a new report titled “Cyber Resilience: Playbook for Public-Private Collaboration,” which aims to improve the way governments and policymakers around the world make decisions about cybersecurity. Since, as the report noted, the first line of defense is rarely the government, this framework is designed to promote collaboration both within our own borders and across the globe.

To create the framework, the WEF, in collaboration with the Boston Consulting Group, asked its experts to create an initial list of values that policymakers would need to weigh when choosing between various cyber policies. The 30 options were eventually distilled down to five key values that are central to any choice regarding cybersecurity policy: security, privacy, economic value, fairness and accountability. The remaining 25 options can be mapped to one of these five key values. Continue reading at SecurityIntelligence.com

The Freedom to Communicate

The Internet has allowed speech to move freely. It is the railroad system of the 1800s and nobody should ever be denied entry onto a rail car for discriminatory reasons, especially when those reasons can serve as proxy to deny somebody their constitutional rights. And because the Internet rests on the use of radio spectrum, a federally-regulated property, nothing should prohibit the free exercise or abridging of the freedom to communicate.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

– The First Amendment of the United States Constitution

Think back to a time where there was no social media, no mass media, and no printing press. How was a message passed? Two ways: through oral conversation or the laborious task of duplicating messages by hand.

These two conditions meant that your message didn’t really go far, but then again, neither did you. Most of your business was decided in your community and you had little fear of far off places impacting your life.

Fast forward to today. The technological leaps we have made allow us to replicate the message faster, spread the message faster, and reach a wider audience. I hit “publish” and this article is theoretically accessible to over 3 billion people by the first degree.

Generally speaking, these advances have worked out well for us. Think free societies, scientific innovation, friendships and bonds. Continue reading “The Freedom to Communicate”

Highlights From the World Economic Forum’s ‘Global Risks Report 2018’

This year, cyberthreats figure prominently along the various global risks found in our increasingly complex and interconnected world. It makes it a perfect New Year’s gift for chief information security officers (CISOs) to share with their business leaders as a way to examine common concerns and build trust through stronger communication and engagement on a topic that is critical to the survival of organizations around the world.

First came the New Year’s Eve parties, followed by New Year’s resolutions and, finally, the annual meeting of global elites at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, on January 23–26. Just ahead of the event, the WEF released its “Global Risks Report 2018,” a compendium of data points and analysis about the state of economic health around the world.

The report, partly based on a survey of about 1,000 of its members conducted during the second half of 2017, covers all major categories of risk, including economic, environmental, geopolitical, societal and technological. The top four concerns include recurring themes, such as inequality and unfairness, political tensions within and between countries, the environment, and cyber vulnerabilities. It is across this spectrum of global risks that the report warns of “the increased dangers of systemic breakdown,” due in part to our increasing dependence on technology. Continue reading at SecurityIntelligence.com

Helpful FTC Guidance on Cybersecurity for Small and Midsize Companies

It is important for all companies — especially small and midsize companies — to have a basic understanding of what the FTC considers to be reasonable cybersecurity. The FTC is known for being one of the more aggressive regulators that are investigating and enforcing (what it views as) inadequate cybersecurity by companies doing business in the United States.

In the watershed case solidifying the FTC’s authority to regulate companies’ cybersecurity under the FTC Act, F.T.C. v. Wyndham Worldwide Corp.,  the U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals looked to resources published on the FTC’s website and found that Wyndham’s cybersecurity was very rudimentary and contravened recommendations in the FTC’s 2007 guidebook, Protecting Personal Information: A Guide for Businesses.

The FTC recently published a couple of helpful resources on its website and companies of all sizes would be well-served to spend some time reviewing the recommendations in these resources:

Is Your CISO a Jedi Warrior, an Admiral or a Diplomat?

The CISO as a security leader must be multitalented, one minute conversing with the top leadership about strategies and alliances — much like the Admiral and the Ambassador would do — and the next minute directing the alliance’s response to new threats with the precision of a Pilot. And all the while, they must be using their knowledge of the organization’s defenses and that of enemy weapons, the threats and tools at the disposal of attackers today, to ensure a healthy balance.

As fans of “Star Wars,” we’ve watched a multitude of characters evolve on the screen and rise to the challenge posed by dark and powerful enemy forces. Jedi warriors, Wookiee warriors, fighter pilots, and an array of diplomats and military commanders have fascinated us for four decades.

Meanwhile, back on planet Earth, in this decade, we too are left fighting dark and powerful enemy forces. It’s only natural to wonder which of these types of characters would best serve as chief information security officers (CISOs) for our organizations to defend us from the threats of a digital empire that continues its relentless expansion and threatens our organization’s very survival.

Let’s take a look at some traits from the “Star Wars” characters we’ve grown to love and explore how those might be applicable to CISOs today.  Continue reading at SecurityIntelligence.com