Tag Archives: measure twice cut once

South Carolinas’s Majority of Social Security Numbers Exposed…

In an article in Dark reading, South Carolina officials announced that more than three-quarters of the states social security numbers were exposed in a recent hack. The data included debit and credit card information for the states residents as well. The most concerning issue was that the database that was compromised was not encrypted. As a state agency, it should have been an example to follow rather than one to avoid. The state’s Department of Revenue should have been held to not only federal regulatory requirements, but also PCI. This type of failure is not acceptable.

While not everything has been released as to the cause other than the database was breached and not encrypted, the article states the following:

Although state officials referred to the hack as a “database” breach, they didn’t specify just what flaw was exposed. Security experts say it was most likely a SQL injection or other vulnerability in the Web-based application that ultimately led to the data breach.

Chris Eng, vice president of research for Veracode, says it sounds like a SQL injection attack against a Web application. “That’s the simplest way in,” he says.

It is easy to make conjecture about how the breach occurred, but it would seem that the necessary due diligence was not followed. Security should be more than a check-box. States and Federal governments should be setting the examples for the rest of business…Another instance where measure twice and cut once should have been put in place…

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Are You Satisfied With Nothing…

Are you a small business? Are you satisfied with your customer and business data security? According to a recent survey of small businesses by Symantec and National Cyber Security Alliance, 86% state that they are. In an article in SC Magazine published 10/22, some of the interesting details of the survey are discussed.

According to the article, even those 86% are satisfied with the level of security protecting the customer and business data of their businesses. In addition, 77% of those small businesses surveyed believe that their business is safe from any breach. According to the article about the survey, the following is what is most concerning:

However, 87 percent of respondents have not written a formal security policy for employees, 83 percent lack any security blueprint at all and 59 percent have no plan in place to respond to a security incident.

These statistics are very concerning. If you take this survey of 1,015 small businesses (250 employees or less) as a reasonable grouping of all small businesses this survey is frightening. Even if you take it with a grain of salt, it is scary that no planning is being put in place for most. One can only assume why a business would not put a plan, even one that is basic, in place. Is it the cost of security or the thought that “this business is too small to be hit” mindset? What ever the rationale used to make the decision, it was a decision to accept that risk of compromise and breach, but as more and more businesses begin to use cloud services and other mechanism on the Internet, they are turning from an obscure local “mom and pop” business to one with a larger footprint that can span the globe.

Preparation is always a wise decision. Regardless if you document that you buy the top of the line next-gen firewall and intrusion protection system or just change the Linksys encryption from WEP to WPA-2 and change the default admin password, the documented plan is a step in the right direction. Remember it is important to measure twice and cut once.

In closing the following quote is something for everyone to consider:

“Invincibility lies in the defence; the possibility of victory in the attack.” — Sun Tzu

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Hakin9 is a security magazine that calls itself “the biggest IT security magazine in the world” and has been published for over 10 years. It is a magazine that is rather pricing, but occasionally provides free articles that in most cases are relatively good. In the recent issue, some security professionals became very upset with the magazine and decided to make a stand. Some within ApplyLogic occasionally read the articles and did this particular article (Nmap: The Internet Considered Harmful – DARPA Inference Cheking Kludge Scanning). After reading it, it was interesting but seemed to good to be true…and in fact it was. It was nothing more than a bunch of hokum or in the articles own words, it was D.I.C.K.S. The Register has a good article covering the issue. According to the article:

“Maybe they were sick of Hakin9’s constant please-write-an-unpaid-article-for-us spam and decided to submit some well-crafted gibberish in response,” security researcher Gordon Lyon (Fyodor) wrote in a post to the popular seclists mailing list last week. “They clearly chose that title so just so they could refer to it as DICKS throughout the paper. There is even an ASCII penis in the ‘sample output’ section, but apparently none of this raised any flags from Hakin9’s ‘review board’.”

Ultimately this brings other articles into question and the accuracy of what they publish. Another measure twice, cut once example… Here is the hakin9-nmap-ebook-ch1 if it is no longer available.

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