Suggested Blog Reading – Monday June 25th, 2007

ReadIt’s a miracle…I can walk again! OK maybe not a “miracle” but I do feel quite a bit better.

Here’s the list:

Google Talk over SSH – Wow, good idea. I can’t believe I haven’t done this yet. Not exactly a big deal but a good thing to consider doing.

In this hack, we will show you how to tunnel Google Talk instant messaging client over SSH. We will create a secure communication tunnel from our computer, over an insecure network to a trusted remote server. This hack is for both Mac OS X and Windows users.

Crop circles appear in the photocopier room… does your Incident Response Team ever hear about it? – Good article on something most of us overlook.

Occasionally, things like the head engineer’s CV or a financial proposal on an acquisition may show up in that pile, and who wouldn’t be a little curious to find out some interesting tid-bits? The CV on the printer is not uncommon in any business, and it’s the employee’s personal agenda that is at risk. However, financial proposals or other sensitive information will eventually show up.

If this happens regularly (and you may only hear about it through the grapevine, if you don’t have an Incident Response program), you probably have bigger problems with IT Security throughout the organization that need attention. If this kind of thing is as rare as finding crop circles, that doesn’t mean you’re in great shape. In fact, the less often you have potential incidents, the more important it is that people know what to do when one does happen.

Firewalls Gain Strength as Main Line of Network Defense – So firewalls aren’t dead after all. If you know me you know that I’m a big fan of firewalls. It’s good to see that I’m not alone in the world 😛

“The firewall is the piece of network security infrastructure with all the traffic … every frame going in and out of the network. It is absolutely the perfect place to provide visibility and control into these [Web] applications,” said Dave Stevens, CEO of Palo Alto Networks, based in Alviso, Calif.

How to Kick Ass in Information Security — Hoff’s Spritually-Enlightened Top Ten Guide to Health, Wealth and Happiness – What a great article. Hoff tells it like it is without pulling any punches. Read it….read it now! 🙂

I thought that I’d summarize what I’ve heard and articulate it with my top ten things that anyone who is responsible for architecting, deploying, managing and supporting an information security program should think about as they go about their jobs. This isn’t meant to compete with Rothman’s Pragmatic CSO book, but if you want to send me, say, half the money you would have sent him, I’m cool with that.

CIS Certification for Nessus Red Hat audits – Congrats to Ron Gula and his team on obtaining this certification.

Tenable was recently awarded certification to perform Center For Internet Security (CIS) audits of Red Hat systems with the Nessus 3 scanner and Security Center. This blog entry discusses what the audit files look for, how customers should obtain the audit files and how this impacts PCI audits.

Usable Security – Unfortunately “usability” is often an afterthought for most products and services.

Lately I have been hearing a lot about “usable security.” As its name implies, usable security deals with making sure that security products and processes are usable by those who need them (in this case almost everyone with a computer). ISO 9241-11 defines usability as the, “extent to which a product can be used by specified users to achieve specified goals with effectiveness, efficiency and satisfaction in a specified context of use.” Many would argue that if only security were more usable, then users would not (or at least not as much) fall for phishing scams, become infected with malware, or have their machines turned in to zombies. Of course, even the very well protected still fall victim to hackers, fraudsters, and the like but the argument is that if good security practices and products were easy to use and understand, then the volume of Internet fraud, botnets, malware, etc. would be significantly less. If you believe that achieving a goal of usable security would be a huge step in the right direction then keep reading; as computer/network security becomes more of an integral business requirement than an “add-on” technology, the need for usable security also arises.

MPack – The Movie – “Come with me if you want to live!”

In the past few days, much has been written about MPack and the mass hacking of legitimate web sites by inserting hidden iframes. These iframes had the purpose of redirecting web surfers to malicious sites, which served exploits and eventually infected the computer of the unsuspected visitors.

We have created a little movie to help you understand the whole process. So without further ado, Symantec Security Response presents… MPack, The Movie.

Exploring Protocols – Part 1 – I have never read an article this detailed on iSCSI before. I’m quite impressed.

This will be the first of at least 2 blog posts. I’m going to start by discussing building blocks and see where that takes us. In the early phases of talking about this process, I’m not making a distinction between whether a protocol is “unknown” because of lack of documentation or because it’s simply “unknown to you/me” because we’re unfamiliar with it. Of course an undocumented protocol is going to be tricker to reverse. If there’s a point to these initial posts, it’s that working with documented protocols helps us understand the undocumented ones.

To illustrate some basic protocol dissection ideas, I’m going to talk about iSCSI. I mostly picked iSCSI since I happen to be working with it at the moment and it makes a pretty good case study.

How security assessments are like going to the dentist – I read through the entire article, half-expecting to see a comment about waking up with your shirt no longer tucked in and belt undone. Perhaps I’ve seen one too many episodes of Seinfeld.

Due to my bad judgement, I have not been to the dentist in quite a while (I won’t say how long it has been), and I am dreading going back (I have an appointment today). As I was pondering the pain that will be my payment for poor decision-making, I started thinking how going to the dentist is a lot like getting a security assessment performed.

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