By: Andrew Hay
Unless you’ve been away from the Internet earlier this week, you’ve no doubt heard by now about the global ransomware outbreak that started in Ukraine and subsequently spread West across Western Europe, North America, and Australia yesterday. With similarities reminiscent to its predecessor WannaCry, this ransomware attack shut down organizations ranging from the Danish shipping conglomerate Maersk Line to a Tasmanian-based Cadbury chocolate factory.
I was asked throughout the course of yesterday and today to help clarify exactly what transpired. The biggest challenge with any surprise malware outbreak is the flurry of hearsay, conjecture, speculation, and just plain guessing by researchers, analysts, and the media.
At a very high level, here is what we know thus far:
The million dollar question on everyone’s mind is “was this a nation-state backed campaign designed to specifically target Ukraine”? We at LEO believe that to be highly unlikely for a number of reasons. The likelihood that this is an opportunistic ransomware campaign with some initial software package targets is far more likely scenario than a state-sponsored actor looking to destabilize a country.
Always remember the old adage from Dr. Theodore Woodward: When you hear hoofbeats, think of horses not zebras.
If you immediately start looking for Russian, Chinese, or North Korean state-sponsored actors around every corner, you’ll inevitably construct some attribution and analysis bias. Look for the facts, not the speculation.
We recommend customers that have not yet installed security update MS17-010 to do so as soon as possible. Until you can apply the patch, LEO also recommends the following steps to help reduce the attack surface:
Should your organization need help or clarification on any of the above recommendations, please don’t hesitate to reach out to LEO Cyber Security for immediate assistance.
Last week I had the pleasure of presenting three times, at two conferences, in two different countries: SOURCE in Boston, MA and at the Atlantic Security Conference (AtlSecCon) in Halifax, NS, Canada.
The first event of my week was SOURCE Boston. This year marked the tenth anniversary of SOURCE Conference and it continues to pride itself on being one of the only venues that brings business, technology and security professionals together under one roof to focus on real-world, practical security solutions for some of todays toughest security issues. Though I was only there for the first day, I was able to catch up with friends, play some Hacker Movie Trivia with Paul Asadoorian (@securityweekly), and chat with attendees on some of the biggest challenges we face around detecting and mitigating ransomware attacks.
After my presentation, I rushed off to Logan Airport to sit in, on what I now choose to call, the “Air Canada Ghetto” – a small three gate departure area segregated from the rest of the airport and its amenities. A minor four hour delay later, I was on my way to Halifax for AtlSecCon.
Between meetings and casual conversations I was enlightened by several presentations. Raf Los (@Wh1t3Rabbit), managing director of solutions research & development at Optiv, discussing Getting Off the Back Foot – Employing Active Defence which talked about an outcome-oriented and capabilities-driven model for more effective enterprise security.
After his talk, Aunshul Rege (@prof_rege), an assistant professor with the Criminal Justice department at Temple University, gave a very interesting talk entitled Measuring Adversarial Behavior in Cyberattacks. With a background in criminology, Aunshul presented her research from observations and interviews conducted at the Industrial Control Systems Computer Emergency Response Team’s (ICS-CERT) Red/Blue cybersecurity training exercise held at Idaho National Laboratory. Specifically, she covered how adversaries might engage in research and planning, offer team support, manage conflict between group members, structure attack paths (intrusion chains), navigate disruptions to their attack paths, and how limited knowledge bases and self-induced mistakes can possibly impact adversaries.
The last presentation was Mark Nunnikhoven’s (@marknca) highlighting Is Your Security Team Set up To Fail? Mark, the VP of cloud research at Trend Micro and a personal friend, examined the current state of IT security programs and teams…delving into the structure, goals, and skills prioritized by the industry.
The second day of the conference was filled with meetings for me but I was able to sit through Michael Joyce’s talk entitled A Cocktail Recipe for Improving Canadian Cybersecurity. Joyce described the goals and objectives of The Smart Cybersecurity Network (SERENE-RISC) – a federally funded, not-for-profit knowledge mobilization network created to improve the general public’s awareness of cybersecurity risks and to empower all to mitigate them through knowledge. He was an excellent presenter and served as a call to action for those looking to help communicate the need for cybersecurity to all Canadians.
At both conferences I presented my latest talk entitled The Not-So-Improbable Future of Ransomware which explored how thousands of years of human kidnap and ransom doctrine have served as a playbook for ransomware campaign operators to follow. It was well received by both audiences and sparked follow-up conversations and discussions throughout the week. The SOURCE version can be found here and the AtlSecCon version here.
— Peter Hesse (@pmhesse) April 26, 2017
— Taylor Armerding (@tarmerding2) April 28, 2017
At AtlSecCon I joined a panel entitled Security Modelling Fundamentals: Should Security Teams Model a SOC Around Threats or Just Build Layers? Chaired by Tom Bain (@tmbainjr1), VP of marketing at CounterTack, the session served as a potpourri of security threats and trends ranging from ransomware, to regulation, to attack mitigation. It was quite fun and a great way to end the day.
Though it was a long series of flights home to the Bay Area I thoroughly enjoyed both conferences. I would highly recommend attending and/or speaking at both next year if you are provided with the opportunity.
Next up, (ISC)² CyberSecureGov 2017 in Washington, D.C. and the Rocky Mountain Information Security Conference (RMISC) in Denver, CO. Perhaps I’ll see some of our readers there!
The post Diving into the Issues: Observations from SOURCE and AtlSecCon appeared first on LEO Cyber Security.
As of today I’m transitioning out of my CISO role at DataGravity and am on the hunt for a new full-time gig. Though I appreciate your condolences, I see this as a good thing and the transition is an amicable one.
What this really means, however, is that I get to explore exciting opportunities with exciting companies 🙂
Who is looking…
This guy. Many of us have met before but, if you’re like me, you may recognize the face but forget (or have never known) what my work history included.
I also have a resume ready to go if you’d like a copy.
What I’m looking for…
A senior leadership role (e.g. Chief Research Officer, Head of Research, VP Research, etc.) in a data-centric security company where I can lead and mentor an existing, or help found, a world-class security research organization.
A senior leadership (e.g. CTO, CISO, CSO, etc.) role in an early-stage security startup where I can contribute to the company’s growth, innovation, product strategy, and market penetration.
A senior leadership (e.g. CISO, CSO, etc.) role in an established company where I can help keep the organization, its employees, and its customers safe and secure through the implementation and management of a measurable information security program.
Where I’m looking…
As my wife has a vested interest (no pun intended) in staying in San Francisco, I cannot relocate at this time. That means any opportunities would have to be in the San Francisco Bay Area or allow me to continue working from home as I do now.
If you’re in the market for a passionate security leader with my experience and qualifications I’d love to hear from you.