If you’ve been in the information security field for at least a year, you’ve undoubtedly heard your organization defend the lack of investment in, change to or optimization of a cybersecurity policy, mitigating control or organizational belief. This “It hasn’t happened to us so it likely won’t happen” mentality is called optimism bias, and it’s an issue in our field that predates the field itself.
You may have seen my friend Brian Krebs’ post regarding the lawsuit filed last month in the Western District of Virginia after $2.4 million was stolen from The National Bank of Blacksburg from two separate breaches over an eight-month period. Though the breaches are concerning, the real story is that the financial institution suing its insurance provider for refusing to fully cover the losses.
From the article:
In its lawsuit (PDF), National Bank says it had an insurance policy with Everest National Insurance Company for two types of coverage or “riders” to protect it against cybercrime losses. The first was a “computer and electronic crime” (C&E) rider that had a single loss limit liability of $8 million, with a $125,000 deductible.
The second was a “debit card rider” which provided coverage for losses which result directly from the use of lost, stolen or altered debit cards or counterfeit cards. That policy has a single loss limit of liability of $50,000, with a $25,000 deductible and an aggregate limit of $250,000.
According to the lawsuit, in June 2018 Everest determined both the 2016 and 2017 breaches were covered exclusively by the debit card rider, and not the $8 million C&E rider. The insurance company said the bank could not recover lost funds under the C&E rider because of two “exclusions” in that rider which spell out circumstances under which the insurer will not provide reimbursement.
Cyber security insurance is still in its infancy and issues with claims that could potentially span multiple policies and riders will continue to happen – think of the stories of health insurance claims being denied for pre-existing conditions and other loopholes. This, unfortunately, is the nature of insurance. Legal precedent, litigation, and insurance claim issues aside, your organization needs to understand that cyber security insurance is but one tool to reduce the financial impact on your organization when faced with a breach.
Cyber security insurance cannot and should not, however, be viewed as your primary means of defending against an attack.
The best way to maintain a defensible security posture is to have an information security program that is current, robust, and measurable. An effective information security program will provide far more protection for the operational state of your organization than cyber security insurance alone. To put it another way, insurance is a reactive measure whereas an effective security program is a proactive measure.
If you were in a fight, would you want to wait and see what happens after a punch is thrown to the bridge of your nose? Perhaps you would like to train to dodge or block that punch instead? Something to think about.
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.