Based on 25 years of professional experience in various businesses around the globe, I can say that many industry verticals have a pretty good state of safety culture as it relates to the health and safety of their employees. This is especially true for companies involved in high-risk businesses such as oil and gas, (nuclear) energy, manufacturing, chemicals, food processing, and so on. In such industries, it is pretty clear that there is a risk that something may blow up, hurt, or even kill people.
However, it seems that the next big driver for them is business alone, and they are not as focused on information or IT security when it comes to the logic side of security like bits and bytes, document handling of confidential information, and similar subjects. This is in stark contrast to their keen attention to physical safety and security issues.
It would seem intuitive that any organization with a commitment to safety by counting (and incentivizing) the hours (days, weeks, months, …) of safety-incident-free time should also be easy to convince that taking a similar approach to information security would be a good thing. But it is not that easy. Operations in these businesses are very physical, so it is not really in the mind-set of a rig guy or gal, a welder, a component mixer, machine operator, or similar, that another devastating incident (attack) could happen from “within” the system(s), by a human adversary committed to do harm in the interest of their nation state or paying agent. All those systems in the above mentioned industries that are working at the process level (sensors/actuators, process control, SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition) are designed for efficient and effective, good performing, and reliable operation, but they were not really designed and built to resist logic attacks from a human smart guy who can outsmart almost every defense.
In industrial networks, spanning the areas of instrumentation, control bus, operations, business, or enterprise, the often cited Purdue reference model that provides for several “levels” or “zones” of abstraction and segregation can be used. A really good introduction can be found in the Secure Data Transfer Guidance for Industrial Control and SCADA Systems.
A few months ago we discussed the various ways that consumer PII is compromised. The recent attacks against Target and Neiman Marcus illustrate the constant threat that payment card accepting retailers of all sizes face. Yesterday Reuters reported that similar breaches over the holidays affected “at least three other well-known U.S. retailers”. Given the current onslaught, it’s a good time for retailers to examine their detection capabilities before a payment card data attack, while creating new goals for shortening remediation windows during and after an attack.
Now when I’m talking about safekeeping a mobile device, I’m not saying don’t use your Kindle by the pool or let your toddler play on the iPad while eating ice cream. These are dangerous things to be doing with a gadget, but today I want to focus more on the data within that device, rather than the device itself.
No matter what you do, your device may be stolen. It only takes a moment of inattention for someone to swipe your phone or tablet. Before that unfortunate event occurs, there are several things that you can do to mitigate the damage that occurs from the loss of a mobile device. Read More »
Today, many encrypted networks use insecure cryptography. Attackers exploiting weak cryptography are nearly undetectable, and the data you think is secure is less safe every day. Legacy encryption technology can’t keep up with current advances in hacking and brute force computing power. Additionally, legacy solutions are increasingly inefficient as security levels rise, and perform poorly at high data rates. In order to stay ahead of this challenge, encryption needs to evolve.
Some of the best conversations happen in private exchanges and I often wish we could all benefit more broadly. This most recent conversation was instructive in and of itself but it also pointed out a level of transparency both Jimmy Ray and I prefer. So hopefully it goes to say -- we welcome your input! We certainly don’t get it right all the time!