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Security or Hybrid WAN’s? Do you need to choose?

Security is hot topic on everyone’s mind and for IT it is a constant challenge to stay ahead of the latest threats and vulnerabilities that their organizations face on a daily basis. Take a quick look at the news and it won’t take you long to find an article talking about the latest cyber attack that resulted in the leak of personal data. So what can organizations and more specifically IT teams do to protect themselves from threats and vulnerabilities. Personally I don’t think you can protect yourselves from all threats and vulnerabilities. Cyber threats will continue to exist and cyber criminals will continue to develop increasingly sophisticated attacks to evade even the most robust security barriers. Even if you were to isolate your network from the internet an intruder could overcome your physical security and launch an attack from within your organization.

So what can you do to protect yourself? I view security as a way to reduce your exposure to threats and you should at a minimum make sure you have the appropriate security measures in place to reduce your exposure to threats and vulnerabilities. While you may never be able to stay one step ahead of cyber attacks you should be in a position to detects threats and be able to mitigate them as fast as possible to reduce your exposure.

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Custom Signature Writing Guide for Cisco IPS

A collaboration of four senior members of the Cisco IPS signature team recently culminated in the public release of a guide on writing custom signatures for Cisco IPS, the #1 IPS platform of the Internet. The idea behind this move is to give our customers an easier way to develop their own signatures, allowing them to more easily discover and block unwanted traffic in their networks. At the same time it helps in understanding existing signatures written by members of the IPS signature team.

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PCI Base 2.0 – Don’t Leave Rogue Detection Up in The Air!

I have been preparing for the PCI DSS 2.0 draft released on October 28th, 2010 which is to be ratified in January of 2011. PCI DSS 2.0 clarifies requirements in many areas.

The draft 2.0 released yesterday has shown that there is little change in wireless recommendations around detecting the presence of rogue wireless access points. Actually the draft adds a little more room for interpretation.

In PCI DSS Draft v2.0, requirement 11.1 states that to be compliant organizations are required to “Test for the presence of wireless access points and detect unauthorized wireless access points on a quarterly Basis.” With a note that states, “Methods that may be used in the process include but are not limited to wireless network scans, physical/logical inspections of system components and infrastructure, network access control (NAC), or wireless IDS/IPS. Whichever methods are used, they must be sufficient to detect and identify any unauthorized devices.

As we examine this statement it seems to lend itself to more than one option. Perform a quarterly scan with a handheld scanner, rely on physically inspecting connections or implement an always-on wireless IDS/IPS solution.  I vote for the latter.  Why?

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