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National Cyber Security Awareness Month

This month, we are marking the tenth anniversary of National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM). The goal is to raise awareness and educate Americans about the importance of cyber security. Agencies and organizations are holding events and driving initiatives to engage Americans in a discussion about how to establish safer practices.

NCSAM sheds light on the most pressing topics in security, including mobility, education, cyber crime and critical infrastructure.  In alignment with NCSAM’s mission, we are sharing our own cyber security best practices, advice and resources.

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Cyber Security Awareness Month 2013: Trust is the Topic

With October designated as Cyber Security Awareness Month, it got me thinking about the connections between awareness and trust. Cisco has made significant investments in what we call “Trustworthy Systems.” These products and services integrate security features, functions, and design practices from the very beginning. We do this because we know that people will be depending on Cisco products for communications critical to their personal and professional missions. Read More »

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Making Boring Logs Interesting

In the last week alone, two investigations I have been involved with have come to a standstill due to the lack of attribution logging data. One investigation was halted due to the lack of user activity logging within an application, the other from a lack of network-based activity logs. Convincing the asset owners of the need for logging after-the-fact was easy. But ideally, this type of data would be collected before it’s needed for an investigation. Understanding what data is critical to log, engaging with the asset owners to ensure logs contain meaningful information, and preparing log data for consumption by a security monitoring organization are ultimately responsibilities of the security monitoring organization itself. Perhaps in a utopian world, asset owners will engage an InfoSec team proactively and say, “I have a new host/app. To where should I send my log data which contains attributable information for user behavior which will be useful to you for security monitoring?” In lieu of that idealism, what follows is a primer on logs as they relate to attribution in the context of security event monitoring. Read More »

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Wireless Security Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

Ten years ago, I remember driving around my neighborhood with a laptop, wireless card, and an antenna looking at the Service Set Identifiers (SSID) of all the open wireless networks. Back then, a home user’s packets often flew through the air unencrypted with nary a thought to who might be listening.

 

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As a protocol, Wireless Fidelity (WiFi), has continually improved (IEEE 802.11) and today it is the preferred communication channel for a multitude of home devices including video game consoles, cameras, streaming video devices, mobile phones, tablets, and list goes on. As October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month, we outline typical WiFi risks and share sensible precautions.

Family-on-laptop-300x199In my last three homes, the Internet Service Provider (ISP) installation technician arrived with a cable modem that included four Ethernet ports and native WiFi default enabled. In each case, the technician explained that I could manage the cable modem through the settings webpage. When I inquired about management authentication credentials all of the technicians told me that passwords were not enabled by default, which naturally caused some consternation due to the obvious security implications.

It turns out that most ISPs will provide a modem without WiFi capabilities upon request. You can also request that a WiFi enabled modem be converted to bridge mode which will allow you to attach and manage your own WiFi access point (AP) without worrying about conflicts. Read More »

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Razzle Dazzle v2.0

During World War I, British artist and navy officer Norman Wilkinson proposed the use of “Dazzle Camouflage” on ships. The concept behind Dazzle Camouflage, as Wilkinson explained, was to “paint a ship with large patches of strong colour in a carefully thought out pattern and colour scheme …, which will so distort the form of the vessel that the chances of successful aim by attacking submarines will be greatly decreased.” The Dazzle Camouflage was not intended to hide the presence of the ships themselves, but instead was created to hide the ships size, shape, direction, and speed from would-be attackers.

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Razzle Dazzle Camouflage applied to a ship

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