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Are smart cards heading the way of video recorders?

I read an article recently discussing the advantages and disadvantages of smartcards. I know that there have been quite a few distributed, but it seems to me that the adoption rate and the length of time they have been available are a bit out of sync. I would have thought that we would have many more smartcards, used in more places, being as they werer actually invented in 1968, and were widely used in French pay phones starting in 1983.

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Security Today – Magic or just a throwback to a 1960′s episode of Star Trek?

Stealing a quote from Arthur C. Clarke: “Any technology, sufficiently developed, is indistinguishable from magic”. Some people would certainly consider security these days as magic. Okay, so much for that reference, but what does Star Trek have to do with government and security, my typical topics. Star Trek, although mostly about exploration sure seemed to have a bit of a “Space Military” characteristic to it. Isn’t that what the Star Fleet was all about? (no offense intended, Capt. Kirk.)

Lately, I’ve been doing some research for a paper on the integration of physical and logical security (I did an initial paper that you can see here: Click on “The Necessity of Security”) and it dawned on me how very similar the technology of today is to the science fiction of the 1960’s, or in Mr. Clarke’s case, magic. So here is a synopsis of some of my observations. I’m sure there are more; please feel free to reply with what I’ve missed or your own favorites.

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Top of Mind: Best Practices and Security Updates

With the Black Hat and DEF CON security conferences last week in Las Vegas, two topics are top of mind for me and those in my organization: best practices for securing the network and the importance of applying software security updates. An event like Black Hat or DEF CON certainly raises awareness, but what’s really important is to take that awareness and embed it into daily management of the network. For the most part, those practices are followed on end points and applications. Unfortunately, our data indicates that patching in the infrastructure is much less consistent. This is usually based on complexity and the demands of uptime placed on the network. Events like Black Hat give my teams an opportunity to deliver training on implementing network-based mitigations and defenses. In many cases, participants in these events are simply unaware of what is available in newer versions of our products.

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Post-Exploitation Techniques from Black Hat 2011

In many exploit scenarios, an attacker finds a target and, if possible, establishes remote control over the system through known or unknown exploits. Whether the attacker uses a buffer overflow, insecure configuration, phishing for credentials, or cookie-stealing, the goal is clear: get a remote shell and gain complete control. Then what?

It is this post-exploitation environment that has interested me at this year’s Black Hat 2011. Several talks and trainings discuss post-exploitation techniques, and I’d like to share them in the interest of research – and defense.

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Cisco 2Q11 Global Threat Report

Data breaches dominated security news during the first half of 2011 and companies across all industry sectors were equally impacted. Many of these breaches resulted from advanced persistent threats; others resulted from SQL injection and other brute force intrusions. In all cases, customer data and corporate intellectual property were at risk.

In the Cisco 2Q11 Global Threat Report, Cisco CSIRT Manager Gavin Reid discusses the unique challenges of APTs and network intrusions. Gavin offers real world practical advice from a frontline perspective, offering valuable pointers for tweaking and using the tools you probably already have in place.

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