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Excerpt of Cyber Within

January 31, 2010 by  

I’ve had a few requests for an excerpt of my book, Cyber Within, so I’ve decided to post one online. Here’s the link: Cyber Within Excerpt

Enjoy!

Cyber Within is Now Available

January 21, 2010 by  

It’s been a busy few weeks! Just wanted to let everyone know that my new book, Cyber Within, is now available at Amazon.com

Q. Why did I write Cyber Within?

A. I wrote Cyber Within to provide employees with an interesting guide to help them understand cyber and insider threats. The book is meant to provoke thought and provide examples concerning the current attacks happening in the corporate world today. I used a story format because I know how tough it is getting employees to read technical—and often dry—security guides.

Q. Why should companies buy this book for their employees?

A. It’s often difficult to get security practices to resonate with employees. Traditional computer-based training allows employees to rush to the end without paying much attention to the content. Additionally, the content is often dry, so employees are often uninterested. Companies should buy Cyber Within for their employees because it’s fun, engaging, and has a memorable story with lessons they can apply today.

Latest Press Release:

ATTACKS ON GOOGLE DEMONSTRATE THAT CORPORATE SECRETS ARE GETTING OUT — LEARN HOW YOU CAN PLUG THE LEAK

NORFOLK, VA. – With the continual rise in cyber crime, corporate secrets are harder to contain (as demonstrated by recent attacks against Google, Adobe and other major companies). To gain unauthorized access, attackers persuade employees to open cleverly crafted e-mail and click on links to sites that silently installs data-stealing software.

To combat this threat and protect company secrets and customer data, all employees should know how to:

  • Spot social engineers trying to manipulate their way to unauthorized information
  • Recognize suspicious e-mail that may contain (or link to) malicious software
  • Identify suspicious behaviors, whether from systems or people
  • Prevent leaking sensitive data to open sources
  • Create a secure password
  • Report security incidents

Through suspenseful events, coupled with lessons learned, a new book titled Cyber Within helps organizations tackle this security challenge head-on. Cyber Within, written by Marcos Christodonte II, MBA, CISSP, is an educational tool for corporate workers that uses an engaging story, lessons, and tips to help employees understand and spot security threats. Robert Lentz, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Cyber, Identity and Information Assurance at the U.S. Department of Defense says, “Cyber Within is a stellar portrayal of why user education on Cyber Security threats, tactics and techniques is so critical.”

Kevin Beaver, independent information security consultant with Principle Logic, LLC and author of Hacking For Dummies says, “Lack of awareness is a grand security weakness. This book provides a unique approach to help fill the gaps and would be a great addition to anyone’s information security toolbox.”

Christodonte is well qualified to present security guidance to employees. He is a cyber and information security professional working for a consulting firm. He has developed security strategies for the U.S. Army, U.S. Navy and NATO.

All Versions of IE Vulnerable to Zero-day Attack?

January 14, 2010 by  

In case you haven’t heard, there’s been a zero-day attack against several big companies such as Google, Adobe, and others. The reports and chatter all started when Google reported that they might be taking another approach in conducting operations in China. I think this statement dropped a few jaws, “In mid-December, we detected a highly sophisticated and targeted attack on our corporate infrastructure originating from China that resulted in the theft of intellectual property from Google.” To be honest, I wasn’t surprised given the advanced threats we face, their intent and evolving capabilities. However, I was glad to see a company as large as Google step up and admit to the breach.

Just after Google’s report, Adobe posted their shorter, less-detailed, account of the attack. These reports came in two days ago. Brian Krebs, former security reporter at the Washington Post, has been following this story quite closely. On his blog, he notes that the attackers appear to have targeted source code and trade secrets, and that MS has posted an advisory about the unpatched vulnerability.

This story is a very interesting and is a prime example of why user education is so important. Using this unpatched zero-day exploit and a clever social engineering attack, trade secrets from countless organizations could get stolen–possibly without notice. That’s why educating users is the aim of my new book, Cyber Within. Through education, users will obtain a better understanding of risks and security challenges and will be able to spot social engineering and other malicious schemes instead of giving up corporate secrets. By the way, Cyber Within will be available in a couple of weeks. I’ll keep you posted, but in the mean time, check out a new article by my colleague Kevin Beaver where he outlines the real deal with internal security threats.

IP Address Spoofing

December 14, 2009 by  

In everyday conversation, we tend to use language that is foreign to others around us. While people sometimes give us a head nod, or say “uh huh,” they don’t always know what we’re talking about. Frankly, their body language tells the true story, especially when they display the “thousand mile stare,” or confused facial gesture. I was recently talking about IP address spoofing when I saw someone giving me that look. I decided to give them a quick summary of IP address spoofing, but decided to provide a more elaborate version of that conversation below.

Spoofing is simply the act of pretending to be someone you’re not. With IP address spoofing, an attacker will change his or her IP address to appear to be someone or something else on the network or Internet. One might ask, “Why would someone want to spoof their IP address?” Well, if an attacker were remotely accessing an unauthorized network or system, they wouldn’t want that activity traced back to them. Instead, they will spoof their IP address so that the traffic shows a different source.

For instance, if a system provided access, or authentication, based merely upon IP address, an attacker could simply change their IP to an IP address of a privileged system and effectively gain unauthorized access.

three-way_handshake

Image source: Microsoft

So what if an attacker performed the above scenario and gained unauthorized access to a system? They would probably want to execute a few commands and, depending on their intent, may want to have some information sent back to them. Nevertheless, there’s a small problem with basic IP address spoofing. Because of this thing we call the three-way handshake, once the receiving system receives the request, they will route it back to the real system whose address is being spoofed. Once that system receives the request, they will not complete the three-way handshake, since they never initiated the conversation, and will send a reset message to the sender. Therefore, the attacker wouldn’t receive the information they requested unless they provided their own IP address for routing.

So If I were an attacker, what would be my workaround? One way that an attacker could get around the three-way handshake roadblock is to use source routing. With source routing, an attacker can specify the path that a packet will take to get to its destination. This means that an attacker can direct the path for packets, to include each hop along the way. Since the attacker knows exactly where the packets will go, they can stand by for interception or simply place themselves somewhere along the directed path.

So for all my network security engineers out there, don’t allow IP source routing through your firewalls and routers!

Best practices for (small) botnets

December 3, 2009 by  

Check out my new article at SearchSecurity.com where I outline Best practices for (small) botnets.

Short excerpt:

Recent large-scale botnet events, such as those used to disrupt Twitter and Facebook, have been highly publicized in the news. While these high-profile security events have been hard to miss, it’s the smaller, stealthier botnet attacks that may prove to be a greater threat to enterprises.

To take on evolving enterprise defense mechanisms, attackers look for weak spots, and have begun using smaller, less noticeable botnets to evade enterprise safeguards. In this tip, we’ll discuss why these so-called micro-botnets are proving successful, and how to identify and prevent them from doing damage.

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