I loaded up Twitter this morning and was bombarded with even more reports of companies getting breached. Latest on the radar include the likes of JPMorgan Chase and some Dairy Queen locations. I won’t even attempt to guess at the number of breaches that have occurred already this year, but at what point to companies sit down and decide to look at their own network and systems?
I am not talking about reaching out to a company to perform a penetration test, or even a risk audit. I am thinking about looking at your actual systems for any signs of compromise like what we are seeing in all of these breaches. Lets just assume that everyone is breached, what would you as a company do? You have an incidence response plan right? Disaster recovery is in place? If any of those above don’t sound familiar, you are already late to the game.
If you are a retailer or have any type of POS system, take a moment and check your systems. There is known malware that may just be sitting on there without your knowledge. You have to go looking for this, rather than just waiting on the Feds to let you know that you have a problem.
If you are a franchise, I recommend you look at your policies for franchisee’s regarding security. Do you have a way to check how they are doing in regards to security? While a breach may occur at an individual location, it is YOUR brand name that will be pasted all over the news. It is debatable whether or not any news is good news, so I don’t recommend taunting that bear.
As an industry we try to put so much effort into defending our systems, which will always be needed. However, we also have to focus on the ability to determine if something has successfully gotten through those defenses. Ordering another Penetration Test will just try to help identify where the gaps are, it will most likely not identify that someone has already exploited it.
I know, I know, we are short on cyber security professionals and we just don’t have the man power. That is excuse for not properly utilizing the resources that you have. You don’t have to be a cyber security professional to understand networking and computer systems. To monitor network traffic looking for anomalies. Network admins and analysts should know what normal traffic looks like and what a normal installation looks like. Changes in that information should spark some interest. We can’t just wait for the network to tell us… we have to start thinking about going and searching for these differences.
We also need to get better at sharing the details of what happened in one breach so the rest of the industry can learn from it. If you are hit by some unknown malware, what are the signs and signatures of it? How did you identify it so the rest of us can go look? We have so many “researchers” testing sites for things like XSS and SQL Injection, lets get some of them researching how the malware can be identified and creating tools to help sniff it out to eradicate it before it effects millions of sites? Crowd sourcing is working great to find things like XSS, why not use it to help snuff bugs quickly.
We need to start digging deep into how we approach security and come up with better ways to protect systems. We need to focus on the ability to identify breaches more quickly. We need to analyze those breaches to get tools available to quickly block the attack methods. Lets start working together to make a difference.