Category Archives: security management

Security Predictions for 2016

As 2015 draws to a close, we asked the Advent IM Staff to ponder the challenges for next year. 2015 saw some huge data and security fumbles and millions of people had their personal information exposed as hack after hack revealed not only how much this activity is on the increase, but also how  the security posture of some businesses is clearly unfit for purpose.

Over to the team…

Image courtesy of Vlado at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Vlado at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

Dale Penn – I predict that with the recent introduction of Apple Pay and Google’s Android Pay we will see a large upswing in mobile device targeted attacks trying to get at our bank accounts.

Del Brazil – Attacks will be pushing in from the Siberian peninsular coupled with additional attacks from the orient- this will bring a chill to the spines of organisations.  These attacks are likely to be followed by sweeping phishing scams from the African continent.  There is also the likelihood that attacks towards HMG assets from Middle Eastern warm fronts will further identify/expose weaknesses within organisations. Closer to home is the ever increasing cold chill developing within organisations as the realisation that the threat from insiders is on the rise. In summary it’s going to be a mixed bag of events for a number of wide ranging organisations. However on the whole, as long as organisations grab their security blanket they will be best placed to ward off the majority of attacks.

Chris Cope – If 2015 saw a significant number of high profile information security breaches, then expect 2016 to be more of the same.  Attackers are getting cleverer at exploiting weaknesses; most notably those presented by people.  I confidently predict that a significant number of incidents in 2016 will feature poor security decisions made by employees.  I also predict a significant challenge for many organisation which hold personal data.  The forthcoming EU regulation on data protection will provide significant challenges on the protection of personal information of EU citizens.  With a significant increase in financial sanctions highly likely, the importance of safeguarding personal data has increased dramatically for any organisation, even those who were not challenged by the penalties previously awarded by the Information Commissioners Office (ICO).  Could this be the start of a wider regulatory drive to improve information security – probably not, at least not yet. Finally, with continuing uncertainty across key areas of the globe, particularly the Middle East, we will also see more examples of ‘cyber warfare’ as this nascent capability continues to be exploited.  This will lead to a flurry of reports on how cyber war is about to doom us all or is irrelevant (depending on one’s viewpoint); surely an opportunity to educate the wider populace, and key decision makers, on what information security, and its potential consequences, could actually mean?

Mark Jones – I predict…

  • Cloud security becomes even more important as more and more businesses move services there – more demand for ISO27017
  • Related to the above, more Data Centre Security certifications due to contractor (customer) requirements
  • More BYOD-related security incidents with more mobile malware found on all platforms with China the main source – mobile payments being a prime target
  • Cyber Essentials leads to more demand for ISO27001 certifications from SMEs
  • Privileged insider remains the main Threat Source & Actor
  • More incidents relating to online cyber-extortion / ransomware
  • With increasing demand for infosec specialists and/or DPOs organisations will find it more difficult to recruit than ever
  • More incidents relating to the Internet of Things – smart devices such as drones falling out of the sky causing harm; more car computers hacked resulting in more car theft

Ellie Hurst – Media, and Marcomms Manager – I predict the growth of ransomware  in business.  Ransomware, is mainly (though not exclusively) spread by phishing and given the success of phishing as an attack vector and that one in four UK employees don’t even know what it is (OnePoll for PhishMe), I think it will continue to be the most likely form of ransomware proliferation. Of course, it can also be spread by use of inappropriate websites and so businesses that do not have, or enforce a policy or exercise restrictions in this area, will also find themselves victims of this cynical exploit.

A word from our Directors…

Julia McCarron

Julia McCarron – Advent IM Operations Director – I predict a RIOT – Risks from Information Orientated Threats.

 

 

Mike Gillespie_headshot

 

Mike Gillespie – Advent IM Managing Director – I predict an escalation in the number and severity of data breach in the coming year. Recent failures, such as TalkTalk, VTech and Wetherspoons highlight that many businesses still do not appreciate the value of the information assets they hold and manage. Business needs to increase self-awareness and looking at the Wetherspoons breach, ask the difficult question, “Should we still be holding this data?”

I think the buzz phrase for 2016 will be Information Asset Owners and if you want to know more about that, then you will have to keep an eye on what Advent IM is doing in 2016!

Advertisements

Social Engineering – Still the best attacker exploit – guest post from Dale Penn, Advent IM Security Consultant

Another great post from one of our consultants, this time from Dale Penn on the topic of Social Engineering.

Introduction

Social engineering is still the most prolific and successful method of hacking. It is a non-technical attack that relies on a user being tricked or coerced into some form of action which presents the attacker with a window of exploitation and can bypass even the most robust of technical controls. It is much easier to coerce a member of staff into providing information than is to mount a technical attack on a web application or network connection.

It is important to note that the threats from Social engineering tactics are almost always under rated by enterprise organisations even though they form an integral part of most modern day attacks. The reason behind this is that there currently exists a trend within enterprise organisations to fixate on the technical solutions to information security threats and neglect the human element.

Any organisation that wants to protect its information assets must be aware of the current Social Engineering threats.

The top 3 Social Engineering Methodologies

phishingPhishing – This is the practice of sending emails appearing to be from reputable sources with the goal of influencing or gaining personal information. A Phishing email will usually contain a link which will redirect the user to a false webpage where they are asked to provide personal information such as usernames and passwords. Once entered this information is captured and ready for use by the hacker. Gone are the days were Phishing emails will contain poor grammar and spelling and were easy to pick out. Modern day Phishing emails are professionally created and very convincing.

 

Vishing – This is the practice oAdvent IM Social Engineering securityf eliciting information or attempting to influence action via the telephone, may include such tools as “phone spoofing.”  A common attack method is to call a user within an organisation and pretend to be the IT Helpdesk. From there the attacker will coerce the user into “confirming” their user name and password

Advent IM social engineering expert

We all want to help – naturally. We also want to make the shouting stop…

Pretexting – This is the practice of pretexting as another person with the goal of obtaining information or access to a person, company, or computer system. This is where where attackers focus on creating a good pretext, or a fabricated scenario, that they can use to try and steal their victims’ personal information. These types of attacks commonly take the form of a scammer who pretends that they need certain bits of information from their target in order to confirm their identity. More advanced attacks will also try to manipulate their targets into performing an action that enables them to exploit the structural weaknesses of an organisation or company. A good example of this would be an attacker who impersonates an external IT services auditor and manipulates a company’s physical security staff into letting them into the building.

Advent IM HMG accreditation concepts training

Counter Measures

  1. Education, Education, Education – All users should be appropriately trained to recognise these methods of attack. The work force should adopt a culture of healthy scepticism when approached for sensitive information and not take things at face value.
  2. Develop policies and procedure to identify and handle sensitive information so staff will know what is sensitive to the organisation and what they can and can’t do with it.
  3. Introduce appropriate technical defences which limit the methods of these attacks (i.e. block inbound emails with active links)
  4. Review your security controls regularly to ensure they are still appropriate.

Public Sector SIRO training places for October 8th

There are a couple of spaces left on October’s Public Sector Senior Information Risk Owner (SIRO) training course.

In summary:

Having successfully developed and delivered SIRO Training for the UK’s Police Forces since 2012, we have redesigned our popular and well respected SIRO training course for the broader public sector.

 Our training course will give you a greater understanding of your role and responsibilities as SIRO for your organisation. It will also cover both the principles of information risk management and information assurance using several scenario based exercises to test and improve your understanding of the crisis management issues in this area. At the end of the training, you will have the confidence to deal with information risk and incidents should they occur within your organisation.

As usual it will be allocated on first come first served unless there are cancellations. 

If you are from the Public Sector and either want to find out more about this training and why it is so vital to your organisation or you want to book your SIRO onto this course, please visit the website.  http://www.advent-im.co.uk/siro.aspx or email us at bestpractice@advent-im.co.uk with PS SIRO in the subject.

October 8th at Advent IM training suite in Birmingham (just off the M5)

Senior Information Risk Owner  Training from Advent IM

Senior Information Risk Owner Training from Advent IM

PCI-DSS PA-DSS (v3.0) Expected Change Highlights (v1.0) Tool

As mentioned in previous blog post, the payment card processing standard has some changes coming up. The standard should be issued in full next month, in the meantime and as promised, we are offering  a free guide to the anticipated changes to allow you to get ahead of the curve.

You can get it free from the Advent IM website on the news page or on the dedicated PCI-DSS page

iStock_000016426779Small

PCI-DSS PA-DSS changes – latest updates

Anticipated changes to the standard for payment card security have been announced and PCI Security Standards Council have issued some guidelines ahead of the final changes to help merchants get ahead y reviewing and understanding the changes ahead of their implementation. The revised standard (Version 3.0) is due to come come out in November

Will a lead lined wallet be the only solution?

Will a lead lined wallet be the only solution?

this year.

According to the Change Highlight Document, the updated version of PCI-DSS and PA- DSS will;

  • Provide stronger focus on some of the greater risks in the threat environment
  • Provide increased clarity on PCI-DSS & PA-DSS requirements
  • Build greater understanding on the intent of the requirements and how to apply them
  • Improve flexibility for all the entities implementing, assessing and building to the Standards
  • Drive more consistency among assessors
  • Help manage evolving risks/threats
  • Align with changes in industry best practices
  • Clarify scoping and reporting
  • Eliminate redundant sub requirements and consolidate documentation

Key themes for the new version include

Education & Awareness – to help drive education and build awareness internally and with business partners and customers.

Increased Flexibility – Enabling organisations to take a more flexible approach on meeting requirements in common risk areas such as weak passwords, malware and poor authentication methods.

Security as a Shared Responsibility – Changes  introduced to help organisations understand their entities’ PCI-DSS responsibilities when working with different business partners to ensure cardholder data security. 

Emerging technologies

The PCI -DSS and PA-DSS are bult in a way that their principles can be applied to a variety of cardholder data environments, such as mobile or cloud. The PCI Special Interest Group issues separate and specific guidance for mobile via the PCI SSC Website  (Mobile Payment Acceptance Security Guidelines for Merchants).

COMING SOON!

We will be issuing our own guidance document soon. Watch this blog or our website news and dedicated PCI-DSS page