Monday, December 23, 2013

Risk, Recrimination, and Reporting: Detecting and Handling Breaches

I read Ericka Chickowski’s article on empowering employees to detect outside attacks earlier this month and I made some notes that have finally found their way into a blog…three weeks later.

Well, better late than never—especially when it comes to the importance of teaching effective employee behaviors. There is always something good to say about it. Here’s my sum-up of this article: Chickowski is 100% right, and she has some particularly notable quotes here.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Wasted Energy: How Info Purges and a Third-Party Test Could Have Helped the DOE

cost, cleanup, data breach, security breachThere’s been a lot of online chatter this week about last summer’s Department of Energy breach—and rightly so. 150,000 affected employees is nothing to sneeze at. The worst part? All the affected employees may not even know yet.

The Real Cost of Data Breach Cleanup

In our experience, there is not a deep enough respect in the market for how difficult and expensive the notification requirements for data breaches can be. Not only can this cause public embarrassment, but it can also put the organization at serious legal and financial risk. Many organizations are mostly worried mostly about the intrinsic dangers of losing the actual data but do not demonstrate fear or motivation to invest in preventing the process of notification and remediation.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Picture Yourself Secure: Passwords, Phrases, and the Future

In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue…

Every Good Boy Does Fine….

Thirty days hath September….

password, passphrase, security, dataAh yes…mnemonic devices. Those performance-enhancing tools used successfully by middle schoolers and beginner-level music students all over the country for…well, for forever, it seems.

Enter any 7th grade classroom on test day and you’ll see small, strained faces searching their memory banks for that rhyme or song that will bring to mind the order of taxonomy (“King Phillip Opens Five Green Snakes”) or the five Great Lakes (HOMES).

Depending on your college degree, you might have carried this technique into college. But most of us probably gave up these memory aids along with No-Doze and an actual Spring Break after tossing our grad cap in the air.

But why? The human brain loves association and repetition at any age and for any reason—and that’s why researchers at Carnegie Mellon think we should keep it up when it comes to security.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Phishing Infographic: Don't Get Hooked!

By now, most folks are aware of phishing emails—or at the very least, that social engineers use email to steal average people's sensitive information. Yet, we are continually surprised that the how and why of phishing still eludes many average folks. What do phishing emails look like? How would someone get information from me through an email? What could a social engineer do with that information?

Some folks just respond better to pictures and diagrams. So...voila! Our first foray into the world of infographics, and what is hopefully the first of many.

Share this Image On Your Site

Employee Training: Out of the Box

As a training company, this is just one more way for Sight Training to encourage folks to do their homework—and by homework, we mean doing a little extra checking before you hand over sensitive information through a phishing email. Your credit card number, SSN, and bank information are yours and no one else's. Guard them at all cost. 

And remember: emails are just digital versions of the in-the-flesh thieves who are behind them. They can dress up and look impressive. They can be cool, casual, and persuasive. And they can pull off an official posture with approved logos and embedded links that mimic real websites. Here are a few more tips:
  1. Remember: stranger danger! Don't know who sent it? Don't open it.
  2. Be wary of attachments. 
  3. Ignore commands and requests for action—no matter how urgent they may seem.
  4. Use the phone. Try contacting the sender by telephone. If the email is from your “bank,” then you should be able to get the truth pretty quickly. And if you cannot get in touch with the sender, then delete the email and forget about it.
Slow down, take a deep breath, and think about what you are doing before you offer it up to a social engineer on a silver platter.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Oh, The Humanity: The Danger of Anonymity

And now for something a little different. Throughout our “Oh, the Humanity!” series, we want to demonstrate some of the most dangerous ways social engineers can infiltrate a company—and pretty often, that involves the phone or email. But every now and then, it’s a simple (and downright silly) move that gives a thief access to very sensitive information.

Security Breach: Signed, Sealed, Delivered

security breach, social engineering attack, red flag
Here's the story. When we begin a project with any company, one of things we most want to demonstrate is how easily we can get access to their network as outsiders. While social engineers are frequently insiders, we often attempt to replicate that level of access from our “basement.”

In one case, we discovered that we couldn’t just download a standard VPN client. This company required that employees install it from a preconfigured CD. We had to figure out a way to get the CD and not expose ourselves as social engineers.