Ten percent of nuthin’ is…let me do the math here…nuthin’ into nuthin’…carry the nuthin’…

One of the more recent topics around cloud and security to garner media attention is around the risks associated with inadequate patching policies as they relate to virtual machines. I know most people are thinking “Endpoint? Really? Isn’t that a simple thing to take care of in any environment?”, but the reality is that there are still nuances that are part of virtual and cloud environments that add a layer of complexity that a lot of IT professionals might not think of simply because they haven’t had to think in such terms yet. In particular, the notion of endpoint tagging as it relates to virtual snapshots or moving VMs is one of those instances. Continue reading

Your soul-suckin’ days are over, amigo!

At this year’s RSA conference, Trend Micro announced their new Deep Security 8 antivirus solution. What is revolutionary with this product is that it is the first agentless solution, and designed with virtual environments in mind. So why is this such exciting news for the cloud & virtualization world? Continue reading

It’s 106 miles to Chicago, we’ve got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it’s dark and we’re wearing sunglasses.

With the long weekend looming (well, technically starting today) I thought I would do a nice light post about the state of third party security and virtualization. I still have this debate once and awhile about what is better, vendor integrated solutions such as vShield, or third party solutions from security vendors. So what are the arguments for each side? Continue reading

I guess you picked the wrong god-damned rec room to break into, didn’t you?!

With the recent high-profile breach of Global Payments, information is finally coming to light as to the cause of the breach. Sadly, it seems that ineffective security around authentication was to blame this time. This is in-line with my post the other day about how internal security policies need to educate employees about why passwords and verifying content is so important to maintaining a strong security posture. Unfortunately, it looks like an employee was impersonated through authentication verification questions, giving the unauthorized user access to confidential information including several million credit card numbers. So how can this type of solution be avoided, and more importantly, what kind of cloud solutions exist to help with this challenge? Continue reading

Passwords are like underwear. You shouldn’t leave them out where people can see them. You should change them regularly. And you shouldn’t loan them out to strangers.

It’s funny when I see articles around security that focus on how Anti-Virus is the key to computer security. I know that yes, the risks from malware and virus-laden attachments are a pain in the butt for security professionals, and even regular computer users, but is A/V really the key to computer security? If you ask me, it’s really about education and process than anything. Continue reading

Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read.

It may come as no surprise that I read a lot about cloud and security. I mean A LOT. My Twitter feeds are rammed with representation from all things cloud. As Martha Stewart would say, “It’s a good thing.”. So when I’m not doing my day job, I’m busy writing this daily blog, writing for another awesome Canadian blog, http://cloudbestpractices.net, some vendor sites, and writing whitepapers for various conferences, doing research with the Cloud Security Alliance and the like. I do this so that I can help educate the market, particularly the Canadian market, on cloud. Continue reading

May the Odds be Ever in Your Favor.

It’s been awhile since I’ve written about security, but last week I came across a really great (but frightening) example of how security is affected with virtual environments. An organization who was running a virtual environment suddenly lost access to their entire infrastructure. It wasn’t a result of a badly configured virtual environment, it was arguably one of the first examples that I have come across of an attack against a virtual environment. I don’t know if it was intentional, but it’s a very interesting story of just how the threat landscape is adapting.

Essentially what happened was that the Windows server their virtual environment was running on had suffered a malware infection. The worst thing was that it was a known exploit, but hadn’t been patched. What the exploit did was cause the server to hit the network stack with enough traffic to cause a DDoS attack against the management console. This brought not just everything down, but rendered the environment unavailable.

Can you imagine if this type of vulnerability happens in production environment, such as in a financial or e-commerce organization? Aside from the financial ramifications of not being available to customers, but if you couldn’t recover any of your data? This type of attack could theoretically cause irreparable damage to a company.

I know the whole concept of securing virtual environments is a new thing. I work with several research groups within the Cloud Security Alliance so I am aware of just how little information there is out there as it relates to best practices. But when a real-world example of how these types of attacks are starting to affect virtual environments, it makes it clear just how important these conversations are.

Now I am not sure what happened to the organization who was the unfortunate victim of the attack. I hope that the fact that they figured out it was a network issue means that once the vulnerability is patched the VMs can be restarted. But I doubt that this is a rare and isolated example, which means that it is officially time for security and infrastructure folks to step up their game.