This morning while absorbing large amounts of caffeine in a vain attempt to wake from a turkey induced coma, I came across an interesting article over on Tech News World on the Internet of Things. As some of you know, prior to joining the connected world of telecom, I actually spent awhile in the security space. Just long enough to adopt the constant state between paranoia and acceptance of the fact that everything is a security risk, much like my fellow security brethren.
So when I came across this article on the Internet of Things and the wonderful world of security as it relates to this new(ish) trend, it couldn’t help but intrigue me. Because well, whenever society gets a new toy to play with, you know there is a beautiful dark cloud of exploitation just around the corner. The internet of Things is wonderful, and it’s going to be a huge headache for security folks. Welcome to the (Unsecured) Internet of Things. Continue reading
As someone who spends a lot of time perusing both Reddit and the now sadly defunct Google Reader (RIP!), I’m not personally surprised to start seeing a lot of discussions around whether corporations who outsource cloud storage or other services to third parties should be worried about privacy risks.
For example, an article this morning from the folks over at ZD brings up some great points about both the pros and cons about the great cloud race and how it could ultimately affect how data ownership is perceived. Continue reading
Most of Canada and the US’s power, water and manufacturing facilities leverage some kind of industrial control system (ICS). These systems are usually built on Windows and have some kind of front end backing onto the Internet, which means they are prime targets for web based attacks. Continue reading
OK, I’ll admit it. I love cloud storage. Not huge, datacentre style stuff, just simple stuff like Dropbox. Why? Well, mostly because it makes keeping things available on all devices a lot easier, and honestly, it makes me way more productive. In fact, it makes employees as a whole way more productive. So why aren’t more organizations touting these solutions? Continue reading
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
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
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.
I was recently attending a cloud conference and had the chance to talk to several of the key technology vendors that were in attendance. One of the major vendors seems to be working closely with just about everyone in the cloud and virtualization space, and it made me question what kind of benefits to solution providers and other vendors these types of relationships provide. Suddenly the main cloud players are building partnerships to develop solutions for attached security, storage, asset management, performance monitoring and other operational technologies within virtual environments. But what benefit is there to have such tight integration with one or two key cloud platform vendors? Continue reading
For mid-market organizations that want to build their own internal cloud environments to support their IT objectives, the biggest barrier has always been the capital costs associated with purchasing infrastructure and security solutions to support the initiatives. Traditionally, the large server manufacturers haven’t really targeted mid-market because they never saw a large revenue stream potential, or they assumed these organizations never had the in-house expertise to manage the equipment. Now it seems like every vendor is suddenly touting the latest mid-market solution as if they just realized this market segment exists. Why the shift? Continue reading
I know I spend a lot of time talking about mid-market and cloud and all the great things that cloud affords these organizations to do. I also talk about how cloud providers love cloud models because it allows them to build huge self-managed services that involve the same types of provisioning models, resulting in streamlined and very profitable services that their customers can use to build their own corporate services. And the fact that these services are multi-tenant, the cost savings for both providers and customers means they can invest in services that utilize modern technologies and security controls without huge capital investments. But why would enterprises then build their own clouds? What benefits are there for their internal and external customers? Continue reading