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Windows 10’s Security Reboot, Part I: Authentication

There’s incredible excitement about the Windows 10 release. If you completely quantum leap over Windows 9, you’d expect big things. In December, I was talking with NYU-Poly’s Professor Justin Cappos. He’s a security expert and had nothing but high praise for Microsoft’s security group. But he added their cutting-edge research doesn’t necessarily make it into…

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Timely Cybercrime Analysis from FINRA

Hackers stealing passwords, credit card and social security numbers, and health insurance IDs can lead to significant dollar losses. But let’s think the unthinkable: hackers getting access to our retirement, 401(k), and brokerage accounts. Of course, that’s where the real money is. The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), an independent watchdog group, recently published a…

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How to Detect and Clean CryptoLocker Infections

CryptoLocker is by now a well known piece of malware that can be especially damaging for any data-driven organization. Once the code has been executed, it encrypts files on desktops and network shares and “holds them for ransom”, prompting any user that tries to open the file to pay a fee to decrypt them. For…

Inside the World of Insider Threats, Part IV: Conclusions

We’ve covered a lot of ground in this series of posts on insider threats. To quickly review, insiders who commit IT sabotage or theft of sensitive information are more technical employees with a predisposition to destructive behavior. However, there’s usually a trigger event associated with a job or career disappointment that puts them over the…

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Inside the World of Insider Threats, Part III: Means and Opportunity

If you’ve been reading along, you’ll know that the psychological motives for insiders are complex and worthy of a flowchart. In fact, in our last post we showed you a chain-of-event graph used by real security researchers. After insiders go to the dark side, they have one big advantage over outsiders: by default they are in…

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PCI DSS Explained: Our New White Paper Decodes the Complexity

The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) is not just another list of requirements for protecting data. In 2013, the number of credit and debit card transactions worldwide reached over 100 billion—that’s lots of swipes and 16-digit numbers entered! With its almost 300 controls, PCI DSS provides the rules of the road for…

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US National Breach Notification Law Gets its 15 Seconds

You’re excused if you missed the very brief mention of a new data security law in the President’s State of the Union address two weeks ago. It received a sentence or two somewhere towards the end of the speech. The White House published the proposed legislation (The Personal Data Notification & Protection Act) on its…

Inside the World of Insider Threats, Part II: More on Motivation

One area the CMU CERT researchers looked into was the chain of events that cause a law-abiding employee to become an insider menace. For those who want to learn about the models the CMU team came up with, they’re welcome to read this fascinating paper on the topic. But I think I can summarize the…

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Inside the World of Insider Threats, Part I: Motivation

As someone once said in a different context, never let a good crisis go to waste. While we still don’t have definitive proof, there’s good evidence that employees were in some way involved in the Sony meltdown—see Did North Korea Really Attack Sony? from Schneier. The larger point is that the Sony breach opens the…

Big Data Recommendations Engine for Data Access

Could you imagine the web without personalized recommendations? Amazon tells us what new books to buy Spotify tells us what music to listen to Netflix tells us which movies to watch Foursquare tells us where to eat and what to order …but what about a recommendations engine for data access? As users move through an…