Government Advances Continuous Security Monitoring
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User Rank: Apprentice
6/6/2014 | 9:38:40 PM
Re: Solution or Future Problem
I agree with you @christianabryant. Technology via scans and similar techniques can only perform so much. All defense in depth strategies I have seen list scans and automation as the only a subset of what is needed for a SOC or security initiative. Heavy analysis, which is mostly a human performed action aside from heuristics is crucial in detecting malicious activity. Even with honed ids/ips systems we frequently see false positives, and these are filtered out by people. I believe when ever there is an analytical counterpart to be seen, humans will always have a seat at the table.
Charlie Babcock
Charlie Babcock,
User Rank: Author
6/6/2014 | 7:53:58 PM
Continous monitoring, contextual view....
Continuous monitoring, contextual view and defense in depth, these remain the holy grails of IT security and they appear to be edging closer. Nice piece by Henry Kenyon.
Christian Bryant
Christian Bryant,
User Rank: Strategist
6/6/2014 | 4:51:08 PM
Solution or Future Problem
I'm all for this and support the initiatives.  But we can never let real humans forget that we're all here for a reason, whatever our role in security and configuration management may be.  That is, automated scanners and intrusion detection systems, the whole lot of automated security software, isn't the whole solution.  If it were, we'd all be out of jobs.  System and application crackers and crews would get real 9 to 5 jobs.  Is that only because automation is just a facet of a larger security solution?  I actually think not.  I think it's because automation has inherent issues due to human predictability patterns and the way your average hacker and cracker code, or don't (social hacking).

Continuous data monitoring and built-in security are successful as long as there is adaptation to handle the methodologies of today's hacker.  And that can change day-to-day.  Folks often associate the tools of hackers and crackers with the sets often found on distributions like Kali Linux.  But it's not that simple, and many cyber criminals don't even touch those tools.  To say that monitoring data can free up IT staff is like saying setting a camera on a group of kids in daycare frees up the daycare employees to do other work.  You're going to end up with a missing kid before long.  The human element of hacking is what makes so many cyber criminals successful.  You must assume that normal as well as abnormal activity surroundnig data should be observed, and against the normal activity, another layer of algorithms, checks and balances needs to be applied.

As good as the tools may be, I believe little defense can be had against uber-hackers (working from low-tech to high-tech) and all-out assaults on a network, is high reliance is put upon the tools.  We must be more diligent in our design of precious data stores and how applications access that data.  You can't hack what you can't see is a popular catch-phrase, and go figure, it happens to be true.  Of course, what that "other work" is the IT folks are doing could determine the success of the security model that includes these tools, but only if it addresses what the tools do and can not.

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