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Is there such a thing as Social Media Warfare? We have had cyber warfare going on for years now. So it should be an obvious “YES” that Social Media warfare exists. But is that true?  To get to a full blown war opposing sides go through an escalation process. Where are we in this process? From a pure cyber warfare perspective, we are in world war three, many opposing sides, lots of new and improved weapons, completely escalating attacks and no end in sight. Companies are used to conducting vulnerability management and risk assessment. This new war will require new tactics and defense strategies. I think we have seen the first skirmishes of the war. It started with all the spammers morphing their tools into Facebook and Twitter hacking. Then moving into phishing. Then into negative attacks on your reputation by disgruntled customers and competitors. So what is the progression of this coming war? Is there a similarity to how “normal” cyber  warfare started? But why is this war inevitable? The attack vectors in the Social Media War are probably categorized into personal use and corporate use. If these are the assets that needs to be protected, we can then figure out how the assets will be attacked, how will the enemies do reconnaissance, what alliances will be formed and what should be the defense strategies and weapons for defense. The progression of of this war will follow different patterns and there is probably no end in sight.
Action Personal Corporate
Skirmish Home users receiving spam and phishing attacks and scams Corporate users seeing more phishing attacks, attackers going through Linkedin profiles
Protest Actions Users might complain to attorney generals, or write nasty messages about Microsoft Adobe or Apple security weaknesses The IT department is inundated with help desk calls. Companies have the ability to complain to ISPs or event countries about originating attacks.
Negotiations There really isn’t anyone to negotiate with. Writing on your Facebook wall will not do a darn thing. Companies definitely do not want to negotiate. But will see blackmail more and more.
Failed Negotiations The home user is bascially screwed anyway. Succumbing to blackmail will only lead down a bad path.
Declaration of War This is a defacto state with the home user. They are at war whether they know it or not. Companies have to take a proactive approach to security versus reactive. Anticipate the next types of attacks and have a budget to address it.
Launch Attacks and Defend More defend, get your anti-spyware, antivirus, personal firewalls and encryption up to speed. But after that, understand how attackers use Social Media. Spend massive amounts of money on understanding how so fight in the Social media landscape, security hardware and software are not enough.
Allies Join the War The home user can only rely on the Social media companies for basic security. Their will be more collaboration between companies and governments. Perhaps together they have a fighting chance. Regulations are also going to force changes.
Years of Conflict – Never Ending Whats the next thing after Facebook and Twitter? Whatever it is will have its own security challenges. But by that time the home user will probably have given out every bit of personal information on all the Social Media venues anyway. A company can only rely on the right process to secure their social media usage. As technologies change and new sites go live, a good process and social media security policy is all you can rely on.
Winner The ISP, they get to sell bandwidth. The VCs who fund companies like Facebook and Twitter.
I will get into more tactics in the coming war in future posts. Gary Bahadur CEO KRAA Security,  baha@kraasecurity.com http://www.kraasecurity.com http://blog.kraasecurity.com http://twitter.com/kraasecurity *Managed Security Services *Vulnerability Management *Compliance & Policy Development *PGP Security *FREE Website Security Test
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Adobe Systems Incorporated
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We have seen a lot of problems with Adobe vulnerabilities. Adobe has been getting beat up with all the negative publicity in the past few months. Apple is restricting access to Adobe on their devices. Has anyone tried their remote desktop sharing? I wonder if some vulnerability will be release in that application. What is the real problem with electronic document sharing and what are some of the solutions? Adobe is just an example; the whole industry of electronic documents is finally coming into its own.  Problems with Electronic Douments How are people accessing electronic documents and how are they signing them and verifying them? Well there are multiple companies out there touting secure signature applications for documents. When do you use these companies?  Some questions to ask include: 1. When and how do you determine the importance of the document? 2. Have you implemented a data classification scheme for electronic documents? 3. Who has the right to sign and read these documents? 4. How do you track usage and distribution? 5. Is there a time frame associated with the life of the document? 6. Can you prevent screen scraping of the secured document? 7. What is the “hackability” of the secure document? Signing an electronic document can be a challenge for the technology challenged. Some documents might trigger antivirus or malware protection applications. If some intrusion detection applications can read a document or data loss prevention applications do not have access, you could be blocked from that document. Convenience of use is a major hurdle for the adoption of secure documents. Printing, modifying, viewing, and deleting these documents require all kinds of levels of authorization that is probably difficult to manage. If you can have a location based “bomb” in the document for when it left the organization domain, that would be an interesting play on data loss prevention. We know client side options are easily broken, how do we change the mentality of secure document management? I do not see how secure documents make too much sense in any public forum. Its not worth the effort to worry about secure documents outside of a strictly controlled corporate environment. Different forms of watermarking have their place in identification but not much in control.   The most likely areas are in Research and Development, Legal, Banking and Healthcare. These should be the quickest to adopt a secure framework for electronic documents. Some industry standards need to be followed and a process developed that all companies can follow. This would make it into all the data loss prevention applications eventually and really provide some security. Gary Bahadur http://www.kraasecurity.com http://blog.kraasecurity.com http://twitter.com/kraasecurity Address: 200 Se 1st St #601 Miami FL 33131 *Managed Security Services *Vulnerability Management *Compliance & Policy Development  *PGP Security *FREE Website Security Test 
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Facebook, Inc.
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One of the greatest challenges to privacy and security in the next several years is Social Networks and Social Media. Sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, MySpace and others can be the downfall of valuing information. The ability to share and provide information is completely the opposite of network security requirements.  This is really encouraging people to do things that are not security conscious activities. Social media encourages:
  • Lack of privacy
  • Encouraging information sharing
  • Giving away answers to security questions
  • Social engineering
As we have seen recently, a lot of spam, spyware and malware is attacking social network. Just in the past week I have probably recieved a 100 requests to be my friend on Facebook from people who I do not know and funny enough, all the message have the exact same personal message. Malicious people are attracted to social networks because of the ease of gaining trust and availability of data for social engineering.  Relationship building is easier through social media which can easily lead to phishing attacks. With these sites, people install applications without knowing what goes on in the background, and its easy to download malicious code to your computer. There are no external third party audits of these applications before the make it to your Facebook application. Your computer can be easily infected by a virus or spyware. What does the Social Media user to protect their information? No Personal information – This is anti-social network, but there are things you can limit about what you post. Don’t post your Birthday! Or your address or your mothers middle name or any really personal data. Limit who can view and contact you – Don’t let your profile be truly public, restrict to people you know for requested users.  Remember you can’t retract information you put out there.  Don’t trust strangers – Your mother was right, don’t open the door to strangers. Limit who you accept chat or friend requests from and well as even communicate with. Trust no Profile – People lie, it’s sad but true. So profiles lie, they might say they went to your college or high school.  They might be interested in your groups, so don’t take anyone at their word. Restrict your privacy – There are some configuration setting in all the social media applications that can allow you to turn on some restrictions on your privacy. Take a minute to actually look at them. One easy example is in Facebook you can create groups that you can place friend in; you don’t want business people seeing what your friends are posting. Password management – An oldie but a goodie, always use a strong password and don’t share it. And change it periodically. Layers of protection – You should be running a personal firewall and antivirus software on the machine you are viewing social networks. This will help if a malicious piece of software tries to download something to your machine. Keep your protection software up to date as well and run the patch management software on your machine, this is especially important for you Windows users. Child protection software – You should have some kind of child protection software running on machines where children under 13 are using. This will help with all that shady software that is out there. Gary Bahadur http://www.kraasecurity.com http://blog.kraasecurity.com http://twitter.com/kraasecurity Address: 200 Se 1st St #601 Miami FL 33131 *Managed Security Services *Vulnerability Management *Compliance & Policy Development *PGP Security *FREE Website Security Test 
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Adobe Systems Incorporated
Image via Wikipedia
Vendor risk assessment are not part of everyday corporate managememnt but it should be. If you drive a car and every week you have to get something fixed it would prove pretty annoying, disgusting, outrageous and you probably you would never buy that model again and probably wouldn’t by from that manufacturer either. So why do we accepts buggy software that is vulnerable to things like cross site scripting attacks, buffer overflows, malware and such? But we do that everyday. Everything from vulnerable operating systems such as Windows to vulnerable applications such as Adobe and weak website such as Facebook. As stated by CIO.com, “SANS and Mitre, a Bedford, Mass.-based non-profit, federally funded technology research and development organization, today is also releasing its second annual CWE/SANS Top 25 list of the most common programming errors currently being made by software developers. The authors say the errors on the list are responsible nearly every major type of cyber attack, including the recent intrusions at Google (GOOG), and numerous utilities and government agencies.”  The biggest companies are culprits. So what are we do to about buggy software? How do you force a vendor risk assessment on all yoru vendors? Maybe scream “I’m mad as hell and I am not going to take it anymore!”  Might feel good for a second or two, but not going to solve the almost daily patch process we have to go through for our software. Patch management is a thriving sector! As I see it, some theoretical things the end user can do to change the deadly cycle of poor software:
  1. Sue! I don’t know if that’s possible, but if you bought a car with bad acceleration problems (ahem Toyota) you might just sue the manufacturer if you got into an accident. What can we do that if some hacker breaks in through buggy software?
  2. Stop buying from that vendor! Apple seems to be taking this tactic by not allowing Flash on the IPad. But can we all move away from Microsoft tomorrow? Probably not.
  3. Make the vendors conduct Risk Assessments of their products prior to release. A third party risk assessment is probably a good idea. Something with more teeth than a SAS70 type review.
Gary Bahadur http://www.kraasecurity.com http://blog.kraasecurity.com http://twitter.com/kraasecurity Address: 200 Se 1st St #601 Miami FL 33131  *Managed Security Services *Vulnerability Management *Compliance & Policy Development *PGP Security  *FREE Website Security Test  Gary Bahadur http://www.kraasecurity.com http://blog.kraasecurity.com http://twitter.com/kraasecurity Managed Firewall Managed Vulnerability Scanning
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The Blackberry has been the mainstay of the business world for years. But as we know, the IPhone is eating away at market share. There are over 75,000 apps for the IPhone now and growing steadily. For those who have Blackberry Thumb, you can probably look forward to IPhone Index Finger at some point in the future as you switch away from the Blackberry. Why should you switch from the Blackberry? Well there may not be a good reason. The Blackberry has a number of apps and it is secure, it has encryption and has been beaten up on the security front like network security assessment and application security testing. It’s ingrained in businesses and Blackberry Enterprise Server is well known to many IT administrators. The Entrepreneur can use both devices. Let’s assume there are at least some people using the IPhone, what apps should they have in their toolkit?  Of the thousands of apps, how can you pick a few that would be beneficial to the Entrepreneur Road Warrior? Well the way I picked them is through word of mouth , that are of benefit to me and comes with network security assessment tools. I travel, work in my car, have meetings at all times of day, I am away from the office for days or weeks. Take these with a grain of salt and do not send any flame emails. But please send in the apps that you think should be shared with the world or at least readers of this Blog. Urban Spoon First up is Urban Spoon. You are thinking, well that’s not some kind of spreadsheet or financial app. What is the business purpose? The lifeblood of the Entrepreneur is networking , managed security services, application security risk assessment and deal making. Where deal making most of the time involves some kind of meal. Urban Spoon can find you restaurants by cuisine, by neighborhood, by cost, by distance. Everything you need for a meeting is the most random city.

urbanspoon1

AroundMe In the same vein as Urban Spoon, is AroundMe . Say you are on your way to an important lunch you have setup with a restaurant you found on Urban Spoon but you are almost out of gas. Use AroundMe to find the closed gas station. Or if you need cash to pay for that gas because your Amex Card has been cancelled, find the closest bank.

aroundme

 

GoogleMaps Well this is pretty obvious. But when you are traveling and maybe forgot to bring your Garmin GPS and do not feel like paying the rental company an extra $11.99 a day to rent their GPS , this is just as good. ReQall This is a pretty useful app. The developers were one of the www.TiE.org Top 50 companies this year at TiECon. The app captures your voice, translates it to text, organizes your calendar based on your voice messages, integrates into Outlook or Google Calendar and provides memory assistance. It’s great when you have no pen or driving in a car or need a memory reminder.

reqall

FlightAware For the true Road Warrior, there is no road, there is the sky. So when you are rushing to the airport or think you need to rush to the airport, track down what is going on with your flight. Check out FlightAware to get an update and help you plan that trip to the airport.

flightaware

TweetDeck

Social Media, the latest buzz word, actually has some teeth. Small companies and the Entrepreneur have to be connected to the work whether you like it or not.  Twitter is a way of life these days even if people seem to be twittering their lives away. How do you tell your followers that you are stuck in an airport in Baltimore? Try using TweetDeck.

tweetdeck

These Apps don’t seem very business-like, but the Entrepreneur is practical, cheap, requires network security audit tools and has to get things done today . These help you achieve your million tasks on a timely basis. Gary Bahadur http://www.kraasecurity.com http://blog.kraasecurity.com http://twitter.com/kraasecurity *Managed Security Services *Vulnerability Management *Compliance & Policy Development *PGP Security
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