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There is a lot of focus on network security and application security today. Years ago it was operating system security that was all the rage. But with the advent of the strict requirements of some of the regulations such as HIPAA, PCI, SOX, and FISMA, more attention needs to be paid to the operating system. As Windows is still dominant, what are some of the features you need to be concerned with in an application? Some key feature of a host security assessment tool are: 
  1. Ability to quickly audit
  2. Ability to inventory
  3. Structure for classification of components
  4. Patch management of course
  5. Ability to baseline and report against the baseline
  6. Templates of the regulatory requirements
  7. Templates of different levels of security configurations
  8. Threat identification and classification
  9. User management
  10. Port security assessment and management
  11. Service and process analysis
A baseline configuration for operating system security, cover things such as patch levels, ports, services, processes, logging, policy settings and user configuration, should be the first step for any company in host security assessment and diagnostics. If you build from scratch, or don’t use a secure template, you will always be in trouble. Timely updates and reconfiguration of your baseline is necessary. Your operating system like your network security should match your corporate business practices and procedures. Policies should be in place for this of course.  Over time you should be able to benchmark your host security problems, solutions and changes. 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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I hope no one is actually shocked by this story. Records are stolen everyday. Typically, the hackers will sell the information in the underground somewhere is Eastern Europe or Asia. The fact that someone is asking for ransom, and so publicly it actually a good thing in my opinion. Why is it good you ask? (I assume you are asking that, vulcan mind meld and all that..) Maybe the industry (meaning all industries) need a sensational story to get real change in their IT Security environments. When the Heartland data breach happened, it was interesting but the general public didnt find it sexy enough. A ransom note, publicly done makes for good drama. Equate it to the Somali pirates. They really broke in the news because of the weapons they captured. This might be the “weapons” story that gets the general public asking about security of the places they use on the Internet. Identity theft is on the rise. Most companies never do a web application security assessment. They almost never do a database security review. If the hacker can break in through your web portal but your database of customer data is encrypted, well your last line of defense can save your hide. So what are some things you can do to protect your website? 1) Conduct a web application security assessment. You should probably do this twice a year or anytime you make any significant changes to the application. 2) Conduct an architecture review. If your network architecture has holes in it, a hacker can find away around the application and perhaps get to the data through a different port. 3) Conduct a host security diagnostic review. If the hacker can get on the system and take advantage of an operating system weakness, you will still be compromised 4) Conduct a database security review. Your last line of defense, make sure the data in encrypted, access is completely authenticated and IDS on the database to flag and stop inappropriate access 5) Hire someone smart to do your security assessment.

Gary Bahadur

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

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
The Channel Wire
May 06, 2009
I believe that more personal information has been stolen than there are actual people in the US. How much was stolen from the government would prove a nice study. And has anyone in the government actually been fired? So the employee lost the laptop. Do you blame the employee or the agency for not educating the employee and provide wholedisk encryption? The agency believes that an unencrypted harddrive, but that has a “password” is secure? Well maybe someone should explain computer hacking, windows security, encryption and the concept of intrusion prevention to DHS. Well you will probably see that laptop on Ebay or in a pawn shop. Some halfway intelligent person who buys it might be able to get to the data. Then what? Five Steps to Laptop Security 101: 1) Encrypt using wholedisk encryption or at a minimum encrypt your data folders. Try PGP encryption (www.auroraent.com) 2) Patch Management, use automated patch management 3) Firewall, use a managed firewall in a corporate environment or a personal firewall, lots of free ones out there and cheap ones. 4) Hard Disk password, you can protect your drive from even booting with a hard disk password. yes this can be broken and have the manufacturer resetm, but its a pain and the casual person will not know what to do 5) Dont let the government have a laptop.   regards gary

http://www.kraasecurity.com

*Managed Security Services

*Vulnerability Management

*Compliance & Policy Development

*PGP Security

*FREE Website Security Test

* Managed Firewall

* Managed Antivirus

* Managed IDS

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Unencrypted laptop with 1 million SSNs stolen from state SC Magazine Dan Kaplan April 24, 2009 The Oklahoma Department of Human Services (DHS) is notifying more than one million state residents that their personal data was stored on an unencrypted laptop that was stolen from an agency employee. The computer file contained the names, Social Security numbers, birth dates and home addresses of Oklahoma’s Human Services’ clients receiving benefits from programs such as Medicaid, child care assistance, nutrition aid and disability benefits, the agency announced Thursday. The computer, which was stolen when a thief broke into the car April 3 after the employee stopped on her way home from work, was password protected, and officials do not believe the burglar realized what he or she was stealing. Therefore, the risk of the data being accessed is minimal, according to the agency. “We feel this was not a situation where someone was targeting the agency or that information,” DHS spokeswoman Mary Leaver told SCMagazineUS.com on Friday. “We feel it was random.” Leaver said the state Office of Inspector General is conducting an investigation, out of which likely will come a mandatory review of information security policies. However, it is not believed the employee violated existing policy when the incident occurred, she said. News of the theft comes one day after the Ponemon Institute, in conjunction with Intel, released a study that found the average value of a lost laptop is $49,246. About 80 percent of the cost is related to the chance that a breach could occur, the study showed.
As social networking takes over our lives, much like the Borg, we are freely giving away our personal information.  Its information devaluation. Twitter, facebook, MySpace, Flickr, Linkedin, etc are all pretty much conditioning us to be one with the Internet universe. Why shouldnt every person we know have the latest update on what you had for lunch or what your favorite color is or your dogs name or your highschool? Interesting that these are the same questions your online back account asks you as challenge questions. How long until some really cool tool gets released by the underground that can scan a Profile, and ctageorize data into all the fields a bank usually asks as a challenge question? (I should trademark the concept) Stop the madness. That includes all these Blogs! Down with Blogs! Gary baha@kraasecurity.com www.kraasecurity.com Managed Security Services identity_theft ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Gartner have published a document (in PDF format) on their analysis and recommendations on the above subject:
QUOTE
Analysis
Twitter’s recent security issues follow the same arc that many other consumer-grade services have experienced. An innovative idea is quickly turned into a cool Web site that attracts lots of consumer use. Security is, however, not typically part of the cool site’s business model. Hype about the potential businesses use of the new technology quickly leads to malware attacks. After a successful attack, security measures that were not built in are “sprinkled on.” This pattern will not change anytime soon. There will always be real reliability and security differences between consumer- and business-grade technologies. But there will also be real business benefits to using consumer-grade technologies before they are “business-strength.” Enterprises must consider the cost of integrating or adding security controls to contain the risks of using these technologies before they reach security maturity. Trying to ignore or block them simply will not work. Recommendations All enterprises: Ensure that everyone who accesses enterprise systems is aware of the risks of using consumer-grade technologies such as Twitter. Update Web security gateways and network intrusion prevention systems to block transmission of the malware used in the Twitter attacks. Require malware blocking and data loss prevention capabilities in any business plans using Twitter or other consumer-grade technologies The document can be downloaded from http://www.gartner.com/DisplayDocument?doc…;ref=g_homelink