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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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PCI laws are expanding around the country. Washington State is the latest to add a law to their books. Washington state follows Nevada and Minnesota in implementing Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI), the law is HB 1149. It changes the breach notification law they already had on the books. The key point is that it allows issuing banks a method of collecting the costs to reissue payment cards after a breach.

Organizations who must abide by the law

It defines “business(es)” as merchants processing more than six million cards and sell to Washington state residents.  “Processors” manage account information for others and “vendors” sell software or equipment that processes, transmits or store account information.  Account information can is not so clearly defined. It will be interesting to see how companies outside of the state are affected. PCI Security Assessments are going to become even more prevelant.

How is the law implemented?

Entities that fall under the law are required to provide reasonable security measures. They can be liable for damage and if they have to reimburse their banks for reissuance of card, that can get very expensive.  The law should probably have been more clear on this point Determining a breach has been defined as “unauthorized acquisition of computerized data that compromises the security, confidentiality, or integrity of personal information maintained by the person or business.”  There is the possibility of confusion between account information and personal information. That will probably cause problems in the future lawsuits. Encryption is also going to be a challenge in the implementation and review for compliance requirements. How this law integrates or conflicts with PCI requirements will news worthy. The different levels of PCI compliance and the levels identified by the law are now completely consistent. Can PCI SAQ assessment be enforced by the law? Can you be PCI compliant and not compliant with the law, or vice versa? I would venture to say yes. If only we have a National Standard for all of this. Wouldn’t that be a progressive move? 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
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SC magazine just reported that the Ponemon Institute has determined the cost of a data breach is $204 per record. “Data breaches last year cost organizations $204 per exposed record on average, which represents an almost two percent increase over 2008, according to the fifth annual “Cost of  Data Breach” study released on Monday by the Ponemon Institute…  The study, which examined the experiences of 45 U.S. companies that suffered breaches last year, also found that the number of data breaches that were caused by malicious attacks and botnets doubled from 12 percent in 2008 to 24 percent  in 2009. In addition, data breaches caused by malicious attacks cost organizations 30 to 40 percent more on average than those caused by human negligence or by IT system glitches.” There are a number of ways to protect your data in transit such as PGP Encryption but when the companies looses data, there isnt much the end user can do to protect themselves. Thats a lot of money. If we look at the data breach of Heartland, which was over 100 million records, that, well let me do the math, may take a minute. Its $20,400,000,000. Thats a lot of money. Condidering I was a shopper mostlikely of Heartland, I do not recall getting a check from anyone for $204. I will not hold my breath for that. We all asked if the retailers like Heartland and TJ Max had a PCI Audit done. Would this have protected our information? So far, I am pretty sure I recieved a letter offering me free 2 year credit monitoring from Chase, Citibank, Bank of America and Countrywide because thet lost my records. I am waiting for my check for $204 from each of those companies. Also, over the past few years I have had to have my credit cards replaced with Chase, American Express, and several Visa versions. So I am still waiting for those $204 checks. Maybe in total I am owed about 9x$204=$1,836.  That will be a nice check when I get it.

Security Requirements

So what can a company do to help reduce these data breaches? The easy answers, yet not implemented, include: 1) Encryption of back-up data and tapes 2) Conduct yearly Vulnerability Assessments 3) Conduct Quarterly or Monthly Vulnerability Scanning 4) Implement a Data loss prevention solution 5) Go through a PCI Audit or HIPAA Security Assessment yearly Regards Gary Bahadur http://www.kraasecurity.com http://blog.kraasecurity.com http://twitter.com/kraasecurity Managed Firewall Managed Vulnerability Scanning
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Data Loss, this time with Network Solution

Network Solutions, one of the largest domain registrars recently announced a data breach. Malicious code was found on its e-commerce server which may have captured transactions from thousands of websites and capturing half a million or more credit cards. The company said they found the code during a routine check. Since the breach occurred between March 12 and June 8th, how routine was the actual checks? I wonder when their last vulnerability assessment or Information security risk assessment was conducted? Data loss prevention is sorely lacking in just about every industry. Here is what the company said “At this point, we have no reports or other reasons to believe that any credit card account information has been misused and, under established practice, credit card issuing companies generally will not hold our merchants’ customers liable for any fraudulent purchases made using their credit card account numbers that are reported in a timely way to the issuer,” a statement from the company reads. All these statements around hacker breaches and stolen credit cards read the same. The process now begins where all the merchants have to be identified, then each merchant has to notify their customers. Their customer then have to work with their banks to stop credit cards, have to get credit monitoring and thus goes the Circle of Life (of data breaches) Here is the list of data breaches in 2009 alone. If you recall the breaches of Heartland Payment Systems and RBS WorldPay, the breachescaused them to be removed from the PCI security audit () list . Well that should be obvious, or should they have been rated compliant int he first place. Known non-compliance might be a better than weak compliance. The basic question is what was Network Solution not doing to have malicious software installed on key servers? Was it a breach through a web application, was it through malicious email, a browser based attack, some insider who didn’t know enough about security and clicked on the wrong thing? What routine check found it and why wasn’t this check run on a more routine basis, such as weekly or even daily? At the end of the day, security is a moving target. We can utilize encryption, vulnerability management, application security risk assessment, email filtering, backup and recovery, but all will be useless is we follow poor practices or do not have good procedures in place to take into account the human element. Most breaches are insider problems or mis-configurations or plain old stupidity. Gary Bahadur http://www.kraasecurity.com http://blog.kraasecurity.com *Managed Security Services *Vulnerability Management *Compliance & Policy Development *PGP Security *FREE Website Security Test
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