Category: Defense

Defense

Changing a security posture requires changing your own behaviours

I’m sure you will have had a marketing firm or some random sales person on Linkedin tell you that security should be simple and that their product will save you from all the ATPs and nation state hax0rs under the sun. However let’s get real, thats almost certainly not true and also security isnt simple or we’d all be out of jobs and everyon woulndn’t be getting owned all the time.

Getting real
I think there’s a huge honestly part that needs to occur if you are going to actually improve a companies security posture.

Leading and acting in a manner which doesn’t contradict the message

Don’t be unrealistic – absolute security doesn’t exist, if someone is talking in those terms they are probably bullshitting and are highly unlikely to be an actual practitioner

Sort out the commmon vectors, phishing and exposed insecure configurations are clearly areas to focus on but also you should assume breach and harden the inside of your networks! (too many people don’t do this)

People like efficiencies, improvements when they don’t have to be the change, chaning behaviours is really hard.

Technology costs money, I hate to break it to people but if your approach to technology management is solely on the bottom line that is going to have a significant impact not only on your business operational capabilities but from a security point of view you are likely going to be in a weak posture. Don’t get me wrong you don’t need to buy ALL the things but expertise, logging, monitoring and management tools/technical tools cost money. Don’t shoot the messenger but don’t expect the moon on the stick either (it’s just not realistic).

Cyber Criminals operate in all time zones, your staff likely use company computing assets across a range of hours and probably sometimes in the evenings and weekends. Your security operations capability needs to be able to cover this (accepting the risk entirely is a bonkers idea, at least put people on call, oh and that means paying them too!)

The biggest improvement step to me is the cultural one, it’s the change from ignoring, assuming it ‘won’t happen to me’ and when people who are in leadership and management positions stop using bad practises. Being honest and recognising security is a challenge, it’s not a project, it’s a way or running and managing technology services.

By having a strong security posture you will need far deeper knowledge of your business, it’s assets and it’s customers. This sounds like a massive business advantage to me!

Defense

Ransomware Realities

Everything is much worse now, or is it? 

”The world is burning, the world is burning but then if you look around, it always has been…” 

Computer systems and security go together much like chalk and cheese! Probably sounds a bit odd but miniaturization, consumerization and mobility have put more technology out in the world than we can really comprehend, yet technology security is still dramatically overlooked by most organizations. 

The insane pace of change, the drive for faster, better, cheaper and the reality that it probably isn’t a stretch to say most people (and organizations) do not really understand what ‘secure’ or ‘hardened’ looks like.

Read more “Ransomware Realities”
Defense

Ransomware Defence: Part 2a – Persistence, Privilege Escalation and…

Recap

In Part 1 (Initial Access Defence and Checklist) we looked at ways of hardening your attack surface to defend against initial access. When it comes to ransomware there is a range of elements and variables in the kill chain that need to be successful for the outcomes to be achieved by the criminals. Here we are going to move further into the kill chain to look at further defences. Remember you need to have an “Assume Breach” mindset if you are going to be able to defend against ransomware, that being said, there is a hell of a lot of things you can do for 0 to low investment costs that provide a great ROI. Now some of this is going to be repeated guidance from part 1, that’s ok repetition is good (make sure you are covered from multiple perspectives). Ok let us get to it! Read more “Ransomware Defence: Part 2a – Persistence, Privilege Escalation and Lateral Movement”

Defense

Ransomware Defence Checklist – Part 1 : Initial Access

Defending the Realm

We keep seeing organization get hit, in some kind of a sick way I think me and some of my friends in the industry are bored with the over dramatic responses of “sophisticated” “advanced” and “unpreventable” because most times the kill chains simply are not like this. But still the onslaught keeps coming. Well I know this much, whilst I would love to deploy with the team and harden everyone’s networks that simply isn’t possible. So what we thought we would do is write something to try and spread the knowledge a bit further and hopefully have some positive impact.

Ransomware 101

It’s not just that your data will be encrypted, it will likely be exfiltrated and sold. You will likely have access sold, data sold and be extorted. The Ransomware business model is adapting to defender responses. Even if you can restore from backup they will likely try and attempt to extort. This brings a key point in this equation, the best position is to NOT get pwn3d to start with. Ok that might sound silly to say but when we look at these kill chains you might start to see the world from my perspective a little. Read more “Ransomware Defence Checklist – Part 1 : Initial Access”

Defense

Cyber Security Assesments for Normal People

Ok so you might think I’m mad with the title but bear with me!

So, the world is in an interesting place, we’ve got a pandemic, we’ve got prolific cyber crime and we have all kinds of different views on how we should tackle this problem.

Now I love a framework and there’s ton’s of them. But the truth is they are complex, detailed, nuanced and generally require a level of nerd that a lot of organistaions do not have.

In 2020 during the pandemic I decided to try and write something to simplify this position, whilst I didn’t want to be too narrow, I wanted to try and capture the breadth of cyber security that is relevent to the general purpose organistaion. I came up with a set of 140 questions which I believe are a good take on things to consider and ask when conducting a security review at a high level. (yes 140 questions is a high level view, this stuff is complex as hell at the detailed end of things, and the devil is in the detail).

Read more “Cyber Security Assesments for Normal People”
Breach

Following a Kill Chain – Defending against Babuk group’s…

Washington Police Department Pwn3d by Ransomware Group Babuk

So it’s all over the news outlets, a police department (Washington DC PD) has been hit by a ransomware syndicate, Babuk. So firstly, let’s be realistic everyone can get pwn3d and at this time our thoughts go out to those affected and to the teams working the response. Being hit by ransomware is NOT fun and not something we would wish upon anyone. That being said this isn’t an ambulance chase, what I want to do hear is look at the TTPs from Babuk in a bit more detail so hopefully we can help inform and educate people so they can strengthen their security postures.

References

https://news.sky.com/story/russian-hackers-target-washington-dc-police-department-in-apparent-ransomware-attack-12288183

https://www.theregister.com/2021/04/27/washington_dc_police_ransomware/ Read more “Following a Kill Chain – Defending against Babuk group’s TTPs”

Defense

Business Email Compromise in Office 365

BEC

Business email compromise can be a prelude to a range of attacks but commonly it’s either Ransomware of Scammers. In this post we are focsing on scammer activity which uses a ‘man in the mailbox’ attack to get in between two parties in an email converstation with the aim of attempting theft by fradulently altering a wire transfer so that the third party sends funds to the scammers not to the victim. There are cleary other avenues that can be leveraged (the compromised mailbox may be used to phish or email malware to another victim).

Initial Access

To gain access to the mailbox a range of techniques can be employed which includes:

  • Credential stuffing
  • Phishing and credential harvesting
  • Malware

Once they have your logon credentials, they now will attempt to access your mailbox.

Avoiding Geo Location Alerts

A scammer may use a public VPN service (such as services from AVAST etc.) to move their internet connection the target mailbox region. They can usually locate a person through some OSINT.

By moving to the normal area of the user they are less likely to trip geo location alerts. Read more “Business Email Compromise in Office 365”

Defense

Cyber Defence is Hard

Introduction

If you read a book about management theory or specifically cyber security management you will find lots of frameworks, methods, formulas, models etc. None of them really let you know how insanely hard it can be to defend a moving target where regardless of how many controls you have, all it takes it someone doing something which may seem bonkers to you but perfectly reasonable for them. Their objective is to do business in an efficient manner, your objective is to protect the business in an efficient manner. Fundamentally these two things are not at odds, but there are a lot of human factors that come into play on top of some serious technical challenges. Read more “Cyber Defence is Hard”