Home Black Hat Deep Tech Essays Fireside Chat My Take News Alerts Q&A RSAC Videocasts About Contact
 

Steps forward

 

GUEST ESSAY: Here’s why securing smart cities’ critical infrastructure has become a top priority

By Zac Amos

Critical infrastructure like electrical, emergency, water, transportation and security systems are vital for public safety but can be taken out with a single cyberattack. How can cybersecurity professionals protect their cities?

In 2021, a lone hacker infiltrated a water treatment plant in Oldsmar, Florida. One of the plant operators noticed abnormal activity but assumed it was one of the technicians remotely troubleshooting an issue.

Only a few hours later, the employee watched as the hacker remotely accessed the supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system to raise the amount of sodium hydroxide to 11,100 parts per million, up from 100 parts per million. Such an increase would make the drinking water caustic.

The plant operator hurriedly took control of the SCADA system and reversed the change. In a later statement, the company revealed redundancies and alarms would have alerted it, regardless. Still, the fact that it was able to happen in the first place highlights a severe issue with smart cities.

Best Practices Q&A: Guidance about what directors need to hear from CISOs — from a board member

By Byron V. Acohido

CISOs can sometimes be their own worst enemy, especially when it comes to communicating with the board of directors.

Related: The ‘cyber’ case for D&O insurance

Vanessa Pegueros knows this all too well. She serves on the board of several technology companies and also happens to be steeped in cyber risk governance.

I recently attended an IoActive-sponsored event in Seattle at which Pegueros gave a presentation titled: “Merging Cybersecurity, the Board & Executive Team”

Pegueros shed light on the land mines that enshroud cybersecurity presentations made at the board level. She noted that most board members are non-technical, especially when it comes to the intricate nuances of cybersecurity, and that their decision-making is primarily driven by concerns about revenue and costs.

Thus, presenting a sky-is-falling scenario to justify a fatter security budget, “does not resonate at the board level,” she said in her talk. “Board members must be very optimistic; they have to believe in the vision for the company. And to some extent, they don’t always deal with the reality of what the situation really is.

GUEST ESSAY: NIST’s Cybersecurity Framework update extends best practices to supply chain, AI

By Jeremy Swenson

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has updated their widely used Cybersecurity Framework (CSF) — a free respected landmark guidance document for reducing cybersecurity risk.

Related: More background on CSF

However, it’s important to note that most of the framework core has remained the same. Here are the core components the security community knows:

Govern (GV): Sets forth the strategic path and guidelines for managing cybersecurity risks, ensuring harmony with business goals and adherence to legal requirements and standards. This is the newest addition which was inferred before but is specifically illustrated to touch every aspect of the framework. It seeks to establish and monitor your company’s cybersecurity risk management strategy, expectations, and policy.

•Identify (ID): Entails cultivating a comprehensive organizational comprehension of managing cybersecurity risks to systems, assets, data, and capabilities.

SHARED INTEL: Poll shows companies pursuing ‘Digital Trust’ reap benefits as laggards fall behind

By Byron V. Acohido

Achieving “digital trust” is not going terribly well globally.

Related: How decentralized IoT boosts decarbonization

Yet, more so than ever, infusing trustworthiness into modern-day digital services has become mission critical for most businesses. Now comes survey findings that could perhaps help to move things in the right direction.

According to DigiCert’s 2024 State of Digital Trust Survey results, released today, companies proactively pursuing digital trust are seeing boosts in revenue, innovation and productivity. Conversely, organizations lagging may be flirting with disaster.

“The gap between the leaders and the laggards is growing,” says Brian Trzupek, DigiCert’s senior vice president of product. “If you factor in where we are in the world today with things like IoT, quantum computing and generative AI, we could be heading for a huge trust crisis.”

DigiCert polled some 300 IT, cybersecurity and DevOps professionals across North America, Europe and APAC. I sat down with Trzupek and Mike Nelson, DigiCert’s Global Vice President of Digital Trust, to discuss the wider implications of the survey findings. My takeaways:

GUEST ESSAY: Everything you should know about the cybersecurity vulnerabilities of AI chatbots

By Zac Amos

AI chatbots are computer programs that talk like humans, gaining popularity for quick responses. They boost customer service, efficiency and user experience by offering constant help, handling routine tasks, and providing prompt and personalized interactions.

Related: The security case for AR, VR

AI chatbots use natural language processing, which enables them to understand and respond to human language and machine learning algorithms. This helps them improve their performance over time by gaining data from interactions.

In 2022, 88% of users relied on chatbots when interacting with businesses. These tools saved 2.5 billion work hours in 2023 and helped raise customer satisfaction to 69% for $0.50 to $0.70 per interaction. Forty-eight percent of consumers favor their efficiency prioritization.

News alert: Kiteworks named as a founding member of NIST’s new AI safety consortium – ‘AISIC’

San Mateo, Calif., Feb. 13, 2023 – The U.S. White House announced groundbreaking collaboration between OpenPolicy and leading innovation companies, including Kiteworks, which delivers data privacy and compliance for sensitive content communications through its Private Content Network.

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Artificial Intelligence Safety Institute Consortium (AISIC) will act as a collaborative platform where both public sector and private sector leading organizations will provide guidance on standards and methods in the development of trustworthy AI.

The Kiteworks platform provides customers with a Private Content Network that enables them to employ zero-trust policy management in the governance and protection of sensitive content communications, including the ingestion of sensitive content into generative AI (GenAI).

Kiteworks unifies, tracks, controls, and secures sensitive content moving within, into, and out of organizations. With Kiteworks, organizations can significantly improve risk management and ensure regulatory compliance on all sensitive content communications.

News alert: Aembit, Crowdstrike partner to help companies tighten security of IAM workload access

Silver Spring, Maryland, Jan. 30, 2024 — Aembit, the Workload Identity and Access Management (IAM) platform that enables DevOps and security teams to discover, manage, enforce and audit access between workloads, today announced the availability of a new integration with the industry-leading CrowdStrike Falcon® platform to give enterprises the ability to dynamically manage and enforce conditional access policies based on the real-time security posture of their applications and services. This integration signifies a significant leap in Aembit’s mission to empower organizations to apply Zero Trust principles to make workload-to-workload access more secure and manageable.

Workload IAM transforms enterprise security by securing workload-to-workload access through policy-driven, identity-based, and secretless access controls, moving away from the legacy unmanaged, secrets-based approach.