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

Videocasts

 

MY TAKE: ‘IOWN’ makes the business case for fostering diversity, respecting individual privacy

By Byron V. Acohido

To tap the full potential of massively interconnected, fully interoperable digital systems we must solve privacy and cybersecurity, to be sure.

Preserving privacy for a greater good

But there’s yet another towering technology mountain to climb: we must also overcome the limitations of Moore’s Law.

After 30 years, we’ve reached the end of Moore’s Law, which states that the number of transistors on a silicon-based semiconductor chip doubles approximately every 18 months. In short, the mighty integrated circuit is maxed out.

Last spring, I attended NTT Research’s Upgrade 2023 conference in San Francisco and heard presentations by scientists and innovators working on what’s coming next.

I learned how a who’s who list of big tech companies, academic institutions and government agencies are hustling to, in essence,

My Take: Russian hackers put the squeeze on U.S agencies, global corps in MOVEit-Zellis hack

By Byron V. Acohido

It was bound to happen. Clop, the Russia-based ransomware gang that executed the MOVEit-Zellis supply chain hack, has commenced making extortion demands of some big name U.S. federal agencies, in addition to global corporations.

Related: Supply-chain hack ultimatum

The nefarious Clop gang initially compromised MOVEit, which provided them a beachhead to gain access to Zellis, a UK-based supplier of payroll services. Breaching Zellis then gave them a path to Zellis’ customer base.

According to Lawrence Abrams, Editor in Chief of Bleeping Computer, the Clop ransomware gang began listing victims on its data leak site on June 14th, warning that they will begin leaking stolen data on June 21st if their extortion demands are not met.

Among the victims listed were Shell, UnitedHealthcare Student Resources, the University of Georgia, University System of Georgia, Heidelberger Druck, and Landal Greenparks.

As for federal agencies, the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) has confirmed breaches due to this vulnerability. “CISA is providing support to several federal agencies that have experienced intrusions affecting their MOVEit applications,” said Eric Goldstein,

MY TAKE: The role of semiconductors in bringing the ‘Internet of Everything’ into full fruition

By Byron V. Acohido

The Internet of Everything (IoE) is on the near horizon.

Related: Raising the bar for smart homes

Our reliance on artificially intelligent software is deepening, signaling an era, just ahead, of great leaps forward for humankind.

We would not be at this juncture without corresponding advances on the hardware side of the house. For instance, very visibly over the past decade, Internet of Things (IoT) computing devices and sensors have become embedded everywhere.

Not as noticeably, but perhaps even more crucially, big advances have been made in semiconductors, the chips that route electrical current in everything from our phones and laptops to automobile components and industrial plant controls.

I recently visited with Thomas Rosteck, Division President of Connected Secure Systems (CSS) at Infineon Technologies, a global semiconductor manufacturer based in Neubiberg, Germany. We discussed how the Internet of Things, to date, has been all about enabling humans to leverage smart devices for personal convenience.

“What has changed in just the past year is that things are now starting to talk to other things,” Rosteck observes. “Smart devices and IoT systems are beginning to interconnect with each other and this is only going to continue.”

MY TAKE: Why the Matter smart home standard portends the coming of the Internet of Everything

By Byron V. Acohido

Standards. Where would we be without them?

Universally accepted protocols give us confidence that our buildings, utilities, vehicles, food and medicines are uniformly safe and trustworthy. At this moment, we’re in dire need of implementing standards designed to make digital services as private and secure as they need to be.

Related: How matter addresses vulnerabilities of smart home devices

A breakthrough is about to happen with the roll out this fall of Matter, a new home automation connectivity standard backed by Amazon, Apple, Google, Comcast and others.

Matter is intended to be the lingua franca for the Internet of Things. It’s only a first step and there’s a long way to go. That said, Matter is an important stake in the ground. To get a full grasp on why Matter matters, I recently visited with Steve Hanna, distinguished engineer at Infineon Technologies, a global semiconductor manufacturer based in Neubiberg, Germany.

For a full drill down on our evocative discussion, please watch the accompanying videocast. Here are the main takeaways:

DEEP TECH NEWS: All-powerful developers begin steering to the promise land of automated security

By Byron V. Acohido

Software developers have become the masters of the digital universe.

Related: GraphQL APIs pose new risks

Companies in the throes of digital transformation are in hot pursuit of agile software and this has elevated developers to the top of the food chain in computing.

There is an argument to be made that agility-minded developers, in fact, are in a terrific position to champion the rearchitecting of Enterprise security that’s sure to play out over the next few years — much more so than methodical, status-quo-minded security engineers.

With Black Hat USA 2021 reconvening in Las Vegas this week, I had a deep discussion about this with Himanshu Dwivedi, founder and chief executive officer, and Doug Dooley, chief operating officer, of Data Theorem, a Palo Alto, CA-based supplier of a SaaS security platform to help companies secure their APIs and modern applications.

For a full drill down on this evocative conversation discussion please view the accompanying video. Here are the highlights, edited for clarity and length:

LW:  Bad actors today are seeking out APIs that they can manipulate, and then they follow the data flow to a weakly protected asset. Can you frame how we got here?

Dwivedi: So 20 years ago, as a hacker, I’d go see where a company registered its IP. I’d do an ARIN Whois look-up. I’d profile their network and build an attack tree. Fast forward 20 years and everything is in the cloud. Everything is in Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud Platform or Microsoft Azure and I can’t tell where anything is hosted based solely on IP registration.

So as a hacker today, I’m no longer looking for a cross-site scripting issue of some website since I can only attack one person at a time with that. I’m looking at the client, which could be an IoT device, or a mobile app or a single page web app (SPA) or it could be an … more

MY TAKE: Even Google CEO Sundar Pichai agrees that it is imperative to embed ethics into AI

By Byron V. Acohido

It took a global pandemic and the death of George Floyd to put deep-seated social inequities, especially systemic racism, front and center for intense public debate.

Related: Will ‘blockchain’ lead to more equitable wealth distribution?

We may or may not be on the cusp of a redressing social injustice by reordering our legacy political and economic systems. Only time will tell. Either way, a singular piece of technology – artificial intelligence (AI) — is destined to profoundly influence which way we go from here.

This is not just my casual observation. Those in power fully recognize how AI can be leveraged to preserve status-quo political and economic systems, with all of its built-in flaws, more or less intact.

Conversely, consumer advocates and diversity experts can see how AI could be utilized to redistribute political power more equitably, and in doing so, recalibrate society – including blunting systemic racism.

In late January, as COVID-19 was beginning to spread, the most powerful people on the planet flew to Davos, Switzerland to attend the 50th annual World Economic Forum. AI was prominent on their agenda. These heads of state and captains of industry even coined a buzz phrase, “stakeholder capitalism,” to acknowledge the need to take into account the interests of the economically disadvantaged and politically powerless citizens of the world as they bull ahead with commercial and political uses of AI.“AI is one of the most profound things we’re working on as humanity,” Sundar Pichai, CEO of Alphabet, Google’s parent holding company, told Bloomberg News in Davos. “It’s more profound than fire or electricity.”

DEEP TECH NEWS: The drivers behind the stark rise — and security implications — of ‘memory attacks’

By Byron V. Acohido

A distinctive class of hacking is rising to the fore and is being leveraged by threat actors to carry out deep, highly resilient intrusions of well-defended company networks.

Related: Memory hacking becomes a go-to tactic

These attacks are referred to in the security community as “fileless attacks” or “memory attacks.” The latter conveys a more precise picture: memory hacking refers to a broad set of practices, which can include fileless attacks, that constitute this go-deep form of network break-ins.

I had the chance at RSA 2019 to discuss memory hacking with Willy Leichter, vice president of marketing, and Shauntinez Jakab, director of product marketing, at Virsec, a San Jose-based supplier of advanced application security and memory protection technologies.

They walked me through how threat actors are cleverly slipping snippets of malicious code past perimeter defenses and then executing their payloads  – undetected while applications are live, running in process memory.

For a long time, memory hacking was the exclusive province of nation-state backed operatives. But over the past couple of years, memory attacks have come into regular use by common cybercriminals. Garden-variety threat actors are now leveraging memory hacking tools and techniques to gain footholds, move laterally and achieve persistence deep inside well-defended networks.

For a comprehensive drill down, please view the accompanying YouTube video of my full interview with Leichter and Jakab at RSA 2019’s broadcast alley. Here are excerpts, edited for clarity and length:

LW: Can you frame this new class of hacking?