The Last Watchdog

GUEST ESSAY: Dear America, Facebook is an addictive digital drug of little productive value

The Last Watchdog

Social media consumers are getting wise to the joke that when the product is free, they’re the ones being sold. But despite the growing threat of consumer exploitation, Washington still shrinks from confronting our social media giants.

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BEST PRACTICES: Do you know the last time you were socially engineered?

The Last Watchdog

This spring marked the 20th anniversary of the Melissa email virus , which spread around the globe, setting the stage for social engineering to become what it is today.

GUEST ESSAY: The story behind how DataTribe is helping to seed ‘Cybersecurity Valley’ in Maryland

The Last Watchdog

There’s oil in the state of Maryland – “cyber oil.” With the largest concentration of cybersecurity expertise –– the “oil” — in the world, Maryland is fast changing from the Old Line State into “Cybersecurity Valley.”

MY TAKE: Why locking down ‘firmware’ has now become the next big cybersecurity challenge

The Last Watchdog

Locking down firmware. This is fast becoming a profound new security challenge for all companies – one that can’t be pushed to a side burner. Related: The rise of ‘memory attacks’ I’m making this assertion as federal authorities have just commenced steps to remove and replace switching gear supplied, on the cheap, to smaller U.S. telecoms by Chinese tech giant Huawei. These are the carriers that provide Internet access to rural areas all across America.

Embedded BI and Analytics: Best Practices to Monetize Your Data

Speaker: Azmat Tanauli, Senior Director of Product Strategy at Birst

By creating innovative analytics products and expanding into new markets, more and more companies are discovering new potential revenue streams. Join Azmat Tanauli, Senior Director of Product Strategy at Birst, as he walks you through how data that you're likely already collecting can be transformed into revenue!

NEW TECH: How Semperis came to close a huge gap in Active Directory disaster preparedness

The Last Watchdog

In today’s complex IT environments, a million things can go wrong, though only a few systems touch everything.

MY TAKE: Why DDoS weapons will proliferate with the expansion of IoT and the coming of 5G

The Last Watchdog

A couple of high-profile distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks will surely go down in history as watershed events – each for different reasons. Related: IoT botnets now available for economical DDoS blasts. In March 2013, several impossibly massive waves of nuisance requests – peaking as high as 300 gigabytes per second— swamped Spamhaus , knocking the anti-spam organization off line for extended periods.

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GUEST ESSAY: Only cloud-based security can truly protect cloud-delivered web applications

The Last Watchdog

Web applications have become central for the existence and growth of any business. This is partly the result of Software as a Service, or SaaS, becoming a preferred mode of consumption for software services.

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MY TAKE: Let’s not lose sight of why Iran is pushing back with military, cyber strikes

The Last Watchdog

It is not often that I hear details about the cyber ops capabilities of the USA or UK discussed at the cybersecurity conferences I attend. Related: We’re in the golden age of cyber spying Despite the hush-hush nature of Western cyber ops, it is axiomatic in technology and intelligence circles that the USA and UK possess deep hacking and digital spying expertise – capabilities which we regularly deploy to optimize our respective positions in global affairs.

MY TAKE: NIST Cybersecurity Framework has become a cornerstone for securing networks

The Last Watchdog

If your company is participating in the global supply chain, either as a first-party purchaser of goods and services from other organizations, or as a third-party supplier, sooner or later you’ll encounter the NIST Cybersecurity Framework.

Top 10 industries for monetizing data: Is yours one of them?

Find out which industries, use cases, and business applications are the best opportunities for data monetization. Understand what data is being monetized, who wants it, and why. Use data you already own to create new revenue sources. Download the eBook today!

BEST PRACTICES: Mock phishing attacks prep employees to avoid being socially engineered

The Last Watchdog

Defending a company network is a dynamic, multi-faceted challenge that continues to rise in complexity, year after year after year. Related: Why diversity in training is a good thing. Yet there is a single point of failure common to just about all network break-ins: humans.

GUEST ESSAY: Why there’s no such thing as anonymity it this digital age

The Last Watchdog

Unless you decide to go Henry David Thoreau and shun civilization altogether, you can’t — and won’t — stop generating data , which sooner or later can be traced back to you. Related: The Facebook factor. A few weeks back I interviewed a white hat hacker. After the interview, I told him that his examples gave me paranoia. He laughed and responded, “There’s no such thing as anonymous data; it all depends on how determined the other party is.”.

MY TAKE: How digital technology and the rising gig economy are exacerbating third-party risks

The Last Watchdog

Accounting for third-party risks is now mandated by regulations — with teeth. Related: Free ‘VRMM’ tool measures third-party exposure Just take a look at Europe’s GDPR , NYDFS’s cybersecurity requirement s or even California’s newly minted Consumer Privacy Act.

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NEW TECH: A couple of tools that deserve wide use — to preserve the integrity of U.S. elections

The Last Watchdog

As the presidential debate season ramps up, the specter of nation-state sponsored hackers wreaking havoc, once more, with U.S. elections, looms all too large. It’s easy to get discouraged by developments such as Sen. McConnell recently blocking a bi-partisan bill to fund better election security , as well as the disclosure that his wife, Transportation Security Elaine Chao, has accepted money from voting machine lobbyists. Related: Why not train employees as phishing cops?

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The Key to Strategic HR: Process Automation

Do you want to automate your HR processes, but don’t know where to start? In this eBook, PeopleDoc explores which processes benefit the most from automation, and how an HR Service Delivery platform can help get things off the ground.

NEW TECH: DataLocker extends products, services to encrypt data on portable storage devices

The Last Watchdog

No matter how reliant we ultimately become on cloud storage and streaming media, it’s hard to image consumers ever fully abandoning removable storage devices. There’s just something about putting your own two hands on a physical device, whether it’s magnetic tape, or a floppy disk, or a CD.

NEW TECH: Alcide introduces a “microservices firewall” as a dynamic ‘IaaS’ market takes shape

The Last Watchdog

As a tech reporter at USA TODAY, I wrote stories about how Google fractured Microsoft’s Office monopoly , and then how Google clawed ahead of Apple to dominate the global smartphone market. Related: A path to fruition of ‘SecOps’ And now for Act 3, Google has thrown down the gauntlet at Amazon, challenging the dominant position of Amazon Web Services in the fast-emerging cloud infrastructure global market.

MY TAKE: How ‘CASBs’ are evolving to close the security gaps arising from digital transformation

The Last Watchdog

The Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB) space is maturing to keep pace with digital transformation. Related: CASBs needed now, more than ever. Caz-bees first took shape as a cottage industry circa 2013 to 2014 in response to a cry for help from companies reeling from new Shadow IT exposures : the risk created by early-adopter employees, quite often the CEO, insisting on using the latest smartphone and Software-as-a-Services tools, without any shred of security vetting.

MY TAKE: New ‘cyberthreat index’ shows SMBs cognizant of big risks, ill-prepared to deal with them

The Last Watchdog

Small and midsize businesses — so-called SMBs — face an acute risk of sustaining a crippling cyberattack. This appears to be even more true today than it was when I began writing about business cyber risks at USA TODAY more than a decade ago. Related: ‘Malvertising’ threat explained However, one small positive step is that company decision makers today, at least, don’t have their heads in the sand.

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MY TAKE: Most companies blissfully ignorant of rising attacks on most-used endpoint: mobile devices

The Last Watchdog

A dozen years after Apple launched the first iPhone, igniting the smartphone market, the Bring Your Own Device to work phenomenon is alive and well. Related: Stopping mobile device exploits. The security issues posed by BYOD are as complex and difficult to address as ever. Meanwhile, the pressure for companies to proactively address mobile security is mounting from two quarters.

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BEST PRACTICES: The case for ‘adaptive MFA’ in our perimeter-less digital environment

The Last Watchdog

One of the catch phrases I overheard at RSA 2019 that jumped out at me was this: “The internet is the new corporate network.” Related: ‘Machine identities’ now readily available in the Dark Net Think about how far we’ve come since 1999, when the Y2K scare alarmed many, until today, with hybrid cloud networks the norm. There’s no question the benefits of accelerating digital transformation are astounding.

NEW TECH: Circadence deploys ‘gamification’ training to shrink cybersecurity skills gap

The Last Watchdog

It’s clear that closing the cybersecurity skills gap has to happen in order to make our internet-centric world as private and secure as it ought to be. Related: The need for diversity in cybersecurity personnel One of the top innovators in the training space is Circadence ®. The Boulder, CO-based company got its start in the mid-1990s as a pioneer of massive multi-player video games.

Q&A: Here’s why Android users must remain vigilant about malicious apps, more so than ever

The Last Watchdog

Android users – and I’m one – are well-advised to be constantly vigilant about the types of cyberthreats directed, at any given time, at the world’s most popular mobile device operating system. Related: Vanquishing BYOD risks Attacks won’t relent anytime soon, and awareness will help you avoid becoming a victim. It’s well worth it to stay abreast of news about defensive actions Google is forced to take to protect Android users.

GUEST ESSAY: How stealth, persistence allowed Wipro attacker to plunder supply chain

The Last Watchdog

The recent network breach of Wipro , a prominent outsourcing company based in India, serves as a stunning reminder that digital transformation cuts two ways. Our rising dependence on business systems that leverage cloud services and the gig economy to accomplish high-velocity innovation has led to a rise in productivity. However, the flip side is that we’ve also created fresh attack vectors at a rapid rate – exposures that are not being adequately addressed.

MY TAKE: What the Ethiopian 737 Max 8 crash should tell us about the safety of ‘smart’ jetliners

The Last Watchdog

When news broke about the crash of a Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737, the first question that popped into my head was whether an older 737 model, still using the flawed rudder actuator, might have been involved. Related: Historical context of the rudder flaws on older model 737s. Of course it was actually the newest iteration of the 737, the Max 8. I’m no longer covering aviation.

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Q&A: Why SOAR startup Syncurity is bringing a ‘case-management’ approach to threat detection

The Last Watchdog

There’s a frantic scramble going on among those responsible for network security at organizations across all sectors. Related: Why we’re in the Golden Age of cyber espionage. Enterprises have dumped small fortunes into stocking their SOCs (security operations centers) with the best firewalls, anti-malware suites, intrusion detection, data loss prevention and sandbox detonators money can buy. But this hasn’t done the trick.

MY TAKE: Why consumers are destined to play a big role in securing the Internet of Things

The Last Watchdog

There are certain things we as consumers have come to do intuitively: brushing our teeth in the morning; looking both ways before crossing a city street; buckling up when we get into a car. Related: What needs to happen to enable driverless transportation — safely. In the not too distant future, each one of us will need to give pause, on a daily basis, to duly consider how we purchase and use Internet of Things devices and services. This is coming.

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Here’s how anyone with $20 can hire an IoT botnet to blast out a week-long DDoS attack

The Last Watchdog

Distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks continue to erupt all across the Internet showing not the faintest hint of leveling off, much less declining, any time soon. Related video: How DDoS attacks leverage the Internet’s DNA. To the contrary, DDoS attacks appear to be scaling up and getting more sophisticated in lock step with digital transformation; DDoS attacks today are larger, more varied and come at the targeted website from so many more vectors than ever before.

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MY TAKE: Memory hacking arises as a go-to tactic to carry out deep, persistent incursions

The Last Watchdog

A common thread runs through the cyber attacks that continue to defeat the best layered defenses money can buy. Related: We’re in the midst of ‘cyber Pearl Harbor’ Peel back the layers of just about any sophisticated, multi-staged network breach and you’ll invariably find memory hacking at the core.

MY TAKE: What ‘fake news’ really is: digital disinformation intended to disrupt, manipulate

The Last Watchdog

President Trump’s constant mislabeling of mainstream news reports he doesn’t appreciate as “fake news” has done much to muddle the accurate definition of this profound global force – and obscure the societal damage this rising phenomenon is precipitating. Related: The scourge of ‘malvertising’ Fake news is the willful spreading of disinformation. Yes, much of political propaganda, as practiced down through the ages, fits that definition.

MY TAKE: 3 privacy and security habits each individual has a responsibility to embrace

The Last Watchdog

Would you back out of a driveway without first buckling up, checking the rear view mirror and glancing behind to double check that the way is clear? Consider that most of us spend more time navigating the Internet on our laptops and smartphones than we do behind the wheel of a car.

NEW TECH: SlashNext dynamically inspects web page contents to detect latest phishing attacks

The Last Watchdog

Humans are fallible. Cyber criminals get this. Human fallibility is the reason social engineering has proven to be so effective – and why phishing persists. Consider these metrics from messaging security firm Proofpoint : •Email-based corporate credential phishing attacks quadrupled in Q3 2018 vs. the previous quarter. Web-based social engineering attacks jumped 233% vs. the previous quarter. •99%

Web application exposures continue do bedevil companies as digital transformation accelerates

The Last Watchdog

As sure as the sun will rise in the morning, hackers will poke and prod at the web applications companies rely on – and find fresh weaknesses they can exploit. Related: Cyber spies feast on government shut down. Companies are scaling up their use of web apps as they strive to integrate digital technology into every aspect of daily business operation. As this ‘digital transformation’ of commerce accelerates, the attack surface available to threat actors likewise is expanding.

MY TAKE: Android users beware: Google says ‘potentially harmful apps’ on the rise

The Last Watchdog

Even if your company issues you a locked-down smartphone, embracing best security practices remains vital Our smartphones. Where would we be without them? Related Q&A: Diligence required of Android users If you’re anything like me, making a phone call is the fifth or sixth reason to reach for your Android or iPhone.

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Q&A: The drivers behind the stark rise — and security implications — of ‘memory attacks’

The Last Watchdog

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.”

NEW TECH: CloudKnox takes aim at securing identity privileges for humans — and non-humans

The Last Watchdog

Companies are embracing hybrid cloud deployments like never before, mixing and matching on-premises IT systems with off-premises cloud services. Related: Machine identities present wide open attack vector. To accomplish this, they must grant and manage access privileges to human identities: remote employees, third-party suppliers and far-flung customers.

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NEW TECH: CyberGRX seeks to streamline morass of third-party cyber risk assessments

The Last Watchdog

When Target fired both its CEO and CIO in 2014, it was a wake-up call for senior management. The firings came as a result of a massive data breach which routed through an HVAC contractor’s compromised account. C-suite execs across the land suddenly realized something similar could happen to them. So they began inundating their third-party suppliers with “bespoke assessments” – customized cyber risk audits that were time consuming and redundant.

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MY TAKE: Identity ‘access’ and ‘governance’ tech converge to meet data protection challenges

The Last Watchdog

As companies make more extensive use of evermore capable – and complex — digital systems, what has remained constant is the innumerable paths left wide open for threat actors to waltz through. Related: Applying ‘zero trust’ to managed security services. So why hasn’t the corporate sector been more effective at locking down access for users? It’s not for lack of trying. I recently discussed this with Chris Curcio, vice-president of channel sales at Optimal IdM, a Tampa, Fla.-based

GUEST ESSAY: Six risks tied to social media marketing that all businesses should heed

The Last Watchdog

While the internet and social media have been very positive for businesses, there remains an inherent risk when it comes to how brands manage their Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts. Related: Defusing weaponized documents While social media on every platform has benefits, there remains risks that must be addressed so as to keep your companies’ image and data safe.