UNSECURITY Episode 119 Show Notes

OK, we’re back to writing UNSECURITY Podcast show notes. We took eight weeks off from writing show notes because it was a little tedious and we weren’t sure if anyone cared that much anyway. Turns out people care about the show notes, read them, and they want them back!

To make things less tedious and more valuable, we’ll only tell you the topics we plan to talk about. We won’t do the verbatim stuff anymore. If you like the new show notes, let us know (unsecurity@protonmail.com). If you’d like something different, let us know that too!

On to the notes for episode 119 of the UNSECURITY Podcast…


SHOW NOTES – Episode 119 – Wednesday February 17th, 2021

Opening

[Evan] Good morning and welcome to another episode of the UNSECURITY Podcast! This is episode 119, and the date is February 17th, 2021. I’m your host Evan Francen, and joining me is the right side of my brain, Brad Nigh. Good morning Brad.

Quick Catching Up

  • It’s flippin’ cold in MN (and other parts of the country)
  • We need another vacation.

The Meat

News

Wrapping Up – Shout Outs

  • Who’s getting shout outs this week?
  • Closing – Thank you to all our listeners! Send things to us by email at unsecurity@protonmail.com. If you’re the social type, socialize with us on Twitter, I’m @evanfrancen and Brad’s @BradNigh. Be sure to follow the places we work and do cool things, SecurityStudio (@studiosecurity) and FRSecure (@FRSecure). That’s it. Talk to you all again next week!

…and we’re done.

L is for Layers

Learning the ABCs is important to understanding the English language, and the ABCs of Information Security are important for understanding the basic concepts in information (and people) protection. These ABCs are written as education for people who don’t speak information security natively and serve as good reminders for those of us already fluent in this confusing language.

TRUTH: If more people and organizations applied the basics, we’d eliminate a vast majority of breaches (and other bad things).

Here’s our progress thus far:

So, now the beloved letter “L”.

Lethargic Larry’s lackadaisical use of network layers, and his leisurely approach to security let lazy criminals move laterally throughout the lattice, leaving his league of lawyers lamenting the long laborious litigation laid before them from the lye leaked into the lotic.

For the purposes of the Information Security ABCs, “L” is for “Layers”.

To best apply the word “layer” with our definition of “information security”, let’s review both definitions quick. The word “layer” has several definitions in the English language, and here are two:

  • a thickness of some material laid on or spread over a surface: a layer of soot on the windowsill; two layers of paint.
  • something lying over or under something else; a level or tier: There can be multiple layers of metaphor in a single poem.

You remember our definition of “information security” right? Maybe. Well, in case you forgot, it’s managing risk to unauthorized disclosure, modification, and destruction of information using administrative, physical, and technical means (or controls).

So, what is an “information security layer” or “security layer” for short?

What is a Security Layer?

In the context of information security, we use the term layers to describe the controls, most often preventative controls. A single layer is less strong (or effective) than multiple layers. For multiple layers, we just stack one layer on top of another (logically) to make our security (and protection) stronger. Here’s an analogy:

  • Bullet-resistant glass is constructed using multiple layers of laminated glass. The more layers there are, the more protection we get from the glass. Note, the glass is bullet “resistant” and not bullet “proof”. A projectile that is powerful enough, will get through. The point is, the layers make the protection stronger.

  • Attacker-resistant networks are constructed following the same concept, but using multiple layers of network protection (segmentation and isolation, maybe provided by firewalls) instead of multiple layers of laminate glass. The more layers there are, the more protection we get from the network. Like the bullet resistant glass, attacker resistant networks are never attacker “proof”.

Multiple layers make protections stronger, they compliment and compensate for each other. Here are a couple more examples:

  • The most common control for authentication is a username and password, a single layer (or often referred to as “factor”). If we add another layer to the authentication, maybe a hardware token (like YubiKey or RSA SecureID), a biometic (like Face ID), or a software token (like Google Authenticator or SMS text), we’ve significantly strengthened the control. We call this multi-factor authentication (MFA), but it’s also multiple layers.
  • A building is protected by exterior controls (walls, windows, doors, etc.). A single layer of protection might be provided by the walls and a single entry door. Once an attacker breaches the door (or wall or window) and gains entry to the building interior, there would be nothing left to stop them from taking anything they wanted or assaulting anyone inside. A simple multi-layer approach might employ additional locked doors between the single exterior entry point and office spaces, between office spaces and mail rooms, between office spaces and data closets, etc., etc.

Layers are important for safety

As one who lives in a cold weather climate, I can assure you that layers are an essential part of staying safe in cold weather. As with all things, having the appropriate number of layers is critical, too many layers and you overheat and struggle to move, not enough layers and you will freeze.

When it comes to using layers in security the same principal applies, too many layers prevents effective use and not enough layers leads to unnecessary risk and danger.

Layers are part of defense in depth

We like to use the analogy that security is like an onion, we say this because an onion has many layers and each layer is needed to make a whole onion, in security it is no different. You may need many layers to make the whole security program effective.

Layers are the cornerstone of defense in depth, defense in depth is a security concept that states; security should be implemented in overlapping layers that provide the three elements needed to secure assets, prevention, detection and response, while seeking to offset the weakness of one security layer by strengthening it with two or more additional layers. This is the #1 reason for using Multi Factor Authentication (MFA) to strengthen the security of your username and password.

Let’s take a deeper look at the various security layers, we encounter most often.

Physical

The physical layer consists of the things you can touch, fences, locked doors, surveillance cameras, man in the middle traps (a room that one door locks behind you before the door in front of you can be opened) security guards, etc. This is the fist layer of any security program; all the other layers are ineffective if the systems can be physically accessed by bad actors. Having an appropriate level of physical controls in place is critical to ensuring the rest of the security layers are effective. After all,

“It doesn’t matter if your server runs the greatest security software of all time when someone steals the server.”  

Access Control

The access control layer comes in two forms physical access and logical access, both serve the same purpose, to limit access to sensitive systems and data to authorized personnel (approved users only). The most common physical access controls are door locks, and the most common logical access controls are passwords (used in combination with a username).

Access control gives us the ability to restrict and monitor who is accessing what, and physical and logical access controls can have many sublayers. For example a locked door could have additional layers (controls) of security such as a surveillance camera or security guard. Logical examples include multi-factor authentication (MFA) covered earlier, or performing logical access audits on a periodic basis.

Application

The application security layer is all about providing protection to applications and the data applications use. Security controls on the application layer require additional consideration, as poorly configured security controls can degrade the performance, stability, and overall usability of an application. Inadequate or missing security controls at the application layer present significant risks, such as data loss, data integrity issues, backdoors/malware, additional unauthorized network access and service interruption.

Ransomware, Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks, SQL injection and cross site scripting are some of the attacks targeted at the application layer.

Taking a multi-layered approach to application security is a best practice. Using a Web Application Firewall (WAF) for web facing applications, secure web gateway services for Internet access, logging and monitoring of application activities and training aimed at improving user behaviors are a great starting points to consider for a multi-layered approach to application security.

Network

The network layer is responsible for connecting systems together. Systems within an organization are likely to need communication capabilities with each other to operate, and connectivity to the Internet may also be required. This is the layer where a standard firewall lives. You know, that thing we traditionally think of when we talk about cybersecurity (BTW, cybersecurity is not information security. They’re like cousins)?

Think of the network layer as your first chance and last chance; it is your first chance to detect suspicious traffic/behaviors, and it’s your last chance to stop data from leaving your network. The network layer has two directions that must be considered in your protection approach, inbound (sometimes called “ingress”) and outbound (sometimes called “egress”). Controlling and monitoring data and traffic in both directions are critical, although this contrary to current practice in many organizations.

The Crunch Shell and Gooey Center

Most networks are secured (poorly) with a “crunchy shell” and “gooey center”. Traditionally, we’ve focused so much on establishing a strong perimeter (“crunchy shell”) that we neglect to account for what happens when an attacker get’s through the perimeter. There are few restrictions in place, and we’re left with our “gooey center”. In most networks, once an attacker gets through the perimeter (trivial in many cases), they have free reign to move laterally throughout the network until they find valuable data. Once the attacker finds valuable data, they are rarely restricted in exfiltrating the data because of ineffective egress traffic restrictions.

The two most common mistakes in network security layering include:

  • Too much focus on the perimeter.
  • Too much focus on restricting traffic inbound and no (or very little) focus on traffic outbound.

An important note about the “perimeter”, especially with the explosion of remote work due to COVID-19, is there is no perimeter. At the very least, there are many perimeters. All the more reason for a layered approach.

Some of the tools used to secure the network layer are firewalls, security incident and event management (SIEM) tools, network intrusion prevention systems (NIPS), network intrusion detection systems (NIDS), logging and packet capture devices, network-based data loss prevention (DLP), email filtering, and web filtering.

The better the network layer is secured and monitored the higher the your chances of seeing something in time to stop the “something” from being very bad. Some of the controls we use to secure the network layer are physical and some are logical. The best approaches are usually a blend of both. When it comes to the securing the network layer, less is more and, more is less.

Whoa, did I just blow your mind?! How can it be both more and less you might ask.

The answer is painfully simple, the more restrictive you are with what you allow on the network without the knowledge of what it does or why, the less issues you will have to chase down later. Knowing what something is, why it’s on the network, why it’s important to the business and how it works/behaves during normal operation are invaluable when it comes to securing the network layer. The better you understand what’s on the network and how it operates the better your firewall rules, IPS, IDS, WAF, log data, SIEM and other security controls can be configured. This always results in less things to chase and less time elapsed between detection and response.

Remember when it comes to network access Less is More! (concept of least privilege)

While the network layer has traditionally gotten the most attention from security professionals over the years, and is where the concept of perimeter defense is rooted, it is only one of the many layers you need to design and manage an effective information security program.

Host / Platform

The host layer is where virtualization happens and where operating systems live, virtual or not. This is also the layer that computers/servers/Internet of Things (IoT) and all other devices (with a unique IP address) reside. When we discuss this layer, in the cloud as IaaS or other, we refer to it as the platform layer and there are some distinct differences in how to secure it. Securing this layer comes with the challenge that most devices need to interact with many applications and services hosted locally and remotely. When we consider all the various other layers and systems at play, we must consider virtualization, application stacks, code libraries, 3rd party services, integrations and data movements, security patches, upgrades, cloud services and on and on.

Adding to the challenge, we must do this while balancing the needs of the business and risk.

The WORST ENEMY of security is complexity; therefore, we must combat complexity at all times. This is a huge challenge when dealing with the (sometime unreasonable) demands of the business. Using a simplified approach whenever possible, and leveraging a layered approach to information security will make your life easier and your protections more effective. Believe it or not, the fundamentals are still the most effective security controls out there.

Honorable mentions for “L”

  • Lag
  • LAMP
  • LAN
  • Laptop
  • Laser Printer
  • Latency
  • Lazy Loading
  • LCD
  • LDAP
  • Lead
  • Leaderboard
  • Leading
  • Leaf
  • LED
  • Let
  • Left-Click
  • Leopard
  • LFN
  • LIFO
  • Lightning
  • Link
  • LinkedIn
  • Linux
  • Lion
  • LISTSERV
  • Live Streaming
  • Load Balancing
  • Localhost
  • Log File
  • Log On
  • Logic Error
  • Logic Gate
  • Login
  • Long
  • Loop
  • Lossless
  • Lossy
  • Low-Level Language
  • LPI
  • LTE
  • Lua
  • LUN

So, there it is folks. The letter “L” is for “Layers”.

The key to good information security is understanding information security for what it is (see the definition earlier in this post) and to master the basics. Mastery isn’t just knowing what the basics are (lots of “experts” know the basics), but to master them in application too (few “experts” are good at applying the basics). APPLY THE BASICS!

On to “M”!

The Burn(out)

If you work in this field (information security) long enough, burn out is something you’re sure to encounter. You will fight against burn out yourself, meet somebody who is on the verge of burn out, or sadly, meet someone who has already burned out.

We work our asses off. The hours are long. The stress is real. Isolation comes with the territory.

If you are on the verge of burning out, please seek help (from me, a colleague, a friend, a counselor, etc.). We need you. We need you to fight beside us. We need your ideas. We need your perspectives. We need your wisdom. We need your support. We need your passion. We need your skill. We have serious information security problems in society. In fact, we’ve created more problems than we’ve solved.

WE NEED YOU FOR THE CREATION AND IMPLEMENTATION OF SOLUTIONS TO SOCIETY’S INFORMATION SECURITY PROBLEMS.

The letter below is hypothetical. It’s not written to anyone in particular or with anyone in mind (except the information security professional). It’s a raw dump of frustrations I’ve heard over the years from my brothers and sisters in arms.


Dear <INSERT NAME OR TITLE>,

I’m tired.

You may not care, but you should. I’m holding shit together while you focus on life. Some of my frustration stems from your view that information security (or “cybersecurity”) isn’t part of life. The truth is, information security IS part of life. It’s a damn life skill!

Before you ask why I’m tired, I’ll tell you. I’m tired because:

  • I work 80+ hours a week to protect you and all that you are responsible for.
  • I’m fighting a fight I cannot win, especially without your help.
  • I’m asking you to help, but you aren’t listening.
  • We’re under relentless attack, but you don’t see it, so you don’t care.
  • You think “it won’t happen to me” and I’m afraid it already has.
  • I’m losing support from my family because they’re sacrificing their time with me while I protect you (and worse, they don’t understand why I’m doing it).
  • You won’t step up and take responsibility for what’s yours.
  • I need you to help me solve problems, but I can’t get you to participate.
  • You think this is my responsibility, but it’s not, it’s yours.
  • I tell you things with honesty and transparency, but I don’t think you trust me.
  • We’re understaffed and underfunded, but you keep telling me to do more with less.
  • I need you to champion this cause, but you do nothing more than tolerate it.
  • I want to teach you about information security, but you are too smart or too busy for education.
  • You don’t see the value in me because I’m nothing more than a cost center to you.
  • You will blame me when things go wrong, but you don’t notice when things seem OK.
  • Your demands for more technology and gadgetry makes protecting you harder than it already was.
  • I sit behind a screen all day and my physical health is declining.
  • I deal with the dark shit of this world, mostly alone, and my mental health is at risk too.

Despite all this, believe it or not, I LOVE what I do. I love what I do because I love doing good, fighting against evil, and protecting people like you. It scares me to think of doing anything else for a living. You pay me well, so I’m not complaining about money.

You know this isn’t about money, right?!

My work and passion runs deeper than money. Money provides the means to my cause, but it’s not the cause. I do what I do because I want to make a positive difference in your life and I want you to be healthy. I do this because I care about you, obviously more than I care about myself sometimes. I’m here to serve. I am here to help. I answer the phone when you call. I’m here to respond when things go wrong, even if it means I take the blame.

This is my duty and my promise to you.

Sometimes I ask myself if it’s worth it. Is the frustration worth the reward? Is this all worth it, knowing that I’m destined to fail?

You might be inclined to ask “what do you mean, destined to fail?!”

I’m destined to fail because you ask me (directly or indirectly) to do the impossible, you won’t enable me to succeed even it were possible, and you have expectations of me that can’t be met

You ask me to keep you “out of the news,” but I can’t promise you that. No matter what I do, I can’t protect you from all the bad things that can/will happen. I’ve always told you the goal is risk management, and not risk elimination. Risk elimination just isn’t possible.

I don’t want you to take pity on me, and I don’t want any outward acknowledgement. I want you to own what’s yours! I want you to get in this game and play ball. You can delegate all sorts of things to me and others, but you will never be able to absolve yourself of your ultimate responsibility. The wolves in our industry will fool you into thinking they can solve all your problems without your attention or worry, just your money. They can’t. It’s a lie. They prey on your ignorance to mislead you and steal your money, not unlike the attackers we’re trying to fight against in the first place!

All of us need you to step up. We need you to own what’s yours. We need you to lead. Ultimately, the security and safety of all things and people under your control is your responsibility. It’s time to step up before I give up. I’m your best hope, but we’re hopeless without each other.

-Information Security Professional (on the verge of burnout)

K is for Key

In kindergarten (or thereabouts) we learned the ABCs of the English language (assuming we’re from the U.S.). Learning the ABCs provided the foundation necessary to form words. Before long, words became sentences, sentences became paragraphs, and paragraphs became chapters, reports and books.

The ABCs of Information Security are important in much the same way the ABCs for English are. We start with learning and mastering basic concepts. Basic concepts begin to combine with other basic concepts to form the foundation of an information security program. In time, advanced techniques are applied on top of the solid foundation, and a world class information security program is born.

The Information Security ABCs are written as education for people who don’t speak information securitynese yet, and they’re good reminders for people who already speak information securitynese fluently.

TRUTH: If more people and organizations applied the basics, we’d eliminate a vast majority of breaches (and other bad things).

Here’s our progress thus far:

And here we are, ready for “K”. “K” doesn’t get much respect in the English language, appearing with a frequency of only 1.1% (compared to “E” and its 11.16%). All letters deserve respect, and “K” can brag that it isn’t as lonely as poor “Q” (.196%).

Some alliteration…

Our kindhearted kin are kayoed, watching their kingdom go kaput while losing the kitty to knave knuckleheads, all because they didn’t know key concepts, built knotty networks, and failed to kindle interest from kleptocratic leaders.

For the purposes of the Information Security ABCs, “K” is for “Key”.

The word “key” has many applications in information security. It’s one of a few words that fit across the spectrum of what information security is:

Information security is managing risk to unauthorized disclosure, modification, and destruction of information using administrative, physical, and technical means (or controls).

There are physical keys, logical (or technical) keys, and all the “other” keys.

Physical Keys

Physical keys are used to open physical locks. Physical locks are used to secure physical things. Physical “things” might be a locker, a door, a window, a safe, or any number of other “things”. Don’t confuse physical key locks with other physical locks. Combination locks and keypad locks aren’t physical key locks, but they have keys too. The key in these locks is the combination.

Confused? Don’t be. Here are the most common types of physical key locks.

Types of Keyed Locks

IMPORTANT: Every physical key lock is susceptible to compromise (picking, bumping, impressioning, etc.), but some are much harder than others to bypass.

  • Pin cylinder (or pin tumbler) locks – a lock with pins that must be aligned with a shear line to turn the cylinder (open the lock). The key is specifically shaped to lift the pins to align with the shear line. The number of pins in these locks vary, but the most common are 5 and 6-pin locks.

  • Lever (or lever tumbler) locks – the key lifts each of the levers to the exact height required to move the locking bolt. The most common lever lock is one with three levers, but you’ll need a five-lever lock (or more) to get home insurance in many cases.

  • Wafer (or wafer tumbler) locks – like the pin tumbler lock but uses flat wafers instead of pins.

  • Warded locks – obstructions are used within the lock to prevent anything but the correct key to turn. One of the oldest lock designs, and only used in low security applications today.

  • Disc detainer (or disc tumbler) locks – uses slotted rotating rings where the slots must be aligned to unlock. Harder to pick and sometimes sold as “high security” locks.

Keys open locks. Simple, right?

Again, don’t forget that ALL physical locks susceptible to picking or bypass. Here’s a look at a couple of pick sets.

Logical Keys

Logical keys are very commonly used to protect assets too. The three most widely used references to logical keys in information security are:

  • Secret Key – this often refers to a type of cryptography (“secret-key” encryption, or algorithm) and the key itself. Secret-key encryption is also referred to as symmetric encryption (not to confuse anyone). In this type of encryption, the same key (secret key) is used to encrypt and decrypt data. The key can take the form of a simple password, a passphrase, or any other combination of bits/bytes. Popular symmetric-key algorithms include AES (Rijndael), Twofish, DES, 3DES RC4, and others.
  • Public Key – this term refers to a type of encryption and the key itself too. Public-key cryptography is also referred to as asymmetric cryptography because one key is used to encrypt the data and a separate (but related) key is used to decrypt the data. If the public key is used to encrypt, only the private key can decrypt, and vice versa. The public key is often freely distributed while the private key is kept, you guessed it, private. Common asymmetric-key algorithms include RSA, Diffie-Hellman (key exchange), Elliptic Curve Cryptography, and others.
  • Private Key – private keys are paired with public keys in asymmetric encryption algorithms. These are sometimes referred to as secret keys, but not the same secret keys as those used in symmetric encryption (because we like to reuse words and confuse people I guess).

It’s common to use asymmetric encryption to establish communications and exchange secret keys, then use symmetric encryption to exchange data. This is because symmetric encryption is stronger (per bit of key length) and faster.

Other Uses of “Key”

The word key and security (and information security) are like second cousins. They’re different but related to each other. The image of a key (or padlock with keyhole) is often used symbolically to reference information security, like the graphic below.

Then there are information security “key” concepts, like:

  • Information security is risk management.
  • Information security protects the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of information.
  • Information security is a business issue, not an IT issue.
  • You can’t prevent all bad things from happening (eliminate risk), so you must have something in place to detect the bad things and something in place to respond appropriately too.
  • And many, many more…

More use of the word “key”:

  • Key Chain
  • Key Distribution Center (KDC)
  • Key Escrow
  • Key Fob
  • Key Generator (Keygen)
  • Key Length
  • Key Performance Indicators (KPI)
  • Key Risk Indicators (KRI)
  • Key Value Store
  • Key-Value Pair (KVP)
  • Keyboard
  • Keyboard Buffer
  • Keyboard Macro
  • Keyboard Shortcut
  • Keycap
  • Keygen
  • Keylogger
  • Keypad
  • Keystroke
  • Keystroke Logger
  • Keyword
  • Keyword Stuffing

So, there you go. The letter “K” is for “Key”. The key to good information security is understanding information security for what it is (see the definition earlier in this post) and to master the basics. Mastery isn’t just knowing what the basics are (lots of “experts” know the basics), but to master them in application too (few “experts” are good at applying the basics).

On to “L”!

J is for Jaded

The ABCs of Information Security

Learning the ABCs is important to understanding the English language, and the ABCs of Information Security are important for understanding the basic concepts in information (and people) protection. These ABCs are written as education for people who don’t speak information security natively and serve as good reminders for those of us already fluent in this confusing language.

Here’s our progress thus far:

And now for “J”.

One is justified in their joy and jubilation from the judicious and just protection of information.

The jibes, jeers, judgement, and jitteriness of losing to jackanapes along our journey through the jargon, jabberwocky, jactitation, jostling and jackassery of our juvenile industry makes us justifiably jaded.

There you have it.

“J” is for Jaded

We’re not all jaded all the time, but too many of us jaded too often.

Feeling jaded seems to come with the territory. As someone who works in this industry, sometimes it feels like we’re fighting a fight that can’t be won, we’re losing ground, and that life has given us the short end of the stick. Given enough time in this industry, you’ll either become jaded or you’ve fought hard against becoming so.

If you’ve done something so much that it doesn’t excite you anymore but just leaves you tired, consider yourself jaded. If someone says you look a little jaded, it just means that you look tired.

https://www.vocabulary.com/dictionary/jaded

The formal definition of “jaded”, courtesy of George Merriam and Noah Webster (not really, these two are long gone and Merriam Webster, Inc. was acquired by Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc. in 1964):

  1. Fatigued by overwork : EXHAUSTED
  2. Made dull, apathetic, or cynical by experience or by having or seeing too much of something.

Being fatigued, exhausted, overworked, dull, apathetic, and cynical are not things we should aspire to.

Jaded is Bad

There is nothing good about being jaded. People who are jaded are live a sad life, or at the very least, a life with less joy than there should be.

Here’s what Dr. Stephen Diamond (a clinical and forensic psychologist) has to say about jaded people:

bitter, jaded people tend to project a self-righteous attitude suggesting they’re justified in feeling resentment. They’re often bored and cynical. They observe and criticize more often than they participate. Because they believe they’ve been burned, they no longer have the trust necessary to build solid, positive relationships. They believe the world is unfair and freely express their impatience and anger. They no longer expect success, but don’t accept responsibility for their failures; instead, they blame others. They’re almost always irritable and frequently express annoyance in most situations.

The highlighted words represent traits that are too common with people in our industry, some of these people we know personally, and maybe one of those people is you.

Jaded people often lash out at others. Bitter sarcasm and criticism are hallmarks. They often feel like they’re victims of what they perceive as injustice. The injustice leads to resentment, anger, and general unhappiness. Jaded people are more likely to suffer from burnout, mental health issues (depression, anxiety, et al.), broken relationships, and chemical dependency (self-medication).

Again, think about people we know in our industry; the people we fight alongside every day. There are people we know personally who have a self-righteous attitude, criticize more than they should, and have lost patience with “dumb users” and/or “incompetent management”. Dialogs such as these are examples:

US: “We need to educate our users and constantly make them aware of information security dangers.”

JADED US: “Why waste our time or money? They don’t get it and they never will. They just keep clicking on links and choosing sh*tty passwords.”

OR:

US: “Let’s figure out a better way to communicate with executive management and the board. If they understood better, we’d be able to secure the budget we need.”

JADED US: “What’s the use? Management doesn’t give two sh*ts about information security!”

Someone who’s jaded has given up, lost hope, and just exists to exist. They’re debilitated and they’re debilitating to the people around them. Someone who isn’t jaded, is still fighting the good fight.  They’re relaxed, rested, energetic, and active. Jaded people have a negative impact. People who aren’t jaded make a positive difference, creatively solving problems and hoping for better outcomes. The truth is, jaded people hurt themselves and others. People who aren’t jaded help themselves and others.

Jaded people hurt themselves and others.

Jaded people are NOT bad people. Please don’t make this mistake. Often, they are good people who care(d) deeply about something. They care(d) so much, they took it personal and suffer(ed) for it.

To simple? Maybe, but the point is this; we need to do everything we can to avoid becoming jaded.

But how?

Start with a simple and honest self-evaluation; are you jaded? If you’re not sure, ask someone close to you. Then decide:

  • If you’re jaded, choose to come back or not.
  • If you’re not jaded, learn how to keep yourself from becoming jaded or not.

The mindset and skills are the same either way.

People who work in our industry often (or always) find our work stressful. When we become jaded, we negatively impact our quality of life and become much less effective in our work. Back to our definition of the word; jaded people are fatigued by being overworked and/or made dull, apathetic, or cynical by experience. Being jaded is not acceptable to me, and it shouldn’t be acceptable to you either. So, let’s do something about it.

Fatigued, Overworked, and Exhausted

People who work in our industry are some of the most passionate, motivated, and intelligent people anywhere in the world. We’re unique and we’re amazing! The passion pushes us to work our tails off, mostly without appreciation beyond our paycheck (we do get paid well though). Some of us work 50, 60, 70+ hour weeks, forgo vacations, and sleep much less than we should. Our passion will work against us when/if we’re not in balance. The constant hard-driving workload can lead to fatigue and exhaustion. Eventually, something has to give.

To make matters worse, it doesn’t matter how many hours we put in, security incidents are inevitable. No matter what we do, we cannot prevent all bad things from happening. When the bad thing happens, then “they” notice; the appreciation we longed for becomes condemnation. Nobody cares about the 1,000s of hours we put in, often while others weren’t watching. They want to know why the bad thing happened and who’s to blame.

Feeling any injustice? Oh, how we need tools to fight against becoming jaded! So, what to do?

Priorities

Somewhere along the line, we might get our priorities messed up. Our job is a job. We do it as well as we can, but we must recognize that work is not life. Work is part of life, but it is NOT life. Good priorities might look something like this:

  1. Faith
  2. Spouse (if you’ve got one)
  3. Family
  4. Work
  5. Friends

Notice how “self” isn’t listed? Self supersedes all priorities. Self-preservation is primal.

You could switch #4 (Work) on the list with #5 (Friends) and still be OK. Regardless, work is NOT in the top three. Bad priorities look like this:

  1. Work
  2. Fame
  3. Money
  4. Spouse
  5. Work
  6. Family
  7. Work
  8. Friends

The first list lends itself to health, the second list lends itself to becoming fatigued, overworked, and exhausted. Couple messed up priorities with the nature of our work; guaranteed failure (if failure is defined as preventing all bad things), and you have a recipe for becoming jaded.

Health (Spiritual, Mental, and Physical)

All health requires maintenance. If we’re not maintaining our health, we can expect it to fail (eventually) and we can expect it to suck.

This isn’t the place or time to preach Jesus to you, but we all need a spiritual “higher power”. This is the place we go when the world doesn’t make sense, and we all know the world doesn’t make any damn sense, right?! If you need help finding a spiritual advisor, reach out to a close personal friend for guidance. If you don’t have a close personal friend to trust for this guidance, you get my advice; seek Jesus! That’s all the preaching you’ll get (for now).

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, nearly one in five U.S. adults live with a mental illness (51.5 million people in 2019), and less than half (44.8% or 23.0 million people in 2019) received mental health services. Think about these numbers for a second. Due to the nature of what we do and the stress related to it, the percentages for us are probably worse than the U.S. population. Most of us rely VERY heavily on our minds, and if our minds our broken, then what? If you need help, or think you might need help, here are some great resources to check out (DO NOT IGNORE THIS):

It’s easy to overlook our physical health, but we can’t. Most of us sit for hours on end at a computer keyboard. This is not healthy. We must get up, get out, exercise more, and eat healthier. There’s nothing glamorous about dying of a heart attack while reverse engineering a piece of code.

Our health has a direct impact upon being jaded. The more unhealthy we are, the more likely we are to become jaded. The inverse is also true.

Dull, Apathetic, and Cynical

The second part to our definition of “jaded” is being dull, apathetic, and cynical by experience or by having or seeing too much of something.

Seriously, how many times have we:

  • Seen someone click a link they shouldn’t have?
  • Witnessed someone fall for a phishing attack after we’ve taught them a kajillion times not to?
  • Read about a breach that should have been prevented?
  • Told people to master the basics, only to see them NOT compile/maintain an asset inventory?
  • Shaken our heads at dumb mistakes people (including “we”) make?
  • Beat our heads against the wall trying to get management to give a sh*t?

After a while, shouldn’t we just give up? What’s the use? People keep doing dumb things and making crappy decisions. Aren’t we tired of it yet?!

Spoken like someone who’s jaded.

Maybe it’s not them. Maybe it’s us.

Expectations

Maybe we’re jaded because we have too many or the wrong expectations. We’re less likely to become jaded when things go well, when we experience things that are good (or exceed our expectations). It’s not like we’d say:

  • “Dammit, Jane in accounting picked a great password again!”, or
  • “Life would be so much better if Joe would just click links without thinking more often.”, or
  • “It just sucks when management always gives us the budget we need for information security.”

Absolutely not. Some (or a lot) of our jadedness comes from being disappointed. We’re setting the wrong or unrealistic expectations, leading to disappointment, leading to frustration, leading to becoming jaded. We think expectations are good, but they’re often not.

What did we expect in the first place? Did we actually expect humans to NOT be human? Did we expect management to treat information security like it was THE issue versus AN issue? Did we expect people to listen to us when we don’t speak their language? Did we expect to not have breaches? Did we expect such a thing as risk elimination, or did we realize this is actually about risk management?

If we set any expectation, we should expect to be disappointed if we have expectations. Expect disappointment, and if it happens often and long enough, it WILL lead to frustration. Frustration is the last step in the path to becoming jaded. This is the “jade cycle” (simplified), see diagram.

The math: (-e + e2) = -d + -j, where e is expectations, e2 is better expectations, d is disappointment and j is jadedness. Essentially, fewer expectations and better expectations = less disappointment and less jadedness. Living life without expectations is NOT the goal, living a life with fewer and more realistic expectations is the goal.

NOTE: The exception is computers and other logical, binary things. We can always expect computers to do what we tell them to do. Care must be taken with emotional and non-binary (analog) things like human beings.

Summary

Beware and be aware of jadedness in yourself and others in our industry. It makes us less effective and it steals our joy. If you need help, ask for it. Being jaded is more common than many of us realize, and it does nothing to help our cause. The cause being better information security, and through it, better lives.

This is no honorable mention for “J” because it’s a letter we don’t use enough. 😉

Next up, “K”. What are some good relevant words for this letter?

I is for If

The ABCs of Information Security

Learning the ABCs is important to understanding the English language, and the ABCs of Information Security are important for understanding the basic concepts in information (and people) protection. These ABCs are written as education for people who don’t speak information security natively and serve as good reminders for those of us already fluent in this confusing language.

Here’s our progress thus far:

Now for “I”…

“I” is for “if”.*

What if we were less ignorant, imperious, incoherent, irksome and impetuous, but a little more integrous, inoffensive, instrumental, interpersonal, and ingenious? Would we be less inundated with incessant information security incidents?

What if we were less inept and imprudent with the technology that’s so intertwined with every aspect of our daily lives? Would it even be possible to become impenetrable, impregnable and impervious to interminable attacks?

What if?

If we do more of the right things right, and less of the wrong things wrong, just think how much better off we’d be. The people we serve would be safer, we would be saner, and the world would be a better place!

The keys to making “if” closer to reality are less ignorance and more integrity.

What if we were less ignorant?

Ignorance is the lack of knowledge, understanding, or information about something.

Ignorance runs rampant within our industry and amongst the people we serve. People don’t know what information security is or what their personal responsibilities are.

If we were less ignorant, we’d know what information security is, and we’d know that it cannot be separated from privacy or physical safety. We’d know the importance of information security basics, and we’d practice them religiously.  If we were less ignorant, we’d know how vulnerable we are and we’d demand better of ourselves. We’d know what we’re responsible for and what we should hold others accountable for. If we were less ignorant, we’d think twice before plugging that new sexy gadget into our home network. We’d demand more protection in the products and technologies marketed and sold to us incessantly.

By definition, we’re all ignorant. Nobody knows everything, but this isn’t the issue. The issue is being ignorant of something we shouldn’t be ignorant of.

Is it OK to be ignorant of:

  • computer security best practices if you use a computer?
  • Internet security best practices if you use the Internet?
  • what things are running on your home network if you have a home network?
  • online safety best practices if you have loved ones (kids, spouse, et al.) who are online?
  • the most significant organizational security risks if you’re the leader of the organization?
  • information security basics if you’re in charge of information security?

The answer in all these circumstances is “NO”. It’s NOT OK to be ignorant of things you are responsible for.

In today’s world, we can no longer separate information security from privacy or safety; even personal, physical safety. Everything is integrated. A single information security incident has the potential to expose private information, but even worse, it has the potential to kill someone. The truth is, information security is a life skill that all people should must learn. Everyone has responsibilities, so what are yours?

Accepting ignorance is a default response when people are confronted with something that seems too complex, too confusing, too technical, or too anything. The key to fighting ignorance is simplification and mastering the basics. The basics are boring, the basics aren’t sexy, but despite these things, the basics are absolutely necessary.

So, what are the unsexy basics?

The first basic principle is to define rules for the game.

At Home
  • If you’re the head of your household, you’re the boss and you make the rules. It’s NOT OK to accept ignorance in this role. Learn what good information security behaviors are, lead by example, and expect others to follow. Ultimately, every bit of data that traverses your home network, every website visited by you and your family members, every device you plug in, everything is your responsibility.
  • If you’re not the head of your household, your job is to follow the rules and provide respectful feedback. No rules? Go see the head of your household and help them define the rules.

Go check out S2Me, it’s a FREE and SIMPLE personal information security risk management tool.

At Work
  • If you’re the CEO (or whatever title sits at the top of the org chart), you’re like the head of the household (above) for your organization.
  • If you’re not the CEO, your job is to follow the rules and provide respectful feedback. No rules? Go see the CEO (or his/her assistant) and help them define the rules.

Quick sidenote: This isn’t the article about writing rules for you, but maybe “R” will stand for rules (later).

No rules = chaos, anarchy, confusion, and disorder. There must be rules. You either define the rules and follow them, or you follow them and provide feedback. Now that you’ve read this, you cannot claim ignorance. You have knowledge, and now you must act.

Knowledge without action is negligence.

I’m not a lawyer, so I won’t give legal advice. The generic definition of negligence is “failure to take proper care in doing something”.  Are you negligent if someone suffers because:

  • you don’t know the right thing to do, but you should?
  • you know the right thing to do, but fail to do it?

Ignorance isn’t bliss, it’s breach.

More than once, I’ve heard the comment “ignorance is bliss”. Ignorance for something you shouldn’t be is nothing more than an excuse for laziness and genuinely not giving a sh*t.

What if we were more integrous?

Integrous is the adjective form of integrity.

Integrity is an oft-used word in our industry, and here’s the definition:

  • the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles that you refuse to change
  • someone’s high artistic standards or standards of doing their job, and that person’s determination not to lower those standards:
  • the quality of being whole and complete

Integrity applies to our industry in (at least) two ways; the integrity of data and the integrity of personnel responsible for protecting data.

Integrity of Data

If you’ve been in our industry for any amount of time, you’ve surely heard of the CIA triad. It’s an acronym for a fundamental concept; we protect the Confidentiality, Integrity, and Availability of data. Our “I” in CIA refers to the wholeness, completeness, and accuracy of the data we try to protect.

Simple. It’s important to remember that our job goes beyond making sure data is kept secret; we also need to make sure it’s accurate and available (to those who are authorized to access it).

Integrity of Personnel

On this point, it’s hard not to rant. To keep us honest, we’ll over-simplify.

In our industry, there are the practitioners who work their tails off to protect people, and there are suppliers who make things practitioners use to protect people. Practitioners and suppliers; integrity is paramount to both. A lack of integrity in either is terrible and sad.

Practitioners

The person behind the keyboard is an integral part of any information protection strategy. Their integrity must be rock solid and continually verified. Background checks, character references, solid OSINT, etc., are all encouraged before hiring anyone. Address the questionable things before hiring, and not after you’ve given them the keys to the kingdom. Depending upon your comfort level, sensitivity of the job, etc., questionable things should be questioned, but they don’t always need to be a disqualifier. Giving people the opportunity to address the questionable things from their past might be good, given that people change (hopefully for the better).

Verify integrity constantly. At work, a practitioner shouldn’t mind having his/her activities monitoring continually. They should see the value in it.

Suppliers

What’s worse, an attacker stealing $100,000 from your organization’s bank account or someone selling you security software that doesn’t work, or you can’t use, or you don’t need, or…? They’re both bad and either way you’re out a hundred grand. Stolen (or wasted) money is money your organization can’t use for better things; market expansion, employee benefits, innovation, etc. Suppliers who sell something to a practitioner when they know it’s not the right thing are like wolves in sheep’s clothing; almost worse than an attacker because at least you know the attacker is bad.

There are many suppliers who operate with integrity in our industry, but we must do a better job weeding out the ones who aren’t.

Summary

There you have it. “I” is for “if”. What if we were less ignorant and more integrous? Things would be much better around here.

*NOTE: “If” was inspired by my good friend Chris Roberts. Thanks!

Episode 110 Show Notes – All Hell Broke Loose

Welcome! These are the show notes for episode 110 of the UNSECURITY Podcast.

We’re putting the Information Security @ Home series on hold again this week. In case you didn’t know, it seems we have a big problem on our hands. Over the course of this last week (or so), we’ve witnessed events in our industry that we’ve not seen before, in terms of magnitude and impact. It all started (publicly) with FireEye’s announcement of an intrusion and exfiltration of data. FireEye is one of the largest and most respected firms in our industry, so this was big news!

Unfortunately, this was only the tip of the iceberg.

Over the weekend, we learned of two more really significant breaches; one at the U.S. Treasury Department and the other at the U.S. Commerce Department. On Monday (12/14), all hell sort of broke loose when we learned that these breaches are all related, and the source is SolarWinds. Attackers compromised SolarWinds defenses and inserted malware into their premier product, the Orion platform. Orion is a network management system (NMS) used by thousands of organizations to manage and monitor their IT infrastructure. SolarWinds has become a single source of possible intrusions into ~18,000 other organizations. These intrusions into the other organizations aren’t run of the mill either, these are intrusions using “trusted” software (often) configured with elevated/privileged access. This and will continue to get worse before it gets better.

Seems 2020 isn’t done 2020ing yet. The end of 2020 countdown at the time of this writing:

Other things? Yes, or course!

There are always many, many things going on around here (SecurityStudio and FRSecure). One very newsworthy event included the announcement from the State of North Dakota. North Dakota has made our S2Me (personal information security risk assessment) available for all state residents and will use it to help their citizens be more secure at home! One down, and 49 left to go!

Alright, on to it. Brad’s leading the discussion this week, and these are his notes. GOOD NEWS, we’ve invited our good friend Oscar Minks to join us as we delve in to the whole SolarWinds debacle.


SHOW NOTES – Episode 110

Date: Tuesday December 15th, 2020

Episode 109 Topics

Opening

[Brad] Hey there! Thank you for tuning in to this episode the UNSECURITY Podcast. This is episode 110, the date is December 15th, 2020, and I’m your host, Brad Nigh. Joining me as usual is my good friend and co-worker, Evan Francen. Good morning Evan.

[Evan] Cue Evan.

[Brad] Also joining us this morning is another good friend and co-worker, Oscar Minks. Good morning Oscar.

[Oscar] Cue Oscar.

Quick Catchup

[Brad] As if 4th quarter wasn’t crazy enough we had the SolarWinds news break this week.  Before we dig into that let’s catch up and see how we are all doing with just over 2 weeks left in the year. What’s new?

Transition

Information Security @ Home
All Hell Broke Loose

[Brad] Well, we planned to do more security at home stuff, but as I said a couple weeks ago, 2020 won’t stop 2020’ing.

Topics

  • SolarWinds breach (only the beginning)
  • The timeline (FireEye announcement)
  • FireEye, U.S. Government, (possibly) 425 of the Fortune 500, and (probably) 18,000 organizations.
  • What happened?
  • What are the ramifications of all this?
  • What do you need to do?
  • What do we need to do?

Discussion between Brad, Evan, and Oscar

[Brad] 2020 is not going quietly into the night, is it? Alright, moving on for now.

News

[Brad] Amazingly SolarWinds wasn’t the only news in the last week. We probably won’t have time to get to all of these but they are good reads and good to stay on top of.

Wrapping Up – Shout outs

[Brad] That’s it for episode 110. Thank you Evan and Oscar! Who you got a shoutout for today?

[Evan & Oscar] We’ll see.

[Brad] Thank you to all our listeners! Send things to us by email at unsecurity@protonmail.com. If you’re the social type, socialize with us on Twitter, I’m@BradNigh and Evan can be found @evanfrancen.

Lastly, be sure to follow SecurityStudio (@studiosecurity) and FRSecure (@FRSecure) for more things we do when we do what we do.

That’s it! Talk to you all again next week!

UNSECURITY Podcast – Ep 104 Show Notes – Stigma Against Healthy

Last week was nuts. Is “nuts” the norm? God, I hope not.

The week started off with what seemed like a run of the mill ransomware attack against a healthcare client. The investigation led us to threat hunting with another client. During the threat hunting exercise, Brian Krebs called. He claimed to have information about 427 healthcare organizations who could be attacked by Wednesday (10/28). This led us down all sorts of paths with a few renowned researchers, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), the FBI, Secret Service (don’t ask), and others.

Eventually, CISA issued a joint cybersecurity advisory with the FBI and Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). See: Ransomware Activity Targeting the Healthcare and Public Health Sector.

On Friday, FRSecure issued their own statement and hosted a very well-attended webinar. See: Situation Update: RYUK Ransomware in Healthcare.

One thing we learned is that incident response in the United States, in terms of our readiness across the public/private sector is in bad shape. It shouldn’t take 3+ days to legitimize a threat and coordinate a response. Thank God we didn’t witness a coordinated attack against 427 hospitals at once. Had this been a real attack against 427 hospitals, we would have been in a world of hurt!

Other things that happened last week include:

  • Episode 103 of the UNSECURITY Podcast, Part Two with Neal O’Farrell of the PsyberResilience Project was awesome! If you missed it, you should go check it out.
  • FRSecure is rocking it! We’re running on all cylinders and making a positive difference in our industry. I’m very proud and humbled at the same time.
  • SecurityStudio finished another incredible month! People are buying into the concept of focusing on the fundamentals and simplification. In case you didn’t know, complexity is the worst enemy of information security.
  • The Security Shit Show was awesome on Thursday night! Personally, I needed the time to talk shit with my peers, Ryan Cloutier and Chris Roberts. It’s like therapy. The title for our discussion was “Kiss and Make Up?” and we talked about what life might look like after the election.

There was probably other important stuff sprinkled in last week too, but the brain can only handle so much!

On to the show!

Episode 104 Topic and Special Guest

A few important things about this episode:

  • This is episode 104, the two-year anniversary of the UNSECURITY Podcast! Holy crap, where did the time go?! It’s been an incredible ride so far, and we’ve met 100s of amazing people along the way.
  • Our topic (or, I guess title) is “The security industry’s stigma against healthy stuff“. Is there a stigma against healthy stuff in our industry? Maybe. We’ll look into it in this episode.
  • We have another special guest, and he’s a good one! We call him Richie Breathe, and he’s a great guy with interesting perspectives on wellness. He’s the perfect guest to wrap up what turned into another semi-series about us and our health.
  • Next week, we’re going to dive back in to incident response. We’ve seen some very interesting (and alarming) trends, and it’ll be good to share with you.

Let’s get on to the notes…

Oh yeah, one more thing before we forget.

GO VOTE!


SHOW NOTES – Episode 104

Date: Tuesday November 3rd, 2020

Episode 104 Topics

  • Opening
  • Happy Anniversary (to us)
    • What’s been your favorite thing about the UNSECURITY Podcast?
    • What’s been your favorite moment or episode?
  •  Special Guest Richie Breathe and the security industry’s stigma against healthy stuff
    • Who’s Richie Breathe?
    • Is there a stigma? If so, how bad do we think it is?
    • Ideas for improving wellness in our industry.
    • Where to go next.
  • News
  • Wrapping Up – Shout outs
Opening

[Evan] Hi again everyone. Welcome to another episode of the UNSECURITY Podcast! This is episode 104, the date is November 3rd, 2020, and I’m Evan Francen, your host. Joining me is my good friend and co-worker, Brad Nigh. Good morning Brad.

[Brad] Cue Brad.

[Evan] Also joining us, is a good friend Richie Breathe. Good morning Richie.

[Richie] Cue Richie.

[Evan] First things first. Today is election day. Did you guys vote?

[Brad & Richie] Well, did they?

Happy Anniversary (to us)

[Evan] This is our 104th episode in a row, meaning 104 weeks in a row, meaning two years! I can hardly believe it. Seems like yesterday we did our first episode together Brad. Happy anniversary!

[Brad] Cue Brad

[Evan] I gotta tell you man. I’ve loved every minute of this with you. Sincere gratitude for being my pal in this journey.

[Brad] Cue Brad

[Evan] Now, Richie. You’ve been listening for a while, and we actually met through the podcast, didn’t we?

[Richie] Cue Richie

[Evan] I’ve met 100s of amazing people over the past two years from this show. So many incredible memories. Brad, what’s your favorite thing about the UNSECURITY Podcast?

[Brad] Cue Brad

[Evan] How about you Richie?

[Richie] Cue Richie

[Evan] My favorite thing.

I couldn’t have imagined so much and I’m VERY grateful. How about a favorite moment or episode? Brad?

[Brad] Cue Brad

[Evan] Richie?

[Richie] Cue Richie

[Evan] My favorite moment/episode.

Like I said, it’s been an amazing ride. Here’s to many more episodes and lots more memories!

Transition

Special Guest –  Richie Breathe and the security industry’s stigma against healthy stuff

[Evan] Richie, thanks for being here man. I know we talked about this a while back, and the time has finally come. You first learned about me and Brad through the UNSECURITY Podcast, then started coming to the Daily inSANITY Checkin, right?

[Richie] Cue Richie.

[Evan] The Daily inSANITY Checkin is another HUGE blessing for me. I’ve met some incredible people there and I love sharing life with them. Shout out to you guys!

For people who want to know more, the Daily inSANITY Checkin is just what it says. It’s a daily informal meeting with people who care about each other. It’s a safe place to come, share thoughts, share ideas, or share whatever else comes to mind. The only real rules are to show respect and be yourself. Simple.

We started the Daily inSANITY Checkin immediately after the COVID-19 lockdowns started in March and we’ve been going strong ever since. It’s been incredible. So, Richie. You’re there almost every day, and I’m grateful to have gotten to know you. I know you, but tell the listeners a little about yourself.

[Richie] Cue Richie.

Begin Discussion

The security industry’s stigma against healthy stuff

  • Who’s Richie Breathe?
  • Is there a stigma? If so, how bad do we think it is?
  • Ideas for improving wellness in our industry.
  • Where to go next.

[Evan] Awesome! Great discussion. Thanks again Richie!

Now, we’re at the part of the show where we review a few news items that caught our eye this past week. Richie, please feel free to comment anytime too!

News

[Evan] Always plenty of interesting things going on in our industry. Here’s a few stories that caught my attention recently:

Wrapping Up – Shout outs

[Evan] Great! Episode 104 is just about complete. Thanks guys! Next week we’re going to tackle some incident response stuff. Things like what’s going on, what people are doing wrong, and how to do things better. Episode 105 will be great, and maybe we’ll invite a guest to boot!

Richie, loved having you join us this week. Thank you!

Any shout outs for either of you?

[Brad and/or Richie] We’ll see.

[Evan] Always grateful for our listeners! Send things to us by email at unsecurity@protonmail.com. If you’re the social type, socialize with us on Twitter, I’m @evanfrancen and Brad’s @BradNigh.

Richie, how can listeners find you?

[Richie] Cue Richie.

Lastly, be sure to follow SecurityStudio (@studiosecurity) and FRSecure (@FRSecure) for more things we do when we do what we do.

That’s it! Talk to you all again next week!

UNSECURITY Podcast – Ep 103 Show Notes – PsyberReslience Project Pt. 2

Happy Tuesday (again)!

There are always 100s of things to talk about each week, and if you’re ADHD like me, you know how hard it can be to stay focused on one thing for too long!

Here are a few things that are top of mind right now:

  • Security ABCs:
  • Election is next week. Please vote. Regardless of who you vote for, you have a voice. The voice might seem insignificant, but when millions of voices speak together, you have something special. This election season has been crazy, just like 2020 has been crazy. I’m looking forward to it being over, so we can return our focus to serious issues facing all of us.
  • Last week on the Security Shit Show, we talked about election security. The title of the show was “Is My Vote Secure?”. This week it’s Chris Roberts‘ topic, and he hasn’t announced it yet. Stay tuned!
  • Business is good – FRSecure is running at or near full capacity and SecurityStudio is serving people well with simple, fundamental, and effective information security risk tools. Good things! FRSecure is hiring BTW.
  • Incidents and calls for our incident response team continue to roll in. There was an incident that occurred this past weekend. Sadly, the way the incident was handled by the client provided good examples of what NOT to do. I’ll right a separate blog post on this story later, but here’s two things you need to do RIGHT NOW. Drop what you’re doing and make sure you’re squared away on:
    1. Check your incident response plan and be sure you know who to call.
      • Double-check the contact information.
      • Is there 24×7 response? Incidents will inevitably happen at the worst time.
      • Who do you call, and who do you call first? Your incident responders, your insurance provider, your legal team, executive management, law enforcement, or…?
    2. Make sure your preferred 3rd-party incident handler/provider is on your insurance provider’s approved list for reimbursement.
      • You waste precious time, energy, and money when you don’t know.
      • Engaging with a 3rd-party incident responder who isn’t on the list will force you into declined reimbursements and/or changed providers (losing more time).
  •  Not a sales push at all, but here’s what FRSecure provides. At a minimum, it makes sense to register with your incident responder (See: IR Registration Services).

  • Not digging the cold weather, but I do live in Minnesota, so…

Episode 102 Quick Recap

Originally, we weren’t planning on making the discussion with Neal O’Farrell into a series, but the talk in episode 102 was too AWESOME! Brad was out sick for the show, but Neal and I had a great talk about his 40(ish) years in our industry, his background growing up in Ireland, his organization (the PsyberResilience Project), our personal mental health issues (stress, burnout, etc.), and mental health in our industry. This is a serious issue in our industry, and we’re not doing a good enough job in tackling our problems.

I’m VERY excited to welcome Neal back again! We’ll talk about resources people can use to improve their lives. Sure to be another great discussion!

These are my (Evan) notes.


SHOW NOTES – Episode 103

Date: Tuesday October 27th, 2020

Episode 103 Topics

  • Opening
  • Special Guest – Neal O’Farrell from the PsyberReslience Project
    • Recap episode 102 – Where we left off.
    • Mental Health Discussion.
    • Specific self-help approaches, what we’ve learned from trying them.
    • Other resources and what you can do to help.
  • News
  • Wrapping Up – Shout outs
Opening

[Evan] Hi everybody. Welcome to another episode of the UNSECURITY Podcast! This is episode 103, the date is October 27th, 2020, and I’m Evan Francen, your host. Joining me is my good friend and co-worker, Brad Nigh. Good morning Brad.

[Brad] Cue Brad.

[Evan] Also joining us, for the second week in a row is our good friend and founder of the PsyberResilience Project, Neal O’Farrell. Good morning Neal.

[Neal] Cue Neal.

[Evan] How are you guys today? What’s new?

Quick Catch-up

Discussion about any current events, life or otherwise…

Transition

 

Special Guest – Neal O’Farrell from the PsyberReslience Project

[Evan] Neal, thanks for joining us for the podcast again this week. Last week we had a great talk. So great, in fact, we didn’t leave any time for news stuff. No matter though, people can always read news things for themselves.

Anyway, we talked about your background, both of us shared our personal struggles with mental health, and we talked about your organization (the PsyberResilience Project). This week Brad’s joining us, and we’re going to focus on specific self-help approaches that we’ve tried. Before we jump in, Brad, did you get a chance to listen to last week’s podcast?

[Brad] Cue Brad.

[Evan] What did you think about it?

[Brad] Cue Brad.

[Evan] Great! Let’s dig in.

Begin Discussion

Topics to discuss (or ideas):

  • Recap episode 102 – Where we left off.
  • Mental Health Discussion.
  • Specific self-help approaches, what we’ve learned from trying them.
  • Other resources and what you can do to help.

Discuss whatever else comes to mind.

[Evan] Excellent discussion, and I’m sure our listeners found value in it!

Now, we’re at the part of the show where we review a few news items that caught our eye this past week. Neal, please feel free to comment anytime too!

News

[Evan] Some interesting nation-state stuff caught my attention this week. God knows, there’s always plenty of nation-state stuff going on!

Wrapping Up – Shout outs

[Evan] Great! Episode 103 is just about complete. Thanks guys! Neal, it was great having you on the show again this week. I’m looking forward to working together to make our industry better. Brad, always happy when you’re here. Glad you’re feeling better this week!

Any shout outs for either of you?

[Brad and/or Neal] We’ll see.

[Evan] Always grateful for our listeners! Send things to us by email at unsecurity@protonmail.com. If you’re the social type, socialize with us on Twitter, I’m @evanfrancen and Brad’s @BradNigh.

Neal, remind our listeners again how they can get in touch with you.

[Neal] Cue Neal.

Lastly, be sure to follow SecurityStudio (@studiosecurity) and FRSecure (@FRSecure) for more things we do when we do what we do.

That’s it! Talk to you all again next week!