• Is there a traitor in our midst?

    Usually my research ends up behind the 451 paywall, but I noticed the good folk at Guidance Software have made one of my recent reports ‘free’ to download at their site behind a registration wall.

    It’s part of research I’m doing looking at the insider threat market and I’d be interested to hear your views and experiences. Do you see insiders as a threat avenue that needs investigating, or are there other more pressing issues in your environment?

    To scope the area, I’ve defined insider threats as falling into one or more of the following three categories.

    • Malicious insider – a legitimate employee, contractor or third party that knowingly and with ‘intent’ seeks to cause harm to the enterprise.
    • Malicious outsider – a non-authorized outsider that gains control over an identity or masquerades as a legitimate user knowingly and with the intent to cause harm to the enterprise.
    • Non-malicious insider – a legitimate employee, contractor or third party who, through his or her actions, causes harm to the enterprise without the intent to do so.

    Have you used or trialled any of the products listed in the report for insider threat purposes. What was your take on it?


  • The Cynic’s guide to ISO27001

    Nearly every security practitioner is familiar with the ISO27001 standard for information security. A lot of companies base their internal security policies on it and third parties use certification to it as a gold standard.

    But, what do the statements, recommendations and controls actually mean? Working for very large organisations, I learnt them to mean very different to what I suppose they were intended and now that I no longer am a practitioner and the 2005 standard has been replaced by the 2013 version, I thought it would be a good time to share some of my internal thoughts.

    I’d also like to thank Brian Honan for his help in putting this together – if anyone understands security standards; it’s Brian.


    The Cynics Guide to ISO27001:2005

    The meaning behind the requirements

    A.5 Security Policy

    Objective: To state the bleeding obvious.

    A.5.1.1 – Information security policy document

    To set the readers expectations, the standard requires the security policy to be documented. That’s right you need an actual policy document.

    The standard doesn’t define what the policy must be written on, so you could harness your inner Moses and etch it out on stone tablets. Or alternatively record it on a tapestry, which would be far more artistic and you’ve got more chance of someone reading it.

    A.5.1.2 – Review of the information security policy 

    No-one has ever made money by selling something only once. Just ask any network marketer caught up in a pyramid selling scheme. The only way you make any real money is through repeat sales to family members who don’t have the heart to tell you they don’t need any more water filters.

    Similarly, for a security policy to remain relevant, you need to ensure your policy is reviewed frequently; generating enough money to fuel the ever-growing population of security professionals wanting to leech off your company profits.

    A.6 Organisation of information security

    A6.1. Internal organisation

    Objective: Keep your glass house in order before you collect some stones

    A.6.1.1 – Management commitment to information security

    Managers have a lot on their plate. In between the meetings, listening to their staff’s personal problems, trying to generate more profit they must show an unwavering commitment to information security.

    Like most great ambition, there is no way of measuring just how committed a manager is to information security. I’ve always been a bit of a Jack Bauer fan, and how a bit of quick torture seems to resolve all issues. So next time you’re recruiting a manager, try electrocuting them for a little while. If they give up their mothers’ maiden name too quickly, you know they just aren’t cut out for management.

    A.6.1.2 – Information security co-ordination (more…)