The CISSP companion handbook: A collection of tales, experiences and straight up fabrications fitted into the 10 CISSP domains of information security

by javvad Malik with no comments
I didn’t write the book, the book wrote me. Which is kind of true because I kind of wrote a lot of stuff independently and then combined it with some of my old notes that I took whilst preparing for the exam and scoured through old emails for the rest.


It’s definitely not something that will help you pass the test, but the idea was simple, give a perspective and some real-life stories on how the knowledge pans out.
Ben Rothke kindly took the time to read and review the book, so that should  give you some ideas as to what it’s all about.


If you want to get your hands on a copy, then it’s virtual only from Amazons UK  , US and other stores.


If you’re a publisher or in a similar line of work and would like a review copy, get in touch via email, javvad<at>j4vv4d.com.


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We won!!!

by javvad Malik with no comments

If you like to keep up with my ramblings on the Facebook or twitter, you’d probably have seen that not only was I nominated in several categories for the European Security Bloggers Awards, but so was Girl Cynic.

Well, apparently Girl Cynic has been doing something right because she won the award for most entertaining blogger whilst I won the award for best video blogger. It’s an honour and I’m immensely proud to win an award two years in a row, not to mention glad to see the Girl is helping keep things in the family. All that’s left really is for me to get her to write my reports for me and I can quit my day job and retire! I’m sure that day will come soon enough…

Until then, Girl Cynic did demand that her picture go up on the website as she now see’s herself as an equal partner in this venture. The student really has surpassed the master…  created a monster have I.

A full list of the nominees and winners can be found here.

P.S. As its customary to thank people when winning an award, I’d like to thank you and everyone who voted – this one’s for all you guys! <exit stage left>

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Spotting phishing scam emails

by javvad Malik with no comments

Phishing emails can be nasty pieces of work. They put a lot of effort into appearing legitimate in order to trick users into falling for their scams. In this video, I only take a look at this one specific email which claimed to come from Apple. There are lots of signs to look out for that aren’t covered in the video. Each of these signs may not mean anything on their own, but putting them together could indicate a phishing attempt.

Some of the other things you can look out for that aren’t in the video would include things like the email being sent from a weird address, like Yahoo or Gmail. Or it claims to come from a government department of some sort.

Slowing down helps a lot – nothing bad will happen if you don’t open or respond to an email immediately – well, I guess unless it’s your boss, in which case you could get fired. But at least you didn’t infect the whole company… now that’s what I call going out on your shield!

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A friend with photoshop is all you need

by javvad Malik with no comments

Jimmy is a good guy – I like him, he works in security and trains MMA. Which means if he can’t gain access to your server, he’ll simply beat the password out of you.

Then he posted this picture on twitter in a cowboy hat. Ridiculous cowboy hat

As they say, a little photoshop is a dangerous thing – and the temptation was too great to not take advantage of the opportunity.

1 brokeback

Which led to the birth of Jimmy Sozé

2 usual suspects

This got Jimmy a bit worked up, so I challenged him to a duel.

3 duel

He said he’d kill me – to which I said that’s a crime punishable by hanging till he’s dead, dead, dead!

4 hang em high

The subsequent barrage of messages proved that Jimmy was indeed unchained. Read the rest of this entry »

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RSA & BSides SF 2014

by javvad Malik with no comments

For the times you feel like the ball inside a pinball machine.



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Here’s full disclosure – now no disclosure

by javvad Malik with 2 comments

Full disclosure has announced it’s shutting down. Even people far more capable than me are trying to comprehend why. One of the key grievances cited by John as to why Full Disclosure is being shut down was the constant battling against trolls – even from within the security community.

It raises a number of interesting questions about the state of security, the trends and the meaning of life. I think in summary it comes down to trolls. The day the internet was created, all trolls celebrated – for it signified the day they would be able to hide behind their keyboards and spout venom indiscriminately. It’s a very sad – but undeniable part of the internet as a whole. Whoever has been a victim of hate mail, mean comments or even an ‘unlike’ on a youtube video can tell you that despite how thick-skinned you are, it all eventually takes its toll. I cannot imagine how stressful running something like Full Disclosure could be in the long run – hell, I still carry a chip on my shoulder from the time Reed Exhibitions legal team got their panties in a twist over my use of the word Infosec.


The question of the ‘security community / scene / industry / freak show’, what it is,  where it’s going, or even if it actually exists is one that could fill several volumes – but it’s at times like this I am reminded of a quote from the movie “Young Guns II”

“You remember the stories John use to tell us about the the three chinamen playing Fantan? This guy runs up to them and says, “Hey, the world’s coming to an end!” and the first one says, “Well, I best go to the mission and pray,” and the second one says, “Well, hell, I’m gonna go and buy me a case of Mezcal and six whores,” and the third one says “Well, I’m gonna finish the game.” I shall finish the game, Doc.” – William H. Bonney

Will the security community finish the game? Are we even playing the same game? Or is Haroon Meer right when he says, “When we win, it’s with small things, and the victory itself makes us small.


PS: If the title didn’t make any sense:

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The Cyber Security Skills Gap

by javvad Malik with 2 comments

Monday morning and RSA 2014 has not even properly started but there I was up on stage in front of a rather packed room. Feeling jet-lagged and wishing I had more caffeine in my system, I was glad that I was simply moderating a panel which included Dwayne Melancon, Andy Ellis, Jane Lute and Mike Assante.

The topic – “Closing the cyber security skills gap” where conversation flowed extremely well. I threw out a few questions and sat back and watched the show. TripWire had commissioned an artist to draw a visual representation of the conversation which turned out to be fantastic.

Most of the conversation escapes me because I was too worried about keeping the conversation flowing and staying on track to end on time. But luckily twitter captured most of the sentiments which are collated below:





Read the rest of this entry »

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Bug Bounty

by javvad Malik with 2 comments

A bug bounty is a reward handed out by companies to people who disclose bugs or vulnerabilities to them in a responsible manner. Think of it like the wild west where anyone is deputised with powers to chase after the Kid and claim the reward dead or alive.

Traditionally companies like Google and Facebook offered bounties, but seeing the potential benefits, more and more smaller companies have been getting in on the act with companies like BugCrowd offering a brokerage service to bring together testers and companies.

After years of ‘will they, won’t they’ Microsoft jumped into the bounty-offering scheme with whooping $100k being paid out for cool windows 8 hackery. What is even more interesting about Microsofts bounty offering, as described by its Senior Security Strategist Katie Moussouris, was that it was designed to disrupt the vulnerability and exploit markets.

In other words, if an unsavoury person finds a vulnerability they would rather not disclose because they’d rather try to use it to make illicit gains, then any one of their associates can do a “Huggy Bear” and hand in the vulnerability whilst making off with the cash.

Wild west indeed – as J4vv4D and Girl Cynic found out.

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Security Dialectic: Kaspersky Industry Analyst Summit

by javvad Malik with 4 comments

A tropical Island paradise, a Russian millionaire and hackers may sound like the plot of a James Bond movie, but they are actually references to Kaspersky’s industry analyst event in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, where the company was expected to divulge its plans, aspirations and research to analysts from around the world.

Four of 451 Research’s finest analysts – Daniel Kennedy, Chris Hazelton, Adrian Sanabria and Javvad Malik – attended the event.

To read an interview with Adrian and Javvad – visit 451 Research Information Security Blog.

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Phishing prevention

by javvad Malik with no comments

The folks at Information Security Buzz were asking a bunch of people for their tips in how to avoid phishing scams. I responded in the form of a video.

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