What can we learn from COVID-19 pandemic?

This post have been sitting on my draft inbox for about 3 weeks, when things werent bad as it is right now. The public data for UK, death numbers are in excess of 9500 as of 11th April 2020. No news of vaccine or way to contain the virus, but my hopes are high and to play my part I follow what the UK government advises us to do.

So back to our little infosec/cybersec world, I think there is more we can do to help from defense side, including make sure the bad guys are not taking this difficult moments to get better of the people and the organisations e.specially the hospitals and medical care communities.

This post is more about what we can learn from this pandemic, and I will update the lessons as we go along.

How you prepare for the event

This maybe the the time when you thing of your DR , BCP and IRP plans, and wish you could have tested them as frequent as possible. The sad truth, these plans are hardly tested or when tested at least annually to satisfy some regulatory requirements. So there you go, increase the frequency of testing these plans, you may not know when you will need them.

How you respond to event

-Now you have your plan, and you get them tested once a year, but how do you test them? table top? one scenario? excuses might be thrown in saying you dont have resource nor time, but when disaster come you will need time and resources, hence test the plan as if your life depends on it, because how you are going to respond.

Controls do not always work

You should be able to test your security control effectiveness and establish how much you rely on them and improvement to meet the stated business requirements.

Reinvent

With the coronavirus disaster, a lot of business have suffered or other are going under, like those in leisure and airline industries, and form other businesses they needed to reinvent on the way they work, engage their customers.

Move faster than the attack

We are in the war against the corona virus, while all the protocols have been followed to contain the virus to some extent, in the business world, the defense teams should be able to move fast to contain attacks in the same way in order to defend the businesses otherwise the attacker would have upper hands, and completely paralyse your businesses. Think like an attacker, so move faster than them.

How is the AI helping in fighting the virus?

It is 15th March 2020, the headlines everywhere I can help to notice how the corona virus (COVID-19) is causing havoc to human first and business second, or the other way around, depending on your take. Yes, the businesses have been hit hard, from the travel industries to cyber security consulting (seeing some well known consulting firms share prices drop by 20% in a couple of weeks time! The situation is getting worse.

While we know on the good day, AI gets the praise and the good promises that it will help the mankind, I was wondering, maybe many of you are, how has the AI so far helped to fight this soon to be called pandemic, is there any way that AI can come to rescue?

Will it make a difference if we do security for business sake?

The security departments and the business always crash when comes to justify security expenses in the context of business justification (why did you buy that NAC device for?)
My idea is basically in everything that security department do, should be prefixed with the word business e.g. business cybersecurity , business security incident management , business penetration test (you get the idea). By doing this then the mindset shift from doing security for the security sake and becomes doing security for the business ( not in the business of information security).
My simplify model below reflects this SABSA thinking and I will expand it more in the later date.

Can you start building a security architecture without a foundation?

Ideally constructing a building (e.g. house), you start from 0 to 100, i.e. build a foundation, erect the structure then fit the windows, roof and finish off with the cosmetic tasks like painting, plumbing etc. While this kind of building up is ideally and feasible for physical construction of things like e.g. a house, aeroplane etc, might not be so ideally for building business information security programmes, given that information security for years, have been an afterthought practise e.g. systems were developed and then security folks been asked to add-on security controls or a layer of the security on top of insecure system, and this was not security by design or security by default.

While for the most organisations I have had an honour to visit or assess, they may have a formalised security programme or information security management system (ISMS) where they coordinate the information security activities coherently, or some of them may have not have a formalised security programme at all. The question(s) I have been asking myself, can someone start from the middle or put together whatever you have to have a completed business information security architecture? 

YES – I think is the answer to this question according to me and what I have seen so far. In the next post, I will expand more on how the organisation can start in the middle and complete their business security architecture.

Cybersecurity Resilience, the 3-dimensional approach Technology, People and Processes (TPP)

Sony, Target, Equifax, Facebook, Kaspersky, Iran Nuclear Plant , do these names ring a bell?

You might noticed them from the newspaper headlines (or a blog post somewhere like dark-reading, theregister). What they have in common is that there are big organisations, and all have been breached at one point in their business lifetime. The question is not whether you are going to get breached, it is matter of when? and the question to ask yourself, is do you have enough resilient controls to make your business sustain these attacks and continue serve your customers or the public?

If the reality hasn’t sunk in yet, I think it is the right time to review your Incident Response Plans and your infrastructure and processes resilience (and dont forget your PEOPLE, their resilience matters the most).

In preparation to build the resilience needed to respond to attack, it is better to start at the grassroots level with the following questions:

  • Why most organisations are not prepared to respond to security attacks?
  • What is the reasonable resilience look like from three dimensional of Technology, People and process (TPP)

On the next post, I will expand these two questions, for now let’s leave it here