ePrivacy Directive: EU to tighten up on Data Breach Notifications

You may be aware that the EU recently put into force the updated ePrivacy Directive (2002/58/EC). As of May 2011, the use of cookies to track website visitor information is now strictly prohibited. Cookies which were previously used to track visitor behaviour and personal details may now only be used with the express permission of the visitor. Interesting website based outside of the EU, do not have to operate with the same constraints. The enforcement and technical implementation of the directive may take some time to filter through to every cookie using site on the web, and penalties for not doing so are yet to be seen.

Work continues on the ePrivacy Directive in the coming months. One InfoSec concept which the EU are looking to tighten up control of through the directive is “disclosure”. Whereas in the past, companies or organisations may have been a little shy about publicising their […]

Theory of Gravitational Information Security – Making Security Policy Implementation A Reality

This article draws on elements of gravity theory to help visualise information security concepts and to describe how to practically implement security policy objectives. It describes a metaphorical model where gravitational forces are analogous to the level of security controls we apply to an organisation’s information. Be warned, this will quite possibly be the nerdiest article I have written, but will be simple enough.. no degree in particle physics required to grasp it.

What is Gravity?

Gravity is a force which attracts and pulls physical objects towards each other. All objects are known to be affected by gravity, from the smallest atom to the largest star in the night sky. A general rule for gravity is, that the greater the mass of an object, the more gravitational force it will exert on the other objects around it. The sun, for instance, pulls the earth towards it in the same way that […]

Web 2.0 – Why the internet got better, why security got worse.

Web 2.0 was recently crowned the one millionth word of the English language. This is perhaps just one indicator of the impact that Web 2.0 has had on our everyday lives. Why? In this blog, I’m going to go into what Web 2.0 actually is, some of the underlying technologies and what challenges these bring for security.

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Data Loss Prevention – Content Awareness: Human vs Computer Classification

Data Loss Prevention (DLP) is a newer area of information security and assurance which has arrived in recent years. There are a host of software products, controls and solutions which have found there way onto the market to help facilitate DLP, whether those losses be malicious or inadvertent. This market seems fledgling but is maturing as time goes on. People are just starting to understand the effects of losing data, most of which is lost by mistake. Around 77% of data loss is “inadvertent” and unintended. Basically, people make mistakes. A much lower percentage of data loss is malicious. Compliance seems to be a major driver for the implementation of the solutions and many key security players are positioning DLP as a core element of ongoing strategy. The question I have is, at this stage is are we ready to effectively apply AI(Artificial Intelligence) based systems, where the intended objective is for those […]

Google Sniff-View Cars?

Probably one of the more interesting news stories this month is the revelation of Google admitting that it packet sniffed on unsecured public Wi-fi networks. Read news here.

It appears that Google Street View cars were driving around taking pictures of various locations, but were also kitted out with network sniffers that could connect to unsecured public wi-fi access points, monitor and record data transmissions across those networks. Naughty stuff Google. This went on for a total of 3 years and accordingly to Google the activity was a “simple mistake”. This continues to re-affirm beliefs that public Wi-fi networks are serious security risks for both individuals and companies. If one of the world’s largest IT monopolies can do this by accident, cough, what could a determined plan of attack achieve.

So how did they do it? The answer is, without rocket science. It’s easy enough to connect a laptop […]

How secure is my wireless network? Four Tips to bump up security.

Do you think your wireless network is secure?

If the answer is yes. The BackTrack (BackTrack 4 – www.backtrack-linux.org) pentration testing OS would beg to differ.

BackTrack 4 manifests itself in an entirely customised distribution of Linux. The underlying Linux distro is Ubuntu, but has been specifically enhanced, configured and packaged for the purposes of penetration testing. Within the package you receive a wide variety of wireless cracking, network scanning and password breaking tools.

There are several options you can select for running BackTrack to start your activities. You can install it as an OS on your harddrive, you can install it and run it from a USB stick and you can even run the entire OS from CD. The latter option requires no installation at all. You simply select a machine, boot from the CD and then remove the CD when finished. I chose the latter option for […]

Cryptography – Before & After Public Key.

What better way to kick off an Information Security blog than with a video from the computer history museum on Cryptography? Whitefield Diffie is the speaker in this hour long presentation on cryptography history and is also one half of the Diffie Hellman duo who claim to have engineered this new approach. The same claim comes from GCHQ in the United Kingdom and the two research finding were published a matter of months apart.

Public Key cryptography is implemented by generating a pair of keys (numbers) which are mathematically linked. One is deemed the “Public Key” which is available to all and the other is the “Private Key” which is held by the intended recipient of the information which will be encrypted.

The Public key is used to Encrypt and the Private Key is used to Decrypt. The Private Key can also be used in digital signing operations where the recipient can use the corresponding […]