|By Rich Barger||
|February 22, 2013 11:00 AM EST||
In October of 1962, during the buildup to the Cuban Missile Crisis, a debate between Adlai Stevenson and Valerian Alexandrovich Zorin at the United Nations Security Council, revealed how far the U.S. was willing to go to produce evidence that the Soviet Union was indeed stockpiling tactical nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles in North America. The Soviets, reluctance to be truthful "in the court of world opinion", forced the hand of the U.S. to produce the very intelligence that the Soviets' claimed the U.S. did not have. Once the overhead photos of the missiles were shared publicly, the Soviets immediately countered that the imagery was fake. We knew the truth then and we know it today, the Soviets had been caught in their lie.
What we saw this week was very similar to what we saw in 1962. What is most interesting in this case is that the bombshell was not dropped in a stuffy chamber full of wrinkly policy makers, nor was it used by the administration to draw a hard line under Executive Order 13636 that President Obama signed last week. No, the story was brought to light by a single, private sector entity using unclassified information that was publicly available for anyone to put together. By doing so, a precedent has been set. Finally, the veil has been lifted. Now, the public was able take a glimpse at an unseen threat that many within the security industry have been following closely for nearly a decade. A complex, intangible idea has a face, or rather a building, attached to it.
So what does this mean? Is this good, bad or somewhere in the middle?
Since 13 February, Cyber Squared's ThreatConnect.com has detected an unknown security research group, (believed to be Mandiant) sink-holing known "Comment Group" command and control infrastructure to a variety of named Virtual Private Servers (VPS) ahead of their 19 February report release. All "Comment Group" infrastructure has been freely available to vetted ThreatConnect users since November 2012.
Unfortunately, there are no lanes in the road that point out clear-cut standards by which organizations can measure if they are responsibly or irresponsibly disclosing cyber threat information. While not everyone supports public disclosures of this nature, we can look at both sides of what has occurred and find the benefits and cost of this massive disclosure.
PRO1: Finally an organization has developed a public attribution picture, publicly naming and shaming China for behavior that many have observed internationally for over a decade.
PRO2: A precedent has now been set for the entire security community; there are many others who have chosen to hold off on disclosing details of attacks or operationalizing infrastructure take downs out of concerns with tipping the threat actors and forcing them to change their TTPs and operational security. Now a green-light has been given to disclose similar details and to unilaterally act to take down large chunks of malicious infrastructure associated with APT's.
PRO3: The United States Government (USG) appears to have handed over the issue of Chinese cyber espionage to commercial industry. Some may argue that this level of disclosure should only be part of an official USG response. However, allowing industries to self-regulate and establish norms of internet behavior may serve as a more efficient way to manage threats of this nature.
PRO4: This now gives the security industry something to measure against. Not only can the industry observe and measure how "Comment Group" will respond to the disclosure, but also their reactions to sweeping sinkhole operations in addition to target reacquisition efforts. The industry can also pay attention to general responses from other Chinese APT groups.
PRO5: A disclosure at this level raises the issue of nation state sponsored or sanctioned cyber espionage to a larger audience, keeping the issue in the spotlight and increasing overall global awareness of the threat posed by Chinese cyber espionage.
On the flipside, despite the new opportunities that this may present the industry, there are untold numbers of secondary effects that could come to light because of this disclosure.
CON1: The USG appears to be sidestepping a strategic national policy issue by allowing a commercial entity to assume all of the risk by acting as the mouthpiece that may influence U.S.-China relations. If the USG is to send a message, it needs to send it unequivocally with no appearance of a puppet.
CON2: This may increase the precedent for foreign governments or non-U.S. companies that wish to embarrass the U.S. or western allies by attributing details of other sophisticated threats to western powers.
CON3: "Comment Group", while quite effective, could be considered "low hanging fruit". There were many "eyes on" from across the global security community which were actively monitoring the threat. Many organizations that had adequate visibility of "Comment Group" infrastructure, capabilities and operations now find themselves exposed to the unknown. Assuming a Chinese military intelligence unit isn't just going to give up and go home, everyone is now equally vulnerable to whatever they use next.
CON4: A single Chinese APT group out of an average of approximately 20 APT groups would only address 5% of the overall problem. By disclosing details of just one threat group, the effect to Chinese cyber espionage operations would be minimal.
CON5: A detailed disclosure at this level reveals a laundry list of specific items that the Chinese can now use as lessons learned to improve upon overall tradecraft. This increases the probability of Chinese counter intelligence operations, operations security, oversight and an overall process improvement which will diminish the security industries ability to effectively combat the threat of Chinese APT's in the future.
Only time will tell if the gains outweigh any losses associated with the disclosure. Despite growing evidence that this is the work of the Chinese, the official response has been no different than what we have seen before. A poor embassy spokesperson, followed by spokespeople for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Defense, are forced to respond with the standard canned and reflexive denial stating that accusing China without evidence is "irresponsible" and "unprofessional" or that China is ultimately the victim and would never do such a thing. What this spokespersons probably doesn't understand, through the layers of party bureaucracy, is how "irresponsible" and "unprofessional" the Chinese Computer Network Exploitation (CNE) machine actually is. If this is the case, it highlights how intentionally deceptive the PRC is or that the left hand has no idea what the right hand is doing in the shadows.
Ultimately, what is truly "irresponsible" and "unprofessional" is targeting the same individual four times a day through emails written in broken English with an attached implant embedded in a self extracting archive. For those who bear the scars of APT attacks or organizations who specialize in protecting customers from such threats, it becomes quite clear, the Chinese, in their hunger to support their modernization and economic rise, have compromised themselves before a global economy.
"People are a lot more knowledgeable about APIs now. There are two types of people who work with APIs - IT people who want to use APIs for something internal and the product managers who want to do something outside APIs for people to connect to them," explained Roberto Medrano, Executive Vice President at SOA Software, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Dec. 17, 2014 06:00 PM EST Reads: 1,042
"For over 25 years we have been working with a lot of enterprise customers and we have seen how companies create applications. And now that we have moved to cloud computing, mobile, social and the Internet of Things, we see that the market needs a new way of creating applications," stated Jesse Shiah, CEO, President and Co-Founder of AgilePoint Inc., in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 15th Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Dec. 17, 2014 06:00 PM EST Reads: 1,203
The Internet of Things is a misnomer. That implies that everything is on the Internet, and that simply should not be - especially for things that are blurring the line between medical devices that stimulate like a pacemaker and quantified self-sensors like a pedometer or pulse tracker. The mesh of things that we manage must be segmented into zones of trust for sensing data, transmitting data, receiving command and control administrative changes, and peer-to-peer mesh messaging. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Ryan Bagnulo, Solution Architect / Software Engineer at SOA Software, focused on desi...
Dec. 17, 2014 05:15 PM EST Reads: 1,141
SYS-CON Events announced today that Gridstore™, the leader in hyper-converged infrastructure purpose-built to optimize Microsoft workloads, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Gridstore™ is the leader in hyper-converged infrastructure purpose-built for Microsoft workloads and designed to accelerate applications in virtualized environments. Gridstore’s hyper-converged infrastructure is the industry’s first all flash version of HyperConverged Appliances that include both compute and storag...
Dec. 17, 2014 04:30 PM EST Reads: 1,066
"At our booth we are showing how to provide trust in the Internet of Things. Trust is where everything starts to become secure and trustworthy. Now with the scaling of the Internet of Things it becomes an interesting question – I've heard numbers from 200 billion devices next year up to a trillion in the next 10 to 15 years," explained Johannes Lintzen, Vice President of Sales at Utimaco, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Dec. 17, 2014 04:15 PM EST Reads: 1,221
Today’s enterprise is being driven by disruptive competitive and human capital requirements to provide enterprise application access through not only desktops, but also mobile devices. To retrofit existing programs across all these devices using traditional programming methods is very costly and time consuming – often prohibitively so. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jesse Shiah, CEO, President, and Co-Founder of AgilePoint Inc., discussed how you can create applications that run on all mobile devices as well as laptops and desktops using a visual drag-and-drop application – and eForms-buildi...
Dec. 17, 2014 11:45 AM EST Reads: 1,357
We certainly live in interesting technological times. And no more interesting than the current competing IoT standards for connectivity. Various standards bodies, approaches, and ecosystems are vying for mindshare and positioning for a competitive edge. It is clear that when the dust settles, we will have new protocols, evolved protocols, that will change the way we interact with devices and infrastructure. We will also have evolved web protocols, like HTTP/2, that will be changing the very core of our infrastructures. At the same time, we have old approaches made new again like micro-services...
Dec. 16, 2014 11:45 PM EST Reads: 1,187
Code Halos - aka "digital fingerprints" - are the key organizing principle to understand a) how dumb things become smart and b) how to monetize this dynamic. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Robert Brown, AVP, Center for the Future of Work at Cognizant Technology Solutions, outlined research, analysis and recommendations from his recently published book on this phenomena on the way leading edge organizations like GE and Disney are unlocking the Internet of Things opportunity and what steps your organization should be taking to position itself for the next platform of digital competition.
Dec. 15, 2014 11:45 PM EST Reads: 1,573
The 3rd International Internet of @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that its Call for Papers is now open. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the biggest idea since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago.
Dec. 15, 2014 10:30 AM EST Reads: 6,834
As the Internet of Things unfolds, mobile and wearable devices are blurring the line between physical and digital, integrating ever more closely with our interests, our routines, our daily lives. Contextual computing and smart, sensor-equipped spaces bring the potential to walk through a world that recognizes us and responds accordingly. We become continuous transmitters and receivers of data. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Andrew Bolwell, Director of Innovation for HP's Printing and Personal Systems Group, discussed how key attributes of mobile technology – touch input, sensors, social, and ...
Dec. 15, 2014 10:00 AM EST Reads: 1,923
In their session at @ThingsExpo, Shyam Varan Nath, Principal Architect at GE, and Ibrahim Gokcen, who leads GE's advanced IoT analytics, focused on the Internet of Things / Industrial Internet and how to make it operational for business end-users. Learn about the challenges posed by machine and sensor data and how to marry it with enterprise data. They also discussed the tips and tricks to provide the Industrial Internet as an end-user consumable service using Big Data Analytics and Industrial Cloud.
Dec. 15, 2014 10:00 AM EST Reads: 1,576
Building low-cost wearable devices can enhance the quality of our lives. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Sai Yamanoor, Embedded Software Engineer at Altschool, provided an example of putting together a small keychain within a $50 budget that educates the user about the air quality in their surroundings. He also provided examples such as building a wearable device that provides transit or recreational information. He then reviewed the resources available to build wearable devices at home including open source hardware, the raw materials required and the options available to power s...
Dec. 15, 2014 09:00 AM EST Reads: 1,576
Things are being built upon cloud foundations to transform organizations. This CEO Power Panel at 15th Cloud Expo, moderated by Roger Strukhoff, Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo conference chair, addressed the big issues involving these technologies and, more important, the results they will achieve. Rodney Rogers, chairman and CEO of Virtustream; Brendan O'Brien, co-founder of Aria Systems, Bart Copeland, president and CEO of ActiveState Software; Jim Cowie, chief scientist at Dyn; Dave Wagstaff, VP and chief architect at BSQUARE Corporation; Seth Proctor, CTO of NuoDB, Inc.; and Andris Gailitis, C...
Dec. 15, 2014 09:00 AM EST Reads: 1,404
There's Big Data, then there's really Big Data from the Internet of Things. IoT is evolving to include many data possibilities like new types of event, log and network data. The volumes are enormous, generating tens of billions of logs per day, which raise data challenges. Early IoT deployments are relying heavily on both the cloud and managed service providers to navigate these challenges. In her session at Big Data Expo®, Hannah Smalltree, Director at Treasure Data, discussed how IoT, Big Data and deployments are processing massive data volumes from wearables, utilities and other machines...
Dec. 15, 2014 08:45 AM EST Reads: 1,990
"There is a natural synchronization between the business models, the IoT is there to support ,” explained Brendan O'Brien, Co-founder and Chief Architect of Aria Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at the 15th International Cloud Expo®, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Dec. 15, 2014 08:15 AM EST Reads: 2,676
SYS-CON Media announced that Splunk, a provider of the leading software platform for real-time Operational Intelligence, has launched an ad campaign on Big Data Journal. Splunk software and cloud services enable organizations to search, monitor, analyze and visualize machine-generated big data coming from websites, applications, servers, networks, sensors and mobile devices. The ads focus on delivering ROI - how improved uptime delivered $6M in annual ROI, improving customer operations by mining large volumes of unstructured data, and how data tracking delivers uptime when it matters most.
Dec. 15, 2014 06:45 AM EST Reads: 2,130
In this Women in Technology Power Panel at 15th Cloud Expo, moderated by Anne Plese, Senior Consultant, Cloud Product Marketing at Verizon Enterprise, Esmeralda Swartz, CMO at MetraTech; Evelyn de Souza, Data Privacy and Compliance Strategy Leader at Cisco Systems; Seema Jethani, Director of Product Management at Basho Technologies; Victoria Livschitz, CEO of Qubell Inc.; Anne Hungate, Senior Director of Software Quality at DIRECTV, discussed what path they took to find their spot within the technology industry and how do they see opportunities for other women in their area of expertise.
Dec. 15, 2014 04:00 AM EST Reads: 1,367
While great strides have been made relative to the video aspects of remote collaboration, audio technology has basically stagnated. Typically all audio is mixed to a single monaural stream and emanates from a single point, such as a speakerphone or a speaker associated with a video monitor. This leads to confusion and lack of understanding among participants especially regarding who is actually speaking. Spatial teleconferencing introduces the concept of acoustic spatial separation between conference participants in three dimensional space. This has been shown to significantly improve comprehe...
Dec. 12, 2014 05:00 PM EST Reads: 1,235
The Industrial Internet revolution is now underway, enabled by connected machines and billions of devices that communicate and collaborate. The massive amounts of Big Data requiring real-time analysis is flooding legacy IT systems and giving way to cloud environments that can handle the unpredictable workloads. Yet many barriers remain until we can fully realize the opportunities and benefits from the convergence of machines and devices with Big Data and the cloud, including interoperability, data security and privacy.
Dec. 11, 2014 06:00 PM EST Reads: 1,438
Performance is the intersection of power, agility, control, and choice. If you value performance, and more specifically consistent performance, you need to look beyond simple virtualized compute. Many factors need to be considered to create a truly performant environment. In his General Session at 15th Cloud Expo, Harold Hannon, Sr. Software Architect at SoftLayer, discussed how to take advantage of a multitude of compute options and platform features to make cloud the cornerstone of your online presence.
Dec. 11, 2014 03:15 PM EST Reads: 1,910