Home > Articles > Security > General Security and Privacy

  • Print
  • + Share This
This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

Incident Response

The ability to respond to a security threat or incident is becoming increasingly more important in today's world. The efficiency with which an organization responds to a given threat can make the difference between a thwarted attack, and tomorrow morning's headline story. Unfortunately, organizations often don't realize this fact until it's too late. However, this shortcoming can be avoided with a pro-active incident response model. Hammering out incident response (IR) policies and procedures beforehand will not only save embarrassment, but time and money as well.

Although today's information security challenges call for a defined IR strategy, the real-world need for incident response pre-dates computers by more then a century. Before taking a look at this need, let's take a brief look at the history and certification of one of the oldest security devices—the safe.

"Tan," a member of the hacker think-tank L0pht, published a paper in the late '90s on the need for a Cyber Underwriters Laboratory. He drew some interesting comparisons between the origins of the UL rating system for safes and the current challenges in the field of security certification. He begins the paper by providing a brief history of the Underwriters Laboratory:

Underwriters Laboratories was founded in 1894 by an electrical inspector from Boston, William Henry Merrill. In 1893, Chicago authorities grew concerned over the public safety due to the proliferation of untamed DC circuits and the new, even more dangerous technology of AC circuits. These new and little-understood technologies threatened our society with frequent fires, which caused critics to question whether the technology could ever be harnessed safely. Merrill was called in and set up a one-room laboratory with $350.00 in electrical test equipment and published his first report on March 24, 1894.

Back in Boston, insurance underwriters rejected Merrill's plans for a non-biased testing facility for certification of electrical devices. Chicago, however, embraced the idea. Merrill took advantage of the situation in Chicago to get up and running and within months had support at the national level.

Today, UL has tested more than 12,500 products world-wide and is a internationally recognized authority on safety and technology. The UL mark of approval has come to provide an earned level of trust between customers and manufacturers and safely allowed our society to leverage hundreds of inventions that would have otherwise been unfit for public use.

You can find Tan's paper at http://www.l0pht.com/~tan/ul/CyberUL.html.

Today, the UL labs are famous for testing many products, one of them being industrial-strength safes. Infamous cryptography expert Bruce Schneier has often pointed out that part of the UL rating for safes is based on how long it will take an attacker to break into the unit. For example, a rating of TL-15 signifies 15 minutes with the use of tools (saws, hammers, carbide-tipped drills, and so on), whereas a rating of TRTL-30 signifies 30 minutes with the use of tools (TL) and a torch (TR). Now, in the real world, these times are important because they set some level of expectation regarding how long an organization has to respond to an attack. For example, if you know that the police and your security guards will be able to detect and respond to an intruder in less than 5 minutes, a TL-15 rated safe might be sufficient for your organization. If, however, you will be thwarting skilled attackers and your response ability is closer to 20 minutes, you might be better off with a device touting a rating of TRTL-30.

Now, transferring this over to the world of information security, this method of approaching the problem has its problems. For example, Tan states in his paper:

The first problem is that if a security system is defeated in the physical world, it is typically very obvious to those who come into work on Monday and see that the money is gone and the safe is in pieces. Detection of a cyber intrusion is typically NOT very obvious to those who come into work on Monday. Because of this fact, safe crackers have very limited time to crack a vault. Hackers, on the other hand, have unlimited time to crack a system. Once they get in, safe crackers typically REMOVE items which then become 'missing'. Hackers typically COPY items unless their motives are political rather than financial, leaving the originals and the system intact. For cyber intrusions to become less surreptitious, intrusion detection needs to mature and become more widely deployed if 'time' is to be a meaningful factor in the process.

The author's points are extremely valid. Making matters worse, Tan assumes that you have something watching your systems, and the ability to respond to such cracking attempts if or when you detect them. Most organizations have neither.

If businesses do not have the ability to properly identify and respond to an attack, attackers will always have the upper hand. In order to be effective at thwarting intruders, security officers should

  • Monitor key assets
  • Consider deploying some method of intrusion detection. (See Chapter 12, "Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS).")
  • Possess some type of incident response capability

In addition, at a bare minimum, organizations should look to define

  • Who is responsible for responding to security threats
  • What the escalation procedures are
  • The "call list" for decision making should a business-critical decision need to be made

Again, pro-active measures on the IR front will save organizations both time and money.

Two good primers on incident response:

Allaire's Incident Response Guide: http://www.allaire.com/DocumentCenter/Partners/ASZ_ASWPS_Incident_Response.pdf

The SANS Computer Security Incident Handling Step-by-Step Paper: http://www.sansstore.org/

  • + Share This
  • 🔖 Save To Your Account

InformIT Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from InformIT and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.

Overview


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information


To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.

Surveys

Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites, develop new products and services, conduct educational research and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.

Newsletters

If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information


Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.

Security


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.

Children


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.

Marketing


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information


If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.

Choice/Opt-out


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by InformIT. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.informit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information


Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents


California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure


Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.

Links


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact


Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice


We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020