[CyberSecurity Awareness Series] When George Got Whaled

The button clicked. An exact amount of 9,99,000 $ was transferred immediately to an offshore untraceable account. This triggered an alert on the bank’s server. The response team quickly swung into action. Suddenly multiple alerts came rushing in like a raging torrent. Multiple transactions of 9,99,000 $ started popping up on the screen. The response team immediately knew it was under attack and triggered the alarm bell, but by then it was rather too late.   3 Hours Earlier It was a quiet afternoon and George was enjoying his cup of coffee. Looking outside his glass window, the view from the 22nd floor was amazing. The bank was doing well and the record quarterly profit cemented his position and power as the top man for the bank. George’s phone chimed. He quickly looked at it and smiled. The smile was palpable. The picture message sent made George bring back the memories of last night. His smile continued and he logged on to his laptop. Due to the regulatory compliance

Understanding Security Modes - Dedicated , System high, Compartmented , Multilevel

Imagine a system that processes information. This information is classified in nature. When we say, its classified, it means that the information has been labeled according to the data classification scheme finalized by the organization. This scheme can be company specific, such as public, internal and confidential or military/government specific such as Confidential, Top Secret, Secret, Public. As a general user or a security professional, you would want that proper controls to be implemented and the system to be secure that processes such information. Imagine a scenario where such a malicious user tries to access this information. What clearance must this person have? Will he/she have access to all classified levels? Hey!!, stop imagining. Let’s discuss something else now. Hold on, I know, I had asked you to imagine the scenario above. But answers to all your questions would follow, so keep on reading further. We need to learn and understand a few terms before we are ready

SSCP 2018 Exam Changes

With effect from 1st November 2018, (ISC)2 would be doing a domain refresh in the course content of SSCP certification. This is in line with a refresh cycle of 3 years for every certification which (ISC)2 offers. In this post, we look at changes which will take place in this refresh. We will look at it from a perspective of what will remain the same for an exam giver and what would change. Question 1. Have the domains changed completely? No, the weight of the domains has changed. There are minor changes. So if “Security Operations & Administration” had a weight of 17% in the earlier exam (2015), it has been reduced to 15% in the new exam outline. Question 2. Would the changes affect my already bought course material? No, the course content broadly remains the same. The course content does not change. Your old books or exam material will remain fully valid.  Question 3. Is there a change in the exam format too just like CISSP? Absolutely No. The f

Single Sign On & Kerberos

Imagine Susie wants to log on to a company database, her own system, a web server, her webmail and other multitudes of applications. Since she needs to access so many resources, it is extremely important to have a set of credentials for accessing each of this resource. This means Susie must remember an approximate dozen passwords in order to access these resources. Susie finds a solution to this problem. She writes down every single username and password to access them. Clearly, Susie is not alone in doing so. You may also be doing the same. Clearly, from an information security point of view, this is not a great solution. It may sound that different ids and passwords would provide more security, it ultimately ends up in more work for the administrator since there are more requests of password reset or greater chances of a breach if that notebook gets in the wrong hands. So what needs to be done? Well, as usual, the intelligent minds gathered together and found a solution

Copyright, Trademark, Patent, or License? Understanding the Differences

Copyrights, trademarks, patents, and licenses are each a different form of intellectual property (IP) rights protection recognized by U.S. law. The distinctions among them can be subtle and often the same product or service may involve more than one of these IP rights. How can you tell them apart when deciding how to  protect your company’s assets ? Here’s how. Copyrights Copyright  protects the rights of “authors” in their original creative works. Copyrightable works include artistic creations, like novels, paintings, films, and songs, but also business-related works like software code, website designs, architectural drawings, marketing reports, and product manuals. The author of a copyrighted work has the exclusive right to: Reproduce (print or copy), publish, perform, display, film and/or record the creative content. Create derivative works from the original work (for example, updates, revisions, summaries, translations, and adaptations). Copyright protection

Access Control Models - DAC, MAC, RBAC , Rule Based & ABAC

Identity and Access Management is an extremely vital part of information security. An access control model is a framework which helps to manage the identity and the access management in the organization. There are 5 main types of access control models: discretionary, rule-based, role-based, attribute-based and mandatory access control model. Every model uses different methods to control how subjects access objects. While one may focus on rules, the other focus on roles of the subject. As a security professional, we must know all about these different access control models. While one company may choose to implement one of these models depending on their culture, there is no rule book which says that you cannot implement multiple models in your organization. These models are built into the core or the kernel of the different operating systems and possibly their supporting applications. Every operating system has a security kernel that enforces a reference monitor concept, whi

Understanding the GDPR: General Data Protection Regulation

The GDPR–or General Data Protection Regulation–is a regulation passed by the European Union on April 27, 2016, with an effective start date of May 25, 2018. Officially classified as regulation 2016/679, the GDPR expands upon and replaces the Data Protection Directive 95/46/EC of 1995. It serves as the EU’s effort to synchronize and harmonize laws on citizen and resident data privacy throughout its member states. GDPR is based on Privacy by Design/Default, a set of user-centric principles that bequeath a sacred status to user privacy from the get-go rather than as an afterthought. Piggybacking on that is the ability of users to sue organizations under the GDPR who might mishandle personal data. To accomplish this, the GDPR mandates new user-oriented information-handling processes to which EU companies will soon find themselves beholden, not to mention subject to significant penalties in the event of a violation. The complete text of the GDPR legislation clocks in at 88 page

Launch of Systems Security Certified Practitioner Practice Questions

Dear Readers, I'm happy to announce that my first course is live now on Udemy. There are 200+ practice questions for the Systems Security Certified Practitioner certification offered by (ISC)2 which are now available for you to practice. These questions have been created to capture the actual difficulty of the real exam. All the domains of the SSCP certification have been covered. The course is divided into 6 practice tests. The first 4 tests are focussed on domain-specific questions while the 5th test is focussed on mixed questions. Part 6 is a bonus bonanza for the exam takers where again certain specific questions have been asked. Here is the link to the exam: More questions will be added soon in the exam. Check out this blog (sidebar) for discounted coupon codes for the exam. CISSP practice tests are also on their way on Udemy. Happy Learning.

Access Control and Mark Up Languages

Just like humans use language to talk to each other, we use languages to talk to computers as well. From an identity management and access control purposes, we are going to learn about some specific languages, but before that, it is important to understand the basics. Today, if you visit a website, you see different kinds of animations, text floating around, advertisements which are interactive, customs views etc. How does this happen? This happens through markup languages and of course some background coding. What is a markup language then?  A markup language is a way to structure text and data sets, and it dictates how these will be viewed and used. When you adjust margins and other formatting capabilities in a word processor, you are marking up the text in the word processor’s markup language. If you develop a web page, you are using some type of markup language. One such language which you would have heard about is the HTML (Hypertext Markup language). HTML came fro

[Sponsored ]Key Features to Look for in a Salesforce Cisco Integration

Investing in a robust CRM like Salesforce is one of the best decisions a business can make. These days where customer experience drives business success, leverage technology like Salesforce indicates a commitment to delivering great service and contributing meaningfully to the success of your customers. Salesforce has allowed companies to build tech stacks that truly work for their teams. For client-facing teams, a reliable CTI like Salesforce-Cisco integration is indispensable. Computer Telephony Integration or CTI allows teams to connect CRMs like Salesforce to their phone systems. Today, millions of users rely on Salesforce and Cisco, as these solutions are both reliable and time-tested. Integrating the two allows teams to get the most out of each one. Contact centers, helpdesks, sales floors, and customer service reps benefit from CTI solutions directly through features that they use in their daily workflows. When searching for a Salesforce Cisco integration provider, mak