Monthly Archives: February 2012

Davos discovers cyber attacks

Cyber attacks made the Davos Top 5 Global Risks in Terms of Likelihood. Davos, the annual conclave of the hyper-rich and famously elected, has also discovered Severe income disparity and Water supply crisis, so maybe they’re becoming more realistic.

However, in Figure 17 on page 25 they’ve got Cyber attacks as an origin risk, along with Massive incident of data fraud or theft and Massive digital misinformation. I think they’re missing the point, which is the real origin risk is poor infosec, and the origin of that is vendors like MSFT knowingly shipping systems with design flaws and people and organizations running them while hiding such problems.

Interesting comment on page 26: Continue reading

Is January’s medical spam caused by botnets?

Remember those three spamming medical organizations PSBL saw and the spike from CSHS that found in CBL data? Digging into the underlying data, and graphing them all on the same chart, we see this:

Even though the three three-digit-spamming medicos spam oddly coherently, we don’t find any botnets for them. This may be because most of that spam was seen by PSBL, and our botnet assignments come from CBL. CBL didn’t see any spam from those ASNs, so it didn’t have anything to assign for botnets. Maybe they’re infested by the same botnet; maybe not; can’t tell.

But it was CBL that saw that big spam spike for AS 22328 CSHS. And CBL did assign a botnet to that: Lethic. For all but two days of CSHS spam shown, CBL assigned Lethic to the total amount of spam from CSHS for that day. That may be because all that CSHS spam is coming from a single computer.

Of course, CBL’s botnet assignments are not perfect, but infosec professionals tell me CBL is about as good as it gets for that, so there’s a good chance this botnet assignment is correct.

The good news is that all of the trio of three-digit spamming medicos decreased their spam and even went to zero during the period shown.

And CSHS spam peaked at the end of January and started back down in February.

Pretty soon there may be once again little or no spam from medical organizations to rank.


CSHS is back in January 2012

In, January PSBL data reveals three three-digit U.S. medical spamming organizations, plus CSHS, and CBL data confirms a big spam spike from CSHS.

The three with more than 100 spam messages for the month were

each accounting for about a third of the total spam volume seen from medical organizations by CBL in January 2012.

Cedars-Sinai Health Systems‘ AS 22328 CSHS came in only seventh in PSBL data, with only 10 spam messages. But in CBL data, CSHS came in first, with 2,873 messages. That’s not a lot, compared to, for example, Comcast, which CBL saw spamming more than two million messages during the same month. But what patients would prefer to see from medical organizations is zero spam messages, since spam is a sneeze for infosec disease, and who wants to think their hospital’s information security or radiology computers might be infected?

Chances are CSHS will notice and clean it up pretty quick. Those other three medical orgs may have some sort of more chronic problem….


SEC moving towards breach disclosure requirement?

The 13 October 2011 SEC guidance, CF Disclosure Guidance: Topic No. 2: Cybersecurity, leaves most of the decision of what sort of breaches are significant enough to disclose up to the affected organizations. But look at this:

During and After a Cyber Incident

Registrants may seek to mitigate damages from a cyber incident by providing customers with incentives to maintain the business relationship.
Hm, incentives like showing an improved reputational risk ranking?

Perhaps in order to prevent this sort of thing?

Cyber incidents may also result in diminished future cash flows, thereby requiring consideration of impairment of certain assets including goodwill, customer-related intangible assets, trademarks, patents, capitalized software or other long-lived assets associated with hardware or software, and inventory.
The SEC is still missing at least one connection between dots:

Prior to a Cyber Incident

Registrants may incur substantial costs to prevent cyber incidents. Accounting for the capitalization of these costs is addressed by Accounting Standards Codification (ASC) 350-40, Internal-Use Software, to the extent that such costs are related to internal use software.
Sure, infosec costs money. But if infosec actually prevents loss of customer goodwill, infosec could attract and retain customers, so infosec could be a source of profit. If anybody knows about it, that is.