Learning from the breaches that happens to others Part 2

Published: 2014-01-23
Last Updated: 2014-01-23 12:53:40 UTC
by Chris Mohan (Version: 1)
1 comment(s)
My last Diary piece was on the analysis of multiple similar breaches with a great deal of technical details from an external team brought in to handle the incidents, but it didn't touch on the human elements that are intertwined with each and every breach.
Sometimes reading a technical report is the same as a stunningly obvious mystery book, it takes you two pages to work out they used an open source scanner to find a foothold and exploit it, then later they use the same default password across the entire network and finally you know the bad guy is going to zip up what they stole and send it to a drop point before ever reading the next twenty pages of the report.  When reading this part of me wants to scream "Why did no-one see any of this in the first place or do anything about it?" and "Who let this happen?".
Well to remedy that, I offer you a second breach report: The United States' Department of Energy (DoE) suffer a breach in July 2013 and here's a special report by a different department giving their assessment of the breach and DoE [1]. I take my hat off to the DoE for publishing this report and the very honest assessment of how they failed, and what they needed to do to fix the various issues uncovered.
This isn't a technical read, but so worth the time for any security person to read and understand the chain of events that lead to a breach occuring. The report issued focuses on the human elements in the breach, maps the events to a timeline and who was responsible. For me, this a fascinating glimpse of third party's blunt assessment of what failed, how it failed and why it failed with direct correlation to those that could have prevented or take action on the breach. 
I'm going to leave it up to you to draw any conclusions from the paper as a security person, incident responder or as an IR manager*, but suggest this would be a good paper to summarise and give to whoever is in charge of security to understand the internal human elements that aided the breach.
Why? My suggestion would be to understand the pain points incident response teams can facing being alerted to an incident in a timely manner. 
Again, if you know of any other papers you believe IR teams should have to read on the details of a breach , add them in the comments or send them in to us [2]
[1] http://energy.gov/sites/prod/files/2013/12/f5/IG-0900.pdf
* Shameless plug for a great SANS class for incident response managers https://www.sans.org/course/incident-response-team-management
[2] https://isc.sans.edu/contact.html#contact-form


Chris Mohan --- Internet Storm Center Handler on Duty

1 comment(s)
ISC StormCast for Thursday, January 23rd 2014 http://isc.sans.edu/podcastdetail.html?id=3797


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