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August 2014 Archives

6 Ways Young Upstarts Can Get Their Big Security Break

Interviewing Akamai InfoSec's summer interns recently, I was reminded of a six-step guide I wrote a few years ago for CSOonline on how young people can get their break in the industry. I think the suggestions are as valid today as they were then.

Also see:

What a Broken Arm Teaches Us About Incident Response

I originally wrote this for CSOonline's Salted Hash blog in 2011. But given all my focus on incident management of late, a re-share seems appropriate.

You might find it weird that I'd find a teachable infosec moment in my son breaking his arm. But he did do it at a security meet-up, after all.

Earlier this week, we published a new white paper titled, "Weighing Risk Against the Total Cost of a Data Breach," on Akamai.com. Ordinarily, a white paper wouldn't be a particularly interesting subject for a blog post, but this one explores a topic that has generated a lot of questions from our customers - how do I financially justify a Web application firewall solution to my management?

Is Your Web Security in the Dark Ages?

The data center perimeter is dead - web assets cannot be protected by a fortress wall - but a historical view of web protection lives on in the way many IT departments continue to defend their infrastructures. Websites and web applications increasingly live outside the data center. Cloud-based applications and websites are at constant risk from web threats that are becoming more damaging and sophisticated by the day.

Many charitable organizations have been established over time and people have found innovative ways to give back to each charity. However, none of these efforts have come close to the magnitude with which the #IceBucketChallenge has spread awareness across different social mediums. This challenge has raised millions of dollars since its inception. Touched by the world's efforts to spread awareness and help raise charitable contributions to benefit Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS),we at Akamai Customer Care - East, decided to do our part. We took the Ice Bucket Challenge and we now nominate the Global Akamai teams for Customer Care and Professional Services, as well as our valued Customers to get involved! Our motive behind extending the challenge to these teams, as opposed to individuals, was to reach out to a larger audience.


 Learn more about the challenge and donate: http://www.alsa.org/fight-als/ice-bucket-challenge.html ‪#‎StrikeOutALS

Securing Cloud-based Media Workflows

You can call the trend whatever you'd like, but content preparation workflows are all moving in the same direction--toward the cloud. In the follow-up e-book on The Rise of the Software-Empowered Video Operator, we explore this push and how it's impacting our industry. The benefits for moving towards a cloud-based workflow can almost seem unlimited, but a couple of key ones always float to the top.

Meet Akamai InfoSec's 4th Intern

Last week I recorded a podcast interview with three of Akamai InfoSec's four summer interns. Due to a schedule conflict, the fourth intern -- Boston University Computer Science major Allan Wirth -- was interviewed separately.

Wirth will be a senior this fall and hopes to embark on a career in web security. The work he did for Akamai will serve him well to that end. Under the supervision of InfoSec's Kathryn Kun and Tim April, he studied Akamai BGP data.      

"I worked on aggregating BGP data in real time to identify routing hijacks," Wirth said. "I've never handled this breadth of data before, so it was an eye opener."

Wirth's passion for information security goes back to high school. By the time he started his Akamai internship, he had already participated in Capture-The-Flag contests and dabbled in penetration testing.

"I'm hoping to engage in some more advanced cryptography after graduation," he said. "Security is what I want to do."

We wish Allan the very best in his future endeavors. I doubt we've seen the last of him around here.

Public Compliance Docs: The List So Far (Updated)

As previously noted, Akamai InfoSec has been working to make its most sought after compliance documents publicly available. The goal is to make it easier for customers to access the answers they regularly seek, and also to show potential new customers how we operate. 

We're building the foundation in the form of a compliance page on the Akamai Security microsite, and hope to publish up to two fresh public docs a month. What follows is a list of what we've done so far.

Microsoft's Patch Tuesday Release for August 2014

Microsoft released its August 2014 Security Update Tuesday. The company's OneNote note-taking software, Internet Explorer browser, Server software, and .NET Framework were most affected this time.

Akamai Security Podcast: Meet the InfoSec Interns

In the latest episode of the Akamai Security Podcast, I interview three interns -- Yuan Jiang, Chae Won Lee and Tom Boning. They spent the summer working with our InfoSec team. They talk about their projects and where they hope to go from here.

  • Listen to the full episode HERE.

Video Presentations from BSidesLV 2014

My friend Adrian Crenshaw of Irongeek.com has pulled off quite a feat -- posting all of BSidesLV's video-recorded presentations. Pretty impressive, since it's barely been a week since the event opened. Go here to watch the full roster of videos. For this post, I want to share the presentation by Akamai's own Patrice Coles, "Third-Party Service Provider Diligence: Why are we doing it all wrong?"


Security Kahuna Podcast: Las Vegas Edition

Akamai Security Storyteller Bill Brenner and Akamai Security Advocates Martin McKeay and Dave Lewis report from Las Vegas during Black Hat, BSidesLV and DEF CON. They are joined by special guests Steve Ragan and Gillis Jones.

They touch on antivirus pioneer John McAfee's appearances at BSidesLV and DEF CON, security luminary Dan Geer's Black Hat keynote, and try to answer the age-old question: Why go to these events?

About our guests:

Steve Ragan is a reporter for CSOonline and CSO MagazineGillis Jones is a security consultant at Accuvant.

  • Listen to the full episode HERE.

OpenSSL Vulnerabilities

On Wednesday, 2014-08-06, the OpenSSL Project disclosed nine low- and moderate-severity vulnerabilities, with details published here.

These are vulnerabilities that can potentially impact OpenSSL clients and servers worldwide.

We currently believe our services are not impacted by CVE-2014-3508, CVE-2014-3509, CVE-2014-3505, CVE-2014-3506, CVE-2014-3507, CVE-2014-3510, and CVE-2014-3512.

We are in the process of rolling out a fix to address vulnerabilities CVE-2014-3511 and CVE-2014-5139 for each of our relevant services.

Akamai is investigating the vulnerabilities further, and will provide additional communication if needed.

Some of the vulnerabilities, as outlined in the advisory, include:

  • An information leak in pretty printing functions 
  • A crash condition with SRP ciphersuite in Server Hello message 
  • A race condition in ssl_parse_serverhello_tlsext 
  • Double Free when processing DTLS packets 
  • A DTLS memory exhaustion condition 
  • DTLS memory leak from zero-length fragments 
  • An OpenSSL DTLS anonymous EC(DH) denial of service 
  • An OpenSSL TLS protocol downgrade attack
  • A SRP buffer overrun

Can the Bitcoin World Adapt to the Regulatory World?

In July the New York Department of Financial Services (DFS) proposed comprehensive regulations for virtual currencies including Bitcoin.  Under this 40 page proposal, DFS would issue BitLicenses to companies that meet certain criteria.   Although BitLicenses would not be required for most merchants or consumers, for most others, a BitLicense will be required for any virtual currency business activity. 

How will these regulations impact the Bitcoin industry, and can the industry adapt to these new requirements?

Let's take a look at the major elements of the regulation.

BSidesLV and DEF CON: Security Bookshelf

I was browsing the tables this morning at BSidesLV and came across some books published by No Starch Press, which will also have books on display at DEF CON this weekend. 

Not Your Older Brother's Black Hat

Walking around Black Hat USA 2014 today, I'm struck by how much things have changed. 

For many years, the event was held in the Caesars Palace conference center. The corridors were crammed with people between talks, and the extent of the exhibit area were tables lining one wall. Now it's at Mandalay Bay, which has a lot more space. But that's not the crazy part.

The crazy part is the exhibit hall. 

That there's an entire exhibit hall is alien to the Black Hats of old to begin with. To be fair, the conference has been using a full exhibit hall for a few years now. But the so-called Business Hall this year is massive. I walked in and the first thing that came to me was that I was at the RSA Conference. Half a dozen people made the same observation.

Not that it's a negative change. 

It simply is what it is -- a progression Black Hat has followed for the last decade.

This is now truly a business event rather than a hacking-research event.


News Sources for Black Hat, BSidesLV and DEF CON

It used to be that I went to conferences to report news. 

Now, as a member of Akamai's InfoSec department, my role is different. I still write about a lot of topics, especially those pertaining to Akamai's security procedures and beliefs. But for the most part, now I'm on the other side, looking for good news sources to keep track of what's happening.

Fortunately, I didn't have to look far...

One source is Dark Reading, which has a special page devoted to the conference, including radio broadcasts, blog posts and raw news stories.

There's also my former employer, CSOonline, which is already full of great coverage. Pay special attention to Steve Ragan's Salted Hash blog.

Threatpost.com is a good resource for articles on the talks as they happen. One particularly interesting item is Dennis Fisher's article about innovation in the wake of the Snowden leaks.

Paul Roberts' Security Ledger is another great resource, particularly this article on security luminary and Black Hat keynote speaker Dan Geer.

I'll update this post as I come across more.

This is a follow up post to my recent article entitled "Let's watch the game first and attack later."  We received a lot of interest in learning how Akamai's Professional Services could help support a major global online event like the World Cup, and details around the attack trends that we observed during the World Cup.


In general, a successful readiness and support approach can be divided into three stages:

      Event Preparation

      Event Execution

      Post Event Wrap-up

Akamai at Black Hat USA 2014

A platoon of Akamites -- myself included -- will descend on Las Vegas this week for Black Hat USA 2014 as well as BSidesLV and DEF CON. We'll be there to network, tell Akamai's security story and learn from those of you who will be giving talks.

At Black Hat, you can find us in the Business Hall at Booth 858. Come say hi and collect some free items, including scan-blocking card holders, stickers and t-shirts.

Safe travels!

Wednesday, August 6: 10:00 - 19:00
Thursday, August 7: 10:00 - 17:00

Security in the News, Aug. 4

A look at security stories in the news that are relevant to Akamai customers and beyond.

Android vulnerability still a threat to many devices nearly two years later (CSOonline)
Many apps that use the Android addJavascriptInterface API are still vulnerable to JavaScript code injection, researchers from Bromium said.

Microsoft ordered to turn over customer data stored in the cloud (Computerworld)
Federal court says warrant for info stored in Ireland is not an extra-territorial application of U.S law; decision has privacy implications.

The World's Most Hackable Cars (Dark Reading)
Researchers find 2014 models of Dodge Viper, Audi A8, Honda Accord are the least likely to be hit by hackers.

U.S. government warns of point-of-sale malware campaign (SearchSecurity)
The U.S. government has divulged details on the 'Backoff' point-of-sale malware campaign, which purportedly targets remote access software for entry.

Sandwich Chain Jimmy John's Investigating Breach Claims (KrebsonSecurity)
Sources at a growing number of financial institutions in the United States say they are tracking a pattern of fraud that indicates nationwide sandwich chain Jimmy John's may be the latest retailer dealing with a breach involving customer credit card data. The company says it is working with authorities on an investigation.