The New Insider Threat

It’s not a new threat really. People inside an organization can always be a threat. It’s just that many people, some of them prominent security professionals, have been downplaying the insider threat lately in order to hype other emerging threats. I’m of the opinion that we’ll see insider threats rise through the year and probably into next. As the economy worsens, people who are becoming financially stressed may turn to corporate crime, or may retaliate for being laid off.

Prime example, news this week of a former Fannie Mae contractor leaving a malicious script designed to wipe out thousands of computers after he was fired for…a scripting error he made earlier in the month. Luckily they stumbled upon the script before it was set to execute. They might not have been so lucky though. Bruce Schneier has some good tips about reducing the threat trusted individuals can pose.

In the end, you can take several measures to reduce your insider risk but you can never eliminate it entirely. At the end of the day the weakest link always comes down to people. People are sometimes dishonest, it’s simply a fact of life. Luckily for the rest of us, they seem to be a pretty small minority.

Nmap Network Scanning Review

Nmap Network Scanning by Fyodor
Title: The long winded title for this book is Nmap Network Scanning: The Official Nmap Project Guide to Network Discovery and Security Scanning, but I’ll just be calling it NNS.
Author: Gordon “Fyodor” Lyon
Rating: *****
Bottom Line: The definitive nmap book, for all your network scanning needs.

From the moment you start to read NNS, it is engaging and informative. The wealth of information contained in this book will have even hardcore nmap experts learning a thing or two about the preeminent network scanner. Of course, I expected nothing less from NNS because the author is nmap’s chief architect and programmer, Fyodor. Inside you’ll find his 11 years of network scanning experience distilled down into the ultimate nmap guide.

The material is presented in an engaging way, and wherever possible examples are given where the techniques described are applied in real world scenarios. The book is also littered with command line and output examples as well as diagrams. These items in addition to the text allow one to enjoy and learn from the book without having to sit in front of a command line and try every single command yourself. That said, it took me a bit of time to get through the book because I kept stopping to play with new options I’d learned. 🙂

From introductory network scanning (What’s a stealth SYN scan?), to scan optimization (Why is it taking so long?!), to advanced techniques (Learn how to write your own nmap plug ins!), NNS covers the gamut. Anyone who does even occasional network scanning with nmap (And you are scanning your network on a regular basis aren’t you?) owes it to themselves to pick this one up.

Bookmark Backup?

Are you backing up your bookmarks? Oh, you don’t store local bookmarks? You use a social bookmarking website you say? Well I hope you weren’t using Ma.gnolia. They announced on Friday morning that they’ve experienced a catastrophic data loss. Wired is reporting Ma.gnoalia has lost both their production database and backups of user data. Bye bye bookmarks!

So my question to you is, do you have backups? Ma.gnolia didn’t. If they did have backups, my guess is they failed step 5 on the path to the tao of backup. While I have both local and off site backups (that yes, I test on a frequent basis…it’s all about restores!), I had overlooked my bookmarks. Luckily, they are safe and sound on I might not be so lucky next time though. If you’re a user as well, I suggest you export a copy for safe keeping. Then take a moment to think about what else you have stored, and stored solely, in the cloud. Make sure you add those things to your backup procedures.