By Alyssa Miller, Hacker, Researcher, and Lawyer
Recently, more and more corporate executives and security executives believe that security should “drive business.” This trend indicates improvements in the area of safety, management awareness of the true role of safety and its value to the organization. However, many executives fail to understand how safety can drive business growth. They find it difficult to articulate what exactly in security contributes to the success of the business. This problem arises because we still view security as separate from business, and we should view security as a business function.
When it comes to business support functions such as finance teams, recruiting teams, accounts payable / receivable teams, we can clearly understand what direct impact each of them has (or should at least have) on achieving business success. In most cases, we can articulate how these business functions relate to generating income and increasing bottom line. However, in the case of security, it is rather difficult for us to do the same. Security is often viewed as a technology function that is steps away from the core business and has no ability to directly impact the business. How can we abandon the traditional view of security?
Moving beyond traditional thinking
Traditionally, security specialists, proving their value to the company, immediately talked about risk reduction. Security teams focus on the theoretical (albeit possibly inevitable) consequences of breaches, attacks, etc., and then try to justify how information security initiatives and processes mitigate this risk. Then attempts are made to quantify, talking about reducing the costs associated with reducing the number of threats that are implemented. This approach is problematic because for those in business, these discussions have no context. The concept is rather shaky, and such a quantification will be very difficult to defend in front of attentive leaders. As a result, the cybersecurity team will not be able to gain solid support from senior management colleagues (yes, I called them colleagues, as they should be, but this is a topic for another article).
A relatively short tenure as head of security strategy in the CRA (Credit Ratings Agency) division of the organization taught me the need to link all information security processes to business viability, income and bottom line. I have also talked for many years about the security needs for growing a business. When working on the value at risk (VaR), I proceeded from the perspective of justifying the cost of security. In this way, I motivated the leaders to spend money on the necessary tools and processes. While working for a cloud security company, I noticed how security can foster a popular DevSecOps culture. Now, working for a Fortune 500 global financial services company, I feel like I can finally combine my 16 years of cybersecurity experience and choose the right strategy.
Think like a lender
Imagine that you are the CIO trying to demonstrate to a potential lender how a cybersecurity program can positively impact your organisation’s creditworthiness. To many in the security industry, this task seems impossible or even ludicrous. By taking on this task, we will most likely come back to reducing costs by reducing risks. How many lenders are interested in a similar storyline? Very few, I assure you. So ask yourself, how can we get ahead?
When a lender looks at your organization, he wants to know how likely you are to pay off your debts. Of course, avoiding unexpected and unplanned security costs plays a role, but in the general scheme, such incidents have very little impact. Instead, we need to show the big picture of the impact of our security program. Lenders want to know where you are going in terms of growth, investment, innovation, market placement. Where you are today is actually less relevant, and where you were before hardly matters at all. Historical performance is only used to predict how your organization will act in light of future challenges. Therefore, to convincingly demonstrate the broad picture of the impact of our cybersecurity programs, you should turn to these promising concepts.
In search of the holy grail
In fact, this is the “holy grail” of business support, which has been talked about so much lately. To take advantage of this, security leaders need to change their prioritization metrics. Attention should be paid to the less traditional priorities that determine the direction of movement of the organization:
Product Flexibility — How the security program creates the ability to bring products and enhancements to market faster. Troubleshooting is important, of course, but do you really define the frequency of deployments, the reduction of work-in-progress, and the key performance indicators (KPIs) of the product / service? If not, then you have absolutely no idea what “shared responsibility” means (a core customer of the DevSecOps culture).
Innovation – Consider your standards and policies, are they designed to provide security and flexibility to allow for exceptions? Are they really encouraging your business to look for new ways to achieve the same security goal? The first statement is difficult enough for many security programs. The latter is the main goal to strive for, but very few information security teams have it in mind. A few years ago, Netflix introduced the “paved road” idea. Turning the safe path into an easy path to deployment encourages safe practices. But what about introducing a higher level of responsibility? Is encouraging a line of business to achieve an acceptable level of security really best aligned with business goals?
Business Viability – There are many fast-ending bad stories. One of them is the example of the Heck Alphabet empire. Even if we are counting on the short life span of a business, failure can be costly. Have you ever wondered how a security program can provide greater market viability for your organization’s products and services? Security professionals often take reputational risks into account, but can also address other risks to business viability. Security programs should help the company improve customer engagement. Is it possible to fix problems in the customer onboarding process? Can existing security expertise be leveraged to better support customer initiatives? Our cybersecurity programs also need to consider how we can maintain brand consistency. Everyone would like to work in a business where safety is a trusted component of the brand. These key priorities should guide the way the company’s safety program evolves.
Profitability – Of course, you will immediately think that this point is obvious. By reducing the cost of an information security program, the company will become more profitable. However, will reducing the information security budget really help to increase the company’s net profit? Instead, make it a priority to increase profitability across the business, and be sure to track and demonstrate that priority. Linking security initiatives and reducing hard dollar costs across business lines will provide you with support not only from senior management, but also from the lines of business themselves. Look for a match between the capabilities of the tool and the requirements of the business. What’s more, create security processes and designs that eliminate the need for extensive business processes.
Security leaders need to start thinking differently. We cannot continue to isolate ourselves from the business and then preach how we are going to help the business grow. Security can no longer be required to be everyone’s responsibility, while giving up responsibility for improving development efficiency, strengthening business practices, and strategic marketing goals. Information security teams must also participate in a common cause. By integrating into the company’s business processes, information security teams, instead of the necessary cost center, will become a real business function, using their capabilities for the benefit of the organization.
Vulnerability found in the Apple M1 processor that cannot be closed programmatically
Specialists from the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology said that they were able to develop a PACMAN attack technique, which is possible due to a hardware vulnerability in the Apple M1 processor. Moreover, it cannot be closed by software.
The attack itself is carried out using software and hardware, and it can be performed remotely. The PACMAN attack makes it possible to gain access to the kernel of the operating system. At the same time, potentially the same vulnerabilities can be in Qualcomm and Samsung processors, but this has not yet been confirmed.
The technical side of the attack is based on the Pointer Authentication function. It is used to check Pointer Authentication Codes (PACs), allowing only code-signed software to run. However, the PACMAN method allows you to select the necessary PAC values. In part, this technique is similar to Specter and Meltdown in Intel processors.
At the same time, Apple spokesman Scott Radcliffe said that the vulnerability does not pose an immediate threat to users and is not sufficient in itself to bypass operating system protections.
A few years ago, a vulnerability was already found in Arm processors that allows an attacker to gain unauthorized access to data.
So much for Unisoc. Companies have discovered a vulnerability in single-chip systems
Unisoc is actively capturing the market for single-chip systems, although it does so exclusively in the budget segment itself. However, it turned out that these platforms have a critical vulnerability.
According to the source, the problem is in the modem’s firmware and affects both 4G and 5G platforms. The vulnerability, numbered CVE-2022-20210, was discovered while scanning Non-Access Stratum (NAS) message handlers. This vulnerability could be used to neutralize or block the device’s cellular capabilities.
The vulnerability was first discovered in the Motorola Moto G20 smartphone based on the Unisoc T700 SoC. But in the end it turned out that the same vulnerability occurs in other platforms, however, the source did not provide a list.
The Check Point specialists who discovered the vulnerability notified Unisoc back in May, and the company has already released a fix, so smartphone owners should not worry now if they update the software of their devices.
New vulnerability in Microsoft Office is heavily exploited by hackers
A serious vulnerability has been found in the Microsoft Office suite that could potentially allow attackers to execute arbitrary code.
She was assigned the number CVE-2022-30190, and among the researchers they gave the name Follina. As noted in Kaspersky Lab, the most unpleasant thing is that there is no fix yet, and in the meantime, the vulnerability is already being actively exploited by attackers. Vulnerability CVE-2022-30190 threatens all operating systems of the Windows family, both regular and server.
While the update is being developed, experts recommend that all Windows users and administrators take advantage of temporary workarounds. As a Microsoft workaround recommends disable the MSDT URL protocol.
The CVE-2022-30190 vulnerability itself is contained in the Microsoft Windows Support Diagnostic Tool (MSDT), but due to the implementation of this tool, a single malicious office document is enough to exploit the vulnerability.
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