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The new mathematics of the value of cybersecurity The new mathematics of the value of cybersecurity


The new mathematics of the value of cybersecurity



Jenaya Marinkovic, who delivers virtual CISO services through Tiro Security and a member of ISACA’s Emerging Trends Working Group for IT Governance, does not appreciate the numbers showing how many attacks her security team has stopped.

Such figures, she said, do not really yield anything.

“The statement that we have blocked a million attacks will tell us nothing. This information is not enough to communicate with other leaders, ”says Marinkovich.

Marinkovic believes that CIOs must find other metrics that other leaders in the enterprise can then use to make decisions.

“These should be numbers that help the business,” she says, adding that CIOs need to calculate how much they affect the business, how much of the money spent on information security will return to the company, and to what extent the state of security will improve. companies.

However, finding ways to find such parameters is not easy and has been a long-standing problem for security chiefs.

Therefore, Marinkovic proposes to calculate the average time to notification of violation and the average time to localization. These operating indicators can be shared with the board of directors.

However, according to her, such indicators do not give a complete picture. They do not indicate the maturity of the security function or how well the security measures are aligned with the strategic objectives. For this purpose, “information security directors will probably give not a quantitative indicator, but a qualitative one,” says Marinkovich.

Looking for something better

Security leaders have differing opinions on how to quantify their success. However, all cybersecurity directors agree that no single metric can fully capture the value of a cybersecurity program. It is emphasized that there is no mathematical equation that could really measure the effectiveness of the information security service.

At the same time, however, security leaders recognize the need for change for the better.

“Some CIOs have nothing – no metrics, no way to quantify – and they recognize that this is a problem. Others have metrics, but they are terrible, so leaders want something better, ”said Jeff Pollard, vice president and chief analyst at research firm Forrester. “They need a way to learn about the effectiveness of their cybersecurity program in order to understand whether they are better than they were.”

According to Pollard, security executives are trying to solve this problem by collecting large amounts of data to turn it into a set of measurements and to gain more information about operational efficiency and to find out where risks remain. Of course, this is not the only target. Nonetheless, these metrics will help CIOs, their peers, and board members assess security controls and plan next steps.

“It’s about creating metrics that drive decisions,” says Pollard. “You should have a set of metrics that the board of directors and other stakeholders can use to make decisions.”

The problem of assigning value

CIOs have had to overcome many challenges in quantifying their efforts.

At first, they had to collect a large amount of information needed to evaluate their programs by manually compiling data from several disparate sources. (This challenge remains relevant today.)

Plus, they try to measure the results of many complex processes and tools using data that doesn’t make sense out of context. For example, business leaders around the world understand that they have revenues of $ 1 million. However, it is very difficult to understand what it means to prevent 1 million hacking attempts. Is it possible to draw a conclusion about a good or bad trend, or anything at all.

Think about financial statements. Data is taken from different sources, aggregated, and the result is understandable information. However, there is not a single statement to submit to the board of directors regarding cybersecurity and cyber risks; There is no single system of risk assessment that can combine them into a view that everyone understands, ”said John Gelinn, director of cyber risk at Deloitte Advisory.

Gelinn added: “This is a challenge. How do you collect and collate this information so that it is understandable for everyone. ”

Even if it did, CIOs traditionally struggle with attributing value to non-events. “The metric, ‘nothing bad happened’ is not applicable for the board of directors. It will be difficult to justify the claim “give more money to make sure nothing bad happens,” adds Tim Rawlins, senior advisor and chief security officer for the NCC Group, who focuses on risk management, resilience, and strategic advice to the company’s board of directors.

However, these trends are changing.

“CIOs come up with metrics linked to numbers to show how information security policy has made the company safer, saved from more harm or risk, saved [организацию] from the need to explain to customers and customers that there was a data breach, ”Rawlins said. “Despite the challenges, top CIOs look at ‘cybersecurity as a science’ and find methods and metrics with repeatable and repeatable assessments to show trends and benchmark analyzes.”

Focus on making decisions

Developing the right mix of metrics is important for several reasons, as is the case with all business metrics. This approach will give CIOs and other employees an assessment of the effectiveness of the information security policy and an idea of ​​whether improvements are taking place. And even more importantly, it will enable managers to make timely and correct decisions.

As Pollard explains, you should only use metrics that drive decisions.

“We always look at information and make decisions, so security leaders need the right metrics,” he adds. “If your indicators do not allow you to do this, then they do not make sense. So, you need to create metrics that enable you to make decisions. ”

Borrowing the principles of conventional business metrics, Pollard says that metrics can be lagging indicators, coincident indicators, or leading indicators.

As Pollard notes, in fact, some cybersecurity directors use lagging indicators as indicators, while others use leading indicators. This situation is normal when it comes to different organizations.

For example, indicators of risks of insider threats. Some CIOs use churn and retention as a leading indicator of insider risk. As departing employees often try to take company information with them, despite policies that prohibit such activities. However, tracking insider threat risks can be a lagging indicator if cybersecurity executives restrict employee access as part of an ongoing security initiative.

In any case, Pollard argues, such a metric can help CIOs decide what action to take, such as re-categorizing roles and reducing permissions to restrict access to sensitive data, or adding User Behavior Analysis (UBA) software.

In addition, according to Pollard, cybersecurity directors must develop a set of metrics that they will share with the executive and the board of directors, as well as another set of operational / tactical metrics that the security team will use within the company.

Development of cost indicators

According to Gelinne, CIOs who work with other leaders in the enterprise need to identify the assets and likely risks of the organization (a job that many have probably already done). However, the costs associated with security events should then be determined.

Deloitte speaks of these as “surface” (and therefore better known) incident costs and “underwater” (or hidden or less visible) costs.

Deloitte’s 2020 report “ Beneath the Surface of Cyberattacks: A Deeper Look at the Business Impact “ lists the costs associated with technical investigations, notices of wrongdoing by citizens or clients, and attorney fees as some over-the-top costs. Increased insurance premiums, increased debt-raising costs, brand devaluation and loss of intellectual property were reported as less visible costs.

“By quantifying the impact of an incident, you can understand the value of the controls you have and where you need to focus and invest. You can determine which controls you should invest in and then extrapolate the returns. This is the economic side of the quantification work, ”says Gelinne.

“Consider the value of this approach to companies planning a merger or acquisition,” he says. The CIO can act as a full partner in the company’s strategy, applying metrics to proposed M&A activities and providing insights into what risks the transaction poses to the company and how much it will cost to mitigate those risks. Such security metrics can be used for information, as well as influence negotiations and the transaction as a whole.

Gelinn adds: “It’s important to understand where to invest, where it matters most. This is the greatest value we see in quantifying risk because it is based on real protected metrics, and even in the absence of data, it can be done [разумные] assumptions.

Adapting solutions based on data

Because metrics must be tailored to the individual needs of an enterprise, CIOs must consider what to measure, what data will be needed for calculations, and how they will use the information to make decisions.

Such metrics need to be transparent and therefore understandable to all stakeholders, Gelinn notes.

CIOs also need to understand the needs of the organization, he said: the board wants to understand if the company is investing in the right security to protect the organization, the CFO is concerned if there is adequate insurance against cyberspace risks, and the chief risk officer wants to see risk mitigation from the passage of time.

Several cybersecurity leaders are successfully developing metrics for areas such as ransomware risk reduction and operational resiliency, drawing on the NIST framework to determine what data to collect and use for calculations, and how these numbers can show improvements in information security ( or worsening, if so) over time, the expert says.

Other security leaders also use the NIST or MITER frameworks as a way to measure maturity and set goals, aiming for more maturity; also, these estimates are used for comparison with others.

“We find these assessments to be very effective because they provide information security directors with a foundation and a roadmap in the right direction,” said Dave Cronin, vice president and head of cyber strategy at Capgemini Americas. “This approach proves that your controls are working and shows effectiveness for the board.”

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Vulnerability found in the Apple M1 processor that cannot be closed programmatically



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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.

Vulnerability found in the Apple M1 processor that cannot be closed programmatically

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.

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So much for Unisoc. Companies have discovered a vulnerability in single-chip systems



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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.

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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.

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New vulnerability in Microsoft Office is heavily exploited by hackers



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A serious vulnerability has been found in the Microsoft Office suite that could potentially allow attackers to execute arbitrary code.

New vulnerability in Microsoft Office is heavily exploited by hackers

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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