Odds Are in Quantum Encryption’s Favor

March 22, 2017 | Leave a Comment

By Jane Melia, Vice President of Strategic Business Development , QuintessenceLabs and Co-chair, CSA Quantum-safe Security Working Group

Image credit: Jeff Kubina

No kinds of organizations have tighter security than the average casino. After all, the house always wins, and it wants to keep those winnings. A recent Wired article, however, explains how a team of Russian hackers managed to beat a lot of casinos worldwide. They did so by exploiting inherent flaws in the pseudo-random number generators (PRNG) that are integral parts of randomizing every spin of a slot machine. Even if you don’t care about wealthy casino bosses losing money, you still need to be concerned about the drawbacks to using PRNGs because slots aren’t the only things that are vulnerable. Most of the world’s encryption is also based on pseudo-random numbers.

What’s in a Name?
Before going into detail about how the heists were carried out, let’s talk about PRNGs and why pseudo should be a no-no for slot machines and, more importantly, cybersecurity. As the prefix “pseudo” indicates, the numbers generated are not truly random. PRNGs are programs that start with a base number known as a seed. The seed gets tumbled together with other inputs such as another algorithm and a random-ish physical component such as the timing of the strokes on a user’s keyboard. Both humans and computers are really bad at random so if someone is able to measure the pattern of your keystrokes and/or break one of the algorithms used, they can reverse engineer the other inputs and predict the next numbers in the “random” sequence. Find the pattern, break the code and the jackpot (or encrypted data) is yours.

One- and Two-Armed Bandits
In the case of the Russian casino swindlers, they were given a head start by Vladamir Putin who had gambling outlawed in 2009. This meant a lot of slot machines were available on the cheap. Take apart a few machines, figure out how the PRNGs work and you’re nearly there. Since the inputs for slot machine PRNGs change based on the time of day, the hackers, in this case, had to do more work on-site at the casinos. The leg man would set himself up in front of a machine and video a dozen or more spins using his smartphone. The video would be streamed live to his compatriots in St. Petersburg who would analyze the video and use what they knew about the machine’s innards to predict its pattern. Then they would send a list of timing markers that caused the phone to vibrate a split-second before a winning combination comes up, signaling casino guy to hit the spin button. It didn’t work every time but it was a whole lot more effective than chance – somewhere around $250K per week more effective.

To make things worse, not only did the engineered cheat allow a shadowy St. Petersburg group to snatch millions of dollars, the problem they exploited is a fundamental part of PRNGs so casinos are still vulnerable to this kind of fraud. That brings us back to cybersecurity issues. As shown in the casino example, it takes a lot of work to figure out the patterns produced by a PRNG. Most hackers don’t have two dozen guys with a supercomputer in St. Petersburg to help. Soon, however, they will all have something better – at least if your goal is to defeat the PRNGs and break an encryption.

The Future is Yesterday
Any data that needs to be kept secret and safe over time is already at risk of being breached. Quantum computers exponentially more powerful than those we use today are already being developed. Current predictions are that quantum computers will be fully realized in the next five to ten years, but it could be even less than that. No PRNG will be able to stand up to the brute force of quantum computers. All too soon, only a true random number generator (RNG) will do.

The only way to generate true random numbers is by using the natural world (i.e. something not made by humans). Quantum encryption, for instance, uses the fully entropic (or completely random) nature of the quantum world to generate true random numbers that are the basis for the strongest possible encryption keys. Quantum key generation is designed to take on the coming quantum computing storm and keep medical records, tax returns, classified government documents, corporate secrets (and anything else that needs to stay under wraps after 2020 safe). Bet on it.

Observations on CSA Summit at RSA – Part 1

March 15, 2017 | Leave a Comment

By Katie Lewin, Federal Director, Cloud Security Alliance

CSA Summit at RSA was a day-long session on Securing the Converged Cloud organized around presentations and panels from leading vendors such as Centrify, Veracode, Microsoft, and Netskope, as well as a talk on “Effective Cybersecurity” by Ret. Gen. Keith Alexander and a fireside chat with Robert Herjavec of “Shark Tank” fame. (Session recordings from the CSA Summit are now available.)

Several themes emerged over the course of the day of presentations, panels and fireside chats:

  • The cloud is still the most secure environment for data and acceptance of cloud as a secure environment for data storage is at the tipping point of acceptance by most IT users. In one survey cited, half of the respondents said that the cloud was more secure than on-premises.
  • Identity continues to be important – the message of many of the speakers is that there are too many passwords and too many special privileges.
  • Emphasis should be placed on data protection rather than device protection. Security is moving to Modern Data Controls – from device and identity security to data protection and controls. Rights management and data classification are the key indicators in data control.
  • Security must move to a process that authenticates first and then connects as opposed to the current emphasis on connect and then authenticate.

Presentation slides will be available on the CSA web site.

Many speakers asserted that today’s security is not secure. Evidence of this includes breaches at Yahoo, USG Office of Personnel Management, 2016 Presidential election. Network perimeters are fading with cloud use, mobile devices, IoT devices and the mobile work force. Therefore, security in the age of access must focus on passwords.

Too many passwords and privileged users require a paradigm shift to identity management.

There is evidence that focusing on identity reduces the number of beaches. Businesses must take steps to implement identity management, including:

  • Establish Identity assurance across the IT environment;
  • Consolidate identities through single sign-on and then layer on multi-factor identification;
  • Limit lateral movement – move to automated provisioning – identify who is still on staff and what they can access;
  • Move to approval workflow for access requests; and
  • Audit privilege access.

Speakers emphasized that transition to the cloud can be revolutionary rather than evolutionary. There were several real-life examples of a revolutionary transition. One large company wanted to eliminate its Intranet and rely solely on the Internet. The benefits of this approach included single sign-on, reduced complexity, establishment of standards, improved security and cost efficiency. In addition, the company did not have to secure and maintain network devices on its premises. In order to effect this transition, the company determined that they needed to concentrate on securing their data assets and not their appliances. The approach they took was to establish a strict policy-based access structure combined with micro-segmentation. This approach was successful. The Internet gives users access similar to private transactions; eliminates choke points of routing all transaction to a single data center. They were also able to optimize data center traffic using a hybrid cloud approach.

One of the highlights of the day was a speech from Ret. Gen. Keith Alexander on “Strategy of Effective Cybersecurity.” He began by outlining some of the current trends in cyber world:

  • Technology is rapidly changing, and data available is increasing exponentially; but this information becomes outdated in 2 -3 year horizon.
  • Advanced technology is playing a more important role in our lives – for example IBM’s Watson is now working on formulating chemo for brain cancer patients.
  • Moving to the cloud is good – resulting in better security and cost savings especially for small and mid-size businesses.

However, there are threats that must be addressed in this environment. Cyber skills are now part of a nation’s power in the world. There are many examples of this, including cyber attacks from nation states aimed at other states. These attacks are evolving from disruptive to destructive.

What is the path forward to meet these threats? Entities must share meta data on attacks and intrusion attempts to have the information to formulate defensive strategies. There should also be Software as Service defensive tools on the cloud available for entities to share. These tools and strategies can be developed and implemented while also protecting civil liberties and privacy.

Product Announcement from AWS – Regulatory Product Mapping Tool
This tool maps security control frameworks to reveal overlap and gaps between various security methodologies. Currently, the product includes FedRAMP controls and the AWS set of controls. Other control sets will be added. This product could be useful in determining how long and how much it could cost a system to obtain an Authority to Operate from a Federal agency. Click for more information on this tool.

 

 

Preparing for the Quantum Future: Setting Global Security Standards to Make Us Quantum-Safe

March 13, 2017 | Leave a Comment

By Frank Guanco, Quantum-Safe Security Working Group, Cloud Security Alliance

Recently there has been an increase in the perceived threat of the quantum computer to modern cryptographic standards in widespread use. During the last year, security agencies such as the United States Government National Security Agency (NSA) and the United Kingdom’s Communications Electronics Security Group (CESG) have called for a move to a set of quantum-safe cryptographic standards. The consensus is that today’s cyber security solutions needs to be retooled sooner rather than later, and the transition to quantum-safe security must begin now. The arrival date for a practical quantum computer is still up for debate, however, most experts believe we will see a quantum computer capable of breaking current public key cryptosystems within five to 15 years.

Recently the Quantum-Safe Security Working Group from the Cloud Security Alliance (CSA), released its ‘Applied Quantum-Safe Security’ paper, designed to provide individuals in the security industry and related fields with applicable knowledge regarding the quantum computer and its influence on cyber security. The white paper discusses how cryptographic tools must be adapted to fit specific types of data and serves as a call-to-arms for the available protection options for when the quantum computer arrives.

Digital and physical security
Computer security has primarily focused on digital security methods, however, physical security of data is also critical. Algorithms provide authentication and encryption for online communications and security of a cryptographic scheme is based on mathematics and resilience against large computing power to ensure digital security. Consider this physical security example – security breaches impacting governments and large organizations are often linked to insiders, capable of physical access not afforded the outside world. This breach occurs despite the fact that digital avenues may have been closed and intensive security protocols employed. Cryptographic keys are not only abstract random strings, but also real physical objects that should be stored in secured physical appliances. To be more quantum-safe, new tools must include all physical and mathematical security systems, each with its own practical application domain.

Impact of Cloud Computing
The ongoing move toward the cloud for all our IT needs greatly increases the reliance on data networks. Data is stored in huge data centers, and transferred between them at ever-increasing rates. The cloud model—with its associated storage and network requirements—enables a stronger and more reliable IT infrastructure. This heavily networked model also opens some serious new post-quantum threat vectors, with the most serious being a “data-vaulting” or harvesting attack where an attacker stores communications between the client and the cloud so that data can be decrypted in the future when general purpose quantum computers are available.  What we need to keep top of mind is that data stored today may already be compromised by future quantum computers, especially if the data is being monitored and stored.

Data “at rest” in enormous cloud data centers is also at risk since quantum computers will effectively reduce the keys protecting that data to half of their original strength. Additionally, post-quantum attack vectors will compromise the key management systems that generate, distribute and protect the keys needed to secure that data. Any connections and links between these large data centers must have the highest levels of protection possible. The need for quantum-safe cybersecurity is greatly compounded in a cloud-based IT environment.

As we move towards a world of quantum computers, organizations need to take the knowledge outlined in the ‘Applied Quantum-Safe Security’ paper and assess their own quantum-safe needs. Not every organization will require the same security measures and it takes time to change an infrastructure. The best way to prepare is to follow what is going on with the development of the quantum computer and its security solutions.

Since the cloud relies heavily on secure communications, quantum safety is a critical issue for the CSA. Enterprises will only use cloud services if they believe that their data is safe, both in the cloud provider servers and in transit. Quantum-safe security is a true requirement for further expansion of the cloud. The CSA encourages industry leaders to start thinking and talking about quantum safety. Quantum-related technology is evolving very quickly every day, both on the attack side and the defend side. Organizations should think about adopting some low-risk solutions now to improve infrastructure.

Cyber security technology never has and never will be a ‘one size fits all’.  There is no one universal solution that would provide the perfect security against all possible threats. What we have learned, however, is that we must prepare ourselves for emerging technology, especially when we know it’s coming. The key to quantum computer protection is the use of adaptable cryptographic tools. These tools must be tailored to fit specific types of data and specific applications. To download a copy of the full white paper, please visit here.

 

 

 

Market & Technology Readiness (MTRLs)

March 9, 2017 | Leave a Comment

By Frank Khan Sullivan, Vice President/Marketing, Strategic Blue

There is a need to communicate a project’s maturity to a non-technical audience. The Market & Technology Readiness Level Framework [PDF] aims to provide decision makers with a holistic view of a project’s maturity in a simple way – with a single score. It offers a faster way to assess, measure and support technology projects. The MTRL Assessment form is at the bottom of this article for those interested.

This framework has been developed by Frank Khan Sullivan, Michel Drescher from Oxford University e-Research Centre and Frank Bennett at Cloud Industry Forum, and was originally used to support several European Research & Innovation projects in cloud software and security to develop a go-to-market strategy at CloudForward 2016.

We will be accepting the next intake round of projects and businesses at Cloud Expo 2017 in London on Thursday, March 16 at 14:00 in the Cloud Innovation Theatre. The session is free to attend and will be hosted at the ExCeL Centre near Docklands. We will joining the CloudWatch2 project consortium speaking on March 15 on the European Digital Single Market and why trust is vital to the future cloud market.

By adopting the MTRL framework R&I projects can benefit from:

  • Access Direct Support Workshops* before or during project reviews
  • Quickly assess the maturity of a group of projects in a cluster/portfolio
  • Communicate clearly the current and desired future state of a project
  • Reduce the risk of project failure by intervening before crisis points
  • Understand roadblocks and dependencies between TRL and MRL

Understanding How To Communicate R&D Projects
The decision to exploit outputs of applied research projects often rests on a decision maker’s understanding of how value will be created. The project leader must articulate a project’s current state of maturity, and demonstrate how it will progress through development stages. However, what the project leader wishes to communicate and what the decision maker understands does not always match.

Creating a Common Framework for All Stakeholders
Without a common framework to understand how mature a technology is, or its level of traction with its target users or constituents, funding and operational decisions take longer. The MTRL framework provides a common language for project leaders and funding decision makers to articulate their progress between stages.

Technology Readiness Levels are a widely accepted measure of the maturity of a technology, however, it obscures an important dimension – is the technology or project output ready to be brought to market, and if not, what can be practically done to accelerate its entry and subsequent uptake within a group of constituent users?

For example, if a project has developed a small scale prototype but has yet to validate the needs of its intended users, much effort and funding may be expended in the pursuit of features for a large scale prototype that will never be used.

Combining Technology Readiness and Market Readiness
By understanding both the current state of a project’s technology and market readiness, it becomes possible to offer more targeted support, such as refinement of a value proposition or closer pairing with an industry partner. This in turn increases the likelihood of a project’s outputs persisting outside the lab, reduced dependence on increasingly scarce grants and a more efficient use of existing resources.

First Success Story: CloudTeams.eu launches in Europe
CloudTeams.eu joined us at the CloudForward conference in Madrid back in October 2016 to conduct a Market & Technology Readiness workshop. Less than 6 months later, they have now successfully launched and made a major leap forward in executing their go-to-market strategy. CloudTeams is an innovative online platform connecting developers and users to speed up the collection of feedback from a target group of users to reduce time-to-market, reduce costly development errors and validate feature sets. We would like to take this opportunity to congratulate them on a really great project!

Conclusion: The MTRL Framework is ready for rollout!
In summary, the MTRL framework helps decision makers understand what resources may be required to progress through specific stages of development in the project lifecycle. This becomes particularly relevant in reducing the time it takes to assess groups of technology projects in clusters and making support accessible before reviews.

For project leaders: Request an MTRL Assessment and Direct Support Workshop

For funding bodies: Learn about implementing the MTRL Assessment Framework

Special thanks to Michel Drescher, Frank Bennett and Prof. David Wallom for their inputs in developing the methodology and thinking behind the framework. Feel free to connect with me directly to discuss how MTRL Assessments can be used to help your fund, project or go-to-market strategy/business models.

Prepare for Windows 10 Migration the Gartner Way

March 8, 2017 | Leave a Comment

By Jeremy Zoss, Managing Editor, Code42

It’s 2017, which means there’s a good chance your company is preparing to migrate to Windows 10. The operating system may have launched back in 2015, but this is the year that Gartner predicts enterprise adoption of the operating system will truly take off, hitting its peak in 2020.

What caused the delay in adoption? Based on a Spiceworks survey, concerns included stability, application compatibility, and security. Perhaps the largest factor, however, was large corporations opting to combine their move to Windows 10 with a device migration. Typically, these purchases occur every two to four years, so may companies were simply waiting for the next hardware purchase cycle to switch to the new operating system.

Whether combined with new machines or upgrading existing hardware, there are many factors to consider during device migrations, and the costs may surprise you. Fortunately, Gartner has also prepared an extremely detailed report on the costs and challenges of moving to Windows 10. Read the report today to discover:

  • The typical costs to migrate a PC to Windows 10.
  • The key factors of migration cost.
  • How to determine your budget for migration costs using Gartner’s model.
  • How to improve migration before it starts.

Read the report today to prepare for your Windows 10 device migration.

Is Your Industry at High Risk of Insider Threat?

February 24, 2017 | Leave a Comment

By Jeremy Zoss, Managing Editor, Code42

In the movies, data theft is usually the work of outsiders. You’ve witnessed the scene a million times: A cyber thief breaks into a business, avoiding security measures, dodging guards and employees, and making off with a USB stick of valuable data seconds before he or she would have been spotted. But in the real world, data theft is much more mundane. Most cyberattacks are carried out by someone within the company or someone posing as such. Sometimes they take data that’s essentially harmless, like personal files they feel entitled to keep. Other times, what they take is potentially much more harmful. According to a 2016 report from Deloitte, 59 percent of employees who leave an organization say they take sensitive data with them! With IP making up 80 percent of a company’s value, insider threat is something that every company should take seriously.

Some industries are much more at risk of insider threat than others. Is your industry one of the most vulnerable? The infographic below details the industries hit with the most instances of insider threat in 2015. If you work in one of these industries, perhaps it is time to revisit your cyber security policies.

 

The Rise in SSL-based Threats

February 23, 2017 | Leave a Comment

By Derek Gooley, Security Researcher, Zscaler

Overview
The majority of Internet traffic is now encrypted. With the advent of free SSL providers like Let’s Encrypt, the move to encryption has become easy and free. On any given day in the Zscaler cloud, more than half of the traffic that inspected uses SSL. It is no surprise, then, that malicious actors have also been using the SSL protocol in their activities over the last several years. The increasing use of SSL creates problems for organizations that are unable to monitor SSL traffic, as they must rely on less-effective techniques like IP and domain blocking in an attempt to identify and block threats.

In this report, we will outline trends we have seen in the use of SSL in the malware lifecycle and in adware distribution, based on a review of traffic on the Zscaler cloud from August 2016 through January 2017. What follows is a graphic illustrating our findings, and an analysis of recent activities.

 

Malicious SSL Activity
During the six-month period, the ThreatLabZ research team observed that the Zscaler cloud blocked an average 600,000 malicious activities each day that used SSL, including exploit kit traffic, malware and adware distribution, malware callbacks, and other malicious traffic.

Figure 1. Total SSL blocks, August 2016 – January 2017

In our cloud, we observed an overall increase in malicious SSL traffic in nearly all categories — a trend we expect to continue — with periodic spikes, such as those in early August and late November, when SSL malware blocks reached nearly two million a day.

Browser Exploits and Payload Delivery
Exploit kit (EK) authors are more frequently including SSL in the infection chain at some point. Previous malvertising campaigns have been observed in which EKs took advantage of SSL-enabled advertising networks to inject malicious scripts into legitimate webpages. EK authors may also abuse services that provide free SSL certificates to add HTTPS support to their maliciously controlled domains. This maneuver enables them to bypass the SSL integrity checks built into modern web browsers.

Figure 2. SSL web exploit monthly total hits, August 2016 – January 2017

Figure 3. SSL web exploit blocks, August 2016 – January 2017

During the observation period, we saw an average of 10,000 hits per month for web exploits that included SSL as part of the infection chain.

Phishing

Figure 4. Phishing blocks, August 2016 – January 2017

Phishing campaigns have been increasingly using SSL in their attacks. Many phishing attacks involve hosting the phishing page on a legitimate domain that has been compromised. Since the number of legitimate sites that support SSL is constantly increasing, so are the number of SSL-enabled phishing attacks. This rise presents a significant threat, because organizations, in an attempt to thwart ransomware and other phishing schemes, have implemented security hardware solutions to detect and block phishing, but few of them support SSL inspection.

Malware Families That Use SSL
Several years ago, it was rare to see malware using SSL to encrypt command-and-control (C&C) mechanisms. As malware design has become more sophisticated, and with the near ubiquity of SSL on the Internet, it made sense for malware authors to begin using SSL to hide their activities. Some malware families have gone further, using anonymity services such as Tor to hide the location of their C&C servers, connecting to (otherwise legitimate) HTTP Tor gateways via SSL.

Botnets typically use self-signed SSL certificates, frequently using the names and information of real companies to try to appear legitimate. The SSL Blacklist is a project that tracks the SSL certificates used by malware authors.

Figure 5. Malware callbacks over SSL, September 2016 – January 2017

Corresponding with the increase in malicious payload deliveries in November 2016, we also observed an increase in blocked malicious SSL traffic during that time.

In our analysis, we came across many malware families that were using SSL for malicious purposes. Some of the recent and notorious malware families actively using SSL are:

  • Dridex/Dyre/TrickLoader: The Dridex, Dyre, and TrickLoader banking Trojans are capable of communicating to the C&C servers via SSL using its own SSL certificate. These family previously used the common browser hooking technique for callbacks, but the latest versions can perform redirects via local proxy or local DNS poisoning to fake websites, controlled by the attacker.
  • Vawtrak: Vawtrak is a well-crafted piece of malware supporting the VNC and SOCKS proxies, screenshot and video capturing, and extensibility with regular updates from C&C servers. Vawtrak samples contain code for downloading and validating SSL certificates and are capable of initiating an HTTPS connection. The malware contains a list of HTTPS-secured hosts that contain updated lists of live C&C servers.
  • Gootkit: Gootkit is a stealth banking trojan with backdoor and spyware capabilities that uses fileless infection and communications over SSL. Gootkit intercepts user data via web injections into HTTPS traffic.

Adware
A common function of adware is to inject unwanted advertisements into web traffic. These advertisements can also lead to malicious infections, as exploit authors frequently take advantage of less-scrupulous advertising networks to distribute exploit redirect scripts. Securing web traffic with SSL/HTTPS prevents this distribution in most cases. Adware installed on a client machine would not be able to perform a man-in-the-middle attack with a self-signed certificate due to the HTTPS safeguards included in modern browsers.

However, in several notable cases, major adware distributions have circumvented these safeguards to inject advertisements into HTTPS traffic. The two most high-profiles examples are the Superfish and PrivDog adware distributions, which were first abusing SSL in 2015. Both of these adware programs install a self-signed root CA certificate onto the victim’s computer, and intercept all web traffic in order to inject advertisements into web pages. PrivDog in particular was a serious concern because it did not validate SSL certificates on its end of the proxy, allowing users to inadvertently navigate to websites with invalid SSL certificates, exposing them to additional threats.

Adware variants have also started to host their files on HTTPS sites. We came across a family of adware called InstallCore, which was doing this kind of activity. InstallCore is a Potentially Unwanted Application (PUA) that installs a program to display and/or download unwanted advertisements and toolbars, and tracks a computer’s web usage to feed the victim undesired ad pop-ups; some versions can even hijack a browser’s start or search pages, redirecting the user to a different site or search engine.

InstallCore is often delivered by tricking the user into installing the Flash plugin or a Java update. In some cases, InstallCore is delivered by misdirected download buttons. These fake pop-ups of the Flash player or download buttons appear on content distribution sites, like torrent sites, or free software sites that work on HTTPS.

Figure 6. Fake Flash download pop-up

Conclusion
Due to the rising use of SSL encryption to hide exploit kits, malware, and other threats, it is important to have a security infrastructure that can detect and block these threats. The problem is that SSL inspection is compute-intensive, so even organizations whose security appliances support SSL inspection often disable this feature, as its use would slow traffic throughput to unacceptable levels. Dedicated appliances for SSL inspection are available, but their price puts them out of reach for many organizations. SSL inspection is built into the Zscaler security platform, which, due to its scale, can inspect all SSL traffic without latency.

Research by: Derek Gooley, Jithin Nair, Manohar Ghule

The Growth of Macs in the Enterprise Is Challenging the PC’s Dominance

February 22, 2017 | Leave a Comment

By Jeremy Zoss, Managing Editor, Code42

The PC has long been the default choice for business computers, but perhaps not for much longer. The growth of Macs in the enterprise has been exponential in recent years, as illustrated by the infographic below.

For context on why Macs are growing in popularity in the workplace, look at some of the big-name companies embracing the platform. Once a sworn enemy of Macintosh, IBM has become a high-profile proponent of Macs for its own workforce. Cisco allows its employees to choose between iOS and Windows devices, and now has 35,000 Macs in use. At SAP, the company believes that “offering Mac is key for any modern enterprise.

Mac usage lowers IT costs
Simpler IT support for Macs and a high level of user self-service drive the bulk of this cost savings. IBM reports that just 3.5 percent of its Mac users currently call the help desk, compared to 25 percent of its PC users. Media company Buzzfeed maintains only a small IT staff for its thousands of employees–only 30-35 employees use Windows machines, while the rest operate on Macs.

User preference—not business value—still drives most Mac adoption
IT cost savings aren’t the only thing driving Mac adoption among big names in business tech. Security and productivity are also driving Mac adoption. Deloitte says iOS is “the most secure platform for business” and states that “Apple’s products are essential to the modern workforce.” Cisco stated it believes Apple devices accelerate productivity. Basic user satisfaction is another important factor. IBM reports a 91 percent satisfaction rate among Mac users and says its pro-Mac policies help the company attract and retain top talent.

While IBM and others put total cost of ownership, security and productivity as top reasons for Mac adoption, a survey conducted by Code42 shows user preference continues to be the main reason that enterprises are embracing Macs today.

Top reasons for Mac adoption

1. Happier end users (37%)
2. Fewer help desk tickets (14%)
3. Better OS security (12%)

Top IT challenges are Macs’ top strengths
Macs also offer advantages in areas that are typically sources of major challenges for IT. According to our survey, the most time-consuming tasks for IT are tech refresh and help desk tickets, followed by malware and ransomware. These are actually areas where Macs excel. Macs traditionally enable a much higher level of self-service, and Code42 enables user-driven tech refresh for Mac users (and PC users, too). This level of self-service produces the kind of IT cost savings IBM has seen with its dramatically reduced help desk tickets.

Avoid the Heartbreak of Insider Threat

February 14, 2017 | Leave a Comment

By Ashley Jarosch, Manager/Marketing Programs, Code42

While everyone else is celebrating love and romance this Valentine’s Day, here at Code42 we’re reflecting on heartbreak—specifically, the heartbreak of insider threat.

The Heartbreak and Betrayal of Insider Threat
It’s a feeling anyone in the enterprise world is familiar with. Someone you trust—someone you hired, work with, maybe even talk to daily—betrays that trust and steals data, deletes data or gives away access credentials. In fact, you’ve probably had it happen recently. Nine in 10 organizations experience at least one insider threat each month—and according to the Ponemon Institute, one in three of those incidents are the result of intentional or malicious insider activities.

You Don’t Have to Be a Cynic—Just Know the Warning Signs
What’s truly heartbreaking is that most organizations don’t see these insider threats coming. They miss the signs of disgruntled employees and suspicious or risky behavior. They’re shocked by insider threat and they end up bitter and cynical—feeling like they can’t trust their own employees.

But you don’t have to be a cynic. By knowing the warning signs, you can spot the employees most likely to steal or destroy sensitive data—and get back to the trusting relationship that empowers the rest of your staff to do good, honest work.

The New CSA Consultancy Program Will Ensure Best Practices in Secure Cloud Implementation

February 13, 2017 | Leave a Comment

By Daniele Catteddu, Chief Technology Officer, CSA

As increasing numbers of enterprises begin the move to the cloud in earnest, there has simultaneously developed a host of third-party consultancy firms, offering guidance on cloud technology best practices and implementation. Recognizing that there is a genuine need for a trusted network, where organizations and professionals can be relied on to provide high-quality cloud security consultancy services based on CSA best practices, we are launching a new initiative–the CSA Consultancy Program (CSA-CP) that will go live in mid-2017 with Optiv as the first certified provider.

The overreaching goal of the CSA-CP is to support organizations looking to improve their cloud security posture and implement high standards of compliance and assurance. This new program will provide a registry–the CSA Consultancy Services Registry (CSA-CSR)–a web repository similar to the CSA STAR Registry and in doing so will simplify the research for trusted consultancy services and speed the adoption of effective, secure cloud implementations.

Grounded with CSA’s best practices, the program will be offered from a highly-vetted, trusted network of organizations and professionals, and we couldn’t be more pleased to count Optiv as our first provider.

“As a long-time supporter of CSA’s best practices, certifications and guidance, we look forward to helping organizations better understand how to implement an effective cloud security posture and ensure compliance and assurance standards are met,” said JD Sherry, Vice President, GM, Cloud Security & Strategy, Optiv, Inc. “The consultancy program will serve an excellent purpose in this regard and we are proud that Optiv is part of what we expect to be a valuable program in the future.”

The qualifications that must be met are rigorous. In order to be listed as a CSA Qualified Consultancy Service Provider, organizations must demonstrate they have completed and passed the:

  • Certificate of Cloud Security Knowledge (CCSK) examination,
  • CSA CCM training course,
  • CSA STAR Certification Qualified Auditor designation and/or Consultant designation, and
  • Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP) current year exam completion.

With the widespread adoption of CSA best practices, we see an opportunity and need for a repository of qualified and trusted cloud security experts. Securing the cloud continues to be our top priority, and the CSA-CP will help achieve this.