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Security through Intelligence

Cory Marchand

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Top Stories by Cory Marchand

To some of us, seeing an email with malware embedded in a PDF, Word or Excel attachment is common. In fact, it has become the new norm for malware delivery to use file types that are not obviously malicious (versus something like a .exe). Gone are the days of wide-open acceptance of all file extensions for attachments within an email. In today's network defense-in-depth techniques, one of the layers is naturally email security. This includes the scrutinizing of emails for embedded links or attachments that could be potentially malicious, scanning attachments for possible detectable viruses and even inspecting the mail header for details that could point to the continued use of a particular "sender" address targeting an organization. With the delivery of the malware always evolving to avoid being detected, why is it so common to see multi-stage malware? What exactly... (more)

Information Assurance Does Not Equal Information Security

When I was working on a network assessment team for one of my customers, I would routinely hear upset voices when we would present our findings. The most common thing that the executives would say was, “Wait a minute, aren’t we current on our updates? I saw the compliance report, and we were all green right?” “All green right?” What that Information Security Officer was referring to was a slide that was presented to him showing the level of compliance that the hosts on his network were currently reporting. To him, this meant secure.  It meant that all of his systems were patche... (more)

Effective Report Writing Applied to Cyber Security

In almost all professions, report writing is a requirement.  Typically, reports document the success and failures of a particular action. While it may not be your favorite part of the job, report writing does validate your work to the customer. In our profession, Cyber Security, we have the unique challenge of communicating highly technical information in a non-technical format, so that the impact of our efforts can be understood. Early in my career I hated writing reports.  Back then, I had a hard time understanding why reports were so important.  Little did I know that the cou... (more)

Addressing the Root Cause – A Proactive Approach to Securing Desktops

The computers on your network are protected from malware right? If you are operating an environment based largely on Windows based PCs you likely have some kind of anti-virus installed and centrally managed. If you have purchased a more complete desktop protection suite, you probably even have a Host Based IDS/IPS protecting your machine from incoming malicious TCP scans, or possible outbound connections to known malicious sites (like google.com occasionally). Operating system firewall activated? Yep! AV signatures current? Check! Global Threat Intelligence updated? Uh, yeah....s... (more)

Malware Analysis - A Cost Effective and Quick "How To"

Malware analysis can be a time consuming process, especially when dealing with a sample from skilled attackers with time and money on their side . There is no doubt that fully reversing malware and finding out how it works is the most effective way to learn how to defend against it, but most businesses don't have the time or the professional resources to do it. There are ways in which you, a Computer Network Defender, can glean enough information from malware to be used in IDS and AV signature creation, DNS poisoning and blocking as well as sharing with the CND community. This can... (more)