The annual IRISSCERT Cyber Crime conference is due to be held on November 23rd this year. As usual the conference is an opportunity to learn about the latest threats in cyber crime and strategies to deal with those threats. IRISSCERT has has its call for papers open for the past few weeks and it is due to close at 17:30 GMT on Friday the 22nd July.
If you have some thoughts, research or ideas that you would like to share in an open and trusted environment then you should submit your idea to the CFP form (MS Word Doc file) and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Remember cyber criminals are sharing their tactics, tools and other information on how to attack us, isn’t it about time that we shared our ideas so we can better defend ourselves?
Team Cymru is a well respected computer security research organisation and provides a lot of high quality information to the community.
One of the services they offer is the Team Cymru CSIRT Assistance Program (CAP) which is a service aimed at Computer Security Incident Response Teams at either regional or national level. The CAP provides these CSIRTS with actionable data on compromised hosts within their constituency allowing them to deal with those systems. The program is designed so that the right data goes directly into the hands of people who can use that insight.
The more actionable information CSIRTs have the more effective they can be in making the Internet a safer and more secure place for us all. Team Cymru provide their CSIRT Assistance Program free to teams that qualify to meet their requirements.
So if you are involved in a CISRT you should head over to Team Cymru and have a look at their CSIRT Assistance Program. It may be the most productive few minutes of your time that you spend this year.
IRISS will hold its first annual conference on the 19th of November 2009 at the D4 Berkley Court hotel. This all day conference will focus on providing you with an overview of the current cyber threats facing businesses in Ireland and what you can do to help deal with those threats.
Experts on various aspects of cyber crime and cyber security will share their thoughts and experiences with you while a number of panel sessions will provide you with the opportunity to discuss the issues that matter to you most. There will be a number of expert speakers on cyber crime including representatives from;
The Irish Reporting and Information Security Service
In parallel to the above speaking sessions Ireland’s first Cyber Security Challenge, HackEire, will be held to identify Ireland’s top cyber security experts. HackEire will see 10 teams, up to a maximum of four people per team, compete against each other in a controlled environment to see which team will be the first to exploit weaknesses in a number of systems and declare victory. The purpose the HackEire competition is to demonstrate how attackers could gain access to your systems and allow you to learn from the event on how to prevent such attacks from impacting your network.
The conference will be open to anyone with the responsibility for securing their business information assets. There is no charge for those who wish to attend.
The IRISS Annual Conference is an opportunity to not only increase your knowledge but also to meet and network with your peers in a relaxed environment.
If you are interested in attending please register at email@example.com
Ireland’s economy is now more than ever dependant on information technology and the Internet. Both have enabled consumers and businesses alike to better access and deliver services, create new markets, exchange information rapidly and process information in more efficient means. Technology and the “knowledge economy” are now seen as a strategic path by the Government to get Ireland’s economy back on track again. Indeed the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Eamonn Ryan TD recently unveiled the Government’s smart economy strategy to create Digital Ireland. The plan, titled “Technology Actions to Support the Smart Economy” looks to develop over 30,000 jobs in areas such as ICT, green technology, cloud computing and energy efficient datacentres.
However, this increasing reliance on information technology brings with it numerous risks and threats that if not properly addressed could result in significant negative impact on Ireland’s economy and potentially on the country’s national security.
The recent Eircom outages resulting from attacks by unknown hackers highlight those very risks that are posed against the Irish Internet space. Eircom have admittedthat these attacks were the result of DNS poisoning but we still have no further details as to the vulnerabilities exploited by the attacker(s). Nor do we have any insight into the motivation behind the attacks. Speculation has ranged from the same hackers that attacked US and South Korean sites, to Russian mafia gangs to disgruntled Eircom customers.
Eircom is the largest ISP in the country providing Internet services for their own customers but also many other telcos and ISPs that piggyback on the Eircom infrastructure. By default then Eircom can be classified as being part of our Critical Network Infrastructure.
Eircom admit in their own press release that they had to patch some of their systems to deal with the attack. They even acknowledge that some of their remediation steps may have caused additional outages for their customers. This to me is something extremely worryingand raises questions such as;
Why is a key provider of our Critical Network Infrastucture not applying patches in a proactive manner?
Why did it take an attack to ensure that the appropriate patches and fixes were applied?
What incident response capabilities and pre-planning were in place to ensure that the source of the attacks and systems affected were quickly identified, remediated with minimum impact and systems fully recovered?
The main concern I have is what is being done to ensure that the organisations who make up our Critical Network Infrastructure, whether they be private or government entities, are properly securing those systems? What reassurances do we have that all ISPs have applied the appropriate security patches to their DNS servers and indeed other key elements of their infrastructure?
Industrial and state espionage is not a new thing and with the introduction of information technology it has become even more prevalent. Countries like the US, UK, France, Belgium and Indiahave all raised concerns about foreign nation states targeting high tech resources in their respective countries. As recently as late July a German counter intelligence official claimed that Germany is losing an estimated €50 billion and 30,000 jobs a year as a result of industrial espionage. Some of the key industries included renewable energy and communications, the very industries outlined in Irish Government’s smart economy strategy to create a Digital Ireland.
A number of the countries, such as the US and the UK, have learned from their experiences and are quickly appointing people to ensure their nations’ digital assets are protected.
Indeed in the United States this whole issue has even gotten the attention of the President.
Listen to the above speech and see how the U.S. is taking this issue seriously and then compare it with the below answer given by our Minister of Defenceto a question posed to him on what steps Ireland has taken against the “cyber risks and threats”;
Cyber security, cyber crimeand internet security represent challenges that are constantly evolving and require vigilance and appropriate responses. Cyber security is multi facetted. The nature of the threat and the potential impact also varies considerably depending on the approach and objective of those with malicious intent.
In the first instance, each State agency, business and individual should take every precaution with regard to their security. Awareness of security, the risks and available safeguards, can be seen as the first line of defencefor the security of information systems and networks. I am aware of considerable activity in this regard. My colleague the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources has undertaken a number of awareness campaigns aimed at individuals, SMEs, the education sector, the public Sector and business. My colleague the Minister for Justice and the Garda Siochana are also active in areas such as cyber crimeand cyber bullying. The legislative programme includes the Criminal Justice (Cybercrime) Bill, being prepared by the Department of Justice. This Bill gives effect to the Council of Europe Convention on Cybercrime as well as to the EU Framework Decision on attacks against Information Systems.
My Department and the Defence Forces focus on the risks and threats arising in the context of the roles laid down by Government for the Defence Forces. My Department and the DefenceForces implement a programme of continuous review in relation to ICT security in order to keep up to date with current threat levels. This risk assessment is carried out by a high-level Board comprising civil and military personnel and is supported by sub-groups who carry out specific reviews where a security risk is identified. Detailed policies and guidelines are provided to all users of ICT systems and considerable resources are invested in assessing weaknesses and protecting systems against cyber attack and malicious security breaches.
I would also point out that the Defence Forces take comprehensive measures with regard to the security of their information and communications systems when deployed, in Ireland and overseas. Details of measures taken are not publicised for security reasons, but given the levels of upgrading and increased protection put in place in recent years, the vulnerability to such attacks has been greatly minimised.
I think the fact that Ireland’s CERT (IRISS)is a not-for-profit organisation run by a number of volunteers and depends on sponsorship to survive is another indicator as to how serious the Government appears to view cyber security.
If we as a nation want to seriously become a knowledge economy then we need to take a strategic view on how we protect the digital assets that we are trying to develop. We need to develop a cyber security strategy and ensure that someone is given the responsibility and most importantly the authority to ensure that all organisations that make up our Critical Network Infrastructure and upon whom we rely on to create the new Digital Ireland do so in a secure manner.
The meeting kicks off at 18:00 and will finish at 19:00, followed by refreshments. If you wish to attend you should contact Suzanne Hughes on +353-1-4172894 or firstname.lastname@example.org. There is no cost for ISACA members but will cost €10 for non-members.
The Estonian Government has released a strategy paperon enhancing cyber security. This is an interesting read as we can all learn from the lessons of the cyber attacks against Estonia last year. The report makes for interesting reading and yet it is still sad to see that governments and many organisations only take computer security seriously after they have suffered a major attack.
Do you think this paper would have seen the light of day had Estonia not been a victim to a major Distributed Denial of Service attack last year? I also wonder how many government officials here in Ireland are working on a similar paper to defend the Irish Internet space?