Over Sensationalized Internet Security Marketing
An article review.
Beware of buzzwords
Our friend and associate Joe Cychosz sent us this article a few days ago, and we thought it was worth sharing. This brief article highlights an alarming trend within the InfoSec world, where security vendors are hyping and spinning their offerings to the point of untruth! Now this may seem harsh, but think of this article as constructive criticism. We agree with the authors of this article when they say, “We think it’s important that organizations take a ‘buyer beware’ approach to securing their business.”
The article focuses on just four buzzwords or over-hyped platforms. The first is attack maps. Attack maps can take multiple forms, but ultimately they are some graphical representation of attacks coming into an organization. Unfortunately, they usually lead to misunderstanding the reality behind actual attacks. For instance, they may indicate that a vendor can see exactly from where an attack is coming. Or it might insinuate a degree of instantaneous knowledge and clarity regarding when and how an attack is occurring. Even when an attack map shows actual data, it’s generally meaningless from a security perspective. The biggest issue with attack maps is that they are shown to decision makers who are misguided by them. Simply, don’t buy into the gross over-simplification that is an attack map.
Threat group attribution falls in a similar category as attack maps. Threat group attribution is very difficult to do and do effectively. Take for example, when a firm misidentifies a particular threat group; there are no real consequences. “Since there is very little anyone can do to actually disprove attribution, vendors see little risk in offering this data to their customers.” Threat group attribution can be an unnecessary distraction and a resource sinkhole.
Threat Intel is another buzzword that covers a wide range of actual data. Now there certainly is good, genuine threat intelligence on the market, and companies should take note. The concern comes with the vast amount of data that vendors call “Threat Intelligence” that’s at best a list of weak, technical threat indicators. For example, a list of IPs and domains isn’t necessarily going to help you. You need a system that can process the intelligence, and people that can analyze and vet the data for what is actually meaningful.
Much like Threat Intel, “Security Solutions” is another term that paints a broad picture that seemingly solves your security problems. In reality, most security technologies are narrowly-focused appliances that are a small part of the broader security effort. Additionally, the main weaknesses that the bad guys will try to exploit are not the components of a victim’s network. “The weaknesses we mostly see are in the culture of organizations and in the psychology of the staff and especially of the leadership, and no “security solution” wrapped in a black box can fix that.”
Now after reading this summation of the article’s statements, you may still feel that these claims are pretty harsh. Nonetheless, we still feel the article may be worth having in your arsenal the next time a management team member brings that latest and greatest “must have” control that is being sold as a “solution” instead of a “layer.” Be sure to take the time to know what you’re buying. Buyer beware!
The above is what we call an “Article Review.” It is part of our attempt to help our readers find excellent reading materials to back up important technology risk management concepts. We try not to include articles that are merely news or additional news about mainstream issues. Instead, we try to highlight articles that our “typical clients” should be sure to read, or that are about concepts “outside the mainstream media.” infotex does not intend to endorse views represented by the writers of the articles we review, nor do we try to keep our Clients aware of EVERYTHING. For example, if a particular story concept is being reported upon in many different media sources, infotex usually chooses to ignore the story concept altogether, unless we can find a “unique take” on the story concept.