Experts to talk Threat Intelligence at cybersecurity symposium

Dr. Darren Hayes

On Friday, October 30, 2015, we welcome a panel of renowned experts who will speak about threat intelligence to an audience of more than 100 students who are passionate about cyber security and digital forensics.

During the sold-out event, organized by Dr. Darren Hayes, the Director of the Seidenberg Cybersecurity Institute, we will hear from incredible speakers who will share their experiences across the field:

Joel Krauss, the Director of Strategic Information & Crisis Management for the International Rescue Committee, will be giving a talk called Human Intelligence: A Holistic Approach. This talk will focus on leveraging organic intelligence-gathering assets within one’s own organization in order to answer organizational risk information (ORI) priorities.

Ian Amit, Vice President at ZeroFox, will give a presentation titled Actionable Threat Intelligence. Ian’s talk will discuss how to create a customized, organization-specific threat intelligence feed, which in turn will be used to actively increase the security posture of the organization in a measurable way. 

Joshua Philipp, who is a National Security Reporter, China News, at Epoch Times, will be an explanation of the vast system behind Chinese economic espionage, and how it is carried out by military, civilian, government, business, and academic sectors in China. The talk is called Cyber and Beyond: The Inner Workings of Chinese Economic Espionage – quite the exciting title!

The final talk will be by Lenny Zeltser, Product Management Director, NCR Corp, with an Introduction to Malware Analysis. In this session, Lenny Zeltser demonstrates key aspects of this process, walking attendees through behavioral analysis of a real-world Windows malware specimen by using several free tools. He will demonstrate practical techniques in action and how malware analysis will help to triage the incident to assess key capabilities of the malicious software.

The event will take place from 12:15-5:30 at Lecture Hall North and promises to be an incredible afternoon of presentations, discussion, and learning.

#SeidenbergPride in Washington DC

Seidenberg students and cybersecurity scholars Cynthia Shaw (BS/IT ’15), Anthony Martini (MS/CS ’16), and Luke Babak (BS/IT ’14) traveled to Washington DC in mid-January to attend the CyberCorps®: Scholarship for Service (SFS) Job Fair. The annual event is an opportunity for students in the SFS cybersecurity scholarship program to meet and network with federal employers with the scope of securing an internship or permanent position. The students had the chance to interact with representatives from over 40 federal agencies, and it is expected that they will get to parse through some interesting offers in the months to come. 

Seidenberg’s own SFS alum, Christopher White ’13, ’14, a Cyber Security Engineer with the Johns Hopkins – Applied Physics Lab, was one of the four alums to speak in the SFS Job Fair Alumni Panel.

So very proud of all of you!

CyberCorps Attendees

Pictured from left to right: Anthony Martini (MS/IT ’16), Cynthia Shaw (BS/IT ’15), Luke Babak (BS/IT ’14), and Li-Chiou Chen, Professor, IT WEST Department Chair and Cybersecurity Scholarship Program Director.

 

Hand on Technology Day Workshops, Part 2

The Hands on Technology Day Workshops (HOT Workshops) was back for round two on November 15th with new workshops. This time high school students attended workshops about Cyber Security, taught by Dr. Li-Chiou Chen and graduate student Jonathan Lee, and creating Apps, taught by Dr. Lixin Tao. In Dr. Li-Chiou Chen’s and Jonathan Lee’s workshop, participants did hands-on lab exercises that explored software and methods to achieve online security. In Dr. Lixin Tao’s workshop, participants built three android apps and learned the main principles behind the latest computing technologies including cloud and mobile computing.

Once again, we got a lot of wonderful feedback back, and all participants enjoyed the hands-on experience! We would like to thank all who helped out both in the workshops and behind the scenes. We would like to thank Tristan Pagliari, Justin Santore, and Kaitlin Elliott from the Pace University admissions office for being at our event. From the Seidenberg School, we would like to thank Prof. Li-Chiou Chen, Prof. Lixin Tao, Prof. Mary Courtney, Dr. Jean F. Coppola, Dr. Bernice J. Houle, Lynne E. Larkin, Elizabeth Foster, Nancy M. Treuer, Ronald G. Williams, Anthony Martini, Jonathan Lee, Patrick Prescott, Kaila Marie Letteri, Keke Gai, Mohammad Vahidalizadehdizaj and Matthew Poli.

Here are some pictures from the event:

HOT event 4 HOT event 3 HOT event 2 HOT event

Cynthia’s spending her summer tracking down cyber-crime for the US Department of Justice.

CynthiaShaw_Seidenberg_DepOfJustice-205x3001. Who are you working with this summer? 

I am working for the US Department of Justice in the Criminal Division. Their purpose is to investigate and prosecute crimes on a federal level.

2. Can you tell us a little about what you are doing? 

My title is actually fancier than my job. I am called a high tech intern within the investigative unit. Basically I am working on various projects that involve computer forensics and their role in cyber crimes.

3. Is there a particular class or professor at Seidenberg that has helped you prepare for your current role?  

I think my computer forensics class with Professor Watkins was most helpful. He taught us the technical terms I would need to know, the importance of data integrity and even report writing. Each of these aspects play a vital role in my job this summer.

4. Does your new office have a favorite restaurant/hangout they go to after work?  

The other interns and I get together with the employees and do some bar trivia at a local spot. It’s a good way to unwind and get to know each other on a different level.

By day, Cynthia Shaw is an undergrad student at the Seidenberg School, majoring in information technology. By night, she’s a super hero that fights cyber-crime! Cynthia currently attends school at Pace University’s rather picturesque Pleasantville campus.

 

Are You Protecting Your Bank and Your Customers?

For the average banking customer, little attention is paid to the security aspect of public wireless networks at banks. Today’s users are so accustomed to attaching to free, public Wi-Fi services that they inherently trust that financial institutions are protecting their data and confidential information.

Prof_Gabberty_Seidenberg

However, that is not always true. Often times, financial institutions do not regularly monitor and update their routers which put their wireless networks at risk. As routers are the devices that handle network connectivity, they are susceptible to many of the same anomalies as tablets and personal computers, such as performing sluggishly, occasionally locking up, and much worse, becoming infected with malware. Just like their computer counterparts, routers are usually shipped with an operating system that has been installed by the manufacturer which needs to be occasionally refreshed with an updated version, begging the questions: “how often do banks actually perform this upgrade?” The answer, simply put, is that while some do, others don’t. Why is this so?

Professor James W. Gabberty

One of the primary reasons that financial institutions are loathe to update their routers’ operating systems has to do with the sheer number of routers deployed by mid- and large-sized banks and the common sense notion that when one router is updated, all the rest must likewise be updated, which requires substantial planning and attention to detail (not to mention significant time and money).  While upgrading routers periodically is certainly a nuisance, not performing them en masse would be akin to individual users running disparate versions of the Microsoft operating system and office suites within a company – a seriously problematic proposition since the number of security vulnerabilities would skyrocket.

Many banks also simply don’t have an accurate, updated list of all the routers in their organization, not to mention each router’s individual IOS level and almost certainly, its configuration. Asset management has long been a problem for all companies and banks are no exception. Corporate policy is frequently bypassed and end-users often connect their own devices (USBs, smartphones, and even routers) into the corporate backbone. While there are security awareness techniques designed to stem the rush of employees connecting non-corporate devices to the company’s IT infrastructure, insider activity is still the number one vector of information security breaches within all corporations. Moreover, since keeping track of all infrastructure equipment is a monumental task – especially since proper change management policies are often by-passed, many firms don’t perform as good a measure of due diligence in terms of patching routers as they should.

Still another reason why router upgrades are problematic for financial institutions is tied to the configuration that many routers have been specifically tuned, or set at. Internet-facing ports are a time-tested invitation for exploitation from outside the firm and significant time and effort must be expended to ensure that these ports are all closed while simultaneously enabling only those ports that are critical for the firm to operate. Each time a router is updated, the configuration is lost and must be set again to match corporate policy guidelines; failure to reset the proper configuration causes vulnerabilities inside the firm to reappear.

Understanding some reasons why financial institutions do not invest the proper time needed for router software updates, here are some simple questions for IT security management to simplify the process and ensure protection for wireless networks: (1) Do you have a list of all routers in your organization, the IOS level and the configuration? (2) Have you validated the authenticity of the vendor you purchased your routers from? (3) When was the last time you checked your routers’ configuration and does it match policy? (4) Have you checked that it hasn’t been modified on a daily or weekly basis? (5) Are you logging improper events and staying vigilant? (6) Are you continuously making sure that there are no open ports facing the internet?

Due diligence on the part of maintaining your bank’s many routers can go a long way in ensuring that your customers – and their trust – remain loyal.

Gabberty is a professor of information systems at Pace University in New York City. An alumnus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and New York University Polytechnic Institute, he has served as an expert witness in telecommunication and information security at the federal and state levels and holds numerous certifications from SANS & ISACA.

Note: This article first appeared on Banking.com on June 26th, 2014.

Timothy Clancy at Pace to Talk About Cyber Security Policy

Earlier this afternoon, Timothy Clancy of Arch Street LLC gave a presentation on Cyber Security at Pace. Cyber Security is one of Seidenberg’s 4 academic initiatives and an incredibly fruitful field for academics and careers. 

Clancy spoke of Cyber Security in terms of 5 paradigms under the umbrella of Critical Infrastructure Protection. These paradigms include Law Enforcement, Military, Intelligence, Diplomacy, and Economics with economics being the focal point of Clancy’s presentation.

Clancy described Cyber Security as a socio-technical issue rather than just a technology issue. The faults can lie in many aspects of a program, and breeches in security are surrounded by ambiguity. Everyone wants to know: who is organizing the attack, what are they attacking, from wherehow, and what are the consequences? And to answer those questions, Clancy prompts: ‘Who ya gonna call?’ The Ghostbusters won’t help in most cases, so who is available? DHS? DoD? CISCO? DOJ? Or are they (like CISCO, for example) the ones selling vulnerabilities in a box? These are the problems that engineers and policymakers are up to their necks in. In response to these issues, Clancy mentions Dan Geer’s statements (Dan Geer is a Computer Security and Risk Management specialist associated with MIT and CertCo) about problems engineers must tackle when programming, “Fast, Cheap, Reliable. Choose two,” and similarly for policymakers, “Freedom, Security, Convenience. Choose two.”

On a graph, the space between network complexity over time and security over time has grown exponentially since the mid 1980s. If this pattern continues (which has a high likelihood), Clancy states that Cyber Security will provide “jobs for life if [one is] willing to go into it,” and the most useful tools for tackling issues of governance, liability, and insurance against security attacks are research and education. Both research and education of Cyber Security are held at high importance here at Seidenberg.