Tag Archives: security

The Story of a Security Guy at the Marketing Conference

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Filed under General Security, Social Networks
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Last week I was asked by some of my social media acquaintances to be a panelist on a end of the day keynote at the Online Marketing Summit (OMS) held in Cleveland, OH.  The first thing you are probably wondering is “What the hell is a security guy doing at a marketing conference”?  Let me explain.  This isn’t the first time I have done something like this and it probably won’t be the last.  Read on.

In many companies the marketing, public relations, HR and other “business” functions really don’t want anything to do with security.  It’s true.  We always get in the way by stopping money making and/or great marketing ideas with phrases like “If you do that…the hax0rs are going to pwn us!” or “No you can’t, that’s against our security policy.  Go away now.”  Unfortunately, all it takes is one bad experience from the “security people” and they won’t want to work with you ever again.  I’ve seen it happen many times and I’ve even been “that evil security guy” at various times in my career.

It’s because of this bull headed attitude that these departments start finding ways around your policies, procedures, website blocking and more.  Why? Because security people are increasingly impossible to deal with.  Too much red tape, policies, rules and most of all…lack of communication.  That’s right, I said it.  Lack of good communication.  When was the last time you talked to these people in your company?  When was the last time you offered to help them with a compromise or solution rather then saying no?  This might be a shock to some of you but these are the people helping make the business money.  All of us in security are just an extra expense to the business.  Don’t make our jobs harder!  Here are three steps to help communicate to these people better:

1. Get out of your shell
We love to hang out and network at security conferences and user groups.  It makes sense because we are comfortable around our own people.  However, take a step back and think about what the “business needs” for a minute.  You are there to help the business succeed.  So go out and help them!  One way to do this is to attend a marketing conference.  Seriously.  You get to meet and talk to people that want to help the business make money and know how to do it.  You also get to learn what the business wants.  This will get you thinking about how you as the “security person” can help make that happen while keeping the business and its information safe.

2. Learn something new
What does marketing have to do with security?  All kinds of things!  SEO, blogging, social networking, social media, brand reputation, monitoring and more.  These are hot topics right now and there are serious security and privacy issues to be concidered.  You need to be involved!  The best way to do this is to attend their conferences, read their blogs and communicate.  One good way to get involved is to look for a local social media club in your area.  We have a great one in Cleveland and there are others in cities all over the US and probably the world.  Attend, learn and network.  It can only benefit you and your company.  Same goes if you are a consultant.  Meeting marketing people is a great way to get new business because they usually have a direct line to upper management at a company.  They will also be so impressed that a security person actually took the time to show up to a marketing conference…they might call upper management for you. 🙂

3. Teach and Educate
We have all “beaten the horse to death” regarding security awareness.  Many in security say it doesn’t work and is a hopeless battle.  While there is no patch for human stupidity, you still need to make an effort.  If anything, by you as the “security person” showing up at the marketing departments monthly meeting it shows that security wants to be involved with what they are doing.  This alone says volumes!  Especially to management of those groups.  Get out there and explain why you have certain policies, how the security team functions or better yet…how you can help them market the business and do it securely.

My Thoughts on the New Facebook Privacy Controls

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Filed under Privacy on the Internetz, Social Networks
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Ever since I started the Facebook Privacy & Security Guide back in October 2008 I knew that Facebook’s privacy settings were confusing for the average user.  Many of my concerns back then centered around friends and family that had no idea there were even privacy settings to configure on Facebook.  It has also never been in Facebook’s financial interest to *really* show you how to protect the information you post.  These are all reasons was why I started the guide and hopefully over the last few years it has helped spread some awareness on how to control the information you post a little better.  Working on the guide has been frustrating at times because Facebook would make settings more confusing, remove settings that were useful and then bring them back again in some other form.  In the latest versions of the guide I often wondered how I was going to fit all the settings and their explanations into a two-sided handout.  The handout format has always been important to me so it could be easily distributed. 🙂

Jumping forward to today we see yet another iteration of these settings.  I don’t have the settings on my Facebook account yet so I haven’t updated the guide but I have read some of the information already out there.  The EFF has a good post up about the new settings.  They even have a YouTube video showing you the changes and their recommendations.  The other post you should read is one by theharmonyguy who, as always, has very good analysis of these settings and Facebook overall.

My thoughts are pretty much along the same lines as the EFF and others.  However, I will say that no matter what changes Facebook makes to their privacy settings they *will* find ways to use your information to make money.  This is Mark Zuckerberg’s business model and that won’t change anytime soon.  I will leave you with a fantastic quote that I think sums up all the media drama leading up to these new privacy controls.  This is a quote from Bruce Schneier.  It’s from an article he did for Forbes regarding statements that “Privacy is Dead”:

“It’s just not true. People, including the younger generation, still care about privacy. Yes, they’re far more public on the Internet than their parents: writing personal details on Facebook, posting embarrassing photos on Flickr and having intimate conversations on Twitter. But they take steps to protect their privacy and vociferously complain when they feel it violated. They’re not technically sophisticated about privacy and make mistakes all the time, but that’s mostly the fault of companies and Web sites that try to manipulate them for financial gain.”

Notacon 7 – Things to Do and Talks to Attend

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Filed under Cleveland, Hacking
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The con that is Notacon is upon us. Notacon is one of the best con’s I have ever attended!  It’s a great mix of hacking, security, art, technology and everything in between.  It’s also small enough to network with others…oh, and its in Cleveland which means its affordable!  Things get started tonight with a free preview beginning at 7pm! Some of the speakers will be giving previews of their talks so go check it out if you can.

Just like previous years, there are some really cool events you need to attend including Whose Slide is it Anyway, the Friday night experience and Blockparty!  This year the lock picking village is sponsored by Cleveland Locksport and be sure to check out Deviant Ollam’s new challenge the Defiant Box. Security Justice will also have a live show at 11pm Friday night in the Notacon Radio room. As for talks, this years lineup looks great!  Here are my picks of talks to attend this year:

Friday
Mick Douglas (from PaulDotCom Security Weekly) – U R Doin it Wrong Info Disclosure over P2P Networks
Tiffany Rad – Hacking Your Car: Reverse Engineering Protocols, Legalities and the Right to Repair Act
Brad Smith – Stealing from God!
Emily Schooley – Independent Filmmaking – Bringing Your Ideas from Paper to the Screen, and Everything in Between
Nicolle “rogueclown” Neulist – Hey, Don’t Call That Guy A Noob: Toward a More Welcoming Hacker Community
int eighty – Malicious PDF Analysis
catfood – Why Your Software Project Sucks (and how to make it not suck)
Dead Addict – Hidden Trust relationships, an exploration
Jeff “ghostnomad” Kirsch – The Haiku of Security: Complexity through Simplicity
David Kennedy (rel1k) – The Social-Engineering Toolkit (SET) – Putting cool back into SE

Saturday
Adrian Crenshaw (IronGeek) – Anti-forensics
James Arlen, Chris Clymer, Mick Douglas, and Brandon Knight – Social Engineering Security Into Your Business
James Arlen, Leigh Honeywell, Tiffany Rad and Jillian Loslo – Hacking The Future: Weaponizing the Next Generation
Melissa Barron – Hacking 73H 0r3g0n 7r41L for the Apple ][
Tom Eston, Chris Clymer, Matthew Neely, The Confused Greenies – Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse (did you see our preview?)
James Arlen – SCADA and ICS for Security Experts: How to avoid cyberdouchery
Eleanor Saitta – Designing the Future of Sex

Also on Saturday night don’t miss Dual Core at 8pm!  I’ll be around at the con hanging out so if you see me stop and say Hi.  See you there!