Feeds

RSA appoints security chief amid blistering criticism

Welcome, Mr. Schwartz, and good luck

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

RSA has appointed its first chief security officer, three months after a data theft on its network contributed to the hack of the world's biggest defense contractor, and possibly other important customers.

RSA awarded the position to Eddie Schwartz, who held a similar title at NetWitness, the security monitoring firm acquired in April by RSA parent EMC. NetWitness helped untangle the RSA security breach in March that led to the theft of sensitive information of the company's flagship SecureID, which is used by 40 million employees to access confidential networks.

“Good luck to @eddieschwartz,” security blogger Martin McKeay said, in a Twitter dispatch that Schwartz retweeted. “Only job more public and challenging at the moment would be CSO of Sony.” Schwartz then appended the words “I am UP for it! Thanks” to the short post.

RSA has come under blistering criticism partly for falling victim to the attack, but even more so for its handling of the matter afterward. The company disclosed the breach in an undated and vaguely worded letter that said only that undisclosed data had been stolen that “could potentially be used to reduce the effectiveness of a current two-factor authentication implementation as part of a broader attack.”

It went on to remind customers to follow rudimentary security precautions, including enforcing strong password and pin policies and re-educating employees on the importance of avoiding suspicious emails.

The company has steadfastly refused to address basic questions that would inevitably follow, including were the cryptographic seed values used to generate a token's pseudo-random number exposed and was the mechanism that maps a token's serial number to its seed leaked? Without the answers, customers have no way to independently assess the security of SecurID, which is why The Register has suggested they adopt the worst-case scenario and assume the product is broken.

Earlier this week, Lockheed Martin validated this advice when it admitted that SecurID data pilfered from RSA was “a direct contributing factor” in a separate intrusion that occurred last month on Lockheed's network. The defense contractor, which makes fighter planes, spy satellites and other gear related to national security, is in the process of replacing all its fobs and requiring workers to change their passwords.

RSA recently agreed to replace most customers' security tokens, and that's a step in the right direction. But it comes three months too late, and the company has plenty of work ahead of it if it's ever going to restore its reputation for trust and security.

So congratulations, Mr. Schwartz, and good luck. You're going to need it. ®

SANS - Survey on application security programs

Whitepapers

Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.