Brian Krebs answers questions


IDCardForBlogBrian Krebs did an AMA on Reddit today answering a bunch of questions people had for him. I suggest taking a browse through his answers.
A few quotes stood out for me.
Q: Why do you think organizations seem to prefer “learning these lessons the hard way”? It doesn’t seem to be an information gap, as most IT executives say security is important and most individual contributors share risks upward with specific steps that can be taken to remediate risks. Given the huge costs for some breaches, why do you think more organizations don’t take the easy, preventative approach?

Security in general is a hard sell. It does nothing to contribute to the bottom line, and it very often gets in the way of productivity, or stands in the way of business getting done in the way that the business has always done it. Aside from the up-front investments required, it’s even more difficult to justify sustained expenditures on security, because it’s hard to put a price on a thing not happening (that thing being a breach or incident). Full Answer

Q: We saw what happened to big-box retail last year. What’s the next big vertical to be hit?

[…] my sense is that insurance firms and healthcare providers of all sizes will be the big target, if they’re not already; they have financial and identity data, and they are ripe targets for extortion (the pay-us-or-we’ll-leak-all-your-patient-data type extortion). Full answer

Q: Android Pay, Apple Pay, and any other emerging NFC payment technologies – Do you see these as friend or foe to financial institutions?

I think mobile payments is almost a distraction from the real issue: which is how are financial institutions maturing their ability to onboard new customers beyond requiring them to regurgitate static identifiers (name, dob, ssn, address, previous address, etc) — information, by the way, which is all for sale in the underground. If you’re an FI and you’re not going beyond that stuff, all these emerging payment technologies aren’t going to help much with your fraud losses; if anything, they will compound them. Full Answer

Q: What do you think about risk vs. prevention? Has everyone “already been breached” as some analysts say?

Good cybersecurity is not about eliminating risks, but rather about managing them to an acceptable degree. There are trade-offs between security and usability, for example, or between security and privacy to a degree. I don’t believe that everyone has already been breached — not to the degree they’ve had material losses. But give it time, sure. Full Answer

Q: What about “hacktivists”?

I have a grudging respect for a lot of people involved in traditional cybercrime activities; they may have predictable and highly suspect justifications for their actions, but a lot of these guys truly are pros and have really dedicated themselves to their profession. But that’s never stopped me from outing someone who has sloppy operational security. Full Answer

Go check out the whole thing.

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