Affective Forecasting Strikes Again! standard

Oh yes, that’s a real thing even if YOUR browser thinks “affective” is not a word and shames it with a red squiggly. Affective forecasting is the act of predicting an emotional reaction to some hypothetical future event. We use it frequently. Have you ever filled out a survey that asked you how likely you would be to refer a friend to some company? That’s affective forecasting. Affective forecasting has great uses, but it has serious drawbacks. In my research on the Consumer’s Attitudes Toward Breaches, we learned that nearly every survey related to the study of breached merchants was flawed. In fact, when you ask someone how they will react to a hypothetical event, societal norms will kick in ...

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Does Age Determine How Quickly Shoppers Return? standard

Here’s another visualization to consider based on demographic data generated from my Consumer Attitudes Toward Breaches research (sponsored by MAC). Did age matter when it came to how quickly shoppers returned to a breached merchant? The data seemed to have a couple of stand-out bumps. Below is a graph that shows, on average, how quickly consumers returned to stores after a breach, grouped by age. The trend seems to be such that, in general, the youngest groups are more likely to return to a breached merchant before the older groups.  The middle two age groups are virtually identical up to the fourth digit past the decimal point—enough to consider them equal. What this means for management, is that younger generations ...

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Secure SSH, Go Beyond the Defaults standard

Secure Shell, or ssh, quickly became the replacement for telnet, rlogin, and rsh once system and network administrators realized how easy it was to capture credentials and modify traffic in flight. It’s the stuff out of movies. An administrator is logging into a system with an elevated account (such as root) while a bad guy is snooping all of the traffic and displaying the stream on his screen. He’s got all the credentials and can see everything that administrator is doing. Or worse, he’s sitting in between the administrator and his equipment and modifying the keystrokes from the administrator before forwarding them to the device. Cue the dramatic music. After its release over twenty years ago, it has seen near ...

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The UCF Common Controls Hub, You Need This Thang! standard

Full disclosure, I was contacted by UCF’s marketing folks and given a demo of the Common Controls Hub, but I did not receive any compensation for this post. These are my thoughts. You get the call from the boss you have been dreading for weeks. “Jimmy, it’s time to add FISMA to our control set, and we need to be compliant in three weeks. GO!” Great, another compliance initiative to work into the alphabet soup of controls-pain that haunts security professionals. More standards means more work to make sure that the standard control set you use in your organization will cover any new requirements you face. Compliance and Security frameworks often overlap, and usually just have a small number of ...

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Two reports, many questions standard

April was a busy month for consumers of information security reports as two highly cited reports released 2016 versions: the Trustwave Global Security Report and the Verizon DBIR. And shortly thereafter, security luminaries start picking them apart for various reasons. One of the challenges with these reports is the datasets have some bias. Early on in the DBIR, the bias was substantial because the only data used in the analysis came from Verizon. As the report gained wider distribution, more datasets were included to reduce the bias. Make no mistake, there is still bias in the data as it only represents a subset of what is actually happening in the industry. You can even tell how different Trustwave’s & Verizon’s ...

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What an IRS Scam Sounds Like standard

Like many of you, I have come to the realization that people not in my contact list who actually use their voices to communicate with me over this texting machine usually want something from me—many times, a sales pitch. I’ve given up on answering most of these calls. For the few that leave a message, I will return it if it’s important. Hopefully people have figured out by now that written communication is preferred in many instances. I recently got one of those robo-dialers to leave me a generic, threatening message (which you can listen to here) that meets many of the requirements of good social engineering. The transcript is below (apologies for the bad copy in two areas, the ...

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The Beginning of the End, No PCI DSS 4.0 in 2016 standard

Taking a cue from infosec luminary Bill Brenner, how about some mood music? Browsing Twitter last night brought me to this tweet about PCI DSS in 2016. Anybody else notice that the new redesign for the @PCISSC website is conspicuously missing the current lifecycle status #noversion4 — James Adamson (@jameskadamson) February 25, 2016 Indeed, earlier this month the Council posted a blog that revealed that PCI DSS 3.2 was the next version of the Standard, and would be the only release in 2016. I’ve previewed the proposed changes in 3.2, and I think this is a good approach for the Council this year. We can continue to debate the efficacy of the standard ad nauseam, but unless we’re going to ...

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Does Income Matter for Awareness? standard

Here’s another visualization to consider based on demographical data generated from my Consumer Attitudes Toward Breaches research (sponsored by MAC). Did income levels matter in breach awareness? It appears to have mattered, yes, but not in the way you might expect. Below is a graph that shows how consumers reported their awareness of breaches as separated by income level. When we add weights to our responses to make sure we are comparing apples to apples. What’s interesting here is that the smallest two and largest two income levels were the most aware of the breaches, while the middle three were much less aware. Do lower income segments watch their dollars more closely? Are higher income segments more likely to be ...

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Gender Differences in Breach Awareness standard

Over the next few posts, I’m going to show you a few more visualizations that didn’t make it in my Consumer Attitudes Toward Breaches report (sponsored by MAC). Most were omitted for brevity as they didn’t add anything material to the content already presented. Below is a graph that shows how consumers reported their awareness of breaches as separated by gender—pink for female, baby blue for male. What made this interesting to me was that even though males were generally more aware of breaches than females, but the two breaches where females were more aware (Michael’s and Target) seem to target that demographic. The respondents split the gender line at almost 50/50 (11 more females responded than males of the 1031 responses). ...

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Consumer’s Attitudes on Breaches? Meh. standard

Fear, uncertainty, and doubt… three very dirty words when pushing products at security and IT professionals. Commonly known as FUD, it’s one of the techniques that sales and marketing folks use to create discomfort in their targets. If I can highlight a serious problem to you (and make you think that you have this problem), I might be able to sell you my solution that will make that problem go away. In the information security product space, one of the biggest claims that vendors make is that security breaches impact your brand’s value. I once said that in front of the CFO of a large retail establishment and was quickly called out for making such a general statement (he called ...

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