02 July 2015


Posts relating to the category tag "preventative" are listed below.

17 March 2015

Payment Security and PCI DSS Compliance 2015

Verizon has published its annual PCI Compliance Report 2015 covering data up to the end of 2014, describing compliance, the sustainability of controls and ongoing risk management.

Partial screen capture from the Verizon report 'PCI Compliance Report 2015' showing one of the many charts

PCI Compliance Report 2015 analyses information from PCI Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) assessments undertaken by Verizon between 2012 and 2014, together with additional data from forensic investigation reports.

It describes the challenges of maintaining compliance and mentions the scale and complexity of requirements, uncertainty about scope and impact, the ongoing compliance cycle, lack of resources, lack of insight into business processes and misplaced confidence in existing information security maturity.

Each main requirement has a dedicated section summarising the changes in v3.0, describing the compliance challenges found, and providing recommendations for maintaining security and compliance. The authors describe methods they consider should be used to make compliance easier, more effective and sustainable.

There is a useful "compliance calendar" in Appendix C of the report which shows the periodic and other triggers for certain activities across the 12 requirements. A "must read" if you are a payment merchant or service provider.

Posted on: 17 March 2015 at 08:46 hrs

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03 March 2015

User Interface Modifications to Combat Buyer Fraud

A paper published for the 2015 Network and Distributed System Security (NDSS) Symposium in February describes user interface modification techniques to address liar buyer fraud, and the results of experiments assessing the potential for these to reduce ecommerce fraud losses.

Title from the paper 'Liar Buyer Fraud, and How to Curb It' by Markus Jakobsson, Hossein Siadati and Mayank Dhiman

Liar Buyer Fraud, and How to Curb It authors Markus Jakobsson, Hossein Siadati and Mayank Dhiman describe "liar buyer" fraud, how traditional anti-fraud technology fails to curb this problem, and details the results of experiments of proposed alternative techniques to reduce the problem.

The authors explain that liar buyer fraudsters are generally not repeat fraudsters, but are otherwise honest people who are first-time offenders that act fraudulently as the result of temporary poor judgement. This manifests itself in claims that deliveries were not made. It is believed that at least a quarter, and as much as half, of direct fraud affecting some organisations is the result of liar buyer fraud.

The ideas considered by the authors for their research involve changes to the user interface that promote user honesty:

  1. Disclosure that the customer's computer/device has been recognised
  2. Disclosure of the customer's location (e.g. IP address, post code or location map)
  3. Production of statements by the delivery person
  4. Simplifying methods of goods return
  5. Forcing the customer to make a promise
  6. Attending to angry and upset customers carefully.

The research focused on the first two of these and found they have a significant reduction in customer's willingness to file false claims. The other options look promising and, perhaps with the exception of the third approach, could be undertaken by real-world retailers in A/B/N testing.

Posted on: 03 March 2015 at 07:48 hrs

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27 February 2015

Register Today for OWASP AppSec EU 2015 in Amsterdam

The leading application security training and conference event is being held in Amsterdam from 19th to 22nd May 2015. Register today.

Photograph of houses overlooking boats on a canal in Amsterdam - the location for OWASP AppSec EU 2015

OWASP AppSec EU 2015 is being held in the Amsterdam RAI Convention Centre just a single train stop from both Schiphol Airport in one direction, and central station in the other.

AppSec EU 2015 comprises:

It looks like it will be a superb event. Thanks to the event team for their work to date.

And of course, there is everything else Amsterdam has to offer.

Registration is open, but the price increases on 1st March (this Sunday), and there is another higher charge for tickets bought at the door. Amsterdam RAI Hotel and Travel Service is the official accommodation partner of OWASP AppSec EU 2015. Lastly, there are still a few sponsorship packages available.

Posted on: 27 February 2015 at 09:32 hrs

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20 February 2015

Software Assurance Maturity Model Practitioner Workshop

The OWASP Open Software Assurance Maturity Model (Open SAMM) team are holding a summit in Dublin at the end of March.

Extract from the Open Software Assurance Maturity Model (Open SAMM) document that describes the four business functions - governance, construction, verification, and deployment

As part of the two-day Open SAMM Summit 2015 a full day is being allocated to software assurance practitioners and those who want to learn about using the vendor-neutral and free Open SAMM to help measure, build and maintain security throughout the software development lifecycle.

Open SAMM helps organisations formulate and implement a strategy for software security that is tailored to the specific risks facing the organisation. The resources provided by SAMM assist:

  • Evaluating an organisation's existing software security practices
  • Building a balanced software security programme in well-defined iterations
  • Demonstrating concrete improvements to a security assurance program
  • Defining and measuring security-related activities within an organisation.

There seems to be plenty activity in the project. Keep up-to-date by following or joining the mailing list.

The users day, on Friday 27th March, is a combination of presentations, workshops and round-table discussions to help explain the approach, to make best use of a maturity model, to show how SAMM is being used by other companies, and to describe some upcoming project initiatives. The user day runs from 08:00 for 09:00 hrs through to 17:00 hrs, and is followed in the evening by an optional social event. Attendance is limited to the first 40 people who register and costs 150 EUR + VAT (21%). Travel, accommodation, subsistence at your own cost.

The following day, the SAMM project team, and any other volunteers who want to participate, will be working on creating outputs for the project.

The event is being held at The Gibson Hotel at Point Village Dublin 1, Ireland.

Posted on: 20 February 2015 at 09:59 hrs

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17 February 2015

AppSensor Now A Flagship OWASP Project

I was extremely pleased at the release of the v2 AppSensor reference implementation inJanuary. Now I am excited that the Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP) has elevated the project's status.

Photograph of a green pendant flag flying against a blue sky

The completely voluntary OWASP project task force, led by Johanna Curiel, has been working through a backlog of project reviews. Over the last couple of years OWASP AppSensor Project has delivered significant steps in the coverage, quality, and depth of outputs. In fact it is also the only OWASP project that is both a documentation type of project, and a code one.

OWASP has promoted the project to the highest level - Flagship status. As co-leader with John Melton and Dennis Groves, and project founder Michael Coates, I am thrilled with this recognition.

OWASP's project inventory includes nine other Flagship projects and defines flagship status as:

The goal of OWASP Flagship projects is to identify, highlight, and support mainstream OWASP projects that make up a complete application security product of high quality and value to the software security industry. These projects are selected for their strategic value to OWASP and application security as a whole.

OWASP Flagship projects represent projects that are not only mature, but are also projects that OWASP as an organization provides direct support to maintaining. The core mission of OWASP is to make application security visible and so as an organization, OWASP has a vested interest in the success of its Flagship projects. Since Flagship projects have such high visibility, these projects are expected to uphold the most stringent requirements of all OWASP Projects.

It is important to remember all the people who have volunteered their time and effort to reach this stage. So many good and generous people.

Mark Miller has just interviewed John Melton about the OWASP AppSensor Project as part of the OWASP 24/7 podcast series. He provides an overview of application-specific attack detection and response, discusses what is new in version 2.0.0, explains the architectural options, describes the process flow, and mentions what else is on the roadmap.

AppSensor will be participating in this year's AppSec EU application security conference in Amsterdam, from 19th to 22nd May 2015. I hope you can make it.

Posted on: 17 February 2015 at 07:55 hrs

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10 February 2015

NIST SP 800-163 Vetting the Security of Mobile Applications

In the last of my run of three mobile app related posts, US standards body National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has released Special Publication (SP) 800-163 Vetting the Security of Mobile Applications.

One of the tables from NIST SP 800-163 'Vetting the Security of Mobile Applications' showing top level general categories of iOS app vulnerabilities

SP 800-163 is for organisations that plan to implement a mobile app vetting process or consume app vetting results from other parties. It is also intended for developers that are interested in understanding the types of software vulnerabilities that may arise in their apps during the software development life cycle (SDLC). The report is grouped into planning, testing and app approval/rejection sections:

  • Planning
    • Security requirements
    • Understanding vetting limitations
    • Budget and staffing
  • Testing
    • General app security requirements
    • Testing approaches
    • Sharing results
  • App approval/rejection
    • Report and risk auditing
    • Organisation-specific vetting criteria
    • Final approval/rejection.

The guidance is practical and highlights risks that are mobile app specific as well as general application security risks. Appendices B & C provide helpful categorised lists of Android and iOS mobile app vulnerability types respectively.

Posted on: 10 February 2015 at 07:48 hrs

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30 January 2015

OWASP AppSensor Code v2.0.0 Final Release

I was extremely pleased to read yesterday that the final version of the new AppSensor reference implementation has been published following three previous release candidates.

Screen capture from the AppSensor microsite developed by John Melton for the OWASP AppSensor Project

The OWASP AppSensor project defines a conceptual framework and methodology that offers prescriptive guidance to implement application intrusion detection and automated response.

John Melton with the help of other code contributors and feedback from the project's code development mailing list have finished a complete overhaul of the previous code. In the words of the version 2.0.0 announcement, the most significant changes are:

  • Client-server architecture supporting multiple communication modes including: REST, SOAP, Thrift, local (shared JVM, java-only)
  • Any language can be used on the client application. The only requirement is that the language selected must support the communication protocol of the execution mode that is configured (i.e. if using REST as the execution mode, the language must be capable of making HTTP requests.) The server-side components are Java, but this places no restriction on the client applications themselves
  • There is no longer a hard dependency on [OWASP] ESAPI. AppSensor is a standalone project, though it can be integrated with projects that also use ESAPI if desired
  • The core components of the system have been renamed and now follow the AppSensor v2 book naming conventions, which is based on standard IDS terminology for clarity
  • Basic user correlation is supported so that client applications that share a user base (SSO) can share attack detection/response information.

John also created a special AppSensor microsite.

This is all free to use (see code licence). Begin using the new code with the getting started information.

Posted on: 30 January 2015 at 08:26 hrs

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23 January 2015

Undertaking by Office for Data Protection Act Breach

UK privacy regulator The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has published details of its enforcement action against shoe retailer Office.

Partial screen capture of a page from Office e-commerce website www.office.co.uk

The action relates to the unauthorised access of more than a million customer records on a legacy system that was not being protected adequately.

Office Holdings Ltd has signed an undertaking to comply with the fifth (retention) and seventh (security) data protection principles.

The undertaking requires Office to:

  • Undertake regular penetration testing of its websites and servers
  • Implement new data protection policy documents, including a retention and disposal policy for customer data
  • Provide initial and refresher formal data protection training to all Office employees
  • Implement any other security measures as necessary to protect personal data
  • Only retain personal data as long as necessary.

Office seem lucky not to have been fined. There is nothing above that they shouldn't already have been doing and "exposure of decommissioned software/services" is one of the most common classes of IT security vulnerabilities in online systems that result in failures to secure personal data identified by the ICO last May. This document was published by the ICO at about the same time as the Office incident occurred so I think other retailers have been warned and would not be treated as lightly for a similar breach now.

Posted on: 23 January 2015 at 08:34 hrs

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16 January 2015

New Application Security Program Quick Start Guide

WhiteHat Security has donated a getting started guide to the Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP).

To be successful, we should aim for a program that is more than simply testing sites and delivering results to stake holders. Those activities represent just two of the many inputs and outputs necessary to reduce the risk associated with web applications.

The Application Security Program Quick Start Guide provides information on setting up or improving a software development security initiative, and is now an OWASP project. It was created by Gabriel Gumbs, Jeremiah Grossman, Robert Hansen, Jerry Hoff and Matt Johansen. The guide is arranged in "5 days" of actions, which might be somewhat hopeful, but is a useful summary of what WhiteHat has found to work elsewhere.

The version 1.0 document is available in Word and PDF formats. The guide is free to use and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Posted on: 16 January 2015 at 19:10 hrs

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09 January 2015

FTC Final Order Against Snapchat

Following a public comment period in May-June 2014, at the end of December the US consumer protection body Federal Trade Commission has approved a final order settling charges against Snapchat that lasts for twenty years.

Part of the FTC's final order against Snapchat Inc showing the text 'VII. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that respondent within ninety (90) days after the date of service of this order, shall file with the Commission a true and accurate report, in writing, setting forth in detail the manner and form of its compliance with this order. Within ten (10) days of receipt of written notice from a representative of the Commission, it shall submit an additional true and accurate written report. VIII. This order will terminate on December 23, 2034, or twenty (20) years from the most recent date that the United States or the Commission files a complaint (with or without an accompanying consent decree) in federal court alleging any violation of the order, whichever comes later; provided, however, that the filing of such a complaint will not affect the duration of: A. any Part in this order that terminates in fewer than twenty (20) years; B. this order's application to any respondent that is not named as a defendant in such complaint; and C. this order if such complaint is filed after the order has terminated pursuant to this Part.'

The charges related to how Snapchat deceived consumers about the automatic deletion of private images sent through the service.

The key FTC documents are:

The final order, 23rd December 2014::

  • Prohibits Snapchat from misrepresenting how its products or services maintain and protect the privacy, security, or confidentiality of any covered information
  • Requires Snapchat to establish and implement, and thereafter maintain, a comprehensive privacy program
  • Requires Snapchat to obtain an initial and, for 20 years, biennial assessments and reports from a qualified, objective, independent third-party professional, who uses procedures and standards generally accepted in the profession
  • Requires Snapchat to retain for 5 years records of all communications, complaints, notifications about possible order compliance failures, and assessment materials
  • Requires Snapchat to ensure it provides a copy of the order, and keep evidence of this, to all current and future subsidiaries, current and future principals, officers, directors, and managers, and to all current and future employees, agents, and representatives having responsibilities relating to the subject matter of the order
  • Requires Snapchat to notify the FTC of relevant corporate structure changes
  • Requires Snapchat to provide, within 90 days of the order, a document detailing the manner and form of its compliance with the order.

The order ends on 23rd December 2034 — an additional twenty year compliance overhead on top of the privacy program they should already have had in place.

I wonder if US consumers are also affected by the Moonpig API saga.

Posted on: 09 January 2015 at 08:42 hrs

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Preventative : Application Security and Privacy
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