Going Analog: Tom Kellermann Emerging Cyberthreats

John speaks with Tom Kellermann, Chief Cybersecurity Officer at Carbon Black, about emerging cyberthreats and what we can do to protect ourselves.

About Tom Kellermann

Tom Kellermann is the Chief Cybersecurity Officer for Carbon Black Inc. Prior to joining Carbon Black, Tom was the CEO and founder of Strategic Cyber Ventures. On January 19, 2017, Tom was appointed the Wilson Center’s Global Fellow for Cyber Policy in 2017.

Tom previously held the positions of Chief Cybersecurity Officer for Trend Micro; Vice President of Security for Core Security and Deputy CISO for the World Bank Treasury.

In 2008 Tom was appointed a commissioner on the Commission on Cyber Security for the 44th President of the United States. In 2003 he co-authored the Book “Electronic Safety and Soundness: Securing Finance in a New Age.”

Kellermann believes, “In order to wage the counter-insurgency we must spin the chess board. The killchain is obsolete – we must measure success of disruption of attacker behavior. Understanding root cause is paramount. Combination of TTPs define intent. Cyber is All about context and intent/cognition.”

About Cybersecurity Author & Expert John Sileo

John Sileo is an award-winning author and Hall of Fame Speaker who specializes in providing security awareness training that’s as entertaining as it is educational. John energizes conferences, corporate trainings and main-stage events by interacting with the audience throughout his presentations. His clients include the Pentagon, Schwab and organizations of all sizes. John got started in cybersecurity when he lost everything, including his $2 million business, to cybercrime. Since then, he has shared his experiences on 60 Minutes, Anderson Cooper, and even while cooking meatballs with Rachel Ray. Contact John directly to see how he can customize his presentations to your audience.

How to Turbocharge your Cybersecurity Awareness Training

Security awareness training can’t be a boring afterthought if it’s going to work. 

Own it. Secure it. Protect it. 

Those are the key themes for this year’s National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, coming up in October, and it’s good advice. Unfortunately, it’s the same message your trainees have been hearing for years and, at this point, they’ve largely tuned it out.

The challenge isn’t creating a pithy slogan. It’s turning advice into action and an enduring “culture of security.” At this point, cybersecurity is on the radar for most companies, and the smart ones make it a priority. To achieve their cybersecurity goals, many organizations implement cybersecurity awareness training sessions, which seek to educate the rank and file on threats and how to thwart them. When done well, these initiatives can be a way to focus the entire organization — and can greatly reduce the risk of data breach, cyberextortion or damaging disinformation campaigns.

When not done well, you’ll be lucky if your team remembers the words cybersecurity awareness as they shuffle out the door — no doubt refreshed after scrolling through Facebook or watching the latest Taylor Swift video.

The problem is that many security programs are actually less than the sum of their parts for the simple reason that they don’t have an overarching end goal. Sure, the objective is to educate your team on emerging threats so your company is more secure, but that’s a nebulous goal. And because it’s a nebulous goal lacking tangible motivation, your team doesn’t buy in. 

That’s not to say they don’t care about the company’s security. Of course they do — but it’s not personal. 

Unfortunately, when it comes to cybersecurity in the corporate sector, the human element is usually overlooked. This is a mistake. I often hear companies refer to humans as the “weakest link” in cybersecurity, which of course becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Enlightened organizations understand that security is a highly effective competitive differentiator (think Apple) and that humans, when properly trained, are the strongest defense against cyberthreats. Consequently, an effective program must start by getting people — from the top down — invested in the goal and the process. 

I’ve been the opening keynote speaker for hundreds of security awareness programs around the world, many of them outside the bounds of National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, and most of them leave me hungering for more: More engagement, more interaction and more actionable information. In short, more substance. 

Here are a few tips for designing a cybersecurity awareness program that will engage your team and get results.

Ownership

Don’t focus on the CISO, CRO, CIO or CTO. That would just be preaching to the choir. The missing but crucial link in cybersecurity awareness programs tends to be a security “believer” from the executive team or board of directors. Successful programs are clearly led, repeatedly broadcast and constantly emphasized from the very top of the organization — with an attitude of authenticity and immediacy. Whether it’s your CEO at an annual gathering or a board member kicking off National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, your security champion must not only become an evangelist but also have the authority and budget to implement change.

Strategy

Approach your program strategically, and devise a plan to protect your intellectual property, critical data and return on information assets. You’re competing for resources, so build a compelling business case that demonstrates the organization’s ROI in business terms, not buried in technobabble. 

  • What did it cost your competitor when ransomware froze its operation for a week? (e.g., FedEx: $300 million)
  • How much would the training have cost to avoid the CEO whaling scheme that lost a similar-sized company millions of dollars? 
  • What do the directors of compliance, HR and IT have to add to the defense equation? 

The most successful cybersecurity awareness programs have a budget, a staff (however small) and cross-departmental support. Involve the business team and other stakeholders up front to leverage their expertise before rollout.

Methodology

Here’s a litmus test for the potential effectiveness of your security awareness program: Does it begin by focusing on the critical information assets and devices inside of your organization? If so, it’s probably doomed. Why? Because your employees are human beings, and they want to know how this affects them personally before they invest time to protect the organization’s coffers. 

Excellent security awareness kicks off by making data protection personal — building ownership before education. From there, the training must be engaging (dare I say fun?) and interactive (live social engineering) so your audience members pay attention and apply what they learn. Death-by-PowerPoint will put behavioral change to sleep permanently. Highly effective programs build a foundational security reflex (proactive skepticism) and are interesting enough to compete against cute puppy videos and our undying desire for a conference-room snooze.

Sustenance

Best practice security awareness training, like a five-course meal, doesn’t end with the appetizer. Yes, kickoff is best achieved with a high-energy, personally relevant, in-person presentation that communicates the emotional and financial consequences of data loss — but that’s only the beginning. 

From there, your team needs consistent, entertaining follow-up education to keep the fire alive. For example, we’ve found short, funny, casual video tips on the latest cyberthreats to be highly effective (once your team takes ownership for their own data, and yours). Then, add lunch workshops on protecting personal devices, incentive programs for safe behavior, and so on. Culture matures by feeding it consistently.

Measurement

If you don’t measure your progress (and actually demonstrate some), no one will fund next year’s training budget. Here are a few questions I ask when facilitating board retreats on cybersecurity: 

  • What are your cybersecurity awareness training KPIs, your key metrics? 
  • How did successful phishing or social engineering attacks decline as a byproduct of your program? 
  • Has user awareness of threats, policy and solutions increased? 
  • How many employees showed up for the Cybersecurity Awareness Month keynote and fair? 
  • Do your events help employees protect their own data as well?
  • How department-specific are your training modules? 

When you can show quantitative progress, you’ll have the backing to continue building your qualitative culture of security.

Over the long term, a culture of security that reinvents itself as cyberthreats evolve will be far less costly than a disastrous cybercrime that lands your company on the front page. National Cybersecurity Awareness Month is a great catalyst to get your organization thinking about its cybersecurity strategy. Now it’s time to take action.


About Cybersecurity Author & Expert John Sileo

John Sileo is an award-winning author and Hall of Fame Speaker who specializes in providing security awareness training that’s as entertaining as it is educational. John energizes conferences, corporate trainings and main-stage events by interacting with the audience throughout his presentations. His clients include the Pentagon, Schwab and organizations of all sizes. John got started in cybersecurity when he lost everything, including his $2 million business, to cybercrime. Since then, he has shared his experiences on 60 Minutes, Anderson Cooper, and even while cooking meatballs with Rachel Ray. Contact John directly to see how he can customize his presentations to your audience.

Deepfakes: When Seeing May Not Be Believing

Deepfake Bill Hader

How deepfake videos can undermine our elections, the stock markets and our belief in truth itself

Last weekend, attendees at a conference in Las Vegas got quite a surprise. They were waiting for a presentation by Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez and, instead saw his image on a big screen via Skype. During his brief video appearance, the chairman apologized that he was unable to be there in person. In fact, the voice coming out of Perez’s mouth was DNC’s chief security officer Bob Lord and the audience had just been treated to a deepfake video — video that’s been manipulated to make it look like people say or do things they actually didn’t.

The video was shown in the AI Village at DEFCON — one of the world’s largest hacker conventions — to demonstrate the threat deepfakes pose to the 2020 election and beyond. It was made with the cooperation of the DNC; Artificial Intelligence (AI) experts altered Perez’s face to make it look as if he were apologizing, and Lord supplied his voice. 

Watch carefully as Bill Hader turns into Seth Rogan & Tom Cruise!

[For a CNN video primer on deepfakes, click here.]

Remember when Forrest Gump shook hands and spoke with Presidents Kennedy and Nixon? That was an early example of a deepfake video. More recently, and less innocuous, was a video of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, altered to make it appear that she was drunk and slurring her words. The video went viral and was viewed more than 3 million times. For some viewers, it confirmed their disdain for Nancy Pelosi; for others, it simply confirmed that they can’t trust the other side of the political spectrum. It’s troubling that neither of these reactions is based in fact.

In the 25 years since Forrest Gump introduced manipulated video, sophisticated AI has been developed to create nearly undetectable deepfakes. Not only has the technology improved, but the nefarious uses have proliferated. Take deepfake porn, where a victim’s face is superimposed on the body of a porn actor. It’s often used as a weapon against women.  Actress Scarlett Johansson, whose face was grafted onto dozens of pornographic scenes using free online AI software, is one famous example, but it happens to ordinary women, too. Just for a second, imagine your daughter or son, husband or wife being targeted by deepfake porn to destroy their reputation or settle an old score. As the technology becomes less expensive and more available, that is what we face.

Until recently, the warnings about deepfakes in the U.S. have focused on political ramifications, most notably their expected use in the 2020 election. Imagine a doctored video of a candidate saying they’re changing their position on gun control, for example. In June, during a House Intelligence Committee hearing on the issue, experts warned that there are multiple risks, including to national security: What if our enemies post a video of President Trump saying he’s just launched nuclear weapons at Russia or North Korea? 

The business community and financial markets may also be targeted. A video of Jeff Bezos warning of low quarterly Amazon results could cause a sell-off of Amazon stock, for instance. Bezos has the platform to quickly respond, but by the time he’s corrected the record, real damage could be done. Similarly, CEOs of lesser-known companies could be targeted, say the night before an IPO or new product launch. 

There’s currently a kind of arms race occurring between those developing deepfake technology and those developing ways to detect the altered videos — and the good guys are losing. 

In an interview with The Washington Post in June, Hany Farid, a computer science professor and digital forensics expert at the University of California at Berkeley said, “We are outgunned. The number of people working on the video-synthesis side, as opposed to the detector side, is 100 to 1.”

Soon, we may all be awash in deepfake video, unable to detect truth from fiction, and this is perhaps the most worrying aspect. We already live in an age where more than half the U.S. population distrusts the media, the government and their neighbors, and belief in conspiracy theories is on the rise. A staggering one in 10 Americans don’t believe we landed on the moon — 18% of the nonbelievers are between the ages of 18 and 34 — and a 2018 poll found that one-third of Americans don’t believe that 6 million Jews were murdered in the Holocaust. That’s to say nothing of the people worldwide who deny the Holocaust ever happened. 

Historically, the best way to refute conspiracy theorists has been video proof. The countless hours of footage of the Allies liberating concentration camps, the 9/11 attacks and that grainy film of Neil Armstrong planting the American flag on the moon couldn’t be denied. Until now. 

In a statement, the House Intelligence Committee said, “Deep fakes raise profound questions about national security and democratic governance, with individuals and voters no longer able to trust their own eyes or ears when assessing the authenticity of what they see on their screens.”

In other words, we’re entering an age when seeing is no longer believing. 

This is all part of a larger movement where technology is used to erode trust, and in the hands of foreign enemies like Russia, it can and will be used to undermine our belief in the free press, in our leadership and in democracy. It is essentially the use of the First Amendment to undermine the First Amendment, and unethical corporations and cyber criminals will hop on board as soon as the AI technology is affordable to the mass market.

So where is the hope in all of this? Unlike our weak regulatory response to the malicious tools that have come before — from viruses to spyware, botnets to ransomware — we must combine comprehensive legislative oversight and control with the ethical use of technology to proactively minimize the problem before it becomes mainstream. Our senators and representatives must take the lead in setting standards for how AI technology, including technology to produce deepfakes, is released, utilized and policed. 

Bruce Schneier’s book, “Click Here to Kill Everybody,” includes an excellent primer on the regulatory framework that would start us down the path. We, as voters, must directly express our concern to congressional leadership and urge them to act before a proliferation of deepfake videos destroys reputations — along with our ability to believe our own eyes.


About Cybersecurity Keynote Speaker John Sileo

John Sileo is an award-winning author and keynote speaker on cybersecurity, identity theft and tech/life balance. He energizes conferences, corporate trainings and main-stage events by making security fun and engaging. His clients include the Pentagon, Schwab and organizations of all sizes. John got started in cybersecurity when he lost everything, including his $2 million business, to cybercrime. Since then, he has shared his experiences on 60 Minutes, Anderson Cooper, and even while cooking meatballs with Rachel Ray. Contact John directly to see how he can customize his presentations to your audience.

Russian Election Interference Coming to Your Vote in 2020

What will it take for Americans, especially our politicians, to care about Russian election interference? That’s a question I’ve been asking myself since early 2017, when the NSA, CIA and FBI universally concluded that Russian President Vladimir Putin interfered with the 2016 presidential election. At the time, I wrote a call-to-arms blog post that recommended a thorough bipartisan investigation into Russian election interference and our own cyber infrastructure weaknesses. 

Last month, we finally got the Senate Intelligence Committee report about Russian election meddling in 2016—spoiler alert: they did it—with recommendations on how to protect the nation’s voting infrastructure the next time around. But to some degree, it’s too late. With only a year before the election, it will be almost impossible to make the cybersecurity and social media changes necessary to protect the integrity of the election. Even if our government engaged in an all-out defensive strategy for the four years between elections, it still might not be enough. The bad guys always seem to be one step ahead, but that’s only because of our general refusal to do what it takes to protect our systems.

In any event, so far the only all-out defensive strategy we’ve seen has been against efforts to protect the 2020 election from Russian interference. While Putin and his cohorts are dancing through the halls of the Kremlin, President Trump and the Republicans are sitting on their hands.

Trump’s refusal to back intelligence reports about Russia’s election hacking and influence campaigns—and his administration’s delay in taking action—are within months of guaranteeing that we won’t be able to stop tampering in 2020. Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell continues to block bills aimed at making the polls more secure—further ensuring that our election will be compromised once again.

And that’s precisely the point.

Why Does the White House Turn a Blind Eye to Russian Election Interference?

Both Trump and McConnell know that Russian meddling will benefit them in 2020 (it’s a safe bet that Putin doesn’t want a more confrontational president than Trump back in office), but they are missing the bigger picture. 

Yes, Putin’s Russia helped elect Trump, but that wasn’t the primary goal: handing Trump a win was just icing on the cake. Putin’s goal was and is to destabilize American democracy. If we are focused on our own crises, we pay less attention to his encroachment into the Ukraine, Crimea and other nations. It doesn’t hurt that Putin’s machinations demonstrate to the world that democracy—particularly American democracy—is not as viable as autocracy, thus strengthening his power. 

Putin is a chess player, and his chess board end-state looks more like the USSR than Russia. 

To his delight, we are mere pawns in his game. Trump—who plays into Putin’s hands perfectly because of his distrust of American institutions, including his own intelligence agencies—is his queen and McConnell his devoted bishop. 

I agree with other experts that Russia’s pre-2016 hacking of election systems in all 50 states was mostly reconnaissance for a larger campaign. They were testing the waters with this and with their Facebook influence campaigns. But I don’t think their ultimate goal is to alter votes. It’s far less work and expense to simply create the perception that they’ve altered votes or manipulated any other outcome that undermines the credibility of democracy. Again, the end game is one of destabilization, of creating doubt in the minds of Americans so we don’t know who we can trust. 

Our system of state-controlled voting for national elections makes a mass hack more difficult, but altering the voting rolls is something the average teenage hacker could probably pull off. What if next time, a hacker decides to remove hundreds of thousands of white men from Mitch McConnell’s available voters, or if Facebook influence campaigns target Trump loyalists with false claims that he wants to pass gun-control legislation?

What I fear most is that we Americans, fatigued by political arm wrestling for the past three years, are going to stand complacently by as the influence campaigns and election tampering take place, and that our government has no incentive to stop it because the tampering benefits them. This time.


About Cybersecurity Keynote Speaker John Sileo

John Sileo is an award-winning author and keynote speaker on cybersecurity, identity theft and tech/life balance. He energizes conferences, corporate trainings and main-stage events by making security fun and engaging. His clients include the Pentagon, Schwab and organizations of all sizes. John got started in cybersecurity when he lost everything, including his $2 million business, to cybercrime. Since then, he has shared his experiences on 60 Minutes, Anderson Cooper, and even while cooking meatballs with Rachel Ray. Contact John directly to see how he can customize his presentations to your audience.

 

Just Wait for the Cavity: Dental Cyber Security

Dental Cyber Security is kind of like, well, being a dentist. You’re in your patient’s mouth. The red flags are clear as day: calculus buildup going back to pre-fluoride Woodstock days. Severe dentin erosion, onset of gingivitis, gums retreating like Arctic glaciers. But there is no actual decay yet. No cavities to drill or crowns to fill, no stains to cap or roots to tap. Absolutely. Nothing. Profitable!

So what do you tell the patient? That’s easy…

“Looks good! Come see me when that molar finally cracks.”

Of course that’s not what you say, but that is roughly how it sounds to me when a practice director tells me that they invest minimally in ongoing preventative cyber security because nothing truly bad has happened yet with their practice data. In other words, Just Wait for the Cybercrime Cavity and spend ten times as much recovering.

But I would never advise you to wait for the cyber decay, and you would never advise your patients to hold off on brushing, flossing and regular dental checkups. Nor should you wait to implement regular dental cyber security. We are both in the prevention business and we are building long-term relationships that have a great LTV. There are enough patients to keep us both in business with bad hygiene, so we can focus on doing our job well and stopping the problem before it takes root. That preventative mindset will save you approximately $380 per patient record, which is the average cost of breach recovery in the health industry (excluding reputation damage and customer attrition).

Here are what I consider to be the 5 Most Pressing Cybersecurity Vulnerabilities in Dentistry:

  1. Outdated operating systems (Windows XP/2000) and unpatched operating systems, software and apps
  2. Weak spam filtration and barely-existent employee training that leads to email-based phishing attacks
  3. Poor data backup and recovery planning that allows ransomware to lock and destroy patient and financial data
  4. Lack of solid encryption on data at rest (on servers), in transit (to patients, vendors) and in the cloud (practiced management software) that allows easy access to hackers
  5. Credential hacking of cloud data due to lack of 2-factor authentication and password managers

When your practice begins to protect patient data in the same way that you ask patients to protect the health of their mouth, you have just discovered a critical competitive advantage for patient acquisition and retention. Your patients want to know that their data is safe in your hands. Here are some additional resources to help you take the next steps in protecting your practice data:

What are the greatest gaps you see in Security Awareness Programs? Please share your brilliance below.


John Sileo loves his role as an “energizer” for cyber security at conferences, corporate trainings and in industry study clubs. He specializes in making security fun, so that it sticks. His clients include the Seattle Study Club, the Pentagon, Schwab and many organizations so small (and security conscious) that you won’t have even heard of them. John has been featured on 60 Minutes, recently cooked meatballs with Rachel Ray and got started in cyber security when he lost everything, including his $2 million software business, to cybercrime. Call if you would like to bring John to speak to your members – 303.777.3221.