What country in their right mind would actively engage in any formal clean conflict with the US when you can potentially surpass your goals through small scale unofficial conflicts, espionage and/or terrorism? Post-Cold War Mindset - No nation was a credible threat to the U.S. anymore Our adversaries, both corporate and nation state, have become specialists at executing "Unclean Conflicts" against our business, innovation and defense infrastructure What Happened?
This mindset of the post Cold War environment naturally filtered into the DNA of our own industrial and corporate business culture – our business leaders, and perhaps to a certain extent, our innovators began thinking the same way Our corporations have been trying to define how the rest of the world conducts business in the same way we as a country try to tell the rest of the world how to act and run themselves Theory A
Why spend billions of dollars developing technology when you can purchase stolen technology (or steal it) for a few millions dollars?* The Rest of the World: *Corman/Etue RSA talk < inspired
Organizational Entropy (the natural result of assuming you are smarter than your adversaries)
Reaction? Irony – Big Business arrogance and the natural reaction to their Organizational Entropy has fueled a larger Big Business of product solutions Buy more blinky lights (apologies to our sponsors) Hackback Legislation (SOPA (thank you reddit), CISPA)
InfoSecs Role Prevent the loss of both replaceable and irreplaceable data* Protect the Brand Promote Innovation * More Corman/Cognitive Dissidents blog What is the organizations business critical data? Who else might find value in that data? Where does that data actually live? What are the business initiatives and goals?
Information Problems Everything we deal with in #infosec and #businessrisk is a subset of a bigger set of information problems, and inherently naturally part of larger issues
We have defined an environment right now where greed and policy is dictating business and society The longer we accept these unnatural systems that our reactive policies have dictated, the larger the window exists for our adversaries to catch up and surpass us. The Unnatural State
Organizations must learn to live in a world where less and less information CAN be kept secret, and where secret information will remain secret for less and less time -Joel Brenner America the Vulnerable
Adaptability 2012 DBIR states that 92% of breaches went undetected (estimates, unclear of sources). Better detection may not be the right answer Adding more or improving existing systems is not adapting Learning from the Octopus, Rafe Sagarin Adaptation arises from leaving (or being forced from) your comfort zone. Firewalls? AV?
Adaptability (Sagarin) The benefits of Decentralized and Distributed organizational systems Multiple sensors No preconceived notions Specialized tasks Adaptable #Success requires A challenge Available resources Information filtering and prioritization
Symbiosis A working relationship between organisms Mutualistic - both parties benefit Commensalism - one party benefits, one is not affected Parasitic - one party benefits, one suffers Symbiosis creates reactions that are more than just the sum of two organisms working together - emergent properties that both transform the organism and transforms the environment around the organism
Natural Security Strategies 1) An organism needs to learn within its own lifetime and across generations 2) An organism needs a decentralized organizational system 3) It needs redundant features 4) It needs to keep running just to keep up 5) It needs to reduce uncertainty for itself and create uncertainty for its adversaries 6) If human, it needs to understand human behavior
The Problem with Walls So given the previous slides data, what is commonplace throughout most organizations? < cheap fixes Dikes, levees, firewalls - all examples static security incident reactions intended to protect against naturally dynamic threats. That eventually fail.
The Only Options? But either leaving things in their natural state or building artificial barriers cant be our only options. How can we build more natural and living security systems? But arent we humans exceptionally adaptable?
The Big Contradiction How can we as amazingly adaptable individual organisms have created systems and institutions so nonadaptable? Businesses, like all other systems, are built on synergistic cooperative arrangements that tend to be self regulating, not static Yet we rarely leave our comfort zones unless we find ourselves in an emergency situation and then we once again show our amazing adaptability
The Challenge How do we design systems that can deal with security problems and respond to them organically and automatically?
Information Usage Information use and sharing can be as essential to survival as any other adaptation Both a key goal and a resultant outcome of using information in survival situations is to create or reduce uncertainty The way receivers of information, both friends and enemies, perceive the signals you are sending is vitally important to your survival. Organisms seek to reduce uncertainty for themselves and increase uncertainty for their adversaries.
Competition and Cooperation Competition between organisms can lead to group cooperation Group cooperation then increases the effectiveness of the group against other social groups This group competition can then lead to group cooperation
Adaptable Cascades Creates decentralized organization of multiple semi independent problem solvers Accelerates learning by selecting for success Creates redundancy naturally Helps facilitate symbiotic partnerships
The Basics Introduce challenges, not directives (wisdom of crowds). Without challenges, organizations don't learn. Amplify, reward and replicate your successes. Innovation comes first and learning accrues from successful innovations. Take advantage of localized problem solvers within a centralized organization Promote learning, competition/cooperation and symbiosis
Business Adaptation Business, and therefore Security strategies, must switch from designing solutions to adapting solutions A challenge assumes there are many potential solutions, the more people involved, the more likely we are to find a really outstanding solution Move away from giving orders and towards providing challenges. (Aka Wisdom of Crowds). Orders assume there is only one solution to a problem
Feedback Rockie Brockway Security Practice Director Black Box Network Services securants.blogspot.com @rockiebrockway