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Here’s a quick one for all of the administrators and security practitioners. There’s no shortage of third-party programs designed to do remote desktop management and support. And while sure, many of them are secure, the ones we find in use most often are not. The reason being, they tend to be low or no cost solutions. Now, I’m not one to say that security should always be spendy, but let’s be honest, a lot of the time tools are an investment that management is not always willing to invest in. More often then not when we hit a business that is using VNC as their de facto remote management and support tool, the reason behind it is; “Well, it’s free, and we can shadow and control other machines with it for support calls.”
In security, it’s often said that you will have little success within an organization if you do not have buy-in from management. However, there’s a larger group that is often-overlooked though critical to a successful security program. And they impact all aspects of your security posture. That group, of course, is the end users.
We’ve all heard of (or worse been part of) a company with a super strict security team. If you fall for a phishing campaign, you need to report in person to the security department, where they ridicule or chastise you for your error, make you take remedial phishing training, and complete an online test, or worse, revoke your network credentials for a period. While this may be effective from a security standpoint, it’s detrimental to the overall health of the security program. See, presenting a punitive result from an action that is, to the end users’ perspective, simply trying to get their work done doesn’t foster knowledge or understanding: it’s simply an attempt at conditioning. This often creates a negative response and image for the security department - both from an interpersonal perspective, but also from a business perspective.
Let’s just say there’s a lot to learn from history without quoting Sun Tzu… again. Especially in information and cybersecurity. While much of the birth of cyber realm revolves around the military - many of the members of our community are current or former members of various armed forces - many of us still refer to the military influence of old when working through our business planning and various actions revolving around cybersecurity. A great example is the common use or reference to Boyd’s OODA (Observe–Orient–Decide–Act) loop flow chart in both attack and defensive security applications. In sticking to a military theme, I want to touch on a story from World War II and its applicability in today’s modern cybersecurity world.