Presentation Topics

Here are some of the presentations you can have G. Mark do for your organization, or he can custom develop material to meet your unique requirements.

Advanced Persistent Threat (APT)

In addition to protecting their intellectual property and secrets, many government agencies are entrusted with gathering, processing, and protecting sensitive information about citizens, patients, and business.  This information along with the people and systems that process it, are increasingly becoming targets for exploitation through the emerging class of threat known as Advanced Persistent Threat (APT).

Why do attackers target federal systems?  They seek intelligence, advantage, and political gain.  The possibilities are endless: intelligence about an opponent’s military capabilities, movements of high-value individuals, or national economic strategies; advantage by disabling or crippling sensors and systems or pre-launching a cyber attack as a prelude to kinetic warfare; and political gain by embarrassing a rival, manipulating public perception prior to a key election, or suppressing suspected dissident citizen groups.

Are You Ready for a Security Operations Center (SOC)?

A Security Operations Center (SOC) is an essential component of effective security response, but when does it make sense to build and staff your own, and when does it make sense to outsource?  This presentation will offer recommendations on how to assess your requirements, how to build a business case for a SOC, roles and responsibilities, as well as the three key questions you have to answer to field a SOC effectively.

Battle in the Clouds:  Cyberwar Goes Virtual

As more businesses and even government agencies move into "The Cloud," we are faced with the challenge of defending a territory that we do not control.  Although cloud computing offers numerous financial and performance advantages for many, it comes at a price -- an increase in the attack surface.  Attackers, too, have taken advantage of cloud computing and are using it for a launch point, aggregation of stolen or compromised information, and "bouncing" attacks off the cloud to mask their actual point of origin.  Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) represent lucrative business models for cloud providers, and can offer great efficiency and savings to customers -- IF security is done right.  We'll look at the extra protection required by a cloud computing environment, and the impact it may have on our policies and even our contracts.  We'll conclude with some expectations for the future of cloud computing, and how new defenses may or may not succeed in the long run.

Complex Challenges in Security

The rate of change in security challenges is outstripping most organizations' ability to respond effectively.  New attacks, new technology, new strategies; unless one is a master of all, they will succumb to defeat.

This session is designed to be interactive in nature with the presenter introducing key security topics, explaining the issues and offering recommendations, then opening up for audience participation to debate the merit and considerations of other solutions.

Topics will include: Big data security vulnerabilities, supply chain attacks, transposing security into virtualized environments, The Internet of Things (TIOT), digital currency, the security "hangover" of outdated operating system usage, as well as key topics that may have recently emerged.

Cyber Leadership: How to Win the Battle AND the War

This presentation will examine the threat landscape, and evaluate how well we are doing at fighting back.  It will examine resources, strategies, and constraints as applied to cyber war, and look at proposed legislative changes and whether or not they will make much of a difference.  The answer lies in going back to basics -- understanding the importance of confidentiality, integrity, and availability (the "C-I-A Triad"), and how to achieve those goals using traditional and non-traditional approaches and technologies.  Threat intelligence is a popular buzzword; we'll look at the value of that in how we can shift the advantage to the defenders, and how humans have now entered the targeting of attackers through Ransomware and other social-engineering oriented attacks.  We'll offer some recommended next steps so that we can not only win the battle at hand, but be victorious in the long-run.

Dealing With the Insider Threat

Statistically, insiders represent a tiny fraction of the potential overall threat, yet the damage done by insiders routinely eclipses that done by outsiders.  Why?  Because they already have access.  We'll look at US Secret Service statistics and findings on the impact of insider threat damages, examine the role of compliance, and examine a framework for success:  the Critical Security Controls (CSC).  We'll then map the CSC to the insider threat, show how insiders circumvent security, and offer recommendations on how to control admin privileges to reduce this threat vector.

Defense Strategies for Upping your Network Security Game

In spite of our best efforts, we seem to be losing ground to attackers in our networks.  This presentation will examine the basics of network defense (prevent, detect, deny, respond), examine the principles of vulnerability management, identify one of the most frequent vectors of network compromise, and offer five defense strategies to "up your game" in the defense of our networks.

Disruptive Tactics for Disrupting Terrorist Financial Operations

The rise of extremist terrorist groups in the last 15 years is nothing new, but the amount of damage and impact on global civilization seems to be reaching unprecedented levels.  As governments struggle with how to battle non-government groups who do not have fixed territory or capital cities to defend, and guerrilla tactics and asymmetric warfare make traditional force response less effective, opponents of these groups need a different strategy.  This presentation will examine tactics for disruption terrorist financial operations -- denying attackers the money they need to purchase weapons, pay their troops, and buy influence.  This is not a political presentation or anti-religious group or faith, but it may not be appropriate for all audiences.

The End of Banking as We Know It:  Challenges Posed by Cryptocurrencies

Are we finally ready to go mainstream with alt-currency?  Bitcoin got off to a slow start but has attracted millions of VC dollars in the last two years.  Apple jumped on the bandwagon with Apple Pay, followed by Samsung Pay, Android Pay (nee Google Wallet), and a whole host of thousands of alternative crypto currencies all struggling for attention, value, and survival.
We'll look at this brave new world of electronic money to understand what it is, how it works, what it can (and cannot) do, and probabilities of success or failure.  We'll examine spin-off technologies such as blockchains, and look into the mechanics behind electronic payment systems such as Apple Pay, CurrentC, and Softcard.  We'll even talk about why crooks love Bitcoin for Ransomware extortion, and dig into the mechanics of how credit card fraud works, and whether that might be going away as well.

Everyone's Been Hacked -- Get Over it and Get On With It

No one wants to suffer a breach, but it seems that even the best and most competent organizations make the headlines anyway.  It seems that maintaining a perfect record in security is merely aspirational at this point -- everyone is going to be hacked sooner or later.  If that's the case, let's change our focus from merely prevention to include detection and response.  No one wants to allow an attacker in, but it's even worse not to be continuously looking for possible infiltrations.  With the mean time between compromise and awareness being over seven months, and 2/3 of organizations being notified of a breach by an external entity, we have to form a new battle plan and take action to improve our response.

Going Beyond Mobile Device Management - Leveraging NAC for Mobile Devices

Historically, NAC was the way to control guest use of the enterprise network.  While it serves that purpose quite well, it also offers capabilities that make it applicable to a larger number of strategic uses.  In this session, we’ll take a look at some of those other cases, including the control of mobile devices and coping with the complexities of BYOD.

Hacking as an Act of War

Once the exclusive domain of a small number of highly intelligent introverts, hacking has gone "mainstream" as an element of national defense.  The United States has established a four-star Cyber Command to provide coordinated military digital response after suffering massive data breaches.  NATO established the Cooperative Cyber Defence Center of Excellence in Estonia after that nation was the target of extensive cyber attacks.  At what point does hacking (read, "computer network attack") rise to the level of warfare?  What role should we play as cyber-citizens?

How the West was Pwned

Can you hear it?  The giant sucking sound to the East?  With it are going more than just manufacturing jobs -- it's our manufacturing know-how, intellectual property, military secrets, and just about anything you can think of.  If we're so technologically advanced, how are the People's Republic of China (PRC) and others able to continue to pull this off?  Why do we keep getting pwned at our own game?

There has been much talk about "cyberwar," but there may not be a war.  If a victor can extract tribute from the vanquished, war isn't necessary.  Today, intellectual capital is a proxy for tribute.  We'll look at some specifics, including documents that outline the plan of attack, details about what operations have been run against us, and progress in efforts to create an international legal framework for when the bits start flying

Layer 8 - The Art of Organizational Politics

Many of us are familiar with the seven layer Open Systems Interconnect (OSI) network model, but often there are external influences that affect just about everything in an organization.  This presentation introduces you to something you're already aware of -- Layer 8 -- organizational politics.  Technology alone can never offer a solution to a business security problem.  We have to understand the nature of politics, and why it happens with every organization that involves humans.  Layer 8 represents a way for politically-aware persons to transcend their expected level of influence and ability, often leaving others wondering how so-and-so managed to get promoted, or got some resource.  Learning political skills is like any other skill -- it takes time and practice.  However, those with desires to move up an organizational hierarchy must understand how the game is played if they are to enjoy success.

More Complex Security Challenges

The presentation will look into the changing nature of threats, both external and internal, and the value of threat intelligence.  We'll also examine vulnerabilities, through which these threats manifest themselves as dangers to our important assets, including hardware and firmware vectors, as well as humans and even supply chains.  We'll cover remediation using forensics, adaptive security, and rethinking traditional approaches.  Lastly, we'll look at security frameworks, what they can do for our organization, and the impact of policy, politics, and legislation on security in the future.

Securing the Internet of Things

Today's enterprise networks are supporting devices that were never meant to have Internet or wireless connections.  Printers, entertainment units, HVAC and building alarms, medical instruments (some of those implanted in humans), power control systems, refrigeration units, even cars--all are getting smarter with embedded chips and Internet or wireless connections.  The Internet of Things includes software, firmware, or hardware used to control, manage, or monitor the performance of these and other connected Things.  The effectiveness and efficiency of these systems is being greatly multiplied by both client/server and peer-to peer-connectivity, enabled by advances in new forms of connectivity, inexpensive controllers, and Internet-standard protocols.

Weaponizing Digital Currencies

Satoshi Nakamoto wasn't stupid.  In the early days, he (they) mined over 1,000,000 Bitcoins when nobody really cared.  If Bitcoin continues to increase in value at the rate it did in 2014, someone will be holding a massive currency weapon.  George Soros destabilized the British pound in 1992 and made over £1,000,000,000 profit.  In the largest counterfeiting operation in history, Nazi Germany devised Operation Bernhard to destabilize the British economy by dropping millions of pounds from Luftwaffe aircraft.  If the holder of the megabitcoin has a currency digital weapon that works frictionlessly in milliseconds, against whom will he target it?  Can it destabilize an entire government?  Can it be continuously reused for blackmail?  What should governments be doing now to plan for this contingency and fight back?  We'll discuss an entirely new class of information weapon -- digital cryptocurrency -- and how it might either change the course of history, or be relegated to the ash heap of failure.

When Business Processes Fly the Coop

Our business processes are now on the road and we are vulnerable like never before.  We went from PCs to laptops to smartphones, and bring your own device (BYOD) gave us one killer app: email. But now that the enterprise extends to tablets and always-on connectivity, it's not just about BYOD, but bringing your own apps (BYOA).
So: do you have a mechanism to control software provisioning for every BYOD, or do your users just download at will?  Now that our mission critical functions are no longer within our span of control in the same (technical) sense they used to be, we must focus on business processes and controls over them. We must define the technical arrangements necessary to exert and monitor security controls in a meaningful way. We’ll discuss these and other important points in this closing executive keynote session.

The World of Card Fraud

Credit card and debit card fraud costs banks, merchants, and consumers over $16 billion annually.  Large-scale breaches in the last few years have shown how vulnerable merchants can be to skilled criminals who can compromise millions of cards at a time.  We'll look into the world of card fraud, how it works, why it works, and what is being done about it.  We'll examine the role of EMV ("chip and PIN"), and why it will still leave billions of dollars of card commerce vulnerable.  Lastly, we'll take a look at the criminal underground to see just how this business is done.