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22 February 2021

Cybersecurity Services

I came across an RFP last week about Cybersecurity Services for a spanish public administration which, I think, is really interesting because the RFP addresses the main cybersecurity services to protect data and services of citizens. However, these cybersecurity services can also be applied to protect data and services of any company. What’s really interesting is the well-written of the RFP where there are only cybersecurity services and not other kind of services. Therefore, cybersecurity companies can applied easily to this RFP.

First of all, the National Security Scheme, or ENS in spanish, has to be implemented as well as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). As a result, ENS requires to write the adaptation plan, security policy, risk analysis, incident response plan, security awareness, etc. On the other hand, GDPR requires data protection impact assessments, record of processing activities, etc. In addition, GDPR requires a Data Protection Officer (DPO). All of these tasks are mandatory and are really important before taking the plunge to technical tasks.

The IT Security Audit should be the next step to know the security status of the organization. This is the best way to have the security measures which have to be implemented. What kind of security audit is required? A pentesting is mandatory as well as a networking audit to know the vulnerabilities of all assets connected to the network. In addition, they require IDS/IPS, NAC and VPN appliances to control all devices which are going to be connected to the network.

There is a big chapter about monitorization and protection where there are network firewalls and web application firewalls (WAF) as well as web monitorization to know availability of web applications. What’s more, there is a DNS Security service to block access to malicious websites at the DNS layer. In addition, all of these appliances and services will protect users and services from malicious attackers.

Finally, the RFP requires an Incident Response Service, Security Assessment and Training. I think these services are important to be up to date in cybersecuirty subjects because they are going to be able to ask advice of any security matter as well as they are going to have an incident response team to investigate network intrusions and mitigate data loss. Moreover, this chapter includes a SIEM appliance to get all security logs and improve security visibility.

To sum up, you can see here an overview of an RFP. You can see all services and appliances you can require. It’s up to you to require all of these services, or even include more security services or devices, but it’s highly recommended to ask only security things instead of requiring other kind of services which are not security things, because if you mix security with something else, most cybersecurity companies will not able to apply to your RFP.

Have a nice day my friends! Drop me a line with the first thing you are thinking!

15 February 2021

UK’s National Cyber Force (NFC)

I didn’t know what to write this week in the blog but I wanted to write. I’ve been reading about the new European Cybersecurity Policy, which is still a draft policy. I’ve been also reading about FortiNAC, F5 BIG-IP, Kubernetes & Nginx but I didn’t feel like writing about it. Finally, I’ve come across a news, I saved weeks ago, about the new National Cyber Force (NCF) announced by the UK government. Therefore, I’m going to write about this new taskforce and what are the principal objectives of the NCF.

At the end of the last year, the UK Primer Minister announced a new partnership: the National Cyber Force (NFC). This new partnership is the result of cooperation of four organizations: MoD, GCHQ, MI6 and DSTL. In fact, these four organizations are going to collaborate under one unified command for the first time. It seems there is no other organization like this in the world, to date. This specialist cyber unit is going to multiply tenfold the number of government employees in offensive cyber and cyber-crime roles over the next ten years, which are to be drawn from security services, the military and industry.

What’s amazing is that this specialist cyber unit has the objective to degrade, disrupt and even destroy communications systems of those that pose a security threat. Therefore, they can use whatever they want, such as hacking tools, intelligence information or deception tools, to attack to somebody, company or country who is a security threat for them. It’s also interesting the NFC will use behavioural science tactics to communicate with attackers to undermine their morale and dissuade them. All of these tactics are in contrast to the actual NCSC body which main function is to help the public sector, businesses and the public to respond to, and recover from, cyber incidents.

The change from defensive to offensive is the result of a comprehensive government review into security and defence policies. In fact, the defence spending will raise to 2,2% of GDP where there is also a budget for a new agency dedicated to Artificial Intelligence and a new "Space Command". This change, from defensive to offensive, is due to the fact that China and US are also changed to offensive operations in 2019. Moreover, Brexit and COVID-19 have increased the threats of hybrid warfare influencing the creation of NFC.

I would like to have more information about the Force’s activities but most of them will be secret and clandestine. In fact, the secrecy will be crucial for the success of operations. However, all operations will have to be approved by the government. We’ll see! As offensive operations will have to be coordinated with defensive operations, maybe, we’ll see a little bit weird defensive operations.

Have a nice day my friends! Did you know this Force?

8 February 2021

EU Cybersecurity Strategy (III)

This is the third week writing about EU Cybersecurity Strategy. I’ve already read the whole strategy. The first chapter is mainly for building European cyber security technology. The second chapter is mainly for building operational capacity to prevent, deter and respond. However, this third chapter tell us about how the EU is going to work with international partners such as third countries, international organizations and the multi-stakeholder community. In addition, this third chapter tell us how the EU wants to lead on standards, norms and frameworks in cyberspace.

The EU wants to step up its engagement in, and leadership on international standardisation processes, and enhance its representation in international and European standardisation bodies. The Commission would also like to develop an EU position on the application of international law in cyberspace as well as the EU wants to continue the leadership on the protection and promotion of human rights and fundamental freedoms. Furthermore, the EU will continue to support third countries that wish to accede to the Council of Europe Budapest Convention on Cybercrime.

There is one really interesting sentence in this third chapter, which says “No single entity, government, or international organisation should seek to control the Internet”. Therefore, the EU will strongly support and promote the multi-stakeholder model for Internet governance. This means the Commission will reinforce regular and structured exchanges with stakeholders, including the private sector, academia and civil society. What’s more, I think it’s really interesting how the Commission wants to promote the EU vision of cyberspace, and exchange information, with an informal EU Cyber Diplomacy Network.

Finally, the EU Cybersecurity Strategy would like to develop an EU External Cyber Capacity Building Agenda to steer efforts in line with the External Cyber Capacity Building Guidelines and the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development. In addition, I think it’s really useful that the EU continue to assist countries in tackling the growing challenge of malicious cyber activities that harm the development of societies and the integrity and security of democratic systems. Actually, it’s not only useful but also needed.

To sum up, I think this third chapter has lots of interesting initiatives. I really like the informal EU Cyber Diplomacy Network to exchange information and expand EU cyber dialogue with third countries, regional and international organisations and I also like the Commission takes into account the integrity and security of democratic systems. Obviously, the application of human rights and fundamental freedoms in cyberspace is really important. Therefore, it’s mandatory to be in the strategy.

Have a nice day my friends!

1 February 2021

EU Cybersecurity Strategy (II)

I wrote about EU Cybersecurity Strategy last week and I’m going to keep writing about it this week. I’ll write about building operational capacity to prevent, deter and respond. I’ll write about how Member State authorities are going to build a systematic and comprehensive information sharing and they are going to cooperate for a common response. This is the second chapter of the strategy where all EU institutions, bodies and agencies have to agree each other how they are going to cooperate against cyber threat.

The first step for cooperation will be a Joint Cyber Unit which will be a virtual and physical platform with a focus on operational and technical coordination against major cross border cyber incidents and threats. This Unit will have a “need-to-share” mind-set and will harness the progress achieved within the NIS Cooperation Group and the CyCLONe Network. The Unit would fulfil three main objetives: preparedness, awareness, and response.

Most people use technology and most of us have a dependence on online tools. As a result, the attack surface has increased exponentially. There are lots of types of crime with a digital component which require identification and prosecution of offenders. Therefore, tackling cybercrime effectively is another key factor in the EU Cybersecurity Strategy. The Commission wants to improve the capacity of law enforcement to investigate cybercrime, fully respecting fundamental rights and pursuing the required balance between various rights and interests.

The EU Cybersecurity Strategy also highlights the cyber diplomacy toolbox, which is a range of measures, including sanctions, for a diplomatic response to malicious cyber activities. According to the strategy, there will be a Member States’ EU cyber intelligence working group residing within the EU Intelligence and Situation Center (INTCER) to advance strategic intelligence cooperation on cyber threats and activities.

Finally, boosting cyber defense capabilities is another strategic iniciative to prevent, discourage, deter and respond to malicious cyber activities. Review the Cyber Defense Policy Framework (CDPF) and facilitate the development of an EU “Military Vision and Strategy on Cyberspace as a Domain of Operations” for CSDP military missions and operations are objetives for cyber defense capabilities, as well as, support synergies between civil, defense and space industries; and reinforce cybersecurity of critical space infrastructures under the Space Programme.

To sum up, this second chapter of the EU Cybersecurity Strategy is mainly focused on cyber defense with a new Unit, new laws and new diplomacy tools to prevent cyber threat.

Have a nice day! I encourage you to read this kind of strategies to learn deeply about Cybersecurity!

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