Monthly Archives: January 2008

Blended Attacks and “The Tiger Team”

The following caught my eye during a review of the Cisco 2007 Annual Security Report, on page 16:

Blended Attacks Targeting Both Physical and IT Domains
In 2007, criminals demonstrated their evolving ingenuity by employing blended attacks to obtain sensitive information and evade detection. The most significant example of this trend was a string of attacks on Stop & Shop supermarkets in Rhode Island. Attackers broke into and vandalized supermarkets, leading police to believe the events were largely petty crimes. But during the break-ins, attackers tampered with the stores’ card readers to collect credit card information.

Of course, upon reading this there was a stream of attack ideas that occurred to me such as using a break-in as a cover for things like installing WIFI access to networks, card skimmers, key loggers, etc. Shortly after reading the Cisco report, I ran into a post on Black Bag (a physical security blog) about a TV show called Tiger Team. The TV show is about a team of penetration testers who (in addition to being very impressed with themselves) test complex physical security systems. I reviewed the first two episodes (which I have to confess I enjoyed), which are available via streaming video.

Interestingly, in the first two episodes (which is all I have watched so far…) the team always used a blended attack. There is a social engineering and digital attack as a prelude to the actual ‘theft’ in both episodes.

I think few people will face attackers of this sophistication, but the series is interesting nonetheless.

Cheers, Erik


What do you want to know about Cryptography in the Enterprise ?

I am working on a presentation entitled “Lessons Learned Deploying and Managing Enterprise Cryptosystems“. I will be presenting this at Information Security World 2008. In the 45 minutes I have for the presentation, it is my goal to touch on several key lessons learned in my work with cryptographic controls over the past several years. Cryptosystems is a broad topic, and can include not only techniques (encryption, digital signatures, timestamps), but also key management and implementation issues. There is a lot of material that I have available to draw from, and I want to make sure that the presentation includes the most valuable and relevant points that it can. After giving a presentation, there is almost nothing more disappointing than reviewing the feedback forms only to find out what people really wanted to know. This is especially disappointing if it is material you could have easily included…

I would love to know what kinds of questions you have and would like to see addressed.

In addition to your question, please provide a little context, such as:

– What are the drivers for your use of cryptographic controls (data protection, compliance, etc.)?
– Will your deployment be externally audited?


Cross posted on Linked In.