Table of Contents
- What is a Security Thought Leader - Updated November 18th, 2009
- Framework for Security Thought Leader Interview - August 26th, 2009
- Daniel B. Cid, Sucuri - November 21st, 2013
- Dominique Karg, AlienVault - November 20th, 2013
- Lance Spitzner, Securing The Human, founder - Updated November 29th, 2012
- Bill Pfeifer, Juniper Networks - March 4th, 2011
- Chris Pogue, Senior Security Analyst - July 8th, 2010
- John Kanen Flowers - May 26th, 2010
- Kees Leune, Leune Consultancy, LLC - February 13th, 2010
- Joel Yonts, CISO - February 12th, 2010
- Maury Shenk, TMT Advisor, Steptoe & Johnson - January 31st, 2010
- Chris Wysopal, CTO, Veracode - January 27th, 2010
- Amir Ben-Efraim, CEO, Altor Networks - November 25th, 2009
- Ed Hammersla, COO, Trusted Computer Solutions - Updated November 19th, 2009
- Amit Klein, CTO, Trusteer - September 27th, 2009
- An Interview with Ron Gula from Tenable about the role of a vulnerability scanner in protecting sensitive information - Updated August 13th, 2009
- A. N. Ananth, CEO, Prism Microsystems, Inc. - August 7th, 2009
- Jeremiah Grossman, Founder and CTO of WhiteHat Security - Updated April 24th, 2009
- Mike Yaffe, Director of Product Marketing, Core Security Technologies. - April 15th, 2009
- Chris Petersen, Chief Technology Officer, LogRhythm - March 13th, 2009
- John Pirc, IBM, ISS Product Line & Services Executive: Security and Intelligent Network - February 17th, 2009
- Leigh Purdie, InterSect Alliance, co-founder of Snare: Evolution of log analysis - January 28th, 2009
- Bill Worley, Chief Technology Officer, Secure64 Software Corporation - December 9th, 2008
- Doug Brown, former Manager of Security Resources, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill - October 30th, 2008
- Amrit Williams, Chief Technology Officer, BigFix - June 30th, 2008
- Andrew Hay, Q1 Labs - May 13th, 2008
- Gene Schultz, CTO of High Tower - April 4th, 2008
- Tomasz Kojm, original author of ClamAV - April 3rd, 2008
- Bill Johnson, CEO TDI - April 2nd, 2008
- Gene Kim, Tripwire - March 14th, 2008
- Kevin Kenan, Managing Director, K2 Digital Defense - March 14th, 2008
- Leigh Purdie, InterSect Alliance, co-founder of Snare - March 7th, 2008
- Marty Roesch, Sourcefire CEO and Snort creator - February 26th, 2008
- Dr. Anton Chuvakin, Chief Logging Evangelist with LogLogic - January 28th, 2008
- Kishore Kumar, CEO of Pari Networks - Updated January 28th, 2008
- Interview with Dr. Robert Arn, CTO of Itiva - November 1st, 2007
- Interview with Charles Edge - September 15th, 2007
- Ivan Arce, CTO of Core Security Technologies - Updated May 6th, 2009
- Mike Weider, CTO for Watchfire - Updated July 23rd, 2007
- Interview with authors of The Art of Software Security Assessment - Updated July 9th, 2007
- Ryan Barnett, Director of Application Security Training at Breach Security, Inc. - June 29th, 2007
- Dinis Cruz, Director of Advanced Technology, Ounce Labs - June 11th, 2007
- Brian Chess, Chief Scientist for Fortify Software - June 9th, 2007
- Caleb Sima, CTO for SPI Dynamics - Updated May 29th, 2007
- An Interview with David Hoelzer, author of DAD, a log aggregator - May 1st, 2007
Interview with Charles EdgeStephen Northcutt - September 15th, 2007
How did you first get interested in information security?
It seems like I've been interested in security since I started playing with computers. It was always about trying to push the limits of what could be done. As I moved through the various phases of an IT career my interest just grew. At the University of Georgia and then in enterprise environments that I worked at when I first got out of school there was a lot of infrastructure being built out, but not a lot of interest in security. This is about the time that I found Def Con, 2600 and Black Hat, and became part of that community. Once I got a little involved in those the interest seemed to grow exponentially. Then, when I got involved in networking Macs in the Entertainment Industry, these interests came together. Now I see the hacker community somewhat of a protector, finding flaws so they aren't discovered by people with bad intentions and helping to make systems more secure for everyone.
Did you always work with Macs, what is the story there?I started out programming Basic and Pascal on the Apple II. I stayed loyal to the Mac up until I got out of college when I went to work for the (then) Big 6. At that time there weren't many Macs in enterprise environments so I switched over to a Microsoft/Unix guy. Once I moved to LA, I started to work with the Entertainment Industry, which is predominantly Mac. Back then it was mostly OS 7 and 8 but my Unix skills came in handy during the switch to OS X from OS 9. As OS X gained more and more of a foothold and Apple began to adhere to networking standards, the skills from my past and present really started to come together. I am fortunate that I happened to be at the right place at the right time and be able to stand on the shoulders of some of the real giants in enterprise environments and at Apple, where there is never a shortage of great talent.
A lot of people tell me Macs cannot be hacked, is that true?No system is perfectly secure out of the box. Passwords can be brute forced, there are some vulnerabilities in services that listen on the network and with all of the pieces that make up the puzzle of the OS, there are always ways to get into almost any system provided one has the patience and manages to go unnoticed. This is no different with a Mac. However, with some tuning and user education, the OS becomes much more secure.
The core OS is pretty safe. But like most *nix flavors it relies on a patchwork of open source software. As new versions of these packages become available Apple isn't always quick to integrate. These 3rd party packages are more commonly vulnerable than OS X itself. If you take packages like Apache, Samba and LDAP they can be made really secure, but it often takes a lot of experience with the package itself to harden each one appropriately.
Wow! What then are the top three security issues for a Mac that a regular user would need to be aware of?One never wants to be alarmist, but there are some things to look out for. The top 3 that I continually run into:
- Defaults. The default preference settings leave a Mac a little vulnerable. Go through them, and pay special attention to anything on your system that is listening on any port. By default the firewall is not enabled, but use the built-in firewall at a minimum or a third party firewall (or even better learn how to use ipfw). The built-in rule set just doesn't cover everything that needs to be covered, just as many of the other defaults on a Mac need a little refinement.
- Use Anti-Virus. Yes, it's true that there are no "viruses" in the wild for the Mac. But that doesn't mean that there aren't worms, trojans and other critters out there that will get caught by a decen Anti-Virus package.
- Passwords. There are still a lot of Mac environments that are open to the Internet without good passwords.
What about an enterprise that uses Macs?The Mac is a funny fit in the enterprise. Apple has stated repeatedly that they "are not an Enterprise company." However, they continue to gain ground in the enterprise space. They are now fully POSIX compliant, which helps but there are still some peculiarities, such as the way that imaging and policy management is handled. This leads to a lot of opportunity for those of us with both Mac and enterprise experience. Apple is making strides with Active Directory integration, common criteria tools and better documentation and adherence to best practices, but there is still a lot of work to be done by integrators to find the specifics of how to integrate the Macs into their environment, which we cover in this course.
For those really interested in how the Mac fits into the enterprise, there is a great web site called MacEnterprise.org they should check out.
I just got an iPhone is there something I should be aware of related to iPhone security?Like any new platform, there are bugs that are going to need to be worked out. Black Hat 2007 proved that for the iPhone. The iPhone is a popular device and will have a lot of people that want to develop exploits for it to get "street cred." The interesting thing to see will be how quickly Apple will respond to flaws that are discovered and release patches.
You are an accomplished writer on OS X, what got you started writing, what projects are you considering for the futureI always wanted to be a writer growing up. But my career took me into IT consulting because that's what I ended up being good at. I read a lot of books coming up through the ranks and got to the point where I was starting to think about what was next in my career. My buddy Bard Williams had written a slew of books and helped to make writing seem more accessible. So, I sat down and wrote my first book. Once it was finished I started shopping it around to publishers and it happened to get picked up. After that, inertia took over. The fusion of writing and technology seemed like a perfect fit for me.
Once I'm finished with the Mac OS X Security book for Leopard I will be updating my OS X Server book to Leopard and then doing an Advanced OS X Server book. I'm also in negotiations to do a Windows Server 2008 book, which would be really fun considering all the new scripting features of Windows.
You have just finished a course for SANS, can you tell us a bit about that?I was involved in writing the OS X Security Checklist for SANS and we noticed there was a lack of good security information and training for the platform. The SANS course is meant to help Mac System Administrators and Security Specialists looking to get involved with the Mac platform. We start off by taking a look at all of the defaults for OS X and then go into a review of each of the packages that Apple includes. We also cover Intrusion Detection, forensics and other security areas that aren't offered for the Mac anywhere else.
It's been a lot of work but I'm happy with the quality of the course!