O'Reilly Security Conference

As previously mentioned, the first O’Reilly Security Conference just wrapped up in NYC. I opted to attend last minute and was glad I chose to, due to a number of really good conversations with other attendees.

Some of the highlights:

O’Reilly provided ‘office hours’ with most of the speakers, giving attendees the opportunity to pick the brains on speakers. I took advantage of this to sit down at a table with Cory Doctorow, who was one of the keynote speakers. This ended up being people going around, introducing themselves and describing what they are up to. I described my current job at SecurityScorecard, to which Cory expressed interest and thought it was pretty cool.

Had a great conversation with one of the guys from SourceClear about their work. They claim to have a vulnerability that is 50% greater than the NIST Vulnerability Database, accomplished by scanning Github for PRs related to security, as well as using that data to find similar patterns. They have some interesting scaling challenges, as they manually verify all the vulnerabilities. They then use this data to let people scan their dependencies and get a list of dependencies with vulnerabilities. We chatted about vulnerability databases in general, as well as Mitre’s occasional slowness in providing details.

Went to a great talk from HackerOne on Hacker Quantified Security, which went over some of the data they have collected from their bug bounties, showing security trends from making this a bit more public. I talked to their CTO about possibly working on an API where they can expose what companies are running bug bounty programs, and perhaps some of the metrics that are already available on their site.

Had a hallway conversation with one of the founders of Cobalt.io, a crowdsourcing pentest company, where they match up pentesters to specific engagements, and wrap that in some management and a good web platform. We talked about how security is becoming more and more transparent, and how it might be interesting if companies were able to share a subset of pentest results in a verifiable way.

Sat in on Jay Jacob’s talk on Security Data Beyond Operations. He went over some interesting things, like clustering security breaches by industry, and not seeing any cross industry patterns, so much as patterns within industries. He also went over Bitsight’s recent research on malware/torrent correlation.

Kelly Harrington from the Google Safe Browsing team gave a talk on their efforts entitled “Are we out of the woods? The current state of web malware”. They have covered a number of these things in their blog, but it was nice to see a talk that expands on the topics and pulls it all together.

There were two talks in particular where I was exposed to a lot of new information.

The first was Deriving actionable intelligence from spoofed domain registrations where Kyle Ehmke from ThreatConnect went over some research where they observed spikes in typosquat registration for domains that were later attacked. He went over various ways in which they try to correlate some of the data to find out more about attackers and related potentially malicious domains.

The second was Dan Kaminsky’s ‘A technical dive into defensive trickery’. Prefaced with the comment ‘I am tired of doing keynotes, let me tell you the cool projects I am working on’, and then went into a LOT of experiments in:

  • DDoS attacks, and how to better communicate around these events. He is experimenting with shipping a subset of netflow data to destination networks. You can check out some of this in his overflowd project.
  • Crypto/TLS Deployment. Let’s Encrypt makes this easier, but he suggests the easiest thing would probably be to jump to full encryption, which is a wrapper that will act as a TLS wrapper on any port, and provision TLS certificates on the fly.
  • Data Loss Prevention. Experimentation in rate limiting data access through a proxy. Example was for querying password data at a rate of 7 requests/second. At that rate, querying for 500M users would take 2.26 years to exfiltrate the data.
  • Code Safety. How to protect end users from executing bad code. Experimenting with making it easy to sandbox every application, via VMs/docker and syscall firewalling.
Written on November 8, 2016