Category Archives: Events

Microsoft security solutions against ransomware and APT

Last Tuesday I was invited to Microsoft business breakfast “Effective protection against targeted and multilevel attacks”. Here I would like to share some of my thoughts on this. Need to mention that the food was delicious and the restaurant of Russian Geographical Society is a very lovely place. 😉 Thanks, Microsoft!

Microsoft as a security vendor? O RLY?

Microsoft products are not actually my topic. To tell you the truth, personally I’d better live in a world without this massive Windows hegemony in desktop operating systems. I use Linux mostly. And even when I have to work in a Windows environment, it’s much easier for me to do all the work in some Linux virtual machine.

But in the real life almost every office network is build on Microsoft solutions. And if you are doing Vulnerability Management in any organization, you should deal with them too. The good news is that many security features are available out of the box in the MS products that you have already purchased. It’s just important to know about these features and use them right.

One more thing, why it’s interesting to learn more about Microsoft information security products. Microsoft developers, obviously, have direct access to Windows source code and know better how their own OS works. Many things are much easier for them to implement than for other security vendors. So, good chances that you will see in Microsoft products some interesting features, that other vendors don’t have (yet).

Drowning in data

The event began with an opening speech by Andrey Ivanov from Microsoft Russia.

Andrey Ivanov, "Effective protection against targeted and multilevel attacks"

I liked his thesis that “we are drowning in security data”:

  • Threat Intelligence from different sources that need to be implemented in your infrastructure and somehow validated. A good place to mention vulnerability feeds 😉
  • Threat Detection using logs, scanners, various protection tools, etc.
  • The overall number of SIEM inputs is growing faster than our resources. New IT system = new problems of SIEM configuration.

So, it would be nice if somebody, for example OS vendor, will provide all this as a service, right? 😉

Detect the undetectable

Then there was the keynote by Zbigniew Kukowski – one of the leading Microsoft information security experts.

Zbigniew Kukowski, "Effective protection against targeted and multilevel attacks"

Why is it necessary?

Here is what I would like to note from his report. First of all, great arguments why it is necessary. Ok, this is marketing. But the ability to explain (to sell) necessity of information security is important skill for any information security specialist now. It does not matter if you are working in a  security vendor, integrator or customer.

Zbigniew mentioned an interesting case: some Polish company, that lost $ 4.3 million in recent the Petya attack in 4 days. The cost of Information Security measures will be much less than the potential losses of business.

Another argument – attacks are not the entertainment for some individuals any more. Now it’s a well-organized criminal business. Dozens of people are working on popular malware tools, like Petya. That’s why ransomware tools are so popular now – cyber-criminals just want to return their development costs.

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SOC Forum 2017: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Massive Malware Attacks

Today I spoke at SOC Forum 2017 in Moscow. It was a great large-scale event about Security Operation Centers. 2,700 people registered. Lots of people in suits 😉 . And lots of my good fellows.

SOC Forum 2017 Alexander Leonov

The event was held in Radisson Royal Congress Park. There were three large halls for presentations and a huge space for exhibition/networking.

I would like to mention а stand of Positive Technologies. They have shown today their new PT Security Intelligence Portal with dashboards for executives and joint service with Solar Security for providing GosSOPKA functionality. Some stands were dedicated to Russian government Information Security initiatives: GosSOPKA, BDU FSTEC vulnerability database and FinCERT of the Central Bank of Russia.

During my presentation, I was talking how massive malware (ransomware) attacks can be useful for an organization. Quite a provocative topic, right? 😉 I meant it in the sense that all the hype around malware attack can help Information Security team to do the the following things:

  • Establish useful policies, like mandatory Windows host reboot after patch installation
  • Ban some convenient, but dangerous functionality, like smb file sharing between workstations
  • Implement useful processes, like system hardening (e.g. against mimikatz) or continuous processing of CERT (FinCERT) bulletins

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ZeroNights 2017: back to the cyber 80s

Last Friday, 17th of November, I attended the ZeroNights 2017 conference in Moscow. And it was pretty awesome. Thanks to the organizers! Here I would like to share some of my impressions.

my photo ZeroNights 2017

First of all, I want to say that two main Moscow events for information security practitioners, PHDays and ZeroNights, provide an excellent opportunity to meet all of the colleagues at once and to synchronize current views on important information security issues, including, of course, Vulnerability Management, the most relevant for me. My opinion is that this year’s behind-the-scene conversations were especially good. And this is the most valuable characteristic for the event.

Every ZeroNights event has it’s own style. This time it was some geeky cyber retro from 1980s, like in popular cult movie Kung Fury. The place was also changed from familiar Cosmos Hotel  to ZIL Culture Centre. It is the largest Palace of Culture from the Soviet Moscow times. The combination of US 80s cultural artifacts, RETROWAVE music with Soviet-style interiors (including, for example, statue of Lenin) made a pretty weird combination, but I liked it =)

I was unintentionally taking photos using some strange mode in camera and recorded a very short video fragment (3-5 seconds) for each photo. I decided to combine this fragments in a small video. This does not make much sense, but, perhaps, someone will find this “time-lapse” interesting 😉

Among the great presentations and workshops, there were also a small exhibition. This year there was two Vulnerability Management vendors: Beyond Security and Qualys.

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ISACA Moscow Vulnerability Management Meetup 2017

Last Thursday, I attended a very interesting event entirely dedicated to Vulnerability Management – open ISACA Moscow meetup. Me and my former colleague from Mail.Ru Group Dmitry Chernobaj presented there our joint report “Enterprise Vulnerability Management: fancy marketing brochures and the real-life troubles”.

The number of registered participants totaled 120. As I can tell looking at the photo below, there were about 80 people in the hall after the second presentation. For a highly focused local information security event, it’s a lot. According to the organizers, it was the largest ISACA Moscow meetup. Thanks to everyone who came!

ISACA VM Meetup Auditorium

I would like to mention a well-structured agenda. There were 4 presentations arranged in order: from the most theoretical / methodical to the most practical. And our presentation was the last one.

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PHDays VII: To Vulnerability Database and beyond

Last Tuesday and Wednesday, May 23-24, I attended PHDays VII conference in Moscow. I was talking there about vulnerability databases and the evolution process of vulnerability assessment tools, as far as I understand it.

To Vulnerability Database and beyond

But first of all, a few words about the conference itself. I can tell that since the last year the event got even better. I’ve seen lot of new faces. Some people I didn’t know, but they knew me by my blog and accounts in social networks. What a strange, strange time we live in! I was very pleased to see and to talk with you all, guys! 🙂

PHDays is one of the few events that truly brings all Russian community of security professionals together. I’ve seen people I have studied with in university, colleagues from the all places where I have been worked, and nearly all researchers and security practitioners that I follow. Big thanks for the organizers, Positive Technologies, for such an amazing opportunity!

It is also a truly international event. You can see speakers from all over the world. And all information is available both in Russian and English. Almost all slides are in English. Three parallel streams of reports, workshops and panel discussions were dubbed by professional simultaneous interpreters, like it is a United Nations sessions or something, recorded and broadcast live by the team of operators and directors. Final result looks really great.

Video of my presentation:

I was talking too fast and used some expressions that was hard to translate. The translator, however, did an awesome job. He is my hero! 🙂 If you didn’t understand something on video, I made a transcript bellow.

A version without translation for Russian-speakers is here.


Unfortunately gif animation is not working in the Slideshare viewer.

Today I would like to discuss vulnerability databases and how vulnerability assessment systems has been evolving. Prior to discussing vulnerability databases I need to say that any vulnerability is just a software error, a bug, that allowing hacker to do some cool things. Software developers and vendors post information about such vulnerabilities on their websites. And there are tons and tones of vendors, and websites, and software products, and vulnerabilities.

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