Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Operational Security

11/9/2017
04:06 PM
Curtis Franklin
Curtis Franklin
Curt Franklin
50%
50%

Security Must Stand Up to Bullying, Harassment

Today's IT security is about much more than data loss. It's time for the security group to embrace its role in protecting the people within the organization.

How far does enterprise security go? The news of late has been filled with stories of employees behaving very badly toward other employees. The real question is whether any of that behavior is a problem for the IT security group.

Back at the Black Hat conference in July, Alex Stamos, Facebook's chief security officer, gave a keynote address in which he made a compelling case for treating cyber stalking, bullying and harassing as an IT security problem rather than just an issue for HR.

The argument for involving IT security in these human behavior issues has several components; the behavior involves computers and networks, the victims and perpetrators are both using computers, and computer security has (or should have) as one of its goals the idea of minimizing the harm done to the organization by computers and their users.

When IT security takes on abusive use of its systems, several changes in thinking are required. The first change is from searching for traffic that damages the organization's data to looking for traffic that might damage the employees. The next is a change from being on guard primarily for technology-based attacks to guarding against behavior-based threats. But the foundation change is expanding and enhancing the definition of "harm" so that any of this matters to the IT security team's mission.

The most valuable asset
One of the catch-phrases of the modern business era is that data is an organization's most valuable asset. Well, that's when corporate management isn't telling potential and current employees that peopleare the organization's most valuable asset. If we just say that people and data are an organization's most valuable assets then it's a straight-forward path from there to a position where IT security should be watching after the safety of both.

IT security is already keeping an eye on behavioral issues; just about every company now trains employees on ways to safeguard data and equipment when traveling or opening strange email messages. The security group will often amplify that with technology that looks for ill-considered user behavior and protects the organization to some extent from its effects. From a strategic point of view it's a relatively small step from those actions to protecting users from bad behavior.

A most pervasive problem
Recent revelations make it clear that harassment, bullying and intimidation are far more common than most men were willing to admit -- women (and, in similar situations, individuals who are members of minority groups) have known about these horrible behaviors all along, even when organizational structures made it all but impossible for victims to talk about them. While much of the bahvior happens IRL (in real life, or face-to-face) the electronic trail that we've seen in several of these very public cases proves that IT is involved as the means for bad behavior in many instances.

IT can rightly take credit for many developments that have made organizations more effective and brought diverse viewpoints and experiences more fully into the business world. It's time for IT security to step up to protect those voice and the people who carry them so that all of us can continue to safely and confidently move forward.

Related posts:

— Curtis Franklin is the editor of SecurityNow.com. Follow him on Twitter @kg4gwa.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Cloud Security Threats for 2021
Or Azarzar, CTO & Co-Founder of Lightspin,  12/3/2020
Why Vulnerable Code Is Shipped Knowingly
Chris Eng, Chief Research Officer, Veracode,  11/30/2020
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win an Amazon Gift Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: This comment is waiting for review by our moderators.
Current Issue
2021 Top Enterprise IT Trends
We've identified the key trends that are poised to impact the IT landscape in 2021. Find out why they're important and how they will affect you today!
Flash Poll
Assessing Cybersecurity Risk in Todays Enterprises
Assessing Cybersecurity Risk in Todays Enterprises
COVID-19 has created a new IT paradigm in the enterprise and a new level of cybersecurity risk. This report offers a look at how enterprises are assessing and managing cyber-risk under the new normal.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2020-27772
PUBLISHED: 2020-12-04
A flaw was found in ImageMagick in coders/bmp.c. An attacker who submits a crafted file that is processed by ImageMagick could trigger undefined behavior in the form of values outside the range of type `unsigned int`. This would most likely lead to an impact to application availability, but could po...
CVE-2020-27773
PUBLISHED: 2020-12-04
A flaw was found in ImageMagick in MagickCore/gem-private.h. An attacker who submits a crafted file that is processed by ImageMagick could trigger undefined behavior in the form of values outside the range of type `unsigned char` or division by zero. This would most likely lead to an impact to appli...
CVE-2020-28950
PUBLISHED: 2020-12-04
The installer of Kaspersky Anti-Ransomware Tool (KART) prior to KART 4.0 Patch C was vulnerable to a DLL hijacking attack that allowed an attacker to elevate privileges during installation process.
CVE-2020-27774
PUBLISHED: 2020-12-04
A flaw was found in ImageMagick in MagickCore/statistic.c. An attacker who submits a crafted file that is processed by ImageMagick could trigger undefined behavior in the form of a too large shift for 64-bit type `ssize_t`. This would most likely lead to an impact to application availability, but co...
CVE-2020-27775
PUBLISHED: 2020-12-04
A flaw was found in ImageMagick in MagickCore/quantum.h. An attacker who submits a crafted file that is processed by ImageMagick could trigger undefined behavior in the form of values outside the range of type unsigned char. This would most likely lead to an impact to application availability, but c...