Daily Tech Digest - September 29, 2023

Why root causes matter in cybersecurity

In the cybersecurity industry, unfortunately, there is no official directory of root causes. Many vendors categorize certain attacks as root causes when in reality, these are often outcomes or symptoms. For example, ransomware, remote access, stolen credentials, etc., are all symptoms, not root causes. The root cause behind remote access or stolen credentials is most likely human error or some vulnerability. ... The true root cause is human error. People are prone to mistakes, ignorance, and biases. We open malicious attachments, click on wrong links, surf the wrong websites, use weak credentials, and reuse passwords across multiple sites. We use unauthorized software, make public our private details via posting on social media for bad actors to scrape and harvest. We take security far too much for granted. Human error in cybersecurity is a much larger problem than previously anticipated or documented. To clamp down on human error, organizations must train employees enough so they can develop a security instinct and improve security habits. Clear policies and procedures must be in place, so everyone understands their responsibility and accountability towards the business.

Running Automation Tests at Scale Using Java

As customer decision making is now highly dependent on digital experience as well, organisations are increasingly investing in quality of that digital experience. That means establishing high internal QA standards and most importantly investing in Automation Testing for faster release cycles. So, how does this concern you as a developer or tester? Having automation skills on your resume is highly desirable in the current employment market. Additionally, getting started is quick. Selenium is the ideal framework for beginning automation testing. It is the most popular automated testing framework and supports all programming languages. This post will discuss Selenium, how to set it up, and how to use Java to create an automated test script. Next, we will see how to use a java based testing framework like TestNG with Selenium and perform parallel test execution at scale on the cloud using LambdaTest.

How Generative AI Can Support DevOps and SRE Workflows

Querying a bunch of different tools for logs and a bunch of different observability data and outputs manually requires a lot of time and knowledge, which isn’t necessarily efficient. Where is that metric? Which dashboard is in? What’s the machine name? How do other people typically refer to it? What kind of time window do people typically look at here? And so forth. “All that context has been done before by other people,” Nag said. And generative AI can enable engineers to use natural language prompts to find exactly what they need — and often kick off the next steps in subsequent actions or workflows automatically as well, often without ever leaving Slack ... The cloud native ecosystem is vast (and continually growing) — keeping up with the intricacies of everything is almost impossible. With generative AI, Nag said, no one actually needs to know the ins and outs of dozens of different systems and tools. A user can simply say “scale up this pod by two replicas or configure this Lambda [function] this way. 

Diverse threat intelligence key to cyberdefense against nation-state attacks

Most threat intelligence houses currently originate from the West or are Western-oriented, and this can result in bias or skewed representations of the threat landscape, noted Minhan Lim, head of research and development at Ensign Labs. The Singapore-based cybersecurity vendor was formed through a joint venture between local telco StarHub and state-owned investment firm, Temasek Holdings. "We need to maintain neutrality, so we're careful about where we draw our data feeds," Lim said in an interview with ZDNET. "We have data feeds from all reputable [threat intel] data sources, which is important so we can understand what's happening on a global level." Ensign also runs its own telemetry and SOCs (security operations centers), including in Malaysia and Hong Kong, collecting data from sensors deployed worldwide. Lim added that the vendor's clientele comprises multinational corporations (MNCs), including regional and China-based companies, that have offices in the U.S., Europe, and South Africa.

Where Does Zero Trust Fall Short? Experts Weigh In

The strategy of ZT can be applied to all of those areas and, if done correctly and intelligently, then a solid strategic approach can be beneficial. There is no ZT product that can simply make those areas secure, however. I would also suggest that the largest area of threat is privileged access, as that is the most common avenue of lateral movement and increased compromise historically.” ... “It’s a multifaceted issue when determining the greatest threat among the areas where zero trust falls short. At the core, privileged access stands out as the most alarming vulnerability. These users, often likened to having ‘keys to the kingdom,’ possess the capabilities to access confidential data, modify configurations and undertake actions that could severely jeopardize an organization. “However, an underlying concern that might be overlooked is the reason behind the extensive distribution of privileged access. In many situations, this excessive access stems from challenges tied to legacy systems, IoT devices, third-party services, and emerging technologies and applications. 

Data Management Challenges In Heterogeneous Systems

When you look at the whole chiplet ecosystem, there are certain blocks we feel can be generalized and made into chiplets, or known good die, that can be brought into the market. The secret sauce is custom piece of silicon, and they can design and own the recipe around that. But there are generic components in any SoC — memory, interconnects, processors. You can always fragment it in a way that there are some general components, which you can leverage from the general market, and which will help everyone. That brings the cost of building your system down so you can focus on problems around your secret sauce. ... We need something like a three-tier data management system, where with tier one everyone can access data and share it, and tier three is only for people in a company. But I don’t know when we’ll get there because data management is a real tough problem. ... We may need new approaches. Just looking at this from the hyperscale cloud perspective, which is huge, with complex hardware/software systems and things coming in from many vendors, how do we protect it? 

Companies are already feeling the pressure from upcoming US SEC cyber rules

Calculating the financial ramifications of a cybersecurity incident under the upcoming rules placed pressure on corporate leaders to collaborate more closely with CISOs and other cybersecurity professionals within their organizations. Right now, a "gulf exists between boards and CFOs and their cybersecurity defense teams, their chief information security officers," Gerber says. "The two aren’t speaking the same language yet." Gerber thinks that "what companies and CFOs are realizing is that they need to get their teams into these exercises so that they can practice making their determinations as accurately and clearly as they can and early as they can." "I think that the general counsels and the CISOs have been at arm’s length of each, and I’m going to tell you one extreme," Sanna says. "One CISO told us that their legal or general counsel did not want them to assess cyber risk in financial terms so they could claim ignorance and not have to report it."

A Guide to Data-Driven Design and Architecture

Data-driven architecture involves designing and organizing systems, applications, and infrastructure with a central focus on data as a core element. Within this architectural framework, decisions concerning system design, scalability, processes, and interactions are guided by insights and requirements derived from data. Fundamental principles of data-driven architecture include: Data-centric design – Data is at the core of design decisions, influencing how components interact, how data is processed, and how insights are extracted. Real-time processing – Data-driven architectures often involve real-time or near real-time data processing to enable quick insights and actions. Integration of AI and ML – The architecture may incorporate AI and ML components to extract deeper insights from data. Event-driven approach – Event-driven architecture, where components communicate through events, is often used to manage data flows and interactions.

The Search for Certainty When Spotting Cyberattacks

Exacerbating the problem is the availability of malware and ransomware services for sale on the Dark Web, Taylor said, which can arm bad actors with the means of doing digital harm even if they lack coding skills of their own. That makes it harder to profile and identify specific attackers, he said, because thousands of bad actors might buy the same tools to attack systems. “We can’t identify where it’s coming from very easily,” Taylor said, because almost anybody could be a hacker. “You don’t have to be the expert anymore. You don’t have to be the cyber gang that’s very technically adept at developing all these tools.” That means cyberattacks may be launched from unexpected angles. For example, he said, gangs could outsource their hacking needs via such resources, or individuals who are simply bored at home might pick up such tools from the Dark Web to create phishing campaigns. “It becomes harder and harder to profile the threat.”

How Listening to the Customer Can Boost Innovation

Product development should not rely solely on customer input. Development teams should also take product metrics into account. Most, if not all, SaaS products today track a wealth of product metrics that show how customers use and engage with products. These insights can drive product development and strategy. For example, by providing insights on how individual customers are interacting with products, development teams can see what features customers are and aren’t using, or perhaps struggling with. This can validate whether customer requests to improve certain features are correct. Metrics can also show whether new products or services are performing well and having a positive impact on business outcomes. From a business perspective, you want new services to improve engagement, retention and sentiment, and metrics can show the benefits of listening to the customer by demonstrating how new services are helping to improve revenue growth.

Quote for the day:

"Become the kind of leader that people would follow voluntarily, even if you had no title or position." --Brian Tracy

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