January 2012 Archives

Bloggers Beware: InfoSec Island


In Brief: InfoSec Island may not post what you submit, but instead grab text from your blog (whether authorized or not). When I filed a complaint, their first response was to threaten to delete the post, and they ultimately deleted my account (and then posted the entire email exchange to pastebin). If you post to their site, then don't be surprised if you and your post are abused. If you complain, expect to be told that you don't matter. In the end, despite being urged to reach out to me, they have not taken steps to resolve the matter.

Strong Recommendation: If you're a writer, I cannot urge you strongly enough to avoid or flee InfoSec Island. If you're a reader, then I strongly recommend that you not use their site any further. A business that profits from and exists because of the free contributions from people like me do not deserve continued patronage when they clearly disrespect the people who provide the content upon which they base their business.

This post is derived from an interesting twitter exchange that I had with Branden Williams last week, and that resulted in his writing-up a couple related blog posts. You can read those posts here:
* "Myth Busting With Ben Tomhave"
* "Corporate Responsibility with Ben Tomhave"

The first issue was a simple question I asked about whether or not a QSA was still required if a business had an ISA. To my great surprise, Branden responded that not only was a QSA not required, but it never had been! His response even surprised a couple other QSAs. I'll go into this more below, but suffice to say that when you dig into each card brand's requirements, it turns out that self-certification is allowed with the signature of a company officer.

The second thread that came out of the original discussion revolved around the topics of businesses needing to become competent on PCI requirements (or, what's reasonable to expect), as well as a side-bar about whose risk is actually being managed. We'll discuss these topics as well.

The Gross Example of STRATFOR

Unless you've been living under a rock for the past month, you've undoubtedly heard about the STRATFOR hack by some anonymous or another. Who did it really isn't all that important to me, nor do I even care all that much about the purported, assumed, inferred, or otherwise construed ideology behind it. The important thing is to hold this up as a squalid, revolting example of IT mismanagement and outright legally indefensible negligence.

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