Welcome!

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Cloud Security, @ThingsExpo

@CloudExpo: Blog Post

What ‘Mr. Robot’ Can Teach Us About Incident Response | @CloudExpo #IoT #Cloud #Security

It is not often that movies and television shows give viewers the opportunity to explore the world of hacking & digital security

It is not often that movies and television shows give viewers the opportunity to explore the world of hacking and digital security in a realistic manner. After two seasons, "Mr. Robot" has attracted its share of IT professionals as well as average citizens. The show has offered numerous depictions that are of particular interest to those who make their living by protecting their organizations.

The critically acclaimed television series offers fictional situations rather than documentary evidence. However, the plots and actions of both the security engineers and hackers are realistic enough that they can send a shiver down the spine of any professional responsible for safeguarding their organization's system and responding to incidents. This two-part post explores some of the most chilling incidents depicted on the show - incidents that are especially disturbing because they can and do happen in the real world.

People Are the Weak Link
Employees are walking, talking cyber-risks. Sometimes they commit breaches out of anger or because they have been offered payment for sensitive data. At other times, they are innocent pawns or fall victim to a phishing attack. For example, in one episode of "Mr. Robot," Elliot is able to gain physical access to Steel Mountain by manipulating an eager-to-please employee. Elliot himself is an example of an employee who is working to sabotage his employer. One of the worst things about insider hacking is that it can be months or years before it is detected. Controlling access and permissions by employee can help as well as keeping a log of everything that comes in and goes out over the network.

Passwords Present Problems
Users prefer to select passwords that they can easily remember and, in many cases, they use the same password or a slightly modified form of it for all of their sites. If the password is difficult to remember, the user will probably write it down. In one episode, an attorney kept the password to her email account on a sticky note on her desk. In case you're wondering whether users are still playing fast and loose with passwords, you need only check SplashData's list of the worst passwords found in 2 million leaked passwords. Despite compiling and publishing the list annually, the password "123456" still tops the list, followed by "password," "12345678," and "qwerty." Security professionals must be more proactive about training users in the selection of easy-to-remember but hard-to-guess passwords, keeping passwords private and choosing different passwords for every platform.

There Are Times When Being Social Is a Mistake
It is amazing what you can learn from many people's Facebook pages. Information such as their mother's maiden name, the users' date of birth, names of children, favorite pet and much more is often posted for all to see. In many instances, this is all the information that a hacker needs to respond correctly to a secret question in order to have the password reset. Hackers can also use the information to guess passwords. In one episode, Elliot is able to access his therapist's accounts by guessing that her password was a combination of her birth year and the name of her favorite musical artist. However, Elliot has also been able to glean information over the phone and in person by misrepresenting himself.

Never Expect Privacy from a Public Network
In the very first episode, Elliot exposes the manager of a coffee shop as the owner of a website featuring child pornography. He discovered the truth by observing the manager's activities through the coffee shop's public Wi-Fi network. With just a bit of free software and a little technical knowledge, intercepting people's activities is relatively easy on an unprotected network. Employees should be warned to avoid using public networks to access email accounts or conduct other activities that could leave their personal data exposed.

Skimping on Security Investments Is a Mistake
In one episode, Elliot winds up in a hospital, and it's revealed that he chose the hospital because of its one-person IT department that operates on an inadequate budget. He has no problem hacking the hospital's database to alter records. Organizations that do not make the necessary investments in personnel and hardware could suffer a similar fate, especially if they do not bother to keep software updated.

More Stories By Rishi Bhargava

Rishi Bhargava is Co-founder and VP, Marketing for Demisto, a cyber security startup with the mission to make security operations - “faster, leaner and smarter.” Prior to founding Demisto, he was Vice President and General Manager of the Software Defined Datacenter Group at Intel Security. A visionary and technology enthusiast, he was responsible for delivering Intel integrated Security Solutions for datacenters.

Before Intel, he was Vice President of Product Management for Datacenter and Server security products at McAfee, now part of Intel Security. As an intrapreneur at McAfee, he launched multiple products to establish McAfee leadership in risk & compliance, virtualization, and cloud security. He joined McAfee by way of acquisition in 2009 (Solidcore, Enterprise Security Startup). At Solidcore, he was responsible for Product Management and Strategy. As one of the early employees and member of the leadership team, he was instrumental in defining the company's product strategy and growing the business.

Rishi has over a dozen patents in the area of Computer Security. He holds a BS in Computer Science from Indian Institute of Technology, New Delhi and a Masters in Computer Science from University of Southern California, Los Angeles. He is passionate about new technologies and industry trends and serves as an active advisor to multiple startups in silicon valley and India.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


Latest Stories
Interoute has announced the integration of its Global Cloud Infrastructure platform with Rancher Labs’ container management platform, Rancher. This approach enables enterprises to accelerate their digital transformation and infrastructure investments. Matthew Finnie, Interoute CTO commented “Enterprises developing and building apps in the cloud and those on a path to Digital Transformation need Digital ICT Infrastructure that allows them to build, test and deploy faster than ever before. The int...
SYS-CON Events announced today that SoftLayer, an IBM Company, has been named “Gold Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York, New York. SoftLayer, an IBM Company, provides cloud infrastructure as a service from a growing number of data centers and network points of presence around the world. SoftLayer’s customers range from Web startups to global enterprises.
SYS-CON Events announced today that CrowdReviews.com has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 6–8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. CrowdReviews.com is a transparent online platform for determining which products and services are the best based on the opinion of the crowd. The crowd consists of Internet users that have experienced products and services first-hand and have an interest in letting other potential buyers...
SYS-CON Events announced today that T-Mobile will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. As America's Un-carrier, T-Mobile US, Inc., is redefining the way consumers and businesses buy wireless services through leading product and service innovation. The Company's advanced nationwide 4G LTE network delivers outstanding wireless experiences to 67.4 million customers who are unwilling to compromise on ...
@DevOpsSummit has been named the ‘Top DevOps Influencer' by iTrend. iTrend processes millions of conversations, tweets, interactions, news articles, press releases, blog posts - and extract meaning form them and analyzes mobile and desktop software platforms used to communicate, various metadata (such as geo location), and automation tools. In overall placement, @DevOpsSummit ranked as the number one ‘DevOps Influencer' followed by @CloudExpo at third, and @MicroservicesE at 24th.
Virtualization over the past years has become a key strategy for IT to acquire multi-tenancy, increase utilization, develop elasticity and improve security. And virtual machines (VMs) are quickly becoming a main vehicle for developing and deploying applications. The introduction of containers seems to be bringing another and perhaps overlapped solution for achieving the same above-mentioned benefits. Are a container and a virtual machine fundamentally the same or different? And how? Is one techn...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Infranics will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Since 2000, Infranics has developed SysMaster Suite, which is required for the stable and efficient management of ICT infrastructure. The ICT management solution developed and provided by Infranics continues to add intelligence to the ICT infrastructure through the IMC (Infra Management Cycle) based on mathemat...
Have you ever noticed how some IT people seem to lead successful, rewarding, and satisfying lives and careers, while others struggle? IT author and speaker Don Crawley uncovered the five principles that successful IT people use to build satisfying lives and careers and he shares them in this fast-paced, thought-provoking webinar. You'll learn the importance of striking a balance with technical skills and people skills, challenge your pre-existing ideas about IT customer service, and gain new in...
SYS-CON Events announced today that SD Times | BZ Media has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 6–8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. BZ Media LLC is a high-tech media company that produces technical conferences and expositions, and publishes a magazine, newsletters and websites in the software development, SharePoint, mobile development and commercial UAV markets.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Telecom Reseller has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 6–8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Telecom Reseller reports on Unified Communications, UCaaS, BPaaS for enterprise and SMBs. They report extensively on both customer premises based solutions such as IP-PBX as well as cloud based and hosted platforms.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Juniper Networks (NYSE: JNPR), an industry leader in automated, scalable and secure networks, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Juniper Networks challenges the status quo with products, solutions and services that transform the economics of networking. The company co-innovates with customers and partners to deliver automated, scalable and secure network...
"I think that everyone recognizes that for IoT to really realize its full potential and value that it is about creating ecosystems and marketplaces and that no single vendor is able to support what is required," explained Esmeralda Swartz, VP, Marketing Enterprise and Cloud at Ericsson, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloudistics, an on-premises cloud computing company, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Cloudistics delivers a complete public cloud experience with composable on-premises infrastructures to medium and large enterprises. Its software-defined technology natively converges network, storage, compute, virtualization, and management into a ...
In his keynote at @ThingsExpo, Chris Matthieu, Director of IoT Engineering at Citrix and co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, focused on building an IoT platform and company. He provided a behind-the-scenes look at Octoblu’s platform, business, and pivots along the way (including the Citrix acquisition of Octoblu).
Historically, some banking activities such as trading have been relying heavily on analytics and cutting edge algorithmic tools. The coming of age of powerful data analytics solutions combined with the development of intelligent algorithms have created new opportunities for financial institutions. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Sebastien Meunier, Head of Digital for North America at Chappuis Halder & Co., will discuss how these tools can be leveraged to develop a lasting competitive advanta...