(Not so) Random Musings from RSA Conference 2017

Cesare Garlati, Chief Security Strategist, prpl Foundation

cesare-garlati-rsa-sf-2017The world’s great and good of the information security industry descended on San Francisco this week for RSA Conference 2017. On the surface, it looked like more of the same this year.  There weren’t a huge amount of new companies exhibiting this year and the traditional vendors all seemed to be consolidating and streamlining their product lines in attempt to demystify buyers.  It even saw the McAfee brand back this year after a noticeable absence in the previous “Intel Security” era.

What was extremely apparent, however, was a return to the future.  By this I mean the return of focus on securing  the endpoint.  From laptops, desktops and mobile phones, BYOD reared its head again under a different guise – Bring Your Own Anything.  The reason for this is likely the shift to the cloud and away from traditional on-premises offerings, where RSA vendors have typically focused in the past.  This trend has meant that as applications, services and virtual workloads move to the cloud and third parties, the corporate data centre is becoming less and less central to IT budgets.  As such, we are now seeing a trend where established vendors are following suit and looking once again the endpoint as a source of revenue, albeit from a slightly different perspective this time.

This difference comes in the form of Internet of Things (IoT) – which, based on the amount of presentations at RSA this year, is clearly of major significance within the industry.  Kaspersky jumped on the bandwagon and announced its platform for IoT and AT&T, IBM, Symantec and others announced an IoT Cybersecurity Alliance.

RSA Conference 2017
RSA Conference 2017

But is IoT just another buzzword? The scepticism comes from the fact that traditionally, RSA has been a datacenter/network security event.  Granted, network perimeters are changing significantly with the advent of things like the cloud and IoT, but I’m still unconvinced that people can define IoT successfully in this context.  It simply isn’t a problem that traditional network security is going to fix, as evidenced in prpl’s extensive research into how to secure the IoT. We know that security IoT has to start at the hardware level, and that traditional RSA conference vendors have little understanding of this space

It was encouraging to see a large presence by the not for profit Cloud Security Alliance that was poised to tackle the IoT issues and the crowd for the CSA seminar exceeded 1,400 – with queues out of the door for attendance.  Its approach, which advocates open standards, is one which prpl aligns itself with and it is heartening to see everyone coming together in an organised manner to undertake the problems associated with IoT security.

Finally, the last significant observation for me at RSA was the emerging role of identity  as it relates to securing corporate data.  There was a lot of innovation happening around the idea of making passwords obsolete and start-up UnifyID even took the RSA Innovation Sandbox contest with its implicit authentication platform that combines machine learning and the array of devices around us to match our bodies, and more specifically the way we move, to our identities.

It’s innovations like these and the group mentality of coming together to face security issues head on that mean RSA will be successful for years to come. It just needs scratching away at the surface to get to the real innovation: end to end security cloud to silicon.

prplwrt Weekly Meeting – February 16, 2017

Check out the meeting recording on YouTube

Attendees: Eric, Bruce, Felix, Joao, Kathy, Luka, Matteo, Paul, Pedro, Wojtek, and a couple more

SCAL API improvements

  • Felix — project scope implemented and now just awaiting comments and feedback on the implementation
  • handling events and add/remove objects API was last implementation to be completed
    • events: not fancy on system integration; goal to keep first milestone simple
    • json plug-in still caches things that it shouldn’t, but is just an example (i.e., not yet polished, but demonstrates API) — a restart will fix
    • contract will be complete end of this month
  • everyone should begin implementation now so that feedback comes in asap
  • Luka’s team — hasn’t taken a look yet but will soon

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prpl is Pragmatic for Security

RTC MagazineWithin the prpl Foundation Security Working Group, Imperas is providing solutions for embedded hypervisor/OS developers. Simon Davidmann, Imperas CEO, wrote a guest blog for RTC Magazine, which focusses on embedded computing, including information for both hardware and software developers of embedded systems.

The article is about the security of embedded systems, what the prpl Foundation is doing about it, and what its Virtualization and Security PEG is focused on.

“Most of the public discussion about security presents various aspects of the problems, or a high level view of risks/solutions, or an individual company’s solution to their slice of the problem. The prpl Foundation’s Security Working Group is taking a pragmatic, cross-functional approach to security in embedded devices and systems. What do I mean by pragmatic and cross-functional?…”

Read the full article here.

prplwrt Weekly Meeting – February 2, 2017

Watch recording on Youtube

Attendees: Eric, Altran, Art, Bruce, Cesare, John, Kathy, Luka, Mauro, Paul, Pedro, Shailesh, Sukru, other callers

Intro – Elder from Altran, newly involved in prplwrt

ADB TR-069 and CM integration with OpenWrt

  • initial tasks completed
  • follow up is ongoing offline

SCAL API improvements

  •  add/remove objects – hopefully ready to test by end of next week
  •  “eventing” – there will be a simple form of eventing that only covers changes made through SCAL
  • if you have further questions, ask Felix (nbd AT nbd DOT name)

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Imperas active with prpl Foundation at Imagination Technologies Silicon Valley Summit

Simon is prplAt the Imagination Technologies Silicon Valley Summit, a series of presentations and discussions covered Virtualization, Security and the prpl Foundation.

Imperas, as a founding member of the prpl Foundation Virtualization and Security PEG, is working to provide solutions to assist electronic product developers to remove risks associated with embedded software development.

To view the video of  Simon Davidmann, Imperas CEO, click here. 

prplwrt Weekly Meeting – January 26, 2017

Attendees: Art, Bruce, Eric, John, Kathy, Mauro, Paul, Pedro, Sukru, and a couple more…

Update on ADB TR-069 and CM sw integration within OpenWrt

  • some things need to be added to SCAL in order to complete sync up between the two systems
  • see basecamp project for more info

SCAL API needs some new features

  • Add and remove objects during runtime
  • Send events back and forth — design not finalized yet (please provide Felix F with your requirements and uses)
  • See github for more info (https://github.com/prplfoundation/scal)
  • One of the concerns from Inteno was the “double database” —wondering what the ultimate solution would look like to determine whether or not it will work for Inteno.
  • 1. associated with the CM
  • 2. associated with SCAL
  • Eric thinks that the double-dB was to accommodate ADB and SoftAtHome — if you don’t have legacy systems, what would the design look like? (Inteno asking)

Data Models and OpenWrt

  • Discussion of ubus data models vs SCAL — not a conclusion yet (as noted, Inteno wants to understand SCAL better)

CIG (carrier interest group)

  • prpl striving to gather more carriers, then continue to promote and build common APIs which will speed customer time to market.
  • next call/meeting is Jan 31, 9am pacific
  • “common API” original effort was low-level, pertaining to Linux kernel APIs (LED, wi-fi, pushbuttons, GPIOs)  — call this the “common kernel API” project?
  • now an additional, higher level “common API” request is under discussion. It is more at the “Linux distribution” level  (e.g., make it easier to switch between OpenWrt and RDK-B.)

Board Farm Updates

Funding OpenWrt Projects

  • Ongoing funding of existing projects
  • Additional projects to be funded when existing ones are wrapped up (Art urges us to get them done)

Regulatory Update

  • US has appointed a new chair to of FCC therefore no new actions or decisions yet — seems they need to rebuild the commission
  • EU doc created in 2013 is supposed to be implemented in local law now, but is similar to FCC’s doc. some groups lobbying to better protect free software. ongoing discussion, seems similar to US discussions. might be some level of coordination between the two policy groups.

OpenWrt Summit

  • Next meeting will be held week of Feb 6-10 (doodle survey to select the date)
  • All welcome to participate in planning — contact Eric for further info

prplwrt Weekly Meeting – January 19, 2016

You can watch the meeting recording on YouTube

Attendees: Eric, Luka, Bruce, Denis, Felix, John, Matteo, Mauro, Pasquale, Pedro, Shailesh, Sukru, Kathy, and a few others

Update on ADB TR-069 and CM sw integration – Felix, Denis

  • Denis — last week delivered first phase of integration with SCAL
  • does config mgmt of certain parameters so they can be accessed from the CM API via SCAL provider
  • posted some comments on basecamp
  • ADB tested and found that it works! no time to organize details yet, but can arrange a specific call for that
  • expected a SCAL daemon plug-in, instead see a separate daemon running in user space that performs the translation
  • lots more discussion; follow-up call needed…

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