ISSA-UK President Tim Holman standing for ISSA International Board

Our very own Chapter President, Tim Holman, will be standing for a Director position on the ISSA International Board.  Elections kick off on the 2nd June 2014, and of course he and ISSA-UK would appreciate your support.

Tim's goals are set out in his nomination, that follows:


Tim has been President of the ISSA-UK Chapter for the past four years and has helped it grow from strength to strength, winning Chapter of the Year 2012, Communications Chapter of the Year 2009, 2011 and most new members for Q4 2013. He was awarded Fellow of the ISSA in 2013, in recognition of his dedication and service to the association and the security community.

He regularly speaks at industry events on behalf of ISSA and in his spare time is CEO at the Cyber Security and Penetration Testing firm 2-sec. Tim is well known as one of the world’s top experts on PCI DSS and payment security, holding both QSA and PA-QSA certifications and leading PCI SSC Special Interest Groups, with 20 years of professional experience.

In developing the UK chapter he has built up a highly motivated team of security professionals / volunteers and the Chapter now runs the most active ISSA events programme globally, bringing up to date information about new technologies, techniques and emerging threats to members on a regular basis.

Each ISSA-UK event now attracts over 100 members, not without that hard work and dedication of Tim and the ISSA-UK team, and has a loyal following of top-name sponsors.

Tim started developing security communities in 1998 as one of the founding members of Experts Exchange, and was awarded Microsoft’s Most Valuable Professional (MVP) for Security for 3 years running. His ISSA-UK involvement started in 2004, holding Director of Sponsorship and Vice President roles until his election as President in 2009.

With over 16 years of experience in building security communities, Tim is extremely well placed to help lead the ISSA forwards. He knows what works, what doesn’t, and more importantly how to develop and grow ISSA into a truly global security association.

Statement of goals

Tim’s goals are to reach out to a new generation of security professionals and support members to ensure they get great value out of their association membership. He will:

  • Help chapters advance at a local level.
  • Improve global recognition.
  • Gain and retain top name sponsors.
  • Develop event and membership quality.
  • Enhance awareness within complementary / competing associations.
  • Ensure strong support for academia, mentorship and for those looking to consider information security as a career path.

Tim looks forward to joining the ISSA board – there’s much work that needs to be done and you can be confident that under Tim’s direction, the job will get done. No matter how big or small your chapter is, Tim will be here to support you.

Security on the Brain - White paper & presentation

I have been requested to 'socialise' the white paper and presentation slides from the highly popular "Security on the Brain - " series of workshops I presented at recent ISSA and other infosec conferences - including Transport Security Expo, e-Crime Congress and IISyG. Links to both the paper and the presentation slides are below:

Security on the Brain - Using Human Psychology to Achieve Compliance:
Paper Attached. Here

Workshop Presentation here:

2013 Officer Elections Now Open

Have you considered supporting the wider information security community?

Would you like to contribute your time and skills to the ISSA UK Chapter?

Now is the time to take action!

The 2013 UK Chapter Elections process has now begun.

Find out more at



Slides published from last Chapter Meeting

Presentation slides from the last ISSA-UK London Chapter Meeting on "Critical Controls" are now available.

Event: Thursday, 13 June 2013 from 16:00 to 21:00 London, United Kingdom

Richard Hollis, CEO, Risk Factory
Deep Threat: Top 10 Lessons to Learn from the Online Adult Entertainment Industry. Link to Slides

Thom Langford, Sapient
UFOs, Dirty Dancing and Exploding Helicopters - Understanding Risk Management Hollywood Style. Link to Slides

Adrian Wright, ISSA-UK VP of Projects
Securing The 'Internet of Things' - Implications and Key Questions. Link to Slides

Dragon's Den 2013 - HMS President, River Thames, London

Dragon's Den 2013 - HMS President, River Thames, London

Thursday, July 11, 2013 from 9:30 AM to 7:00 PM (BST) London, United Kingdom
Our annual Dragon's Den Event returns on 11th July and will be held on the HMS President, a boat permanently moored on the River Thames in London.

In the Dragon's Den event, ten security software/solution vendors battle it out for the best Speaker and best Product prizes, given at the end of the day and voted on by the audience.  We offer each vendor a 10 minute speaking pitch and split the sessions over an hour in the morning and an hour in the afternoon.

5 CPE points. ISSA Members Free - Non Members £50 + £1.90 booking fee. Limited places on board ship - book your place now!

Book Here

Partner Event: "Development Testing: Securing Your Code" Weds 3rd July 18.30–22.00 London

Join in the Big Debate: Are you making the right decisions to secure your code?

With the rising complexity of applications and the increasing threat of security attacks, can security risks be left to the security auditors to tackle on their own? Or does this now belong to the Software Development Teams? In short, are you making the right decisions to ensure the security of your code?

Join us on the evening of 3rd July in London to hear leading industry luminaries grapple with the important issues surrounding this debate. The panel discussion will include some pre-prepared questions plus an opportunity for attendees to test the panel members. We welcome security and development leaders from all industries and look forward to seeing you there!

An evening Panel Discussion featuring:
Stephen Bonner, Partner, Information Protection, KPMG
Tim Holman, President of the ISSA UK Chapter
Neira Jones, Chairman,The CSCSS Advisory Board
John Jacott, Security Practice Leader, Coverity
Moderated by Paul Fisher Pfanda / ex Editor of SC Magazine

Event Agenda:
18.30 – 20.00 Refreshments & Networking
20.00 – 21.30 The big debate
21.30 – 22.30 Additional Networking Opportunities

Register here:

Cyber Security for the Military and Defence Sector Conference

19–20 June London Kensington

A discount code for our members* - ISSA members can register online and receive a £300 discount! Use Discount code SMI5H6NISSA Partner Conference: Cyber Security for Military & Defence Sector 19–20 June London Tara Copthone Hotel. £300 ISSA member discount. Register here:

Just when you thought you had BYOD under control – enter the Life of BYON

An IT manager friend of mine recently reprimanded a young employee for spending up to 80% of his day surfing shopping and music sites from his desktop. This fact having come to light through web filter, firewall and bandwidth logs. Duly warned and with web filters having been tightened the employee went back to 'work'. Several weeks later a new notebook PC appeared on the employee’s desk, which also seemed to consume most of his attention throughout the day.
A quick check of the network showed no new systems on the network, so perhaps it was being used offline? Maybe so, if it wasn't for the fact that our manger then then spotted a new wireless connection he hadn't seen before in his wireless connection list. Yes you guessed it. Having been caught using the company network for his own purposes, our young scallywag had brought his own wireless hot spot to work and was using that to while away his time on YouTube, Facebook and eBay.

Like BYOD before it, the march of Bring-Your-Own-Network (BYON) is happening silently, stealthily and almost completely outside of management control. Nearly all modern smartphones and 3/4G tablets can be instantly turned into wireless hot spots allowing it and any other wireless-enabled systems within range to be connected to the web, whether out and about or at the workplace desk.

From an employee’s viewpoint this makes perfect sense. They may have been denied permission to connect their personal devices to the corporate network, or don’t want the hassle of seeking these approvals and have the company install special (MDM) control software on their personal devices. They will be aware that many sites like social media, betting and music download sites (i.e. the very places they want to go) are either blocked, or their use monitored. And besides, their brand new 4G tariff gives them a cool 12Mbps speed with all-you-can-eat data – which is probably not true of the clunky corporate LAN struggling to deliver even a tenth of that; assuming of course the firewall blocking allows you to view or download anything you are remotely interested in.

So what’s the problem with BYON? From a security and capacity perspective you might say, “better them doing it on their kit than mine”, or “at least it’s hardware and software I don’t need to provide support and capacity for”, but you’d be missing the point. Someone spending a large part of their workplace time pursuing personal interests represents a huge hit to productivity and the bottom line once you have enough people doing it. With the bigger issue being that you can’t readily detect, monitor or quantify it. These things also tend to become endemic in the workplace culture and hard to reverse after a very short time.

The situation also drives a coach and horses through any policies you might have regarding improper or illegal material being viewed in the workplace, as it bypasses any of the filters or logs you probably spent fortunes putting in place to avoid. Furthermore the assumption those personal WiFi hotspots are completely air-gapped from the corporate IT is a dangerously weak one. In that unless you have a tight lockdown on all your office PCs preventing their connection to unauthorised wireless points, backed up with DLP on everything to ensure files downloaded elsewhere cannot be transferred to any office systems; there is a real risk of bridging the secure enterprise network to insecure private ones at multiple points. Plus of course there’s the bigger risk that sensitive data will go the other way, by leaking out through the insecure access point or being carried out on an unprotected personal device.

So what to do about it? First and foremost check your security, staff and acceptable use policies are clear and unambiguous regarding the use of BYON and personal wireless hot spots in particular. In the above case of the employee using his own kit to surf the web all day; the BYOD policy written over a year prior made no mention of personal hot spots or their use. Consequently their use had run out of control before the issue came to management’s attention. Next carry out a business risk assessment involving the key risk stakeholders including HR, IT, and security to identify the risks in both scenarios of either permitting or banning the use of personal WiFi hot spots. If the organisation opts to allow their use, you’ll need to define the precise what, when and how of their acceptability and then enshrine it in corporate policy. If you opt to ban them, then work out how you are going to detect and respond to the exceptions which will occur. In all cases you’ll need to consider how to prevent any personal network connection, whether allowed or not, from circumventing your entire enterprise security infrastructure.

What security measures can IT take to ensure security of enterprise data and does MDM really have a role in security?

"The map is no longer the territory". The 'map' in this case represents the inventory and network diagrams that used to tell IT people where all the systems and endpoints were on their network. The 'territory' on the other hand represents reality, in terms of what's actually out there and connecting in. Prior to the mobile and BYOD explosion the map and the territory were pretty much the same, give or take, but I believe this is no longer the case and is becoming less so every day. The unstoppable trend is that more employees are using their own smartphones and tablets for work, creating an upward surge of consumer mobile devices accessing corporate networks and storing corporate data. Organisations must therefore prepare themselves for a world where the dominant endpoint is not a desktop computer, but a mobile device.

Latest research shows nearly three-quarters of smart device owning professionals are using those personal devices to access company data, yet more than three-quarters of organisations are failing to manage that activity effectively. Some time ago I wrote an article entitled 'You can’t protect what you don’t know you’ve got', and this challenge of finding out what, where and how myriad personal devices are connected and what amount and value of your corporate data is on them, is the primary question you need to answer before attempting to secure anything.

The definition of what constitutes the "personal cloud" remains an area of intense debate. Most purchasers of popular smartphones will be automatically granted access to a personal cloud like Google or iCloud for backing up and providing extended storage for their device, and this is therefore a good starting point in defining what the personal cloud is, and where some of your corporate data might already be.

MDM is certainly a route to take if BYOD is identified as a growing risk, but where you start depends to what degree BYOD has already been allowed to creep in by stealth. Most devices connect wirelessly and many employees have connected their device to the network by finding out the wireless password. So once you have MDM in place you might consider changing all the wireless passwords to force users off the network before allowing them back on in a more controlled, inventoried and secured way.

Riding the social media wave

Social media has revolutionized both our personal and business lives over the past five years.  We can Tweet crime to our local police station. We can connect with companies on Facebook.  We can conduct extensive research on almost anybody and any company by conducting a Google search and reviewing social media profiles.  We can even arrange flash mobs and a single Tweet written in a few seconds can be read by tens of thousands of people within minutes.

From the beginnings of the humble email address as a unique online identifier, any one of us now have several online identities, complete with photos, employment history and even what we had for breakfast.  These identities persist.  We forget about old ones and set up new ones, whilst at all times this information is in the public domain for seven billion people in the world to hear. Without a doubt, by using social media, you will get heard.

Businesses have struggled to grasp social media and whether it construes a benefit or risk to the bottom line.  Most early non-adopters of social media simply enforced outright bans, as just saw social media as employees wasting time during working hours.  The employees simply waited until they got home, non-the-wiser that what they Tweeted could still bring their employer to its knees.  On another hand, some businesses that have opened up social media for their employees have ended up in court as they have failed to control what was being said and were held severally liable in libel cases.  Staff have had to be laid off, solicitors involved and public relations restored - no easy or cheap feat.

Either permitting or denying social media to employees in the workplace clearly presents a risk and that’s why all businesses, big and small, need to take action. There are no silver bullets or technological solutions that can stop your employees using social media and disclosing information. The problem can only be solved with a holistic people and process-based approach.

I would recommend at minimum a Social Media Policy and Security Awareness Programme to help tackle these issues.  Ensure employment contracts are correctly drafted.  Ensure your insurance covers the event of information disclosure and can assist with legal costs in the event of libel or confidentiality breach cases.  If your company does endorse social media, then setup your own Twitter and Facebook accounts so you can interface with employees and present consistent messaging to the outside world via your PR department, and via no other means.  It’s not a tough nut to crack, but you have to raise the security bar of everyone in your organisation to make your Social Media Strategy a success.

The worst you can do is do nothing.  Ride the social media wave and do not fall beneath it.