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Keeping Laptops Secure: Solutions Mike Delahunty Bryan Lutz Kimberly Peng Kevin Kazmierski John Thykattil Defense Team: Agenda Real world analysis of laptop security Four cornerstones of secure computing as they relate to laptop security Confidentiality Authenticity Integrity

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keeping laptops secure solutions

Keeping Laptops Secure:Solutions

Mike Delahunty

Bryan Lutz

Kimberly Peng

Kevin Kazmierski

John Thykattil

Defense Team:

  • Real world analysis of laptop security
  • Four cornerstones of secure computing as they relate to laptop security
    • Confidentiality
    • Authenticity
    • Integrity
    • Availability
  • How can we apply these cornerstones to ensure laptop security?
real world balancing cost and risk
Real World – Balancing Cost and Risk
  • The greater the security risk, the greater the cost to mitigate
    • Software and administrative costs
  • Some laptops need more security than others
    • Bank employee’s laptop must be very secure
      • Financial data could be compromised
    • Government employee’s laptop must be very secure
      • Public records could be compromised
    • College student’s laptop might not need as much
      • MP3s and videos could be lost
real world business legal consequences
Real World – Business/Legal Consequences
  • A survey of almost 500 IT professionals in 2006 revealed that 81 percent of firms lost machines containing sensitive data last year.1
  • Loss of laptop containing personal data belonging to the public can lead to:
    • Financial loss to those affected, and the company
    • Stolen identities of those affected
    • Lawsuits from those affected
    • Loss of customers
    • Lowered public perception of company
real world feasibility analysis
Real World - Feasibility Analysis
  • Companies must dedicate appropriate resources to maintain a sufficient level of security for laptops, based on their accepted level of risk
    • Ranges from $10’s to $100’s per laptop
    • IT personnel to administer laptops and keep them secure
    • Employee training on security
  • Having the appropriate level of laptop security should always be feasible, or the company is not doing their due diligence.
solutions to ensure laptop data confidentiality
Solutions to Ensure Laptop Data: Confidentiality

Laptop Data Encryption

Two Types of Encryption


Full Disk (Preferred)

Most Encryption Products are FIPS Certified

US Federal Information Processing Standards (FIPS) certification from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), which verified the encryption algorithms in the products as conforming to the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) algorithm

case study bitlocker
Case Study: BitLocker

Microsoft Product with Windows Vista

Targets the Lost Laptop

Encrypts operating system volume on a sector by sector basis

Two Layer Approach

Cipher Layer: Well-Established Cipher, AES in CBC mode

Diffuser Layer: Unproven algorithm; premise is to make manipulation for authentication attacks harder

case study bitlocker cont
Case Study: BitLocker Cont.

Premise/Design Approach

Software Based Attacks Most Prevalent

BitLocker does not require user to enter special boot password or use boot SmartCard or USB device

Hardware Attacks Rare but Supported with TPM Chip

Seal/Unseal Function used to encrypt key which can only be decrypted by same TPM chip; other OS’es can be booted and fully functional, but drive cannot be read.

case study bitlocker9
Case Study: BitLocker

Secure Boot Process

If Attacker has access to ciphertext, and modifies it to create weakness in the normal boot process

Authenticate Data From Disk

Poor Man’s Authentication: trust that changes in ciphertext do not translate to semantically sensible changes in the plaintext

512 to 8192 byte block cipher

If attacker changes any part of ciphertext, all plaintext in that sector is changed randomly

solutions to ensure laptop data confidentiality10
Solutions to Ensure Laptop Data: Confidentiality

Physical Security

Keep Devices in Safe Locations

Lock them up

LCD Privacy Screens

Don’t Display Confidential Documents in Public Areas

Lock Down Ports: USB, IEEE 1394, etc.

Exploitation of Legitimate Forensics Tools

  • Use TPM Chip to thwart hardware attacks
authenticity solutions
Authenticity Solutions
  • Make it difficult to guess passwords and account names
    • Disable well known accounts such as “guest” and “administrator”
    • Disallow passwords that contain login names, dictionary words, or simple variants of previous passwords
    • Require long passwords with a mix of characters, numbers, and symbols
    • Use systems that employ SHA-512 or MD5
authenticity solutions cont
Authenticity Solutions Cont.
  • Disable access to I/O ports
    • Popular vendors of security products offer software that blocks the use of removable storage devices and media. This can prevent theft of data through USB devices or booting alternate operating systems on CD.
authenticity solutions13
Authenticity Solutions
  • Prevent users from connecting to rogue access points
    • Host-based: Require the use of secure tunnels whenever using any connection outside of the company. VPN clients can be launched at startup, however this can lead to connectivity problems.
    • Network-based: Employ software that detects and shuts down rogue access points installed within the company’s network. An example would be RogueScanner, which is an open source tool for detecting rogue devices.
integrity solutions
Integrity Solutions
  • Do not give laptop users “administrative” rights
    • Prohibits the installation of unapproved software
    • Most malware / spyware exploits administrative privileges to install without user knowledge
    • Provides greater stability - extraneous software

not running in the background

      • Laptops run more efficiently and quickly
      • Less need for maintenance
  • Only allow network administrators to install approved software
  • Have a standardized, approved laptop image
integrity solutions cont
Integrity Solutions Cont.
  • Do not allow laptops on the network with expired Virus definitions
    • Use a product such as Cisco Clean Access to place the laptop on a quarantined subnet upon first connection, download current virus definitions, and grant access once the laptop is in compliance
  • Do not allow laptops to use unsecured wireless networks
    • Enforce minimum requirements for wireless access using group policy or similar
      • Do not allow open access SSIDs or WEP

Retaining Availability

  • Availability - The ability to use the
  • information or resource desired
  • A loss of availability is a loss of data
  • Logical Prevention
    • Data redundancy

- Ex: Oracle's “Data Guard”

    • Virtualization software
    • Regular backups to

corporate network

  • Physical Prevention
    • “Toughbook” laptops

Oracle's “Data Guard”


Retaining Availability Cont.

  • Cost (per 100 users)
  • Data Redundancy
    • Oracle's “Data Guard” - $6k (enterprise license)
  • Virtualization
    • VMWare's “bundle pack” - $15k for 100 Virt. Machines
  • Toughbooks
    • 3x over standard laptops
    • At 50% enterprise discount: $100k for 100 users
  • Simple data redundancy through server backups is most cost effective. However, high availability has its drawbacks.....

Retaining Availability Cont.

  • Risks
  • High Availability comes at a price
    • Performance – synchronization for backups,

loading virtual machines, n/w latency

    • Deployment – costs, training, personel
  • Feasibility
  • 99% uptime = 8,649 hrs/yr
  • or 87 hrs downtime / yr
  • If 95% uptime is good enough,
  • Gartner suggests doing nothing.

Source: Gartner Research

laptop security solutions conclusion
Laptop Security Solutions - Conclusion
  • There is no “silver bullet” product that covers all areas of laptop security
  • Use a combination of products to achieve your optimal level of security
  • Keep the balance between usability and security
    • Employees must be able to work effectively while remaining secure