Security Information & Event Management Blog | SIEM

Guest blog post, z/OS security, from Barry Schrager Part 7 of 7: Monitoring the Security of Your z/OS System

Posted by Barry Schrager on May 4, 2016 11:00:00 AM

Every day, after you get your first cup of coffee, do you scan the mainframe security system violation and logging reports looking for abnormal behavior, strange activity, etc.?  Given the size of these, do you do a thorough job of it?  How much time has elapsed from the time any activity occurred to the time you got to this?

When I first developed these reports for ACF2 (dataset and resource) we had systems that ran at a rate of a few MIPS – maybe 10-20.  The current IBM z13™ will process 110,000 MIPS.  The volume of processing has grown exponentially and so has the volume of security incidents – either loggings or violations – produced each day.  Remember that the violations and loggings are there to highlight activity which may affect sensitive data – either the organization’s sensitive data or the z/OS system itself – for, if the z/OS system is modified illicitly, this may be the vehicle for actually accessing or modifying sensitive data by bypassing the z/OS security system controls.  In case you didn’t realize this – if someone can modify the z/OS system and libraries by doing something as simple as link editing a program with the Authorized Program attribute and storing it in an Authorized Library, they can then execute that program and utilize that authorization with relatively simple code to bypass whatever controls you have in place in ACF2, RACF or Top Secret.  

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Topics: insider threat, compliance standards, network security, security threat, z/OS security, mainframe security

Guest blog post, z/OS security, from Barry Schrager Part 6 of 7: Is the network connected to your mainframe secure?

Posted by Barry Schrager on Apr 20, 2016 12:00:00 PM

This segment of my series was authored by Peter Hager and Earl Rasmussen of Net’Q (www.net-q.com). I thank them for their input since the network connected to our mainframes must also be secured.

In today’s world we are all connected. There was a time that mainframe access was reserved to the datacenter. Those days are long gone….

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Topics: insider threat, compliance standards, network security, security threat, z/OS security, mainframe security

Guest blog post, z/OS security, from Barry Schrager Part 5 of 7: Monitoring Access to Sensitive Data

Posted by Barry Schrager on Apr 7, 2016 11:56:03 AM

Now that you have eliminated all the z/OS system integrity vulnerabilities you could find, re-evaluated your user validation to minimize the possibility of credentials being stolen, found all your sensitive data and eliminated unneeded copies and implemented a test data management solution, and validated the users who have access to the remaining data and transactions, it is time to evaluate how accesses by authorized users are being monitored.

Remember, there are two different scenarios that can harm your organization. One is the obvious one – a trusted employee goes rogue, obtains sensitive data and uses it in a manner that either profits him and/or harms the organization – Edward Snowden of the NSA is the poster child for this type of calamity. The other is that a loyal employee has their identity stolen and the hacker misuses it. Note that even though you have gone through the steps of securing your z/OS system, nothing is perfect and there are still vulnerabilities in the network configuration and usage that allow Userids and passwords to be passed in the clear, people doing silly things like writing down their passwords on a post-it note, someone looking over a valid user’s shoulder, etc.

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Topics: insider threat, compliance standards, network security, security threat, z/OS security, mainframe security

InfoSec Firsts:  CorreLog and XBridge Combine to Unveil the Industry's First Data Loss Prevention (DLP) and Real-Time SIEM for z/OS at SHARE San Antonio

Posted by Tony Perri on Mar 2, 2016 12:02:09 PM

Information and innovation are the most valuable commodities SHARE_FullLogo_RGB-1.jpgin our increasingly digital world. Thanks to the IT revolution, we now enjoy virtually instant categorization and access to key enterprise data assets. The downside? Many organizations have consolidated their most sensitive Intellectual Property (IP) and consumer identity data in one very predictable spot – mainframes. There can be no doubt where internal and nation-state cyber-thieves have focused their attention.

The innovative technology that brought us here is the same technology canvasing the dynamic world of IT with the burden of too much complexity. IT security visibility is blinded and lethargic from the mutually repellant worlds of distributed and mainframe networks. And because we've naturally assumed our mainframes are secure, we've taken for granted how their purpose and relevance has changed over time.

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Topics: compliance standards, automated threat detection, PCI DSS compliance, Log Management, enterprise SIEM system, z/OS security, mainframe security

Guest blog post, z/OS security, from Barry Schrager Part 4 of 7: Who has access to your sensitive data?

Posted by Barry Schrager on Nov 19, 2015 11:00:00 AM


Now that we’ve gone through verifying that your system has no known integrity vulnerabilities, users are validated in a manner that will minimize the chance of someone stealing their identity and located all the sensitive data on your systems, remediating the copies that should not have been there in the first place, it is time to focus on who has access to your organization’s sensitive data.

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Topics: compliance standards, network security, security threat, z/OS security, mainframe security

Guest blog post, z/OS security, from Barry Schrager Part 3 of 7: Where's the data?

Posted by Barry Schrager on Jul 15, 2015 3:00:00 PM

Mainframe Security: Part 3 - Where is all your sensitive data?

bigstock-Expressive-businessman-shruggi-47454826One vulnerability I see a lot are copies of sensitive data outside of the production environment. This sensitive data, if disclosed, can harm the organization just as much as the production versions. Examples are Social Security Numbers, medical diagnosis or treatments, credit information, and, of course, credit card numbers which should never be stored unencrypted in the first place. One example that comes to mind is an insurance company discovering a series of database query results, stored under an individual user’s high-level index that correlated medical treatments with diagnosis, but also contained the patient’s identification. When investigated, it turns out that the employee was asked by an executive to do this analysis, but, never bothered checking with the security people on where and how to temporarily store this information and never cleaned it up afterwards.

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Topics: insider threat, compliance standards, collect log data, Log Management, enterprise SIEM system

Guest blog post, z/OS security, from Barry Schrager Part 1 of 7: System Integrity

Posted by Barry Schrager on Jun 22, 2015 7:29:00 PM


Mainframe Security Part 1: System Integrity

I’m often asked about what installations can do to maximize their data security in an IBM mainframe environment. For those that do not know me, I was one of the people who started the data security initiative in the mainframe environment when I was asked to form the SHARE Security Project in 1972. We worked together to create a series of requirements to be presented to IBM and I did that in 1974. For more details on this, see www.share-sec.com/history.html.

When IBM delivered RACF in 1976, it did not meet two of the crucial requirements – protection by default and what we called algorithmic grouping of resources. 
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Topics: compliance standards, Log Management, z/OS security, system integrity, mainframe security

DAM that HACK! 7 ways your z/OS DB2 can alert you to cyber threat

Posted by Tony Perri on Mar 18, 2013 12:45:00 PM

Database Activity Monitoring (DAM) is defined by Gartner as “… tools that can be used to support the ability to identify and report on fraudulent, illegal or other undesirable behavior, with minimal impact on user operations and productivity(1)…” If you know what to look for in z/OS DB2 audit trails, you have an excellent window into your mainframe database security health.

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Topics: compliance standards, automated threat detection; event log management;, collect log data, PCI DSS compliance, Log Management

Event Data vs. Syslog Data: 4 points of distinction for the CISO

Posted by Tony Perri on Jan 17, 2013 9:00:00 AM

It should come as no surprise that security information and event management, or SIEM, has been fueled by industry standards groups and government agencies. Leading the charge to how data and security policies are drawn up are organizations with acronym-laden names like PCI SSC, FISMA, FERC, NERC, SOX, HIPAA and many others. The Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council, issuers of the PCI data security standard (PCI DSS), was founded by payment card giants MasterCard, American Express, Discover and several others. In 2006 they issued requirements and offered certifications for merchants, vendors and security consulting companies with the intent to “mitigate data breaches and prevent payment cardholder data fraud.”

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Topics: compliance standards, automated threat detection; event log management;, Log Management

10 Step FIM Approach for Reliability, Data Security and Compliance

Posted by Tony Perri on Sep 26, 2012 2:14:00 PM

One area that you shouldn’t overlook that can derail your ability to hit IT service level agreements (SLAs) is file integrity monitoring (FIM). Your inability to uphold file integrity compromises your ability to deliver critical applications/services and also puts your organization’s security and compliance at risk. Why is FIM so important to SLAs and compliance?
  • FIM ensures file compliance by scanning files in configuration-specified directories and then checks for unauthorized changes.
  • FIM creates a baseline file configuration to be compared to any future configuration state. If there are any deviations from the baseline, an alert of potential threat can be issued.
  • Good FIM practice allows for archiving to compliance standards - PCI DSS, FISMA, SOX, HIPAA, NERC, GLBA, etc... - in the event you need the data for forensics.
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Topics: insider threat, compliance standards, automated threat detection, Log Management, enterprise SIEM system

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