Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Coderdojo @ Riot Dublin

Tomorrow (26th May, 2016) many of the Rioters in the Dublin office will be partnering with Coderdojo for 24 hours (12pm, Thursday, to 12pm, on Friday) to fast-track some of their projects. We've got bean bags, refreshments, some surprises and, of course, coffee to move the needle for the Coderdojo team and help them clear out their backlog.

I'm personally incredibly excited to see what we can do to support Coderdojo and I expect there to be many tired Rioters on Friday, some folk are even supporting remotely whilst they travel :) Coderdojo does amazing work so we feel it's the very least we can do to help out.

Each project has a team captain, I just hope we don't have to follow too much scrum :) Oh yeah, stickers.....

Sunday, 22 May 2016

What's the point of (InfoSec) Certifications?

Quite recently, my GSE was up for renewal.

I'm currently in the middle of transporting my family to another continent and I've slightly more responsibilities work-wise in 2016 versus 2012. However, given the effort and study that it took to get the cert the first time (and to a lesser degree the expense), I figured it was a no-brainer to renew. For me, I've always been a huge fan of the GSE and considered it the epitome of InfoSec certifications, much like the CCIE for (Cisco) networking.

Personally, I learn better by "doing" and consider it as the evidence that someone knows their stuff so the "2-day lab" element in the GSE was a both a huge goal and challenge that I was excited about. I talked about the value of "doing" when trying to learn about yourself previously here with the infamous Security Ninja and here on my own blog so there's no point in repeating myself.

When I did the GSE, I absolutely loved the hands-on lab more than anything-else I'd done in the world of SANS or GIAC, outside of Mike Poor's 503 Packet Work book (if you like packets, this is heaven, literally :) ) and the "Capture the Flag" exercises created by Ed Skoudis in 504 and 560. I've also had some amazing instructors like Arrigo Triulzi (Arrigo teaching SEC504 actually convinced me that my future was in InfoSec) and Stephen Sims, however, I am questioning more than ever the value of certifications and to a lesser degree the training courses (which are priced to be exclusive to a tiny minority who are already fairly well off or lucky - I often recommend Coursera or the Offensive Security stuff to candidates when cost is a real issue).

I do truly value the education that I have received through SANS as well as the support from the companies I've worked at and more importantly my family in order to be able to do those certifications and ultimately get the GSE but now I'm questioning the value of many of them, more than ever. Maybe it's the fact that I've seen people turn up with certifications and know absolutely nothing (the CEH and CISSP-holders are more often than not jokers), though I've never seen a GCIA-holder turn up and not know packets :) I haven't encountered too many OCSP or OCSE holders to have full context on those but having read their syllabuses, the practical element sounds awesome.

As for SANS, as I've said, I've learned hugely there but it truly does seem over-priced. I recently did the FOR572 with Phil Hagen, who also seems to be a great instructor and an awesome dude (based on my limited interactions on email), however, I paid (or in this case Riot did) practically the same price for the course in "offline" format versus "attending the course physically for a week". I am truly baffled as to why there's such a minute difference but I've never seen or heard a good explanation. As for the course, it was very good although I was very familiar with the vast majority of the topic.The exam for this was easily the worst GIAC exam I've ever done - the questions were not clear, occasionally the answers were incorrect and there was too much ambiguity. SANS did reach out but the discussion didn't go too far, I suppose this is natural in comparison to the GSEC but both exams are around $400 to challenge on top or the SANS course or $1149 outright to challenge so surely the standard should be much closer.

Additionally, sadly SANS and GIAC still seemed to be heavily geared to the US Market. For example, with the GSE renewal, the cost is $399 and you get one set of books (i.e. either the GSEC, GCIA or GCIH) included. Sounds sweet, right? Unfortunately if you live outside of the US, you've to pay $199 to ship that one set outside of the US. Being a tight-ass, I used my old books :)

I'm immensely proud of passing the GSE back in 2012 and realise that I am also incredibly lucky to have a company (thanks AIB) to support me in the burden of the financial costs for the vast majority of the per-requisites. However, in 2016 I'm not so proud of passing my renewal. On the other hand, this could simply be me getting old, cynical and grumpy but I'm pretty sure I won't be renewing my GSE in 4 years, we shall see! Maybe if it was to be the practical 2-day lab again, I'd fail :)

I then see articles like this and this, which are two of many pushing people to certifications :( Two of the smartest and hardest-working people I've ever worked with that regularly kick my ass daily don't have degrees. If I ever started a company, they're the first people I'd hire again :)

Here's the complete list of InfoSec certifications, which is pretty incredible and many I've never heard of (it must have been so painful to compile this list). Seeing so many certifications is little scary for me but really, it's just indicative of the bloat in the InfoSec industry in general.

This is either a rant or random thinking aloud but I do feel better after getting it out of my head....

Subsequent Edit:

Some links to "Getting into InfoSec" as it came up in Twitter convos:

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Being the Bug in Bug Bounty :: Fail & Tell

Late in December 2015, I sent the email below to all of "Engineering" across Riot Games. I want to share this externally because it's core to the security culture that we want to build in Riot, i.e. one of accountability and responsibility, where we aren't afraid to talk about our screw-ups.

Hey Folks,

So as most of you know, I'm a bit of a perfectionist with high standards :)

Well recently, I screwed up and didn't come close to meeting my own expectations.

What did I do?

Well, when testing (locally) Netflix's Security Monkey in 2014, I copied over some aws-related scripts I was using and found useful to a local directory on  my work laptop, where my Github repo was stored. I also mistakenly copied over a flask configuration file ( from the local version of Security Monkey that I was testing at the time.

To compound this mistake, prior to committing files and pushing to my Github repo, I performed a "git add" on the sub-directory (aws), not the specific files I'd added. As a result, was added to the changes to the repo and consequently, committed and pushed up to my personal Github.

What Happened Next?

Nothing for a year until I got a random late-night text from a colleague, nothing unusual there :)
  • Bug Bounty Ticket - xxxx
  • Internal Vulnerability Ticket - xxxx
However, this text was advised me to check our Bug Bounty system. The shear panic and "shit, shit, shit" went around in my head :-/ So unsurprisingly, I immediately logged on to  read the bug report.

What was the impact? 

Fortunately, close to nothing:
  • the file was a test file with no production credentials of any sort
  • we have publicly committed to the Security Monkey repo
  • we have publicly spoke about using Security Monkey
  • sheer embarrassment and annoyance on my behalf
What's the point of this email?
  • I'd like to apologise to you guys for screwing up.
  • To let you know that I've removed the personal repo and modified the controls on any public github repo that's been cloned to my system
  • This researcher was actually very cool (despite initially claiming it was an awesome vulnerability and significant information disclosure).
    • Validation is important on all (vulnerability/bug) reports coming in through our Bug Bounty or any other medium.
  • I feel like I got lucky
  • Run "git status" before "git push origin master"
  • .gitignore doesn't always save you :(
  • I got great support from the InfoSec team on this, which meant a lot and reminded me that we're a team at all times (success & failures).
  • Hopefully others will realise that it's not the end of the world to make mistakes and it's important that we don't try to hide them but share them and learn from them.
If you've any questions or feedback for me, please let me know.

This episode was a huge learning experience for me and I believe I can only improve from it (whilst, yeah, I was lucky). It was ultimately a very humbling experience, a nice reminder that we in #InfoSec make mistakes, that we should not be advocating for security from the our perches up high, feeling perfect.

We have a "no asshole" rule and I believe this is one reason (of many) why I had a pretty awesome and very supportive response from many across Riot, a nice reminder that it's often better to talk about your failures than your successes.

Saturday, 2 April 2016

Reading List

At BruCon last year, one of the audience came up afterwards and started asking about the books that I read. He was fascinated by some of the books that I'd mentioned in my talk (massive surprise to me) so I promised to publish a list on my blog.

Granted it has taken me around 7 months but I've started to compile such a list on Good Reads, now I just have to find out who it was :-/

Saturday, 29 August 2015

Team Building @ Riot

Back in early July 2015, on a uniquely dry Thursday evening, the Riot InfoSec team ran a small meet-up at our new Dublin office as I previously mentioned here.

The goal of the event was to engage with the local security community, several of whom are also huge League players as I noticed by negative KDA :'( My main memories of the gaming that night being constantly head-butted away by 60 minute Alistair (also spamming his heal) and an extremely fed, axe-wielding and catching Draven, killing at will.

As a team, we felt that the event went well and it seems to have been well received by those who attended. My talk was about the lessons that I have learned from hiring a team into Riot Engineering, which is the first time I've ever had the opportunity to build a team from scratch. It's not only be incredibly educational and exciting, but also humbling as I've had phenomenal support from so many folk in both the Dublin and LA :)

Given there's probably quite a bit of context missing from my talk (if you only look at the slides here) followed the format below:

  • Who I am and who Riot Games are
  • Set context on Riot, League of Legends and the security challenges we face
  • Levelling up the team
    • How I went about it
    • What mistakes I made
    • How I learned
    • That "exciting" feeling when you interview a game-changer
    • How we've improved the process and continue to improve through
      • being data-informed
      • conscious of bias
      • training
      • incorporating practical elements
    • Team (alignment)
In addition to the presentations, we also showed off some tools that we've written to help raise that security bar.

Given we are a diverse team, split across multiple countries and timezones, with different backgrounds, alignment is a challenge because we are all ultimately remoties. As a result, we are always thinking of how we can improve in terms of communication, collaboration and yes, alignment. We took the opportunity with the open-evening event to bring over many of our North America-based InfoSec team to

  • hang out for the week
  • deliver some cool awareness and social hacking presentations to the Riot Dublin office
  • build a lego deathstar (yes, a deathstar :) )

Sadly, one of our Darth figures was stolen and taken back to St Louis by a malicious insider :(

All feedback on the slides is greatly appreciated.

Hopefully the next meet-up will be in early 2016. If there's anything in particular you'd like to hear about at the next meet-up, let us know (@markofu or @davidrook).

If you want to help level the team up, we're still hiring (multiple locations), so please reach out!!!

Monday, 8 June 2015

Riot Games Dublin InfoSec Meetup

On July 9th, the Riot InfoSec team will be hosting a security event in our new office, which will include:

  • talks from Rioters
  • the chance for you to see and play with some of our security tools
  • time to play some games with us!
Riot is dedicated to positively engaging with the industry and its community, and the Riot InfoSec team are psyched to further that mission in Dublin - we want to share and to learn. If you work in Riot or engage with Rioters, you may hear the term “default to trust” and this is a huge part of our culture. It’s not just “talk”, it’s something that I see on a daily basis and to me, this is very special. I've linked two posts that touch on this aspect below -

As a result, we (in Riot InfoSec) wanted to “walk the walk” also and share some of our failings and successes, and learnings while building some relationships in the community.

The event will have three security talks from David Rook, myself and Peter Tillotson. We hope that these talks will give you an insight into -

  • how we approach application security
  • what we’ve learnt from trying to hire into InfoSec
  • our security-focused big data analysis
We would also like to give you the chance to check out some of our security tools we use. We will have several demo booths setup so you can play with these tools and learn more about the unique challenges we face at Riot.

Finally, did I mention that you can hang around and play games :D

Thursday, 12 February 2015

Applying for AppSec Engineer @ Riot

It's no surprise that attackers will use recruiters as targets for a compromise and like many companies, we've seen the usual applications with XSS and macros. Today I received something slightly different which I figured was worth sharing -

As you'd expect, the candidate details are fabricated so we can't progress :(

P.S. We are actually hiring in Dublin, Istanbul, St Louis and LA for security engineers:)