Community Based Defense – Redux

The Crushman

Andrew Cushman

Security Director

Cranberry juice (thanks Jay!)

Super helpful hotel desk clerks (thanks Raoul?)

OMG it’s great to be back in Vegas again – the shows, the shopping, the nightlife, and let’s not forget the talks at Black Hat, the old and new friends, the excitement and the drama. I can hardly wait to see what develops this year!

Last year at Black Hat, the Microsoft Security Response Center announced three new programs – Microsoft Active Protections Programs (MAPP), Microsoft Vulnerability Research (MSVR), and Microsoft Exploitability Index. I was honestly a bit nervous about how the programs would be received. Would the community ridicule them (and us)? Were the programs as solid as we thought they were? Would they stand the test of time? And most importantly, would they help advance community-based defense?

It’s a year later and I’m happy to report that the programs were not only well received, but have proven to be effective, accurate, and continue to deliver results. MAPP is changing the balance between attacker and defender, MSVR is raising the security of the overall ecosystem, and the Exploitability Index continues to provide customers with accurate, easy to understand, and actionable guidance. Today, MSRC published a report card – “Building a Safer, More Trusted Internet through Information Sharing” – that both summarizes these results and provides specifics around goals achieved. Read all about it here.

Today at Black Hat, MSRC also released a new set of tools and guidance aimed at continuing to advance community-based defense and simplify customers’ management of the risk environment.

First up, the Microsoft Security Update Guide – a one stop shop of information on Microsoft’s Patch Tuesday, including what information we release, best practices, and a framework to help make the complex patch management landscape more clear. It’s available for free download here.

On the tooling front, the MSRC Engineering team (owners of and contributors to the SRD blog) released the Microsoft Office Visualization Tool. Available for free download here, the new tool lowers the barrier to understanding the Office binary file format by allowing IT professionals, security researchers, and malware protection vendors to deconstruct .doc-, .xls- and .ppt-based targeted attacks.

Lastly, we’re pleased to point to the latest updates from Project Quant, a cost model program for patch management response collaboratively lead by Rich Mogulll (Securosis) and Jeff Jones (Microsoft). With the new information released today – Project Quant Report 1.0, Model Spreadsheet 1.0, and the Survey Report – the community is better able to improve their update practices by addressing many of the challenges organizations face optimizing their systems and maintaining security while striving to keeping costs down.

Black Hat is an exciting time and I’m thrilled to showcase the impact and continued progress of MSRC – and even more so to demonstrate how Trustworthy Computing continues to evolve in response to the changes in the threat landscape, and truly helps protects customers through community-based defense and collaboration.

See you at Caesars!