Real Risk vs Movie Risk

The magic weaver himself, Jesse Trucks, is back at it again and this time he is going after Hollywierd and all its misinformation. Unlike in the movies (password: pencil, you’re in the clear) real hacking risks are something to be taken with a heap of salt. Its safe to say that real APTs aren’t out to get you, but if you leave your data out in the wild then you’re asking for it. Take those extra steps towards securing your information! Following on with some news: via Amazon Sidewalk Mesh Network remember, don’t confuse privacy with security. Cognyte, CVS, and Wegman’s sprout some leaks! Find some useful tips for traveling and cybersecurity in our brave new world as it begins to open up. This and more here at Meanwhile in Security! Stay tuned for more ways to keep spunky high school hackers from changing your grades!
Jesse: Welcome to Meanwhile in Security where I, your host Jesse Trucks, guides you to better security in the cloud.

Announcer: If your mean time to WTF for a security alert is more than a minute, it’s time to look at Lacework. Lacework will help you get your security act together for everything from compliance service configurations to container app relationships, all without the need for PhDs in AWS to write the rules. If you’re building a secure business on AWS with compliance requirements, you don’t really have time to choose between antivirus or firewall companies to help you secure your stack. That’s why Lacework is built from the ground up for the cloud: low effort, high visibility, and detection. To learn more, visit That’s

Jesse: Don’t be stupid. Focus on your real risks, not hacker movie risks. It is easy to get caught up in a type of advance for persistent threats and the latest in obscure attack methodologies to the point where you spend all of your energy and time hunting for these in your systems. This stuff is right out of the latest bad hacking movie. It’s a colossal waste of time for most of us. Spend your time on learning and monitoring things based on your real risk, not your overblown sense of self-importance that the latest international crime ring of nation-state-backed hackers wants to breach your defenses. News flash: APTs probably don’t care about you. If you make it fairly easy to get your data and use your resources, of course you’ll get popped. That’s like leaving your wallet on a bench in the park; of course someone will take it. Raise the barrier to entry for obtaining your resources and you reduce opportunistic crime, just like locking your car at night protects from casual pilfering through your things.

Meanwhile, in the news. Amazon Sidewalk Mesh Network Raises Security, Privacy Concerns. Tangential to cloud security, these types of networks worry me for privacy and physical security concerns more than cybersecurity for the device and users. As this article says, privacy and security are separate issues. Conflating the two can compromise one or the other or both. Don’t confuse privacy and security as being one and the same.

This Week in Database Leaks: Cognyte, CVS, Wegmans. I routinely hammer on securing your cloud storage and other ways to minimize self-exposure of sensitive data for a reason. You should be scared of the implications of these exposures in terms of business risk, reputation loss, and regulatory violations and fines. In other words, don’t be stupid.

Data is Wealth: Data Security is Wealth Protection. Ignore the schilling of services as usual and take in the message: protecting your data is your prime directive. Ask yourself every morning, “How will I protect my data today?” Doing anything else is doing it wrong.

Google Workspace Adds Client-Side Encryption. This means you can store encrypted data in your Google accounts without Google having access to the contents of your data. This is a big deal. Take advantage of this if you use Google for document creation and storage.

Corey: This episode is sponsored by ExtraHop. ExtraHop provides threat detection and response for the Enterprise (not the starship). On-prem security doesn’t translate well to cloud or multi-cloud environments, and that’s not even counting IoT. ExtraHop automatically discovers everything inside the perimeter, including your cloud workloads and IoT devices, detects these threats up to 35 percent faster, and helps you act immediately. Ask for a free trial of detection and response for AWS today at

Jesse: Cybersecurity Tips for Business Travelers: Best Practices for 2021. I plan to avoid a return to routine business travel, but if you want to, or don’t have a choice not to get back on the road, do it safely. If you don’t want the US Customs and Border Patrol agents searching your devices, wipe your phone before reaching customs. You can set your device to wipe on too many failed passcode entries then backup your phone right before boarding or departing the plane and wipe it on the way to the customs by tapping one number over and over as you walk off the plane.

2021 Verizon Data Breach Incident Report insights. The annual Verizon data breach incident report—known as DBIR—has incredible and useful insights for all tech workers, not just security practitioners. Once again, humans are the weak link. I know spending more time educating your people than hunting for ABTs is boring sauce, but you’ll be better off.

One in Five Manufacturing Firms Targeted by Cyberattacks. If you create real-world goods, you are a prize target. Don’t be fooled into thinking you’re safer because it’s harder to steal things in meatspace than in cyberspace.

Confidential Computing: The Future of Cloud Computing Security. Using hardware-level security is still possible in the cloud. Most of us don’t need to encrypt everything on a system or everything running in memory, but some of us do need to be that paranoid. However, don’t do this unless you really truly have a business case for it, and to implement checkout services like AWS CloudHSM for encryption of in-use memory and data.

Many Mobile Apps Intentionally Using Insecure Connections for Sending Data. Don’t use insecure transport in your apps. Encrypt your data in transit. Eventually, consumers will have ways to disable all apps that don’t use basic security measures like proper authentication without stored credentials or using unencrypted channels. Don’t be stupid. Are you sensing a theme of the week?

The Art and Strategy of Becoming More Cyber Resilient. Resiliency in IT architectures and applications is becoming the only way to survive the modern distributed world, especially in cybersecurity. You need to change your whole paradigm to be risk and recovery-based, not just the old-school defender attitude of building lots of walls.

Cyber is the New Cold War & AI is the Arms Race. The whole AI marketing trope gets old. Ugh. But the message is accurate. There is too much data even in small systems to manage detection and protection without advanced math hunting for anomalous things that go bump in the night. We are in an arms race and we are at war. If nothing else, I like this article because it says what many of us in security always say: “It isn’t if you get popped; it’s when you get popped.”

The Future of Machine Learning and Cybersecurity. A reality check on using advanced math for security monitoring and analysis is important. Use it but don’t rely on it too much. Like with all things in life, find balance between known attack analysis and mathematically finding potential attack indicators.

And now for the tip of the week. Use a virtual private cloud or VPC for any systems or services not requiring direct public interaction. All three of the biggest public cloud providers have these available. Both AWS and GCP use the term VPC, but Azure calls it an Azure Virtual Network or VNet. This is as simple as setting up a private network for your compute and storage systems and adding a second network for public access for your outside interactions with users and external services. They’re easy to implement, and you get significant improvements in security and risk profile reduction quickly using VPCs. This is the cloud version of keeping your things hidden behind a firewall on-prem.

And that’s it for the week. Securely yours Jesse Trucks.

Jesse: Thanks for listening. Please subscribe and rate us on Apple and Google Podcast, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts.

Announcer: This has been a HumblePod production. Stay humble.

Join the newsletter

Cloud Security For Humans

checkmark Got it. You're on the list!

Meanwhile in Security is a production of The Duckbill Group. Check out our other publications, Last Week in AWS, Screaming in the Cloud, and AWS Morning Brief.

© The Duckbill Group, 2021