Scottish Ruby Conference Talk – Your Framework Will Fail You

May 13th, 2013

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Scottish Ruby Conference Talk – Your Framework Will Fail You

I was presenting yesterday at the Scottish Ruby Conference, and given that the talk is relatively high-level as it covers a lot of ground, I thought it would be a good idea to do a series of blog posts to provide some more details and resources (link to the presentation here.)

The title of my talk was “Your framework will fail you”. I had the idea for it when reading about some of the security bugs in Rails came up earlier in the year and led my to think some more about defence in depth. Anyone in security will know this as one of those things that we think is a good idea but which can be a bit of a hard sell as when someone pays for a security control (e.g. Anti-Virus, Firewall) it can be tricky to say “yep that will fail sometimes so we need to buy some other things as well”.

However if anything has been proven by the increase in public vulnerabilities, exploits and compromises, it is that all security controls fail and you will be well served by having a fall-back control or detective control to notice when the main one has failed.

The way I structured the presentation was in two halves. The first looks at the important topics of threat modelling (e.g. who’s going to attack you) and a bit about why defence in depth is important. After that it looks at various layers of a solution and talk about controls for a low-risk/budget scenario and a high-risk/budget one. The focus on the low risk option was to look at controls which can be put in easily/cheaply. They may not be super-effective all the time, but they have their uses. On the high-risk end I looked at things which can provide more protection but will take more resource to manage, alternative in some cases it’s the same control as the low-risk version but with more time dedicated to managing it (e.g. a lot of the detective controls are only really good if well managed).

The blog posts will be coming out every other day or so looking at the solution layers and hopefully I’ll get to the end of the series without interruption 🙂

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