The Coalfire Blog

Welcome to the Coalfire Blog, a resource covering the most important issues in IT security and compliance. You'll also find information on Coalfire's insights into the unique cybersecurity issues that impact the industries we serve, including Cloud Service Providers, RetailFinancial Services, Healthcare, Higher Education, Payments, Government, Restaurants, and Utilities.

The Coalfire blog is written by the company's leadership team and our highly-credentialed security assessment experts. We look forward to your comments, so please join the conversation.


  • Q&A from P2PE-NESA Webinar for Merchants

    June 05, 2017, Tim Winston, Principal, P2PE/Payment Processors

    The selection of a PCI-listed P2PE solution and determination of expected benefits can be challenging for even the most sophisticated merchants. The introduction of the NESA program can make decisions more difficult. To help guide merchants, Coalfire and FreedomPay held a webinar “P2PE & NESA for Merchants: How PCI P2PE and NESA Can Reduce Your Compliance Burden and Risk”.

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  • A Growing Symphony of Security Analytics Tools Needs Careful Orchestration

    May 31, 2017, Dave McClure, Chief Strategist, Coalfire Federal

    Security analytics tools available to companies are increasing rapidly. However, cyber incident and vulnerability prevention, detection, response, and recovery times remain significant challenges as the types of attacks and attack vectors increase.  Newer cyber analytics using machine learning are of primary interest because rule-based or signature-based prevention tools struggle to detect or stop advanced cybersecurity threats.  CIOs and CISOs find that they often need to integrate or “orchestrate” existing cyber analytical tools, processes, and data into repeatable, automated workflows to fully support solid security operations activities.  Concurrently, architectural challenges flourish as cloud services, mobile usage and IoT devices rapidly generate increasing amounts of data, new systems endpoints, and network traffic flows. 

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  • Ransomware: the anatomy of paying a ransom to decrypt hostage files

    May 25, 2017, Bryce Bearchell, Security Consultant

    Ransomware is on the rise and clients seeking to understand the process can learn from this client’s story about being a victim of ransomware as to what can be expected and how to handle a ransomware attack. Recently a company facing a malware infection approached us to help them deal with the encryption of most of their servers across their domain. This also included systems that held online backups - and there was no offline backup solution (that’s a topic for a whole different blog post). The company had discovered a ransom note on their affected systems, along with data files that had been deleted and new files created in the format of <original_filename>.whereisyourfile that appeared to be encrypted.

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  • President’s Cybersecurity Executive Order

    May 19, 2017, Dave McClure, Chief Strategist, Coalfire Federal

    On May 11, 2017, President Trump released the Presidential Executive Order on Strengthening the Cybersecurity of Federal Networks and Critical Infrastructure.   This E.O. -- while stand alone in focus --should be seen in the context of a greater move in the Executive Branch to elevate the awareness and preparation for better cybersecurity across government.  This is evidenced by the complimentary cyber actions in the Presidential Executive Orders creating the Office of American Innovation and the American Technology Council calling for IT modernization and customer service excellence as well as the The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director’s Memo 17-22 outlining reform calling for a smaller, more accountable and more efficient federal government.  The issuance of these directives does not in-of-itself “solve” the government’s modernization, cyber, and performance problems; rather, collectively they denote a priority in the new administration for cyber and a recognition of the need for a coordinated approach across government and with the commercial sector.

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  • Information and guidance for dealing with WannaCry

    May 15, 2017, Mark Lucas, Vice President, Chief Information Security Officer, Coalfire

    Coalfire continues to closely monitor the WannaCry ransomware attack.  Much has been written over the past few days about the attack.  For those of you who may not have had time to review in detail and assess appropriate actions for your organization, we wanted to provide summary information.  

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