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.


  • Formalized IT Security Policy Now Required for Government Prime and Sub-contractors

    January 20, 2012, Alan Ferguson, Executive VP, Sales and Marketing, Co-founder

    This month the GSA announced an IT security mandate for government prime- and sub-contractors that requires them to have a formalized IT security plan that includes periodic audits.  Many government sub-contractors, large and small, will benefit from a third-party compliance program review so they can meet the intent of the rule but more importantly, they can promote an IT risk audit as a benefit to their customer base in their business development efforts.  There are a large number of sub-contractors, including IT service providers, that will need to comply with this new mandate.

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  • Phishing Season: Spam on the rise

    September 01, 2011, Mike Weber, Vice President, Coalfire Labs

    Within the past two weeks there have been several reports on the increase in email spam, which can be directly correlated to an increase in phishing schemes and malware attacks.  These attacks are frequently being delivered under the guise of legitimate business: they come in the form of shipment confirmations, credit card statements, and IRS alerts.  They all request swift action to click a link or to read an attachment to address some pressing issue.

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  • New Guidelines Address PCI DSS Tokenization

    August 19, 2011, Bruce DeYoung,

    “Tokenization” is one of the best techniques to reduce the risk of credit card data loss. Basically, it is the process of substituting sensitive data with other values not considered sensitive. By doing this, tokenization technology essentially removes anything of value from the data stream, and, after all, what is not there cannot get stolen. This technique can be used with sensitive data of all kinds including financial transactions and medical records.

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  • Viruses and Vendors Can Put Healthcare Data At Risk

    August 09, 2011, Andrew Hicks, Managing Principal, Coalfire

    A recent article in Healthcare Security Info highlights that computer viruses can cause security breaches, that can then in turn compromise health care data and potentially violate the HIPAA and HITECH Act regulations. Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston had to notify more than 2,000 people that a computer virus sent data, including medical record numbers, names, etc. to an undisclosed location.

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  • They Changed What? HIPAA & HITECH

    May 24, 2011, Andrew Hicks, Managing Principal, Coalfire

    In 1996, the Healthcare Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) opened the door to increased exchanges of healthcare information in an effort to improve care and reduce costs. The Act included new provisions for protected health information (PHI). Since there are only a few limited reviews and enforcement efforts, the effectiveness of the implementations have remained open.

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