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.


  • Whether you are a large or small business, beware of these 5 common security problems

    March 11, 2013, Mike Weber, Vice President, Coalfire Labs

    Every January, the trade press if full of new year’s resolution-like advice… things to do in the coming year, even Coalfire made a few predictions for 2013. I work at Coalfire Labs, and since our business is IT security and testing, we want to share some advice on how to avoid your systems and accounts from being breached.  While larger companies may feel they can skip some of these steps, and still remain safe, TJX, the parent company of T.J. Maxx and Marshalls learned the hard way the damages a breach can cause.  Information from up to tens of millions of credit and debit cards was stolen costing TJX millions of dollars to get the problem under control.  With this in mind, here is a list of five issues companies are prone to make, and ways to avoid negative ramifications.

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  • Creative Ideas for Replacing Passwords

    March 08, 2013, Mike Weber, Vice President, Coalfire Labs

    Passwords have been the de facto manner of providing security for IT systems.  They’ve got a bad reputation, but it’s not the passwords themselves that deserve the reputation – it’s the individuals using them and the weak standards to which these passwords are managed.  In fact, a password system implemented in a secure manner – long and complex passwords that change periodically – can be (virtually) uncrackable.  However, a typical user isn’t apt to embrace a system that requires 15 characters or more (including numbers, upper and lower case, and special characters) and needs to change every two to four weeks.  

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  • My DEFCON social engineering talk and DerbyCon

    September 11, 2012, Noah Beddome, Associate Assessor, Coalfire Labs

    This year has been a year of firsts for me and for Coalfire. I was recently hired to my first Information security job as a penetration tester for Coalfire Labs, the forensic and app/network testing side of Coalfire.  Many of the Coalfire Labs team attended DEFCON in Las Vegas in early August.. Not only was it my first visit to DEFCON as an attendee but this was my first time speaking at a conference. Because it seems to be a year of firsts, we at Coalfire Labs thought it would be a good idea to share a first time speaker’s experience and an attendee’s views on this year’s DEFCON.

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  • The hackerproof password? Tips and advice on password management

    May 02, 2012, Kennet Westby, President and COO

    Having some security expert tell you that you should be creating strong passwords that are unique per account and change frequently is like your dentist telling you that you should floss morning, night and after consuming any dentally dangerous foods. The majority of us say, “yeah right”. The truth is that you really must do better than what the average person is doing today. In our penetration testing and forensics practices we constantly discover, usually very intelligent, people using the same weak password or PIN across every account without ever changing them.

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