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Good Friday Just Became Better – With My CCSK Certification!

Holy Moly – The sweet taste of achieving the much coveted certification in the wake of furthering my Cyber Security journey. Aced the certification with a strong 90%. I’m now Certified Cloud Security Knowledge (CCSK) certified. My Good Friday just became a whole lot better!!!

 

It’s been sometime that I’ve been dragging my feet and finally decided to write the CCSK certification. Been busy with authoring and mentoring (cannot really complain as it’s my passion) hence, the delay. Like they say – better late than never!!

CCSK

In the following sections I’ve shared my experiences, my preparation, the insights and details to the certification exam. Hope these get you to your own CCSK summit.
The exam itself – This exam has been there for sometime now and I took the v3.0 (v2.1 is alo available but hey, latest is greatest right!). CCSK is a pretty comprehensive exam. It covers all basis (and more) from cyber security / security from a Cloud Service Provider (CSP) and a Cloud Consumer perspective, and then some. It also addresses domains which are usually blind spotted for example – cloud risk management, vendor management, supply chain management and such.

The insights to the exam – The exam can be daunting if you have little to no security experience and specially – if you come in with minimal (all encompassing security) virtualization, security controls, risk management, physical security and traditional DC experience. The exam consists of 60 questions – multiple choice and true and false type, to be completed in 90 min. It is an open book, take anywhere exam however, that doesn’t demean its importance at all, in fact – it take a lot of time to understand the subjects and topics and then be prepared for the exam itself. It’s the journey in this matter that’s much more valuable than the result itself.

My experience during the exam – I completed the first pass in about 30-35 min (of the allocated 90 min) and marked all questions for second pass (Yes, you can mark questions for review and come back to them). Finally submitted the questions for grading by 45-50 min mark and passed with 90% (80% is the minimal score to pass) and that calls for a jolly moment!

The preparation – For the prep I used the two documents (both available here https://ccsk.cloudsecurityalliance.org/index.html) i.e.

  1. Cloud Security Guidance https://cloudsecurityalliance.org/research/security-guidance/
  2. ENISA Cloud Risk Assessment Report: http://www.enisa.europa.eu/act/rm/files/deliverables/cloud-computing-risk-assessment/at_download/fullReport

These two documents cover all basis in terms of questions. Just a thorough read and you should be fine.  One of my dear and old time friend (who happens to be a security geek as well) Sumanta Bhattacharya helped me by brainstorming on the topics and coming out with logical and conclusive derivations.

Summarizing – This is a certification that’s a must to do for security practitioners and professionals who intend to or currently engage with cloud. An excellent certification that pushes a person beyond their scope of thinking in context of Cloud and so much more.

 

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Posted by on April 15, 2017 in Cyber Security, Security Posts

 

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Cyber Ops – Up Up and Away!!!

I’ll be spending a good amount of time doing something that I’m passionate about and which I think brings me the satisfaction of knowing that it will be a career catalyst for many professionals (especially security professionals).

To be precise, I’ll be spending most of my time from late Mar till May writing on Cyber Security. Now, it matters how this time I spend and the material I author helps the larger community gain from it – and that’s been my motto since I stepped up as an author and an evangelist.

Demystifying: I’ll be authoring Cisco’s latest Cyber Security / Cyber Ops on two fronts – writing the practice tests / question banks (to go with the premium content):

  • Cyber Ops – SecFnd
  • Cyber Ops – SecOps

I’ll be writing practice question banks which will help the CCNA Cyber Ops aspirants to attain these world-class cyber security certifications. These practice tests will be available as part of the premium package with the following books written by Omar Santos and Joseph Muniz.

CCNA SECFND: http://www.ciscopress.com/store/ccna-cyber-ops-secfnd-210-250-official-cert-guide-premium-9780134609010

CCNA SECOPS: http://www.ciscopress.com/store/ccna-cyber-ops-secops-210-255-official-cert-guide-premium-9780134609027

I have to admit that Cisco has come a long way and now with these certifications, the gaps from InfoSec and CyberSec would be more than addressed. These certifications are bench-marking in terms that they will help bridge the gap between the old and new security paradigms – network and cyber.

All in all – I’m enjoying my time writing these questions and hope that they will help the aspirants succeed in their attempts to grab these two really cool certifications.

Happy learning and reading!

 

 
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Posted by on April 11, 2017 in Cyber Security

 

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Cisco IP Phones Cannot be Turned Into Listening Devices! – By Aurus

I was requested to post this topic by Aurus, a Cisco Solution Partner that develops software solutions on top of Cisco UCM, UCCX/UCCE and TelePresence. Remember the funtenna story? If you didn’t hear about it or missed it, I have it posted in one of my earlier blogs. Nevertheless – Enjoy this post 🙂

Disclaimer: This post is written/edited by Aurus and represents their thoughts and products/services. The blog author makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this post. The blog author will not be liable for any errors or omissions in this information nor for the availability of this information.


 

Hello Everyone,

And thanks the blog author for posting this. Here is the story…

We’re Russians. For several years we develop apps which add extra features to Cisco collaboration solutions and some of them are used to improve the enterprise security (call recording, paging, secure conferences etc). Every month we receive a request from some Chief Security Officer asking whether its possible to turn the Cisco IP-Telephony into the network of microphones.

Ok, we are used to hear that question from Russian CSOs but last year we went global and started selling worldwide. Guess what? Yes, the same requests from other countries.

So, to all security chiefs in the world. With all respect to your job, please note…
You can:
• Record CUCM calls,
• Monitor (listen in real time) calls,
• Barge-in and “whisper”.

You can NOT:
• Turn on the IP phone external mic remotely to hear to what’s happening in the office WITHOUT indication on the phone (the yellow speakerphone led and the icon on the IP phone display)

You’re welcome to:
• Try our products,
• Discuss how to improve the corporate security with UC apps.

You’re NOT welcome to:
• Ask us to hijack the Cisco firmware,
• Ask us to turn the speakerphone led off.

Comparing to other major UC vendors Cisco provides the most powerful official developer tools allowing Cisco’s technology partners to build UC apps, including those improving the collaboration security:
• Call recording – total and on-demand,
• Text and audio paging – to the desktop and mobile phones,
• Cisco IP phone lock – to prevent its abuse when the phone owner is away,
• Protecting audio-conference with PIN or Caller ID,
• Extension Mobility Single-Sign-On.

More apps and case studies are available at Aurus website http://www.aurus5.com/

 
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Posted by on February 22, 2016 in UC Security Posts

 

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Interviewed by BookGoodies.com!

This is exciting for me and I guess it would be for any author to be interviewed and published. My interview was recently published on BookGoodies.com

http://bookgoodies.com/interview-with-author-akhil-behl-2/

Here’s the Interview excerpt,

What inspires you to write?

My passion for technology and the spark to share the bit of knowledge I have!
Moreover, I’m inspired by my family which motivates myself to excel and to think and do things differently.

Tell us about your writing process

When I started working on the title “Securing Cisco IP Telephony Networks”, it came through as a rather pleasant revelation was, how I had to be creative in thinking what audience would like to see, vivid in visualizing to ensure that pictures do mean a thousand words, and convinced to decide the best way to explain a concept in a clear and concise manner.
Being an author has changed the way I look at things and the perspective in which I represent my thoughts. In a nutshell, I try and be in a reader’s mood and profile to see what a reader would like to see in the book.
The tools of writing are pretty much simple and unsophisticated as I use Microsoft Word for writing, Excel for tables, Visio and Powerpoint for diagrams, and PrtScrn for capturing screens (for illustrations). When it comes to writing process, I clear my mind, sit down in a relaxed environment, and start working through my thoughts and write down the rough manuscript which I finalize once all done. Overall, a straight forward and simple process.

How did you decide how to publish your books?

For technology oriented books there’re a few publishers however, for Cisco specific books the list is even shorter. When it comes to choice of publisher, it wasn’t a difficult venture as I had my mind made up for Cisco Press. Again, they are a a great platform for technologists like myself and people who wish to invest time and effort into writing a technical literature. So, without a doubt I was going with them, at least for this title
In future I would like to explore more avenues like another publisher for the technical literature or may be even self publishing.

To read the full interview visit http://bookgoodies.com/interview-with-author-akhil-behl-2/

To explore the world of and understanding of VoIP / UC Security read Securing Cisco IP Telephony Networks

 
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Posted by on July 23, 2013 in UC Security Posts

 

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Have you ever experienced a security breach in your VoIP network?

 
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Posted by on April 3, 2013 in Polls

 

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Securing Cisco IP Telephony Networks – Review by www.firewall.cx

Securing Cisco IP Telephony Networks was recently reviewed by www.firewall.cx, the first and only approved official reviewer of Cisco Press books.

The book got a 100% review score and five stars!

Here’s an excerpt of the review:

The days of staring at a mess of wires under the desk coming out of a PSTN Master Socket are truly over. The advent of VoIP has broken the stranglehold of a telephone cable and the network has finally taken over. I would not say that IP Telephony has revolutionised the telephony sector. That momentous transition happened years ago. We currently are going through a phase where it is common to have IP Telephony integrated into any enterprise and network administrators are actively implementing security measures and policies to it. Network security is of paramount importance and IP Telephony is not to be left behind. The fact is that Cisco, the market leader in network technology, also happens to be leading the IP Telephony field. Hence it has rightly decided that establishing robust security architecture is core to Cisco IP Telephony.

The latest Cisco title addresses the aforementioned issue promptly and efficiently. Whenever a technology becomes efficient, scalable and portable and is seen as an improvement on the incumbent technology, it is deemed indispensable. From that moment it also becomes a point of failure that can cripple a business because it has now inherited security vulnerabilities and threats. The same can be said about Cisco IP Telephony. What this books aims to achieve is, and I quote, “to explain an End-to-End IP Telephony Security approach and architecture…” And I assure you, this title does plenty of justice to that aim. So let’s dig deeper into the way this book deals with the issues and how it tackles security policies, principles and their respective implementations.

Salient Features

In the introductory section of ‘Who should read this book?’, it is touted that “anyone who is interested in Cisco IP Telephony and network security” should be reading this book. Even though I would not wholly reject this point, I would prefer people reading this title have some form of experience in IP Telephony, especially Cisco products. Things become easier to comprehend. That should not mean that I am restricting the readership, it only means that this is not strictly a beginner’s guide on IP Telephony itself. However I would definitely put this book down as a reference and as a guide for IP Telephony security. The typical hallmarks of a Cisco publication are all present in this title. The entire book is neatly partitioned into 4 major sections. I will do my best to present these chapters. I don’t really have a hard job to do here, as the chapters speak for themselves.

Read the full review at Review of Securing Cisco IP Telephony Networks

Buy Securing Cisco IP Telephony Networks (Amazon) Paper back or eBook

 
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Posted by on November 11, 2012 in UC Security Posts

 

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A Reference for all Cisco UC and Security Professionals and Decision Makers

It’s always meddling when those pesky questions around design or deployment of a UC network’s security are raised. More often than not one finds him/her (self) amid a flurry of queries.

Now, there’s a guide, a reference, and a companion to be with you always when there are queries around Cisco IP Telephony / UC security. You won’t be left alone when the discussion is around securing the UC applications or underlying network. Cisco Press publication ‘Securing Cisco IP Telephony Networks’ will be with you to address any and all queries pertinent to secure Cisco UC design approach or deployment strategy.

The book is available in paperback and eBook format:

Cisco Press

Amazon

 
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Posted by on November 3, 2012 in UC Security Posts

 

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