Security Theatre? More like Security Circus

I have seen many companies invest significant time and resources into security measures that have little to no actual effect on security. This is commonly referred to as “security theater”.

Security theater refers to the practice of implementing security measures for the sake of appearances, without any significant impact on actual security. These measures may give the illusion of protection, but in reality, they provide little to no real security benefits.

Organizations often fall into the trap of focusing solely on compliance requirements without considering their actual security needs. Compliance-driven security measures may give the illusion of being protected, but they often fail to address the specific security risks faced by an organization.

Useless compliance can also result in organizations wasting valuable resources on implementing measures that do not have a significant impact on their security posture. This can lead to a situation where an organization is in compliance with regulations, but the security budget is depleted, while their assets are still vulnerable to attacks.

Oh, how I love the smell of compliance in the morning.

An example of Security Theatre is the use of complex passwords that are changed regularly. Although it may seem like a good idea, it can lead to password fatigue and employees using easier-to-remember passwords, which actually undermines security. This is among the reasons why companies like Microsoft, Apple, and Google are moving away from passwords.

fix your password policy

Another example of security theatre is implementing security controls that are not properly configured or maintained. For instance, firewalls, IDS and IPS are a common security measure that are often poorly configured or not kept up-to-date with the latest security patches

Cybersecurity has become the new gold rush, with numerous individuals and organizations seeking to take advantage of the potential financial gains. However, finding skilled personnel to address these security concerns can be challenging, and relying on consultants can lead to a situation where the organization becomes overly dependent on their expertise.

Organizations can protect themselves from the constant security threats by taking a proactive approach. The first step is to gain a thorough understanding of the specific risks they are facing and then implement the necessary measures to mitigate these risks. This includes educating their employees to be aware of potential attacks and how to respond in such situations.

In conclusion, to avoid being caught in the trap of “security theater”, organizations must concentrate on establishing practical security measures and regularly evaluate their effectiveness. Having a well-thought-out response plan in place is also critical in ensuring the protection of the organization’s assets.

Additionally, organizations should cease creating redundant policies that serve no purpose in enhancing the organization’s overall security posture.

Here you can find an interesting article from Phil Venables, Google CISO, about Cerimonial Security and Cargo Cults