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Security Expert Joey Muniz

 

“If Stealthwatch was deployed, [the client] would have learned about this insider. The behavior would have set off triggers.”

If you really want to understand the need for network security, and the damage that can be inflicted when security is lax, you should Google “Emily Williams.”

The catch is, Emily Williams doesn’t exist. She’s the product of an experimental penetration test spearheaded by Joey Muniz. Joey has 16 years of experience in the technology and security industry.

Before he began working as a technical solutions architect for Cisco, Joey worked for another security service and technology provider.

With the blessing of a customer who wanted to examine the weaknesses in the company network, Joey and a colleague hatched a plan. They wanted to demonstrate the security risks that a company can face and what it can do to protect itself.

A phishing expedition

They created what has since been dubbed the “social media deception project.” The implementation was fairly simple. It began with a willing participant and a couple of fake social media profiles.

“We took a waitress, gave her an IT background, made her a new hire [at the customer’s company] according to LinkedIn and Facebook, and started friending employees,” Joey says. In just a few easy steps, Emily Williams was born.

After they were in the company’s professional circle, the next step was to post a seemingly innocuous Christmas card on Emily’s social pages. When employees clicked the card, they exposed their browser, giving Joey and his partner the ability to steal VPN credentials. “We created the test to prove a point,” Joey says. He adds, “We proved our point.”

A unique tool

When Joey presented the results to his client, Stealthwatch Enterprise was at the top of his list of recommendations. “It has total anomalous-behavior detection,” Joey says. “Only a tool like that could catch those types of threats.”

A few years later, Joey began working at Cisco. His opinions on Stealthwatch Enterprise haven’t changed. “Stealthwatch doesn’t just baseline the network,” he says. “It has threat intelligence. It looks for bad actors on the network and gives the intelligence to say, ‘That’s a breach, that’s malware.’ It’s the only network tool that’s security focused rather than data flow focused.”

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