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Retailers Adopt Intel-Sharing Portal Used By Banks

Th Retail Cyber Intelligence Sharing Center (R-CISC) is working with the Financial Services ISAC (FS-ISAC) on its new threat intelligence-sharing platform.
Third in a series on ISACs and threat intelligence-sharing.

The retail industry’s threat intelligence-sharing body, the Retail Cyber Intelligence Sharing Center (R-CISC), said today it will adopt the financial services industry’s portal for sharing cyberattack and threat intelligence.

The move brings the two intel-sharing organizations, the R-CISC and the FS-ISAC (Financial Services Intelligence Sharing and Analysis Center), closer together in their efforts to identify, share, and thwart attack attempts on companies in their industries. But the R-CISC’s portal will be its own iteration of the FS-ISAC’s, with the capability of sharing between them as necessary and applicable, executives from both organizations say.

“We evaluated a number of different platforms to help enable information-sharing for retailers … and given the stage of our [organization’s] maturity, and the amount of interaction with the financial services industry, we selected FS-ISAC’s portal and technology platform,” says Brian Engle, executive director of the R-CISC, who notes the R-CISC remains its own independent intel-sharing organization for the retail industry. “Our portal rides on the same technology as the FS-ISAC’s. [But] there’s a separate instantiation for retail.”

Engle says the two will “be distinct and different” organizations and portals, but will be able to share as needed intel affecting both retail and financial sectors.

The R-CISC was first announced in May of 2014 in the wake of a year of high-profile attacks and data breaches at major retail chains. Among the retailers participating in the retail ISAC’s board of directors are Target, American Eagle Outfitters, Gap, JC Penney, Lowe’s Nike, Safeway, VF, and Walgreens.

The new portal will provide a platform for retail to electronically share, report, and receive intel, such as indicators of compromise in the latest malware campaign. Most of the intel-sharing thus far by retail members has been via email distribution lists or phone calls.

FS-ISAC is also providing support to the R-CISC as it gets up and running with its portal, including providing an analyst and other resources.

The two industries have obvious overlap and interactions. “When you think about payment systems, really everyone from card brands … and retail, we’re all part of the whole ecosystem of payment systems,” says William Nelson, president and CEO of the FS-ISAC.

Nelson says the portal also will help facilitate more sharing between the two industries. He points to cooperative efforts among the FS-ISAC, R-CISC, and the US Secret Service to issue a security bulletin in November of last year, prior to the holiday shopping season, about point-of-sale system threats.

Meanwhile, FS-ISAC also has been working with the legal sector on intelligence-sharing options for law firms, including the possiblity of establishing a legal sector ISAC. Nelson says there’s no official word yet on the legal sectors plans, but he expects to FS-ISAC to offer a similar relationship to the legal industry that it has with retail, including the infrastructure for their operations. “We would set up a separate portal for them and share information like we are with retail and vice versa,” he says.

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“Big law firms are pushing to step up the game when it comes to security and start participating” in threat information-sharing, says Jason Straight, senior vice president and chief privacy officer at UnitedLex, which provides outsourcing services and support for the legal industry and who at next month’s Interop conference in Las Vegas will give a presentation on insider threats as well as participate as a panelist debating the weakest links in security.

The FS-ISAC is uniquely set up to support new industry ISAC startups: it’s one of the longest-running ISACs, dating back to 1999, and has the portal technology that it can extend to other groups. It also helped develop the Soltra Edge automation platform, a standards-based software tool that facilitates the automation of ingesting intel and applying it to security tools.

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