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Catch Up with the Coming Evolution: SSH Key and Certificate Management


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In mid May, SSH Communications Security participated to the Cyber Security Summit, organized by the Hong Kong Applied Science and Technology Research Institute and the Hong Kong Police Force. During the summit, I held a presentation on the topic of “The Coming Evolution of Key and Certificate Management”. I also met with senior executives and industry leaders of critical infrastructure, banking practitioners, and government officials. We had interesting and insightful discussions on the cyber threat landscape and privileged access control.

The situation in Hong Kong is quite similar to the other Asia-Pacific countries. Managing privileged accessRicky_speech_at_Cyber_Security_Summit_2016.jpg tokens (such as Secure Shell (SSH) keys and SSL certificates) has gained attention lately but the focus of investments is still in managing interactive identities such as passwords. However, in reality the majority of access within organizations is done machine-to-machine and authenticated with SSH keys or certificates.

The SSH and SSL protocols are widely used to ensure secure communications between critical systems and applications. Unfortunately, there are rarely any effective means in place to ensure proper access control and regulatory compliance for these deployments. In the worst case, these security protocols may become attack vectors into the organizations. A misplaced SSH key or certificate is a nugget of gold for an attacker.

When I talked with the visitors at the summit, only a few were able to answer the questions below:

  • How many SSH keys exist in your network?
  • When, why, and by whom are the SSH keys provisioned?
  • Are you able to monitor the SSH key creation and get notification for suspicious activities?
  • Is there any chance that obsolete or missing keys are still being used?
  • Does your organization have a policy for SSH key-based access?

During the two-day summit, we introduced Universal SSH Key Manage for SSH key and certificate management.

As SSH is being used by nearly every enterprise, managing SSH keys and the access they provide requires special attention. At SSH Communications Security, we continue to educate the market on the importance of proper SSH key and certificate management. We follow the trends of regulations and compliance, and have authored many white papers how organizations can achieve compliance with SSH solutions.

I urge the IT security, compliance, and audit experts of Hong Kong to take a look at our HKMA white paper.

Achieving Effective Compliance: Hong Kong Monetary Authority’s General Principles for Technology Risk Management


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AuthorRicky Ho

Ricky Ho is the Regional Director of SSH Communications Security in the APAC region and is responsible for business development and sales within the region. Prior to joining SSH Communications Security, Ricky has built a remarkable career in information security in the APAC region, and was the Regional Director at McAfee for the Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macau markets. In this role, Ricky was responsible for developing the regional sales and marketing strategy, expanding the channel community, and managing customer satisfaction. Before joining McAfee, Ricky served as the regional Managing Director in companies such as TippingPoint and Fortinet. He has also served as the Country Manager of NetApp. Ricky holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Science and Business with honors from the University of Waterloo in Waterloo, Canada.

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