The New CISO Podcast Episode 63: Managing Your First Zero-Day Attack - Exabeam

The New CISO Podcast Episode 63: Managing Your First Zero-Day Attack


On today’s episode, we are joined by Chris Wolski, the CISO of Port of Houston. He chats about job hunting, the aftermath of an attack and more.

Becoming a CISO

A returning guest, the last time Chris was on the show, he was unemployed. From being let go to landing his current position, the process took Chris six months. He chats about what that was like and the normal CISO versus the “Rockstar” CISO. Despite his limited experience in maritime, Chris took a chance and was rewarded.

Socializing as a CISO

Via events and even LinkedIn, Chris was able to expand his network. Through his connections, he was able to educate himself well enough in maritime transportation, laws and security to better understand his current job. Overall, Chris encourages you to do your homework on the industry, company and people when job searching.

The First CISO

The first CISO at Port of Houston, Chris has faced unique challenges. In part, he’s had to convince the port why cybersecurity is needed, and how it can impact cargo movement.

Attacks and Risks

Recently, the port had an attack. Having a zero-day used against them, Chris found the experience eye-opening. Thankfully, Chris already had an action plan, as well as a risk metrics to guide him. Within 2 hours, the attack was contained and fully remediated after 10 hours.

The Aftermath of an Attack

Although doubted initially, Chris found himself trusted, despite it being done after an incident. He documented everything and encourages other CISOs to do the same. As a result of his work, he was elevated within the organization and the maritime community. There was no doubt of Chris’s ability and purpose within the organization. Within two hours, the port saw its ROI.

After the incident, they shared what had happened in the hopes of opening up communication. By sharing, Chris can help others avoid what happened to Port Houston.

Getting Help

Due to the severity of the attack, Chris explains why the Coast Guard, FBI and other entities had to offer assistance. While it may be hard to juggle all those organizations, they have access to resources that Chris couldn’t have had otherwise. Again, it came down to reaching out to connections.

Indifferent Insiders

Do you need to have a major incident in order for an entire organization to believe in the role of a CISO? Chris explains how equating cybersecurity to something others already know can help convince them of its importance so they can better understand. With Port Houston, Chris compared cybersecurity to physical security to put everyone at ease.

Nowadays, cybersecurity impacts everyone. Any machinery, manufacturing and more has computer chips in their parts, which makes them susceptible to an attack. It’s important to convey the severity of cybersecurity to others.

The New CISO

To Chris, being a new CISO means doing your homework on your industry, company, and the people around you. Be willing to learn and you’ll find success.

Read the transcript.

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