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Saving the Bobcat: Lessons in Segmentation and Surveillance

California has just passed a statewide law banning harm to the bobcat.

The decision of the Commission reflects a growing sensibility in this state that wildlife should not be stalked, trapped, shot, or beaten to death for sport or frivolous goods

The move came after it was revealed that attackers had advanced in two significant ways: monitoring the Internet to find targets and then using lures to pull the targets out of state parks where they were protected.

trappers monitor social media for wildlife lovers’ bobcat photos to determine where to set their traps

Bobcats under attack

The state finally was forced to react after 30,000 signatures called for action to deal with the obvious social harm. California decided to expand scope of protection from porous safe zones to the entire state.

Those familiar with PCI DSS compliance realize this is like a CIO agreeing to monitor every system under their authority for motivated attackers, instead of defining scope as only those few servers where PII should be found.

Justification of a statewide ban was based not just on evidence of attackers bypassing perimeters with ease. Conservationists pointed out that the authorities have failed to maintain any reasonable monitoring of harm to state assets.

[California] could not determine whether trapping jeopardized the species because they had no current scientific data

Thus we have an excellent study in nature of what we deal with constantly in infosec; a classic case of attackers adapting methods for personal gain while community/defenders are slow to build and examine feedback loops or reliable logs of harm.

Should it have taken 30,000 signatures before the state realized they had such obvious perimeter breaches?

Fortunately, bobcats now are protected better. The species will have a chance of survival, or at least protection from attack, as scientists figure out how best to design sustainable defenses.

Action taken sooner is far better than later. Once the species is driven to extinction it may be impossible to restore/recover, as has been the case with many other animals including the bear on the state flag.

Posted in Security.

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