This blog post provides a set of recommendations based on the audit data Palantir’s Infosec team has collected from the Windows Defender Attack Surface Reduction (ASR) family of security controls over the past two years. We hope it will assist other security teams who are considering a deployment. We’ll aim to highlight the considerations for each setting based on production deployment experience.

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For those that are new to the topic, Windows Defender Attack Surface Reduction (ASR) is the name Microsoft gave a collection of controls that restrict common malware and exploit techniques on Windows endpoints.

Unlike Windows Defender Exploit Guard, ASR controls are simple on/off switches that administrators can deploy in very short order with group policy or Intune, especially if they plan to use audit-only mode. …


In November 2020, Palantir joined GAIA-X as a proud Day 1 Member. GAIA-X was envisioned as data infrastructure and an open digital ecosystem “initiated by Europe, for Europe” to support the global competitiveness of European companies. So it’s reasonable to ask why a company like Palantir Technologies, founded in Silicon Valley with global headquarters in Denver, Colorado, should consider its participation in the project as important, appropriate, and consistent with the stated goals of promoting European “data sovereignty and data availability.”

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Palantir builds digital infrastructure for secure data-driven operations and decision-making. Since our founding in the early 2000s, we have focused our business and technology on addressing many of the challenges that GAIA-X is taking head on: How can public and private sector institutions leverage the distributed, heterogeneous information assets they have accumulated over decades or centuries? How can organizations use data effectively without compromising data security, privacy, and civil liberties interests of affected communities? The values at the core of the GAIA-X project are, indeed, central to our own mission as a company: data protection, data security, and digital sovereignty of the institutions we support and constituencies they serve. …


Editor’s note: This is the second post in Palantir Explained, a series that explores a range of topics, including our approach to privacy, security, AI/ML safety and more. Read the first post to learn more about Palantir’s business model.

Privacy is always a fundamental consideration in our work at Palantir. Our customers typically use many disparate systems that contain critical or sensitive data, and decision makers at these organisations need to draw upon this information to make business-critical — or even life-saving — decisions. It’s imperative that access to this data is tightly controlled and tracked.

For example, to manage the spread of COVID-19, healthcare organisations have needed to rapidly bring together data from many systems — testing programmes, care homes, and hospitals — and give thousands of users, from healthcare workers to academics, access to different subsets of this information. …


Palantir has often been described as a secretive company. There is some truth to this. For many years, we primarily served institutions with exceptional confidentiality expectations in fields like defence and intelligence. We often had little choice but to remain silent about our work, even when misunderstandings about the nature of our business appeared in the media or in the public sphere.

Now that we serve clients in a wider range of sectors, we have an opportunity to be more open. This is particularly true for sectors like healthcare, where Palantir’s software is used to process personal data. …


Brian is a Forward Deployed Software Engineer (FDSE) at Palantir, currently focused on delivering data integration solutions to a US Department of Defense customer. We sat down with Brian to learn about the FDSE role and his day-to-day life at Palantir.

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You’re a Forward Deployed Software Engineer. What is that?

A Forward Deployed Software Engineer (FDSE), or “Delta,” is a software engineer who embeds directly with our customers to configure Palantir’s existing software platforms to solve their toughest problems. While a traditional software engineer, or “Dev,” focuses on creating a single capability that can be used for many customers, FDSEs focus on enabling many capabilities for a single customer. We are deployed across many industries and problem domains, so the breadth of projects we tackle is large and always evolving. …


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Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Palantir has worked closely with the Colombian Presidential Council for Economic Affairs and Digital Transformation, iNNpulsa, and Amazon Web Services to enable COVID-19 detection and mitigation efforts in Colombia, and support pandemic response coordination between the Presidency of the Republic and local governments.

The Visor COVID-19 is a digital instrument built in Foundry on top of Amazon Web Services Infrastructure. It offers a unified, near real-time view of the state of the pandemic using the largest integration of open data and depersonalized epidemiological data in Colombia.

Government users — including mayors, governors, local health authorities, and operators at the Ministry of Health and the National Institute of Health — visually and dynamically assess pandemic status using the Visor COVID-19. They can detect vulnerable parts of the population and coordinate prevention measures, such as distribution of medical equipment, social-distancing orders, or deployment of health brigades. In order to help regional authorities understand the impact of public health policies, users can perform temporal analyses to track the pandemic’s progression in specific areas of the country. Local leaders can make epidemiological analyses on aggregated data and execute daily operational decisions with the Visor COVID-19, such as planning testing campaigns and managing their city’s reopening. …


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On any given day, the World Food Programme (WFP) has 5,000 trucks, 20 ships, and 70 planes on the move, delivering food and other assistance to those most in need around the globe. With a supply chain that stretches across 80 countries, WFP’s operations rival those of the world’s largest global suppliers. Its mandate to deliver food assistance to some of the world’s most remote and insecure regions means that WFP must constantly adapt to changes on the ground. …


TL;DR: We have open sourced our internal PySpark Style guide; you can find it here: https://github.com/palantir/pyspark-style-guide

At Palantir, we work with many different industries. The diversity of data engineering practices and conventions across these industries poses many problems. Different organizations have incredibly different PySpark styles, steepening learning curves and inhibiting both expansion and maintenance. Two years ago, a few Palantirians decided to enable analytical users to standardize their workflows and properly harden their data pipelines. We wrote a PySpark style guide that has been in use since then, evolving and maturing along the way. …


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At Palantir, our approach to software has undergone a radical transformation in the past few years. When we first launched Gotham in 2008, cloud computing was in its infancy, and most enterprise software was still installed on customer-owned hardware. This was especially true in the large governmental organizations that used Gotham, where our software ran on-premises and upgrades were relatively infrequent and manual.


Interviewing for a new role is exciting, but it can also be nerve-wracking if you don’t know what to expect. What kinds of questions will they ask? Who will I be interviewing with? How many rounds will there be? Can I do anything to prepare ahead of time? When will I found out whether I’m moving on? In situations like these, it’s only natural to turn to the internet for answers. However, the results you find can often be confusing, misleading and even unsettling.

Here, Palantir is no exception. Some have dubbed Palantir the “hardest interview in the tech industry,” while others report an easier-than-average experience. While some have said the interview process was brief and efficient, others felt it was a few rounds longer than expected. While some remember puzzling through brainteaser questions, others recall collaborating with interviewers on real-world problems. …

Palantir

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