Welcome!

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Java IoT, Microservices Expo, Linux Containers, Cloud Security, SDN Journal

@CloudExpo: Article

Maybe the Cloud Can Help Secure the Internet

Ironically, the majority of cyber security problems do not go away once they are discovered or disclosed

As recent events have confirmed once again, no single company, organization or government is up to the task of securing the Internet. The never-ending cat and mouse game of exploits chasing vulnerabilities continues. The stunning Heartbleed discovery has shaken the online security establishment to the core. Claims of security and privacy for many Web servers were patently false.

We all know a chain is only as strong as its weakest link and the unintended back door information leak that is Heartbleed has undoubtedly allowed countless secrets to escape from secure servers, albeit as random pieces of a puzzle to be reassembled by the hacker. It will undoubtedly go down in history as the most widespread compromise of online services since the advent of the Web. Why? Because we now conduct an unprecedented number of so-called "secure" communications over SSL in every facet of commerce, government and the social web.

Ironically, the majority of cyber security problems do not go away once they are discovered or disclosed. Even when corrective fixes or software updates are widely available, the original vulnerabilities live on, continuing to exist in countless systems accessible via the Internet. The risk from Heartbleed is probably increasing as the rise in the number of malicious exploits is likely to be outpacing the speed with which vulnerable resources are being protected or updated.

Another equally dramatic trend is the escalating malicious use of standard Internet services such as DNS (Domain Name System) and NTP (Network Time Protocol) as unwilling attack drones for third-party Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks. In reflection or amplification DDoS attack scenarios, the legitimate infrastructure of the Internet is tricked into attacking innocent victims. These specific services are just two common examples of Internet services with vulnerable populations of millions of publicly accessible servers that can be easily co-opted as "bots-on-demand" without any security compromise needing to have taken place in advance of the attack. These innocent servers are just sitting out there, waiting to be called into action to attack at a moments notice.

"Heartbleed" and "Amplification DDoS" attacks are just two headline examples of the serious cyber-security problems presented by an unsecured Internet. Malicious traffic carrying these threats flows freely over most service provider networks. Similarly, the cloud is generally agnostic to the intent of the traffic it delivers or serves. Many hosting providers unknowingly accommodate customers who do not practice safe Internetworking, making their public cloud offerings a platform for vulnerable services. Even more worrying is that most customers end up paying their provider for the bandwidth that delivers potentially dangerous Internet content.

What can the service provider industry do to combat these alarming trends? Ideally, we need to flip the commercial equation away from payment for raw (unsecured) Internet traffic and toward subscription services for protected (secured) Internet access. The technology exists today to squash Heartbleed as it transits the service provider network. Likewise, security devices can detect and block DNS and NTP amplification attacks in the network before they coalesce into a perfect storm of unsolicited responses - before raining down on the victim subnet, causing collateral damage to communications for other customers as they become caught up in the network traffic jam that is typical of volumetric DDoS attacks.

The cloud service provider is in a unique position to dramatically improve Internet security. Cloud customers are showing increasing interest in purchasing premium secured Internet access services, free from the malicious threats such as Heartbleed, Amplification DDoS and more. The commercial benefits are becoming even more clear with each successive breach, compromise or attack that impacts unprotected customers, compromises security or damages a brand.

For customers who willingly choose a protected cloud service, the issue of net neutrality is moot. They are explicitly deciding to purchase a network security service that is supposed to remove unwanted traffic. The network security technology is available now that can apply threat detection and mitigation policies on a per-customer basis. The decision to pay for the removal of DDoS attacks and cyber threats does not need to impact the net-neutrality perspective of other cloud customers.

An additional beneficial side effect of secured cloud offerings is the virtual patching of vulnerable Internet Services, such as open DNS resolvers and "monlist" supporting NTP servers. Even if a hosted customer unintentionally deploys a vulnerable service, it is practical to offer them paid protection to prevent those services being leveraged by malicious third parties such as those who are planning to launch DDoS attacks on third parties by leveraging vulnerable cloud resources.

In conclusion, it is clear that technically the cloud can play a significant role in securing the Internet against DDoS attacks and cyber threats. Equally important is the presence of an economic engine for such change driven by customer demand for premium secured cloud services.

More Stories By Ashley Stephenson

Ashley Stephenson is Chief Executive Officer of Corero Network Security. As CEO he leads Corero’s global expansion strategy. A seasoned executive with a proven track record in the technology industry, he brings a notable record, having co-founded or led several technology companies as Chairman or CEO.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


Latest Stories
SYS-CON Events announced today that Hitachi Data Systems, a wholly owned subsidiary of Hitachi LTD., will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City. Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) will be featuring the Hitachi Content Platform (HCP) portfolio. This is the industry’s only offering that allows organizations to bring together object storage, file sync and share, cloud storage gateways, and sophisticated search an...
DevOps is often described as a combination of technology and culture. Without both, DevOps isn't complete. However, applying the culture to outdated technology is a recipe for disaster; as response times grow and connections between teams are delayed by technology, the culture will die. A Nutanix Enterprise Cloud has many benefits that provide the needed base for a true DevOps paradigm.
@GonzalezCarmen has been ranked the Number One Influencer and @ThingsExpo has been named the Number One Brand in the “M2M 2016: Top 100 Influencers and Brands” by Analytic. Onalytica analyzed tweets over the last 6 months mentioning the keywords M2M OR “Machine to Machine.” They then identified the top 100 most influential brands and individuals leading the discussion on Twitter.
All organizations that did not originate this moment have a pre-existing culture as well as legacy technology and processes that can be more or less amenable to DevOps implementation. That organizational culture is influenced by the personalities and management styles of Executive Management, the wider culture in which the organization is situated, and the personalities of key team members at all levels of the organization. This culture and entrenched interests usually throw a wrench in the work...
SYS-CON Events announced today that T-Mobile will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. As America's Un-carrier, T-Mobile US, Inc., is redefining the way consumers and businesses buy wireless services through leading product and service innovation. The Company's advanced nationwide 4G LTE network delivers outstanding wireless experiences to 67.4 million customers who are unwilling to compromise on ...
In his keynote at 19th Cloud Expo, Sheng Liang, co-founder and CEO of Rancher Labs, discussed the technological advances and new business opportunities created by the rapid adoption of containers. With the success of Amazon Web Services (AWS) and various open source technologies used to build private clouds, cloud computing has become an essential component of IT strategy. However, users continue to face challenges in implementing clouds, as older technologies evolve and newer ones like Docker c...
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing Cloud strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @CloudExpo | @ThingsExpo, June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY and October 31 - November 2, 2017, Santa Clara Convention Center, CA. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is on the right path to Digital Transformation.
20th Cloud Expo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy.
Building a cross-cloud operational model can be a daunting task. Per-cloud silos are not the answer, but neither is a fully generic abstraction plane that strips out capabilities unique to a particular provider. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Chris Wolf, VP & Chief Technology Officer, Global Field & Industry at VMware, will discuss how successful organizations approach cloud operations and management, with insights into where operations should be centralized and when it’s best to decentraliz...
Data is an unusual currency; it is not restricted by the same transactional limitations as money or people. In fact, the more that you leverage your data across multiple business use cases, the more valuable it becomes to the organization. And the same can be said about the organization’s analytics. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Bill Schmarzo, CTO for the Big Data Practice at Dell EMC, introduced a methodology for capturing, enriching and sharing data (and analytics) across the organization...
Five years ago development was seen as a dead-end career, now it’s anything but – with an explosion in mobile and IoT initiatives increasing the demand for skilled engineers. But apart from having a ready supply of great coders, what constitutes true ‘DevOps Royalty’? It’ll be the ability to craft resilient architectures, supportability, security everywhere across the software lifecycle. In his keynote at @DevOpsSummit at 20th Cloud Expo, Jeffrey Scheaffer, GM and SVP, Continuous Delivery Busine...
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo 2016 in New York. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, is co-located with 20th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry p...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Progress, a global leader in application development, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Enterprises today are rapidly adopting the cloud, while continuing to retain business-critical/sensitive data inside the firewall. This is creating two separate data silos – one inside the firewall and the other outside the firewall. Cloud ISVs oft...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Juniper Networks (NYSE: JNPR), an industry leader in automated, scalable and secure networks, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Juniper Networks challenges the status quo with products, solutions and services that transform the economics of networking. The company co-innovates with customers and partners to deliver automated, scalable and secure network...
In recent years, containers have taken the world by storm. Companies of all sizes and industries have realized the massive benefits of containers, such as unprecedented mobility, higher hardware utilization, and increased flexibility and agility; however, many containers today are non-persistent. Containers without persistence miss out on many benefits, and in many cases simply pass the responsibility of persistence onto other infrastructure, adding additional complexity.