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
The standardization of container runtimes and images has sparked the creation of an almost overwhelming number of new open source projects that build on and otherwise work with these specifications. Of course, there's Kubernetes, which orchestrates and manages collections of containers. It was one of the first and best-known examples of projects that make containers truly useful for production use. However, more recently, the container ecosystem has truly exploded. A service mesh like Istio addr...
As DevOps methodologies expand their reach across the enterprise, organizations face the daunting challenge of adapting related cloud strategies to ensure optimal alignment, from managing complexity to ensuring proper governance. How can culture, automation, legacy apps and even budget be reexamined to enable this ongoing shift within the modern software factory? In her Day 2 Keynote at @DevOpsSummit at 21st Cloud Expo, Aruna Ravichandran, VP, DevOps Solutions Marketing, CA Technologies, was jo...
Predicting the future has never been more challenging - not because of the lack of data but because of the flood of ungoverned and risk laden information. Microsoft states that 2.5 exabytes of data are created every day. Expectations and reliance on data are being pushed to the limits, as demands around hybrid options continue to grow.
Business professionals no longer wonder if they'll migrate to the cloud; it's now a matter of when. The cloud environment has proved to be a major force in transitioning to an agile business model that enables quick decisions and fast implementation that solidify customer relationships. And when the cloud is combined with the power of cognitive computing, it drives innovation and transformation that achieves astounding competitive advantage.
As IoT continues to increase momentum, so does the associated risk. Secure Device Lifecycle Management (DLM) is ranked as one of the most important technology areas of IoT. Driving this trend is the realization that secure support for IoT devices provides companies the ability to deliver high-quality, reliable, secure offerings faster, create new revenue streams, and reduce support costs, all while building a competitive advantage in their markets. In this session, we will use customer use cases...
Digital Transformation: Preparing Cloud & IoT Security for the Age of Artificial Intelligence. As automation and artificial intelligence (AI) power solution development and delivery, many businesses need to build backend cloud capabilities. Well-poised organizations, marketing smart devices with AI and BlockChain capabilities prepare to refine compliance and regulatory capabilities in 2018. Volumes of health, financial, technical and privacy data, along with tightening compliance requirements by...
Evan Kirstel is an internationally recognized thought leader and social media influencer in IoT (#1 in 2017), Cloud, Data Security (2016), Health Tech (#9 in 2017), Digital Health (#6 in 2016), B2B Marketing (#5 in 2015), AI, Smart Home, Digital (2017), IIoT (#1 in 2017) and Telecom/Wireless/5G. His connections are a "Who's Who" in these technologies, He is in the top 10 most mentioned/re-tweeted by CMOs and CIOs (2016) and have been recently named 5th most influential B2B marketeer in the US. H...
The best way to leverage your Cloud Expo presence as a sponsor and exhibitor is to plan your news announcements around our events. The press covering Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo will have access to these releases and will amplify your news announcements. More than two dozen Cloud companies either set deals at our shows or have announced their mergers and acquisitions at Cloud Expo. Product announcements during our show provide your company with the most reach through our targeted audiences.
DevOpsSummit New York 2018, colocated with CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 11-13, 2018, in New York City. Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with the introduction of DXWorldEXPO within the program. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive over the long term. A total of 88% of Fortune 500 companies from a generation ago are now out of bus...
With 10 simultaneous tracks, keynotes, general sessions and targeted breakout classes, @CloudEXPO and DXWorldEXPO are two of the most important technology events of the year. Since its launch over eight years ago, @CloudEXPO and DXWorldEXPO have presented a rock star faculty as well as showcased hundreds of sponsors and exhibitors! In this blog post, we provide 7 tips on how, as part of our world-class faculty, you can deliver one of the most popular sessions at our events. But before reading...
As you move to the cloud, your network should be efficient, secure, and easy to manage. An enterprise adopting a hybrid or public cloud needs systems and tools that provide: Agility: ability to deliver applications and services faster, even in complex hybrid environments Easier manageability: enable reliable connectivity with complete oversight as the data center network evolves Greater efficiency: eliminate wasted effort while reducing errors and optimize asset utilization Security: implemen...
DXWordEXPO New York 2018, colocated with CloudEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 11-13, 2018, in New York City and will bring together Cloud Computing, FinTech and Blockchain, Digital Transformation, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, AI, Machine Learning and WebRTC to one location.
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that ICOHOLDER named "Media Sponsor" of Miami Blockchain Event by FinTechEXPO. ICOHOLDER give you detailed information and help the community to invest in the trusty projects. Miami Blockchain Event by FinTechEXPO has opened its Call for Papers. The two-day event will present 20 top Blockchain experts. All speaking inquiries which covers the following information can be submitted by email to [email protected] Miami Blockchain Event by FinTechEXPO also offers s...
DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO are the world's most influential, independent events where Cloud Computing was coined and where technology buyers and vendors meet to experience and discuss the big picture of Digital Transformation and all of the strategies, tactics, and tools they need to realize their goals. Sponsors of DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO benefit from unmatched branding, profile building and lead generation opportunities.
@DevOpsSummit New York 2018, colocated with CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 11-13, 2018, in New York City. From showcase success stories from early adopters and web-scale businesses, DevOps is expanding to organizations of all sizes, including the world's largest enterprises - and delivering real results.