Welcome!

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

Cloud Security: Article

Setting the Stage for Cybersecurity with Threat Intelligence

Effective cybersecurity requires an understanding of what assets need to be protected

Ransomware is the latest example of the increasingly sophisticated and damaging inventions of hackers. Individuals and organizations of all sizes are finding that their data has been locked down or encrypted until a ransom is paid. One program, CryptoLocker, infected more than 300,000 computers before the FBI and international law enforcement agencies disabled it. A few days later, Cryptowall showed up to take its place. Companies paid $1.3 billion last year in insurance to help offset the costs of combatting data attacks like these.

Other examples include highly customized malware, advanced persistent threats and large-scale Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks. Security professionals must remain ever vigilant to both known and new threats on the rise. However, with proper visibility into the extended network and robust intelligence, an attack can often be detected and stopped before it causes significant damage. By using the network to gain intelligence, cyber defenders can gain greater visibility of adversary actions and quickly shut them down.

Since an attack can be broken down into stages, it is helpful to think of a response to an attack in stages as well: before, during and after. This is standard operating procedure for anyone in the security profession. Let's examine each stage:

Before: Cyber defenders are constantly on the lookout for areas of vulnerability. Historically, security had been all about defense. Today, teams are developing more intelligent methods of halting intruders. With total visibility into their environments - including, but not limited, to physical and virtual hosts, operating systems, applications, services, protocols, users, content and network behavior -defenders can take action before an attack has even begun.

During the attack, impact can be minimized if security staff understands what is happening and how to stop it as quickly as possible. They need to be able to continuously address threats, not just at a single point in time. Tools including content inspection, behavior anomaly detection, context awareness of users, devices, location information and applications are critical to understanding an attack as it is occurring. Security teams need to discover where, what and how users are connected to applications and resources.

After the attack, cyber defenders must understand the nature of the attack and how to minimize any damage that may have occurred. Advanced forensics and assessment tools help security teams learn from attacks. Where did the attacker come from? How did they find a vulnerability in the network? Could anything have been done to prevent the breach? More important, retrospective security allows for an infrastructure that can continuously gather and analyze data to create security intelligence. Compromises that would have gone undetected for weeks or months can instead be identified, scoped, contained and remediated in real time or close to it.

The two most important aspects of a defensive strategy, then, are understanding and intelligence. Cybersecurity teams are constantly trying to learn more about who their enemies are, why they are attacking and how. This is where the extended network provides unexpected value: delivering a depth of intelligence that cannot be attained anywhere else in the computing environment. Much like in counterterrorism, intelligence is key to stopping attacks before they happen.

Virtual security, as is sometimes the case in real-world warfare, is often disproportionate to available resources. Relatively small adversaries with limited means can inflict disproportionate damage on larger adversaries. In these unbalanced situations, intelligence is one of the most important assets for addressing threats. But intelligence alone is of little benefit without an approach that optimizes the organizational and operational use of intelligence.

Security teams can correlate identity and context, using network analysis techniques that enable the collection of IP network traffic as it enters or exits an interface, and then add to that threat intelligence and analytics capabilities.

This allows security teams to combine what they learn from multiple sources of information to help identify and stop threats. Sources include what they know from the Web, what they know that's happening in the network and a growing amount of collaborative intelligence gleaned from exchange with public and private entities.

Cryptowall will eventually be defeated, but other ransomware programs and as-yet-unknown attacks will rise to threaten critical data. Effective cybersecurity requires an understanding of what assets need to be protected and an alignment of organizational priorities and capabilities. Essentially, a framework of this type enables security staff to think like malicious actors and therefore do a better job of securing their environments. The security team's own threat intelligence practice, uniting commercial threat information with native analysis of user behavior, will detect, defend against and remediate security events more rapidly and effectively than once thought possible.

More Stories By Greg Akers

Greg Akers is the Senior Vice President of Advanced Security Initiatives and Chief Technology Officer within the Threat Response, Intelligence and Development (TRIAD) group at Cisco. With more than two decades of executive experience, Akers brings a wide range of technical and security knowledge to his current role.

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
Modern software design has fundamentally changed how we manage applications, causing many to turn to containers as the new virtual machine for resource management. As container adoption grows beyond stateless applications to stateful workloads, the need for persistent storage is foundational - something customers routinely cite as a top pain point. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 21st Cloud Expo, Bill Borsari, Head of Systems Engineering at Datera, explored how organizations can reap the bene...
In his Opening Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, John Considine, General Manager of IBM Cloud Infrastructure, led attendees through the exciting evolution of the cloud. He looked at this major disruption from the perspective of technology, business models, and what this means for enterprises of all sizes. John Considine is General Manager of Cloud Infrastructure Services at IBM. In that role he is responsible for leading IBM’s public cloud infrastructure including strategy, development, and offering m...
Kubernetes is an open source system for automating deployment, scaling, and management of containerized applications. Kubernetes was originally built by Google, leveraging years of experience with managing container workloads, and is now a Cloud Native Compute Foundation (CNCF) project. Kubernetes has been widely adopted by the community, supported on all major public and private cloud providers, and is gaining rapid adoption in enterprises. However, Kubernetes may seem intimidating and complex ...
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Michael Burley, a Senior Business Development Executive in IT Services at NetApp, described how NetApp designed a three-year program of work to migrate 25PB of a major telco's enterprise data to a new STaaS platform, and then secured a long-term contract to manage and operate the platform. This significant program blended the best of NetApp’s solutions and services capabilities to enable this telco’s successful adoption of private cloud storage and launching ...
In a recent survey, Sumo Logic surveyed 1,500 customers who employ cloud services such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform (GCP). According to the survey, a quarter of the respondents have already deployed Docker containers and nearly as many (23 percent) are employing the AWS Lambda serverless computing framework. It’s clear: serverless is here to stay. The adoption does come with some needed changes, within both application development and operations. Tha...
In his general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Dumas, Calligo’s Vice President and G.M. of US operations, discussed the new Global Data Protection Regulation and how Calligo can help business stay compliant in digitally globalized world. Greg Dumas is Calligo's Vice President and G.M. of US operations. Calligo is an established service provider that provides an innovative platform for trusted cloud solutions. Calligo’s customers are typically most concerned about GDPR compliance, application p...
Digital transformation is about embracing digital technologies into a company's culture to better connect with its customers, automate processes, create better tools, enter new markets, etc. Such a transformation requires continuous orchestration across teams and an environment based on open collaboration and daily experiments. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Alex Casalboni, Technical (Cloud) Evangelist at Cloud Academy, explored and discussed the most urgent unsolved challenges to achieve f...
You know you need the cloud, but you’re hesitant to simply dump everything at Amazon since you know that not all workloads are suitable for cloud. You know that you want the kind of ease of use and scalability that you get with public cloud, but your applications are architected in a way that makes the public cloud a non-starter. You’re looking at private cloud solutions based on hyperconverged infrastructure, but you’re concerned with the limits inherent in those technologies.
With tough new regulations coming to Europe on data privacy in May 2018, Calligo will explain why in reality the effect is global and transforms how you consider critical data. EU GDPR fundamentally rewrites the rules for cloud, Big Data and IoT. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Adam Ryan, Vice President and General Manager EMEA at Calligo, examined the regulations and provided insight on how it affects technology, challenges the established rules and will usher in new levels of diligence arou...
Smart cities have the potential to change our lives at so many levels for citizens: less pollution, reduced parking obstacles, better health, education and more energy savings. Real-time data streaming and the Internet of Things (IoT) possess the power to turn this vision into a reality. However, most organizations today are building their data infrastructure to focus solely on addressing immediate business needs vs. a platform capable of quickly adapting emerging technologies to address future ...
Most technology leaders, contemporary and from the hardware era, are reshaping their businesses to do software. They hope to capture value from emerging technologies such as IoT, SDN, and AI. Ultimately, irrespective of the vertical, it is about deriving value from independent software applications participating in an ecosystem as one comprehensive solution. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Kausik Sridhar, founder and CTO of Pulzze Systems, discussed how given the magnitude of today's application ...
The dynamic nature of the cloud means that change is a constant when it comes to modern cloud-based infrastructure. Delivering modern applications to end users, therefore, is a constantly shifting challenge. Delivery automation helps IT Ops teams ensure that apps are providing an optimal end user experience over hybrid-cloud and multi-cloud environments, no matter what the current state of the infrastructure is. To employ a delivery automation strategy that reflects your business rules, making r...
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: imple...
The 22nd International Cloud Expo | 1st DXWorld Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo | DXWorld Expo, to be held June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY, brings together Cloud Computing, Digital Transformation, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Machine Learning and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding busin...
Companies are harnessing data in ways we once associated with science fiction. Analysts have access to a plethora of visualization and reporting tools, but considering the vast amount of data businesses collect and limitations of CPUs, end users are forced to design their structures and systems with limitations. Until now. As the cloud toolkit to analyze data has evolved, GPUs have stepped in to massively parallel SQL, visualization and machine learning.