Cyber Defense Strategies: Basics to Bleeding Edge

By Mike Johnson, Senior Cybersecurity Architect, Logicalis US

When it comes to information security the basics are well documented. There are more Common Security Frameworks (CSF) than I can count on one hand and three of them have mass adoption (NIST, CIS, ISO27001). Implementing the controls within those CSF’s can keep even the most robust IT and Security teams busy for years. Still, they are your best guide to defense of your critical IT systems and data.

The incidents we see in the headlines, however, can shock us back into the reality that well-documented does not mean well-executed. IT staffs still aren’t following basics such as maintaining good backups, patching critical common vulnerabilities, assessing and remediating evaluation results, and documenting a robust incident response plan.

Every CSF includes these concepts, so if you aren’t using a CSF to guide your strategy for information security, I strongly encourage it. But for a thought exercise, let’s say you are executing on all the controls. What could you be considering for the future of Cybersecurity? Here are three technologies that pique my interest and may be worth your consideration as well:

  1. Moving Target Defense (MTD). This technique is designed to confuse attackers, like honeypots, which is a well-known static decoy tactic. But MTD takes honeypots to the next level. Like a dignitary traveling in a line of multiple limousines, so potential attackers don’t know which car holds the VIP, MTD employs erroneous and moving copies of your data that, for lack of a better term, “frequency-hop” from once place to another. We’ve used in radio technology to confuse and obfuscate endlessly for a long time. These abstraction techniques could be key in protecting systems and data in the future.
  2. Blockchain for Cybersecurity. The type of cryptographic technologies that underlie the fintech industry, keeping the industry’s core functions safe from attack for nearly a decade, are being explored to change how we do business in other areas. For information security blockchain could drastically change how we authenticate and log transactions and share data within our internal infrastructure and externally with business partners.
  3. Offering Bug Bounties. While not new, as it was originally employed during the early years of Internet browser software development, the concept of rewarding the cybersecurity-skilled community with financial awards or other recognition – called a “Bug Bounty” – for finding a vulnerability in software coding, is rapidly increasing. So much so that the biggest communities in this space are developing new functions, programs and features to keep the rewards and participants busier than ever keeping our websites, devices and networks more secure.

Threat landscapes and defense strategies are in a constant state of flux and exploring new concepts for the attackers and defenders is valuable, but don’t forget those basics, they are called critical controls for a reason.

Want to learn more? Read a blog post discussing What is a Common Security Framework (CSF) and why is it important to your organization’s enterprise security. Then learn How to Benchmark Your Enterprise Security Using the Critical Security Controls Framework in another post at our Enterprise Security blog. Perhaps it’s time to step up your security game? Don’t be held hostage by ransomware; read these 10 tough security questions every CIO must be able to answer.

 

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