Technology is evolving at an ever quickening pace, and it’s important to stay as up to date as possible when it comes to information security technologies. We’ve put together a list of five different things you should have on your radar.
While you may have heard of some of these before, we may have one or two you haven’t seen already. In the 21st century, keeping on top of all the latest security trends is essential, even if information security isn’t your main job.
New Information Security Technology on the Horizon…
Or, in some cases, already here. If you want to make sure you’re protecting your system to the best of your ability, you need to keep reading. As the threat of hacker gangs and lone individuals committing crimes increases, the measures taken to thwart them are going to need to adapt in order to keep up. Before we begin, here’s a good overview of how we got to where we are today – The Cloud-y Future of Security Technologies, a half-hour video presentation by USENIX.
Crowdsourced Threat Protection
Palo Alto Networks has been using a form of crowdsourcing with its network security platform known as Wildfire. Their cloud-based system shares near-real-time malware analysis with other users in the network who subscribe to their service, with the idea that sharing the information quickly will help make everyone safer. Sourcefire has a similar service called FireAmp that they offer for malware protection. When used correctly, crowdsourced protection of networks against security threats should provide faster response times and a better grasp of the nature of the attack.
Two-factor User Authentication
You can already seeing this being used increasingly online, but usually as an option – expect it to become even more prominent (and in some cases mandatory) in the future. Instead of leaving protection entirely up to an end user choosing a strong password, two-factor also employ a second method (usually contacting a user’s mobile phone) to verify identity. In Google’s version, for instance, they’re sent a text message with a one-time code for that session. The idea is to ensure better access control and make brute force attacks or social engineering a thing of the past. (Then again, realize IT departments supporting two-factor authorization may start getting calls asking to change the mobile number associated with a user – plan ahead!)
Attacker Attribution via Virtual Fingerprints
When fingerprints first started being used by law enforcement, more criminals began to be caught. Similarly, identification systems are being developed to identify online criminals by their unique “digital fingerprint”. Companies like CrowdStrike are looking to be able to construct a digital fingerprint for black hat hackers. Their Falcon platform is cloud based and is designed to be able to identify what individual or hacking group is responsible for a particular attack. Expect more progress on this front, although just like all active security measures expect equally energetic counter-measures – after all, real fingerprints can be concealed by gloves, and your phone’s fingerprint reader can (theoretically) be fooled by gummi bears.
Honeypots, Honeynets, Honeyfarms…Honeyclouds?
The idea of the honeypot has been around almost as long as the internet – make a sweet target on your network for would-be attackers but actually decoy them to an isolated machine for both protection of your assets and study of the intruders. However, the technique is seeing a surge in use lately, usually as part of a larger security strategy. Houston’s own Alert Logic has now deployed honeypots in public clouds in North America, Asia and Europe as a forensic tool to better calibrate the nature of security threats by region (their report is here, and makes interesting reading). Using this technique on your own network is a useful way to keep attackers busy, giving your own admins and system intrusion detection software more time to identify and flag the security breach and improving your ability to stop future attacks cold. Arizona based DataSoft has a product called Nova – a preconfigured, rack-mounted server to quickly create advanced decoys for existing computer networks, and thus help protect real data and resources. Look for more turn-key solutions of this type of security in the future.
Virtual Desktop Containers
Like honeypots, virtual machines have been used since the dawn of computing to model hardware and software within defined boundaries, and (alongside the rise of virtualized computing in general) is being increasingly turned to as a security solution. One option creates a virtual desktop that could be used to open files and surf the web – any attacks would be harmless in the sandbox. This technology is already available with Invincea FreeSpace, which offers a layer of protection by running web browsers, a PDF reader, and Office suite software in a virtual desktop. For users, the entire process is seamless. Behind the scenes, their combination of hardware and software protects the real network from attacks which usually come from browsing a website or opening infected documents.
What Does This Mean for You?
Securing data and keeping networks operating and uncompromised takes a lot of work these days. At SSL.com, we are constantly mapping out the ever-changing information security landscape. While you definitely should look to the future, look here for more detailed and in depth information over the next few weeks and months about how to keep your website and applications secure. x.
When it comes to information security, rest assured that with SSL.com, you’re dealing with security experts who live and breathe making the web a safer place for everyone .Whether it’s our free, newly-updated SSL.com Manager to streamline your security administration, or giving you more specific information on useful subjects like forcing HTTPS connections on your Apache server, or (like here) sharing with you what’s just over the horizon, we are here to help.