Shifts in Computer Network Security

Posted by Mark Teter, Chief Technology Officer
September 25, 2012

Last year in April, we posted 5 Critical Shifts That Threaten Network Security. And while it’s hard to believe that it’s been almost a year and a half since then, those five shifts we blogged about still threaten computer network security.

They were…

1. Emergence of systematic, syndicated, mult-layered global hacking. This essentially amounts to the industrialization of hacking, which produces a supply chain that starkly resembles that of drug cartels. Automated tools such as malware distributed via botnets can provide the weapons of choice.

2. Shift from application security to data security. Companies are shifting to data security as cyber-criminals devise and uncover new ways for bypassing existing security measures to obtain information and critical data.

3. Emergence of social networking as major vulnerability.  People who are less educated in security policy are more susceptible to social engineering, which makes companies more vulnerable.

4. Shift to proactive defense from reactive defense. Rather than sitting around, waiting to be breached, smart organizations are actively seeking holes and plugging them. Basically, it’s another instance in which offense is the best defense.

5. Shift in focus to multi-dimensional password theft.  Attackers expect that credentials for one application, like an email account, likely will also apply to other applications, like online banking. As a result, attackers are ramping up their efforts against these big payoff targets. Changing passwords frequently, insisting on different passwords for each account, or even choosing an altogether different security option other than passwords all make good defenses.

While these shifts continue to emerge, there is one significant shift worth noting that we didn’t mention last year – the preference for mobile devices rather than desktop or laptop computers. BYOD (bring your own device) is a workplace trend that’s gaining in popularity and prominence and requires a renewed focus on data security management.

In fact, news from the Intel Developer Forum (IDF) this week suggests a shift from PC to mobile devices. Certainly sales of the new iPhone may be indicative of this trend. Regardless, BYOD seems to be taking root in many organizations, so it’s best to add that trend to your data security management checklist as things to watch that could threaten your network.

About Mark Teter Before he retired from ASG in 2013, Mark Teter was Chief Technology Officer (CTO) and the author of 'Paradigm Shift: Seven Keys of Highly successful Linux and Open Source Adoptions.' As CTO, Mark regularly advised IT organizations, vendors, and government agencies, and he frequently conducted seminars and training programs.

Filed Under: Network Security

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