Blogs

Our focus on Russian hacking obscures the real problem

Posted by Hitesh Sheth on Jan 18, 2017 4:25:34 PM

This blog was originally published on The Hill.

If I didn’t deal daily with the mechanics of cybersecurity, I might be captivated by Washington’s focus on whether the Russians penetrated the Democratic National Committee and why they did it. As a citizen, I follow politics and geopolitics, too.

But here’s what bothers me:

The hacking tools identified by the FBI and Department of Homeland Security are freely available on the internet. The Russians can use them. So can the Iranians, the Chinese, the North Koreans and any other nation-state which wants to penetrate the networks that serve our political parties and government. There is nothing special or even uniquely “Russian” about them. And they often work.

I am not surprised that such common tools are employed against us. We should expect it. In the cybersecurity business we know the focus should be on our ineffective defense, rather than on finding the guilty country.

Whoever got inside the DNC networks had seven months to plumb about, pilfer embarrassing material, package it for shipping and make off with it, all without detection. The DNC had no way to detect the penetration while it was happening.

Why not? After all, the technology to spot and interrupt hacking while it is in progress exists. We can literally watch hackers and their tools move around inside our networks, probing our vulnerabilities, locating our most sensitive data and setting up private tunnels to take it out of our systems. 

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Topics: cyber security, cybersecurity, hacker, hacking, cyber defense


“We have got to get faster” at fighting hacks

Posted by Hitesh Sheth on Jan 5, 2017 1:26:20 PM

Sen. John McCain, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, held a hearing today with top intelligence officials on Russian cyber-attacks, after many remarks by President-elect Donald Trump called into question conclusions by U.S. intelligence community that Kremlin-backed hackers meddled in the 2016 election.

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Topics: hacker, backdoors


Encrypt everything. Don’t let security be the reason you don’t (and attackers do)

Posted by Chris Morales on Dec 15, 2016 9:32:58 AM

On the cybersecurity website ThirdCertainty.com, Byron Acohido makes some very important points about the use of encryption by hackers to avoid detection tools and the need to detect these attacks. This is a water cooler discussion at Vectra headquarters. Encrypted traffic is an easy hiding place for attackers and difficult for organizations to deal with. 

However, trying to monitor this traffic by decrypting first, performing deep-packet inspection, and then encrypting again at line-rate speeds is problematic, even with dedicated SSL decryption, especially in the long term. There are several factors at play here. 

With an increasing global desire for privacy, more traffic is encrypted by default. It is becoming a standard for cloud applications. The Sandvine Internet Phenomena Report states that encryption doubled last year in North America.

This is actually great news, especially for consumer privacy. Enterprises have a strategy to encrypt everything. With this encryption however, attempts to perform SSL decryption mean there will be large volumes of encrypted data to process.

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Topics: Encryption, hacker


Cybersecurity: What to expect in 2017

Posted by Hitesh Sheth on Dec 13, 2016 5:00:00 AM

Cybersecurity is a rapidly evolving landscape and 2017 will be no different. Attackers will leverage artificial intelligence and find new ways to infiltrate corporate networks and businesses using adaptive attacks. Encrypted traffic will increasingly blind legacy security technologies, while ransomware gets smarter, and more targeted. Also watch for geo-political changes that act as a catalyst for increased cyber attacks involving nation states.

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Topics: IoT, Encryption, hacker, Ransomware, Datacenter, firewall, AI