Innovations that will shape network security
by Tim Keanini - CTO at Lancope - Monday, 25 November 2013.
The “Internet of Everything” requires the “Security of Everything”

Cisco has it right when they point to a future called “The Internet of Everything.” This unfortunately means that certain things in your life that have traditionally been out of the reach of bad guys are now in reach. 2014 might not be the “Internet of Everything” yet, but it will be the “Internet of Somethings,” and those somethings will need to be resilient to the threats present online. For everything you operate, you will need to answer the question: If it were compromised, how would it behave differently? While we are used to asking these questions of our computing devices, now we will need to ask this of our automobiles, our home automation, and even our home appliances.

Physical authenticity weakens with 3D printing

You know a technology is disruptive when on one hand, you can print out a firearm, and on the other hand, you can print out a splint that saves a child’s life. Such is the case with 3D printing. In our society, we still believe that the cost of copying something physical is high enough so that it is a low probability that criminals would make a counterfeit item. With 3D printing dropping in price, however, clever criminals will begin to copy physical objects that, by themselves, can provide authentication or access. I think it will range, but some examples will include concert badges (maybe even backstage passes) and physical keys for simple locks. This will be a real threat any time a physical object alone is enough proof to gain access.

Tracking devices

I know it is creepy, but if someone put a tracking device on you, how would you know? You already have so many personal computing items in your pockets emitting radio signals, it would be a real task to detect such a tracker on you or anyone else for that matter. A few startups this year offer tiny little devices that, when attached or embedded in objects, can be tracked from your smartphone via a complicated mesh of peer-to-peer networks. The intended use cases are to find your keys, find your briefcase, even your cat, but the bad guys are already thinking up other nasty ways to exploit this very personal device. We may be getting to the point where, next time someone hands you a gift, you will have to scan it for bugs.

If some of this technology sounds more suitable for “The Matrix” than for consideration in your 2014 security strategy, it is time for you to realize that there are virtually no limits to today’s technology innovations. And unfortunately, that also means that there are hardly any limits to the opportunities for today’s online attackers. Attackers’ inroads to your corporate and personal data and assets continue to multiply, while their skills and resources are also growing. The good news is that this same innovation is also feeding the security solutions we have available to us today. It is time to look beyond your firewalls, antivirus and other conventional tools and embrace new, more progressive means of securing your network in 2014 and beyond.


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