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Layered Defense in the Connected World | @ThingsExpo #IoT #M2M #Security
IoT devices have to be easy to deploy and use, but we should not forget that these devices are really just small computers

Layered Defense in the Connected World

The National Cyber Security Awareness Month is transitory, but many of the decisions we have made around the adoption of technology within our personal and business have brought with them risks that will stay with us for a while. A good example of this is the deployment and proliferation of ‘smart' or ‘connected' devices - IoT.

The Internet of Things (IoT) has promised us more personalized and automated services, optimized resource utilization, and added convenience, but we haven't always stopped to consider the risks that come with the benefits?

The number of connected devices has grown at an unprecedented rate with current estimates at between 6-12 billion devices. This number seems enormous but if you doubt it, I suggest you login into your home router and look at how many devices are registered - you may be surprised when you see your TVs, amplifiers and heating thermostats featuring on the list.

We already have cars that can drive themselves and buildings that can configure their environmental control systems based on your presence. The amount of machine-to-machine communication going on around us is growing all of the time, but in many cases we haven't considered ‘security' as part of our buying or implementation processes.

IoT devices, by their very nature, have to be easy to deploy and use, but we should not forget that these devices are really just small computers. How many of us would plug a computer straight into the Internet using the (old) original, un-patched version of an OS, with no firewall or security devices to protect it, using the default username and password? Not many, but this is what is happening in many cases with IoT devices.

The evolving threat-landscape
2016 brought the darker side of the connected world more sharply into focus, with the proliferation of botnets, and weaponized DDoS services, based on IoT devices. If we think back to the early noughties DDoS attacks were often generated by large botnets of compromised end-users workstations, because of multiple vulnerabilities and a lack of security awareness. Cyber-criminals have realized that IoT devices offer a significant capability, just waiting to be exploited in a similar way, and we all saw how thousands of relatively small, innocuous CCTV cameras and DVRs could be leveraged to generate Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks at 500Gbps or greater, affecting the availability of Internet services from a number of well-known Internet brands.

Many IoT devices have good connectivity on unmonitored network segments, and enough processing capability to drive a significant volume of DDoS attack traffic. Attacks from these devices are responsible for some of the increased scale and frequency of DDoS activity reported in Arbor Networks' annual Worldwide Infrastructure Security Report (WISR). And, DDoS is just one use-case for compromised IoT devices - more on that later....

Layers-layers-layers
Compromised IoT devices offer attackers a new way to threaten the availability of the Internet services we use, but the best way to protect our businesses has stayed the same. Most businesses today are reliant on the data and application services they utilize via the Internet, and availability issues can be very costly. To combat today's DDoS threat, businesses and governments alike need to implement a multilayer DDoS protection strategy.

Multi-layered defenses incorporate both an on-premise and cloud or ISP-based component. The on-premise component allows businesses to detect and mitigate attacks immediately, before there is any service impact. However, the on-premise solution can't deal with increasingly common, large attacks that can saturate Internet connectivity, and this is where the cloud or ISP-based service steps in - to deal with the higher magnitude attacks. The good news is that many more enterprises are adopting layered defense. Arbor's WISR showed that 30% of enterprise organizations had adopted this model in 2016, up from 23% in 2015.

Putting the right defenses in place does require investment, and there are many competing priorities in businesses for both an IT and security budget. But given the dependence most businesses now have on connectivity for interaction with customers, partners and suppliers, these kinds of defenses are essential. Incorporating availability threats into business and IT risk assessment processes can help to quantify the potential impact of a DDoS attack, helping to prioritize investment, and the WISR report shows that around two-thirds of enterprises have now taken this step.

A broader problem
The combination of DDoS and IoT devices has largely disappeared from the news headlines in 2017, but they haven't gone away. Weaponized IoT botnets are still being used to generate DDoS attacks, but more sophisticated, stealthy application layer attacks are now more of a focus than the large volumetric attacks we saw last year. But, DDoS is only one of the ways in which IoT devices can be exploited. Arbor is already seeing compromised IoT devices being used as proxies to obfuscate the original source of traffic. If you are thinking that the risk to IoT is limited to those devices that are exposed to the Internet - think again. Windows malware that looks to scan local networks for IoT devices to infect is already a reality. This would allow attackers to gain a foothold within a network, using our IoT devices, so that they could then move on to target other resources inside or outside of our networks.

The connected world brings with it huge potential, some of it good and some of it bad. IoT devices can be used to amplify existing threats and create new ones. One thing we can all do is try to avoid becoming a part of the problem, and the solution here is simply to implement good risk management process and IT security hygiene when we deploy IoT devices.

Improving the security of IoT devices and preventing their compromise are key goals of the security industry and the manufacturers of these devices, but until that is done (and it may take some time), everyone needs to protect themselves from the threats we know that are out there - and DDoS is a significant and growing threat.

About Darren Anstee
Darren Anstee, Chief Technology Officer at Arbor Networks, has 20 years of experience in pre-sales, consultancy and support for telecom and security solutions. In his position, he works across the research, strategy and pre-sales aspects of Arbor’s traffic monitoring, threat detection and mitigation solutions for service providers and enterprises around the world. Prior to joining Arbor, he spent over eight years working in both pre- and post-sales for core routing and switching product vendors. Follow Darren Anstee on Twitter ‏@cadernid

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Cloud Expo - Cloud Looms Large on SYS-CON.TV


Cloud Expo 2013 East Opening Keynote by IBM
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Testimonials
This week I had the pleasure of delivering the opening keynote at Cloud Expo New York. It was amazing to be back in the great city of New York with thousands of cloud enthusiasts eager to learn about the next step on their journey to embracing a cloud-first worldl."
@SteveMar_Msft
 
How does Cloud Expo do it every year? Another INCREDIBLE show - our heads are spinning - so fun and informative."
@SOASoftwareInc
 
Thank you @ThingsExpo for such a great event. All of the people we met over the past three days makes us confident IoT has a bright future."
@Cnnct2me
 
One of the best conferences we have attended in a while. Great job, Cloud Expo team! Keep it going."

@Flexential


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Digital Transformation Blogs
Lori MacVittie is a subject matter expert on emerging technology responsible for outbound evangelism across F5's entire product suite. MacVittie has extensive development and technical architecture experience in both high-tech and enterprise organizations, in addition to network and systems administration expertise. Prior to joining F5, MacVittie was an award-winning technology editor at Network Computing Magazine where she evaluated and tested application-focused technologies including app security and encryption-related solutions. She holds a B.S. in Information and Computing Science from th...
CloudEXPO New York 2018, colocated with DevOpsSUMMIT and DXWorldEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 12-13, 2018, in New York City and will bring together Cloud Computing, FinTech and Blockchain, Digital Transformation, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, AI and Machine Learning to one location.
CloudEXPO | DevOpsSUMMIT | DXWorldEXPO are the world's most influential, independent events where Cloud Computing was coined and where technology buyers and vendors meet to experience and discuss the big picture of Digital Transformation and all of the strategies, tactics, and tools they need to realize their goals. Sponsors of DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO benefit from unmatched branding, profile building and lead generation opportunities.