|By Don MacVittie||
|October 23, 2012 08:00 AM EDT||
Military science has a simple mechanism utilized at almost every level of both tactical and strategic thinking: Pin the enemy down with a distraction (a feint or an actual attack, either way), and then hit them where they’re not looking. This maxim has worked very well from squad level tactics where you pin them down with a base of fire while half the squad creeps around the enemy to hit them from the side to strategic tactics like when you attack on the entire front, but keep a massive reserve to push through any point that shows weakness. While the correlations of security to warfare can grow rather tiresome, sometimes, they are the correct correlations. The manner in which DDoS attacks are increasingly being used is well defined by this military maxim.
|Picture from ArmChairGeneral.com Kursk, 76 years ago the day this blog was posted. The space in the middle between the darker red lines is where the Soviet army found weakness in the German lines around Prokhorovka. After a general counter-offensive, this weak spot is where they poured their reserves and ended the last major German offensive of WWII.|
Why is that? The trend for DDoS attacks is to use the DDoS to mask some other intention – literally using it as a massive assault, so a few targeted attacks can be hidden within to try and break through the defenses of the organization being attacked. The methods range from highly sophisticated to pretty straight-forward, but there is a lot of sense in utilizing this tactic. First off, if the security team is focused on the DDoS, there’s a chance they’ll miss the more targeted attacks. Second off, with millions of connections occurring, the attack of a few packets might be overlooked, and third, while adjusting things to deal with the DDoS, security or other IT staff might well make a change that opens the door to one of these targeted attacks.
The aim is to get inside and steal data, the distraction is the DDoS, which is a very real attack, but forces the defender to split resources, or even dedicate all resources to defending against the DDoS. As in warfare, sometimes this tactic is staggeringly successful, and sometimes not. Even when not successful, the damage done to business can be immense. In the month before this blog post was written, nearly every major US bank had experienced DDoS attacks, with most suffering some form of reduced service or even outage during the attacks. The linked to article does not include others who were targeted after the date of publication, so the total number of US banks is pretty large.
And if you think that banks are being targeted enmasse for some random outside reason, I’ve got a highly influential spot on the Anonymous board of directors to sell you.
The DDoS attacks being waged against banks are for some other, more nefarious reason, and while I don’t know what that is at the moment, they’re banks. That does make it easy to speculate “financial gain” in one form or another.
The thing is, there are a variety of ways to stop such attacks, including utilizing our own BIG-IP (meant to handle outrageous volumes of requests, and able to identify most DDoS methods before they reach your servers) to stop DDoS dead in its tracks. The problem is that we often don’t treat security seriously until it is a problem. If you’re a large enough organization, at this point you should be able to determine that you will at some point be the target of a DDoS attack. If you’re a financial institution, no matter how small, you should be able to come to that same conclusion. So stop waiting for services to go down, find some money in the budget, do some research, and put something in place. Most major banks started to address DDoS last year, and took a closer look at it again in April – the last two targeted waves of attacks – but not all. There are a ton of reasons why some didn’t, but the trend is now obvious, procrastinating may hurt.
My co-worker David Holmes has written about mitigating a lot of these attacks here, and his approach is just one of several. In fact, if you search his blog for DDoS or Attack Mitigation, you get a ton of valuable information.
The thing is that pretty clearly there’s an ulterior motive to these attacks, and stopping the DDoS stands a good chance of either exposing or stopping whatever the ulterior motive is. And in banking, blocking ulterior motives is a way of life, no?
Many banking websites disabled logins during the attacks on their premises, but this alone can cause customer flight for the people who do all of their banking online. It’s their money, they tend to get testy if you won’t let them at it. Rumors abound, for example, that Citibank blocked logins for days and only slowly returned functionality. Meanwhile, customers were stewing. That’s a problem they will have to resolve outside the technological realm, but is also a proof that the easy answers – take the website down, protect customers’ money by disabling logins, etc – are not good enough. I’m not picking on Citi here, they were just the one I was pointed at by online friends, other big financial firms did much the same thing while under these attacks.
The security of our financial information is of tantamount importance to all of us. Banks do a very good job of protecting that information (consider number of breaches versus number of transactions or accounts as a measure), but in a changing environment they must consider doing even more. DDoS prevention appears to be a staple of FSI security moving forward. And as is always the case with security and the Internet, that will solve the current round of problems, but with billions of people on the internet, another challenge is just a mouse-click away.
Here’s hoping that none of the hidden agendas were realized while those attacks were going on, and here’s to security folks who now have to be more alert about other parts of security while defending against a DDoS. Thanks for doing what you do, most of the people out here have no idea how effective you are at keeping our data safe. And that’s probably for the best.
One of the biggest impacts of the Internet of Things is and will continue to be on data; specifically data volume, management and usage. Companies are scrambling to adapt to this new and unpredictable data reality with legacy infrastructure that cannot handle the speed and volume of data. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Don DeLoach, CEO and president of Infobright, will discuss how companies need to rethink their data infrastructure to participate in the IoT, including: Data storage: Understanding the kinds of data: structured, unstructured, big/small? Analytics: What kinds and how responsiv...
Mar. 5, 2015 05:00 AM EST Reads: 2,738
The Workspace-as-a-Service (WaaS) market will grow to $6.4B by 2018. In his session at 16th Cloud Expo, Seth Bostock, CEO of IndependenceIT, will begin by walking the audience through the evolution of Workspace as-a-Service, where it is now vs. where it going. To look beyond the desktop we must understand exactly what WaaS is, who the users are, and where it is going in the future. IT departments, ISVs and service providers must look to workflow and automation capabilities to adapt to growing demand and the rapidly changing workspace model.
Mar. 5, 2015 04:00 AM EST Reads: 1,190
Since 2008 and for the first time in history, more than half of humans live in urban areas, urging cities to become “smart.” Today, cities can leverage the wide availability of smartphones combined with new technologies such as Beacons or NFC to connect their urban furniture and environment to create citizen-first services that improve transportation, way-finding and information delivery. In her session at @ThingsExpo, Laetitia Gazel-Anthoine, CEO of Connecthings, will focus on successful use cases.
Mar. 5, 2015 04:00 AM EST Reads: 3,045
Sensor-enabled things are becoming more commonplace, precursors to a larger and more complex framework that most consider the ultimate promise of the IoT: things connecting, interacting, sharing, storing, and over time perhaps learning and predicting based on habits, behaviors, location, preferences, purchases and more. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Tom Wesselman, Director of Communications Ecosystem Architecture at Plantronics, will examine the still nascent IoT as it is coalescing, including what it is today, what it might ultimately be, the role of wearable tech, and technology gaps stil...
Mar. 5, 2015 03:30 AM EST Reads: 2,793
Almost everyone sees the potential of Internet of Things but how can businesses truly unlock that potential. The key will be in the ability to discover business insight in the midst of an ocean of Big Data generated from billions of embedded devices via Systems of Discover. Businesses will also need to ensure that they can sustain that insight by leveraging the cloud for global reach, scale and elasticity.
Mar. 5, 2015 03:15 AM EST Reads: 4,639
The Internet of Things (IoT) promises to evolve the way the world does business; however, understanding how to apply it to your company can be a mystery. Most people struggle with understanding the potential business uses or tend to get caught up in the technology, resulting in solutions that fail to meet even minimum business goals. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jesse Shiah, CEO / President / Co-Founder of AgilePoint Inc., showed what is needed to leverage the IoT to transform your business. He discussed opportunities and challenges ahead for the IoT from a market and technical point of vie...
Mar. 5, 2015 02:45 AM EST Reads: 3,990
IoT is still a vague buzzword for many people. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mike Kavis, Vice President & Principal Cloud Architect at Cloud Technology Partners, discussed the business value of IoT that goes far beyond the general public's perception that IoT is all about wearables and home consumer services. He also discussed how IoT is perceived by investors and how venture capitalist access this space. Other topics discussed were barriers to success, what is new, what is old, and what the future may hold. Mike Kavis is Vice President & Principal Cloud Architect at Cloud Technology Pa...
Mar. 5, 2015 02:30 AM EST Reads: 4,595
Hadoop as a Service (as offered by handful of niche vendors now) is a cloud computing solution that makes medium and large-scale data processing accessible, easy, fast and inexpensive. In his session at Big Data Expo, Kumar Ramamurthy, Vice President and Chief Technologist, EIM & Big Data, at Virtusa, will discuss how this is achieved by eliminating the operational challenges of running Hadoop, so one can focus on business growth. The fragmented Hadoop distribution world and various PaaS solutions that provide a Hadoop flavor either make choices for customers very flexible in the name of opti...
Mar. 5, 2015 02:30 AM EST Reads: 1,292
The true value of the Internet of Things (IoT) lies not just in the data, but through the services that protect the data, perform the analysis and present findings in a usable way. With many IoT elements rooted in traditional IT components, Big Data and IoT isn’t just a play for enterprise. In fact, the IoT presents SMBs with the prospect of launching entirely new activities and exploring innovative areas. CompTIA research identifies several areas where IoT is expected to have the greatest impact.
Mar. 5, 2015 02:00 AM EST Reads: 3,147
Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs) are increasing at an unprecedented rate. The threat landscape of today is drastically different than just a few years ago. Attacks are much more organized and sophisticated. They are harder to detect and even harder to anticipate. In the foreseeable future it's going to get a whole lot harder. Everything you know today will change. Keeping up with this changing landscape is already a daunting task. Your organization needs to use the latest tools, methods and expertise to guard against those threats. But will that be enough? In the foreseeable future attacks w...
Mar. 5, 2015 01:30 AM EST Reads: 3,706
Disruptive macro trends in technology are impacting and dramatically changing the "art of the possible" relative to supply chain management practices through the innovative use of IoT, cloud, machine learning and Big Data to enable connected ecosystems of engagement. Enterprise informatics can now move beyond point solutions that merely monitor the past and implement integrated enterprise fabrics that enable end-to-end supply chain visibility to improve customer service delivery and optimize supplier management. Learn about enterprise architecture strategies for designing connected systems tha...
Mar. 5, 2015 12:30 AM EST Reads: 3,652
Dale Kim is the Director of Industry Solutions at MapR. His background includes a variety of technical and management roles at information technology companies. While his experience includes work with relational databases, much of his career pertains to non-relational data in the areas of search, content management, and NoSQL, and includes senior roles in technical marketing, sales engineering, and support engineering. Dale holds an MBA from Santa Clara University, and a BA in Computer Science from the University of California, Berkeley.
Mar. 5, 2015 12:15 AM EST Reads: 3,816
Wearable devices have come of age. The primary applications of wearables so far have been "the Quantified Self" or the tracking of one's fitness and health status. We propose the evolution of wearables into social and emotional communication devices. Our BE(tm) sensor uses light to visualize the skin conductance response. Our sensors are very inexpensive and can be massively distributed to audiences or groups of any size, in order to gauge reactions to performances, video, or any kind of presentation. In her session at @ThingsExpo, Jocelyn Scheirer, CEO & Founder of Bionolux, will discuss ho...
Mar. 5, 2015 12:00 AM EST Reads: 3,142
The cloud is now a fact of life but generating recurring revenues that are driven by solutions and services on a consumption model have been hard to implement, until now. In their session at 16th Cloud Expo, Ermanno Bonifazi, CEO & Founder of Solgenia, and Ian Khan, Global Strategic Positioning & Brand Manager at Solgenia, will discuss how a top European telco has leveraged the innovative recurring revenue generating capability of the consumption cloud to enable a unique cloud monetization model to drive results.
Mar. 4, 2015 08:00 PM EST Reads: 1,928
As organizations shift toward IT-as-a-service models, the need for managing and protecting data residing across physical, virtual, and now cloud environments grows with it. CommVault can ensure protection &E-Discovery of your data – whether in a private cloud, a Service Provider delivered public cloud, or a hybrid cloud environment – across the heterogeneous enterprise. In his session at 16th Cloud Expo, Randy De Meno, Chief Technologist - Windows Products and Microsoft Partnerships, will discuss how to cut costs, scale easily, and unleash insight with CommVault Simpana software, the only si...
Mar. 4, 2015 07:00 PM EST Reads: 1,072
Analytics is the foundation of smart data and now, with the ability to run Hadoop directly on smart storage systems like Cloudian HyperStore, enterprises will gain huge business advantages in terms of scalability, efficiency and cost savings as they move closer to realizing the potential of the Internet of Things. In his session at 16th Cloud Expo, Paul Turner, technology evangelist and CMO at Cloudian, Inc., will discuss the revolutionary notion that the storage world is transitioning from mere Big Data to smart data. He will argue that today’s hybrid cloud storage solutions, with commodity...
Mar. 4, 2015 06:00 PM EST Reads: 2,030
Cloud data governance was previously an avoided function when cloud deployments were relatively small. With the rapid adoption in public cloud – both rogue and sanctioned, it’s not uncommon to find regulated data dumped into public cloud and unprotected. This is why enterprises and cloud providers alike need to embrace a cloud data governance function and map policies, processes and technology controls accordingly. In her session at 15th Cloud Expo, Evelyn de Souza, Data Privacy and Compliance Strategy Leader at Cisco Systems, will focus on how to set up a cloud data governance program and s...
Mar. 4, 2015 04:15 PM EST Reads: 1,020
Every innovation or invention was originally a daydream. You like to imagine a “what-if” scenario. And with all the attention being paid to the so-called Internet of Things (IoT) you don’t have to stretch the imagination too much to see how this may impact commercial and homeowners insurance. We’re beyond the point of accepting this as a leap of faith. The groundwork is laid. Now it’s just a matter of time. We can thank the inventors of smart thermostats for developing a practical business application that everyone can relate to. Gone are the salad days of smart home apps, the early chalkb...
Mar. 4, 2015 04:15 PM EST Reads: 513
Roberto Medrano, Executive Vice President at SOA Software, had reached 30,000 page views on his home page - http://RobertoMedrano.SYS-CON.com/ - on the SYS-CON family of online magazines, which includes Cloud Computing Journal, Internet of Things Journal, Big Data Journal, and SOA World Magazine. He is a recognized executive in the information technology fields of SOA, internet security, governance, and compliance. He has extensive experience with both start-ups and large companies, having been involved at the beginning of four IT industries: EDA, Open Systems, Computer Security and now SOA.
Mar. 4, 2015 04:00 PM EST Reads: 1,534
The industrial software market has treated data with the mentality of “collect everything now, worry about how to use it later.” We now find ourselves buried in data, with the pervasive connectivity of the (Industrial) Internet of Things only piling on more numbers. There’s too much data and not enough information. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Bob Gates, Global Marketing Director, GE’s Intelligent Platforms business, to discuss how realizing the power of IoT, software developers are now focused on understanding how industrial data can create intelligence for industrial operations. Imagine ...
Mar. 4, 2015 03:15 PM EST Reads: 1,571