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Editor in Chief: Jeff Buick
Senior Editor: Doug Firby
Twenty years ago, fifty people attended the first RSA Conference. The 2011 RSA Conference – with 17,000 attendees - was reflective of explosive growth in the computer security industry over the past two decades. The industry is robust. And it’s at war.
Soon everyone and everything will have an IP address, and Cyberspace is now considered its own domain of war by government. Cyberspace is growing exponentially. The question on everyone’s mind is how do we secure this new digital world? The answer lies largely in creating a collaborative and community driven security culture. Continuous monitoring is crucial to keep up with criminals, and this requires a security community rather than silos.
The war is with the bad guys – the ones who write the malicious software that is attacking millions of computers every day – and they are winning. They attack us from anywhere in the world, steal billions of dollars every year, and are almost impervious to prosecution. The malware they inflict on unsuspecting businesses and users is smart and getting smarter. Stuxnet, the government-sanctioned virus that shut down Iran’s nuclear centrifuges, is reflective of the threat coming at us. More intelligent viruses mean more powerful and targeted intrusions. Attack types have now expanded to pose significant threats in the areas of intellectual property theft and infrastructure, and attacks are now able to reap real physical damage.
The attack platform has mushroomed, and end-users are the providing the portal.
Many experts believe end-users are not capable of securing their machines, and that legislation is required to provide this. As well, the proliferation of mobile devices is opening doors to the company databases faster than the security professionals can close them. In 2011 there will be more mobile devices in use than PCs. Every new device, every new piece of software, is viewed as an opportunity by the hackers and the spammers. Mobile traffic is predicted to increase by 4,000 per cent over the next few years, is more difficult to secure, and every one of these entry points need to be protected.
If you think you’re not at risk – as a business or a person with a home computer -you’re dreaming. This is an arm’s race. The overwhelming majority of intrusions are micro-attacks – targeting individuals or companies with fifty or less computers. Businesses of all sizes need to educate their staff and embed security into their culture.
People view access to the Internet as a fundamental right. But going online and practicing poor security measures is akin to subjecting the person next to you to second-hand smoke. Your actions affect others. If your computer is infected with malware, it quickly spreads to others. There’s a reason they’re called computer viruses. There needs to be a shift in our mindset – that everyone is not only vulnerable, but also responsible for being part of the solution.
The advent of the cloud is offering computing in the same way a utility offers electricity, vastly simplifying and lessening the cost of computing for end-users. The question on everyone’s mind is how do we protect identities, infrastructure and information in this new ecosystem? The CSA Cloud Security Alliance is comprised of large industry leaders who are paving the way for centrally managing security and compliance in a visible and trustworthy way.
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