The technological revolution has introduced a plethora of advanced solutions to help identify and stop intrusions. There is no shortage of hype, innovation, and emerging trends in today's security markets. However, data leaks and breaches persist. Shouldn't all this technology stop attackers from gaining access to our most sensitive data? Stuxnet and WannaCry are examples of weaknesses in the flesh-and-bone portion of a security plan. These attacks could have been prevented had it not been for human mistakes.
Stuxnet is the infamous worm (allegedly) authored by a joint U.S.-Israeli coalition, designed to slow the enrichment of uranium by Iran's nuclear program
. The worm exploited multiple zero-day flaws in industrial control systems, damaging enrichment centrifuges. So, how did this happen?
If human beings had updated their systems, we may never have added "WannaCry" to our security lexicon.
- The Natanz nuclear facility, where Stuxnet infiltrated, was air-gapped.
- Somebody had to physically plant the worm. This requires extensive coordination, but personnel in Natanz should have been more alert.
- Stuxnet was discovered on systems outside of Natanz, and outside of Iran. Somebody likely connected a personal device to the network, then connected their device to the public Internet.
- While Stuxnet went from inside to outside, the inverse could easily have happened by connecting devices to internal and external networks.
WannaCry and its variants are recent larger-scale examples. Microsoft had issued patches for the SMBv1 vulnerability, eventually removing the protocol version from Windows. Still, some 200,000 computer systems were infected in over 150 countries worldwide to the tune of an estimated $4 billion in ransoms and damages
The lesson here? We care too much about gadgets and logical control systems, and not enough about the skilled staff needed to operate this technology. Gartner estimates that 40 percent of mid-size enterprises don't have a cybersecurity expert in their organization. A labor shortage for security professionals will prevent you from filling this talent gap for at least three years. A logical solution is to assess which security functions can be effectively delivered as a service to minimize internal staffing requirements.
Services (such as SIEMphonic
) solve popular use cases including:
- Operational tasks such as log monitoring, vulnerability scanning, and firewall management
- Delivering 24/7 security monitoring when there is not enough staff to accomplish this internally (a minimum of eight to 12 dedicated security analysts are required for 24/7 monitoring)
- Security monitoring for public cloud environments to ensure users are not placing sensitive data in the cloud in ways that are insecure or non-compliant
- Building out advanced attack detection capabilities by employing advanced analytics to identify threats through statistical or behavioral anomalies in security events, IT logs, network behavior, network forensics, payload analysis, endpoint behavior, and endpoint forensics
Time is money; downtime is loss of money. The cost of doing nothing is significant.