IT Security: Our Mindset is not apt for APT!!

By Clive Gold, CTO Marketing, EMC Australia and New Zealand

We all know that our perception is clouded by our biases, and we are biased by our past experience. I’m sure you have had those moments when ‘everything’ changes, those “aha” moments when something is said or you see something that changes your perception, which removed those filters!

In the security or the IT trust world, we need to have one of these moments. Today so many people have built up their filters and their mindset based on the past experience of ‘keeping the bad guys out!”  At EMC we extended this idea a number of years ago, not only did we want to “stop the bad guys from having a good day”, but to also put in the systems to help, “the good guys, from having a bad day!” In the past this provided not only a way to keep the bad guys out, but to protect the good guys from inadvertently letting stuff leak.

Today, the issue is this thinking, while important is not sufficient. You have to assume that the bad guys are in! The advanced persistent threat landscape is evolving and looks like its spreading from strategic targets to looking for commercial gain!

Dr Karl, in a podcast from the ABC recently spoke about the stuxnet attack of June 2010. Listening to Karl’s explanation, (here), you soon realise how much resource must have been put into creating this attack. For example he mentioned that stuxnet used three zero day vulnerabilities out of a total of about two dozen discovered in 2010! A big investment!

Well what happens after the big realisation that the baddies are in your environment. First, your mindset changes, secondly your approach to protection is questioned and thirdly you look at the problem with new eyes. The thing to realise is you are not alone; many are going down this path before and with you. EMC RSA held a summit recently to talk about what, where and how organisations are addressing this new world. Some indication of what was discussed is here, and what is interesting is the willingness of competing organisations to sit down and discuss what they are doing.

So join the discussion there is so much good info out there like RSA blog, here, as well as numerous hits on your favourite search engine!


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