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Know Your Enemy: A Field Guide to Today's Threats


Some cyber threats are driven by good, old-fashioned revenge.

The solutions exist, although many experts agree they appear to be lagging behind the latest advancements in cybercrime. However, recent innovations look promising.  Security products from Barracuda, CSG International, ISC8 and Nakina Systems are proving to be an integral part of a next-generation security operations center and well-rounded security plan. But your security plan needs to be more than just automated monitoring.

According to Bruce Roton of Level 3, security is a shared responsibility between the service provider and end-user, with proactive investigation of any suspicious activity.  Think of the service provider as the police protecting the city streets, but you still wouldn't leave your Rolex and car keys in the middle of the lawn with the front door of your house wide open.  A comprehensive security plan addresses all aspects of security; keeping the valuables locked up in secure locations with the right team investigating anything that doesn't look right. Systems, monitoring, and alarms help and are essential tools, but sometimes the best threat detection comes from identifying fairly obvious, tell-tale signs of malicious intent.

I was recently reading an editorial in the Chicago Tribune that pointed out what has happened to car theft in the United States as cars have become more sophisticated. Short answer: thieves have shifted their attention to older cars that are easier to steal (due to fewer electronic safeguards) and which can be sold as parts. Muggers are also having a tougher time as fewer people carry cash. Mobile phone manufacturers have started installing kill switches.

Most financially motivated crimes are, at least in part, crimes of opportunity. Shouldn’t your network be the 2015 sedan with the theft deterrent system parked in well-guarded garage instead of, say, a 1986 convertible with the leaky rear windshield, duck tape on the driver's side window, and the doors unlocked? 



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