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The big challenge facing cyber security professionals is to think like the enemy, anticipate their next move, and enact measures to combat the exponentially growing number of attacks. Passively monitoring defences in the hope of detecting probes and breaches is insufficient as it is likely that threats are already on the inside in human, machine, or some malware form. And these may be continually active, sporadic, dormant, sleeping, dumb, smart, intelligent, broad or highly focused, and located anywhere in an organisation, machine, device or network. Fortunately, Cloud Technologies and new working practices mitigate agains all this, but only if we leverage new technologies and nurture new behaviours and operating strategies.
We are no longer looking for a ‘needle in a haystack’ but bent needles, or even needles prone to bending, in a ‘needle stack’. Layered defences such as multiple firewalls, virus protection, malware scanners, people screening and sporadic checks are insufficient. We have to be more sophisticated and consider the activity traits and sociology of people, machines, networks and malware. Perhaps most importantly this has to be achieved without degrading the performance of systems, networks, individuals and organisations.
To achieve effective cyber security solutions we have to migrate to a more organic, globally cooperative, and fully networked model that sees a new detection, reaction and solution sharing regime between companies and countries. And as the technology (good and bad) continues to accelerate and spread the end point will most likely be the realisation of a ‘living cyber immune system’ devoid of human intervention.