Why Cyber Security Is A Person Versus Person Battle – Chuck Leaver

Written By Michael Bunyard And Presented By Chuck Leaver CEO Ziften

Cyber security is everything about people vs. people. Each day that we sift through the current attack news (like the current Planned Parenthood breach) it becomes increasingly more apparent that not only are people the issue, in lots of respects, but people are also the answer. The aggressors are available in different classifications from insiders to hackers to organized crime and State sponsored terrorists, but at the end of the day, it’s individuals that are directing the attacks on companies and are for that reason the problem. And it’s people that are the primary targets exploited in the cyber attack, normally at the endpoint, where people access their connected corporate and personal worlds.

The endpoint (laptop computer, desktop, phone, tablet) is the device that people utilize throughout their day to get their jobs done. Consider how frequently you are connected to your endpoint( s). It’s a lot, right? Not only are these endpoints susceptible (see the Stagefright Android vuln for a fine example), the people at the endpoint are typically the weak spot in the chain that offers the opening for the aggressors to exploit. All it takes is one person to open the incorrect email, click to the wrong site or open the incorrect file and it’s game on. Despite all the security awareness available, individuals will make mistakes. When speaking about the Planned Parenthood breach my associate Mike Hamilton, who directs the product vision here at Ziften, provided a truly interesting insight:

” Every organization will have individuals against it, and now those people have the methods and objective to interrupt them or take their data. Leveraging existing blind spots, cyber criminals and even hackers have easy access through vulnerable endpoints and utilize them as a point of entry to conceal their activities, avert detection, exploit the network and take advantage of the targeted organization. It is now more crucial than ever for companies to be able to see suspicious habits beyond the network, and definitely beyond just their web server.”

People Powered Security

It makes sense that cyber security solutions should be purpose built for the people that are protecting our networks, and keeping an eye on the habits of the people as they utilize their endpoints. But typically this hasn’t been the case. In fact, the endpoint has been a virtual black box when it comes to having continuous visibility of user behaviors. This has caused a lack of info about what is really taking place on the endpoint – the most vulnerable element in the security stacks. And cyber security services certainly do not appear to have the people safeguarding the network in mind when silos of disparate pieces of information flood the SIEM with so many false positive signals that they cannot see the real dangers from the benign.

People powered security makes it possible for seeing, examining, and reacting by examining endpoint user habits. This has to be carried out in a manner that is painless and quick due to the fact that there is a big lack of abilities in companies today. The best technology will allow a level one responder to handle the majority of suspected dangers by providing simple and succinct information to their fingertips.

My security expert associate (yeah, I’m fortunate that on one corridor I can talk to all these folks) Dr. Al Hartmann states “Human-Directed Attacks require Human Directed Response”. In a current blog, he nailed this:

” Human intelligence is more flexible and innovative than machine intelligence and will always eventually adapt and beat an automated defense. This is the cyber-security versio of the Turing test, where a machine defense is attempting to rise to the intellectual level of a skilled human hacker. At least here in the 21st Century, machine learning and artificial intelligence are not up to the task of totally automating cyber defense, the cyber assailant inevitably triumphs, while the victims lament and count their losses. Just in sci-fi do thinking machines overpower humans and take control of the planet. Don’t accept the cyber fiction that some self-governing security software application will outsmart a human hacker foe and conserve your company.”

Individual powered security empowers well briefed dynamic response by the individuals trying to prevent the opponents. With any other technique we are simply kidding ourselves that we can stay up to date with attackers.



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