Welcome!

Microservices Expo Authors: Stefana Muller, Elizabeth White, Karthick Viswanathan, Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski

Related Topics: @ThingsExpo, Machine Learning , Cloud Security

@ThingsExpo: Article

Layered Defense in the Connected World | @ThingsExpo #IoT #M2M #Security

IoT devices have to be easy to deploy and use, but we should not forget that these devices are really just small computers

Layered Defense in the Connected World

The National Cyber Security Awareness Month is transitory, but many of the decisions we have made around the adoption of technology within our personal and business have brought with them risks that will stay with us for a while. A good example of this is the deployment and proliferation of ‘smart' or ‘connected' devices - IoT.

The Internet of Things (IoT) has promised us more personalized and automated services, optimized resource utilization, and added convenience, but we haven't always stopped to consider the risks that come with the benefits?

The number of connected devices has grown at an unprecedented rate with current estimates at between 6-12 billion devices. This number seems enormous but if you doubt it, I suggest you login into your home router and look at how many devices are registered - you may be surprised when you see your TVs, amplifiers and heating thermostats featuring on the list.

We already have cars that can drive themselves and buildings that can configure their environmental control systems based on your presence. The amount of machine-to-machine communication going on around us is growing all of the time, but in many cases we haven't considered ‘security' as part of our buying or implementation processes.

IoT devices, by their very nature, have to be easy to deploy and use, but we should not forget that these devices are really just small computers. How many of us would plug a computer straight into the Internet using the (old) original, un-patched version of an OS, with no firewall or security devices to protect it, using the default username and password? Not many, but this is what is happening in many cases with IoT devices.

The evolving threat-landscape
2016 brought the darker side of the connected world more sharply into focus, with the proliferation of botnets, and weaponized DDoS services, based on IoT devices. If we think back to the early noughties DDoS attacks were often generated by large botnets of compromised end-users workstations, because of multiple vulnerabilities and a lack of security awareness. Cyber-criminals have realized that IoT devices offer a significant capability, just waiting to be exploited in a similar way, and we all saw how thousands of relatively small, innocuous CCTV cameras and DVRs could be leveraged to generate Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks at 500Gbps or greater, affecting the availability of Internet services from a number of well-known Internet brands.

Many IoT devices have good connectivity on unmonitored network segments, and enough processing capability to drive a significant volume of DDoS attack traffic. Attacks from these devices are responsible for some of the increased scale and frequency of DDoS activity reported in Arbor Networks' annual Worldwide Infrastructure Security Report (WISR). And, DDoS is just one use-case for compromised IoT devices - more on that later....

Layers-layers-layers
Compromised IoT devices offer attackers a new way to threaten the availability of the Internet services we use, but the best way to protect our businesses has stayed the same. Most businesses today are reliant on the data and application services they utilize via the Internet, and availability issues can be very costly. To combat today's DDoS threat, businesses and governments alike need to implement a multilayer DDoS protection strategy.

Multi-layered defenses incorporate both an on-premise and cloud or ISP-based component. The on-premise component allows businesses to detect and mitigate attacks immediately, before there is any service impact. However, the on-premise solution can't deal with increasingly common, large attacks that can saturate Internet connectivity, and this is where the cloud or ISP-based service steps in - to deal with the higher magnitude attacks. The good news is that many more enterprises are adopting layered defense. Arbor's WISR showed that 30% of enterprise organizations had adopted this model in 2016, up from 23% in 2015.

Putting the right defenses in place does require investment, and there are many competing priorities in businesses for both an IT and security budget. But given the dependence most businesses now have on connectivity for interaction with customers, partners and suppliers, these kinds of defenses are essential. Incorporating availability threats into business and IT risk assessment processes can help to quantify the potential impact of a DDoS attack, helping to prioritize investment, and the WISR report shows that around two-thirds of enterprises have now taken this step.

A broader problem
The combination of DDoS and IoT devices has largely disappeared from the news headlines in 2017, but they haven't gone away. Weaponized IoT botnets are still being used to generate DDoS attacks, but more sophisticated, stealthy application layer attacks are now more of a focus than the large volumetric attacks we saw last year. But, DDoS is only one of the ways in which IoT devices can be exploited. Arbor is already seeing compromised IoT devices being used as proxies to obfuscate the original source of traffic. If you are thinking that the risk to IoT is limited to those devices that are exposed to the Internet - think again. Windows malware that looks to scan local networks for IoT devices to infect is already a reality. This would allow attackers to gain a foothold within a network, using our IoT devices, so that they could then move on to target other resources inside or outside of our networks.

The connected world brings with it huge potential, some of it good and some of it bad. IoT devices can be used to amplify existing threats and create new ones. One thing we can all do is try to avoid becoming a part of the problem, and the solution here is simply to implement good risk management process and IT security hygiene when we deploy IoT devices.

Improving the security of IoT devices and preventing their compromise are key goals of the security industry and the manufacturers of these devices, but until that is done (and it may take some time), everyone needs to protect themselves from the threats we know that are out there - and DDoS is a significant and growing threat.

More Stories By Darren Anstee

Darren Anstee, Chief Technology Officer at Arbor Networks, has 20 years of experience in pre-sales, consultancy and support for telecom and security solutions. In his position, he works across the research, strategy and pre-sales aspects of Arbor’s traffic monitoring, threat detection and mitigation solutions for service providers and enterprises around the world. Prior to joining Arbor, he spent over eight years working in both pre- and post-sales for core routing and switching product vendors. Follow Darren Anstee on Twitter ‏@cadernid

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


Microservices Articles
Containers, microservices and DevOps are all the rage lately. You can read about how great they are and how they’ll change your life and the industry everywhere. So naturally when we started a new company and were deciding how to architect our app, we went with microservices, containers and DevOps. About now you’re expecting a story of how everything went so smoothly, we’re now pushing out code ten times a day, but the reality is quite different.
"We do one of the best file systems in the world. We learned how to deal with Big Data many years ago and we implemented this knowledge into our software," explained Jakub Ratajczak, Business Development Manager at MooseFS, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Gone are the days when application development was the daunting task of the highly skilled developers backed with strong IT skills, low code application development has democratized app development and empowered a new generation of citizen developers. There was a time when app development was in the domain of people with complex coding and technical skills. We called these people by various names like programmers, coders, techies, and they usually worked in a world oblivious of the everyday pri...
Traditional IT, great for stable systems of record, is struggling to cope with newer, agile systems of engagement requirements coming straight from the business. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, William Morrish, General Manager of Product Sales at Interoute, will outline ways of exploiting new architectures to enable both systems and building them to support your existing platforms, with an eye for the future. Technologies such as Docker and the hyper-convergence of computing, networking and...
Using new techniques of information modeling, indexing, and processing, new cloud-based systems can support cloud-based workloads previously not possible for high-throughput insurance, banking, and case-based applications. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, John Newton, CTO, Founder and Chairman of Alfresco, described how to scale cloud-based content management repositories to store, manage, and retrieve billions of documents and related information with fast and linear scalability. He addres...
"We focus on SAP workloads because they are among the most powerful but somewhat challenging workloads out there to take into public cloud," explained Swen Conrad, CEO of Ocean9, Inc., in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
DevOps tends to focus on the relationship between Dev and Ops, putting an emphasis on the ops and application infrastructure. But that’s changing with microservices architectures. In her session at DevOps Summit, Lori MacVittie, Evangelist for F5 Networks, will focus on how microservices are changing the underlying architectures needed to scale, secure and deliver applications based on highly distributed (micro) services and why that means an expansion into “the network” for DevOps.
Containers and Kubernetes allow for code portability across on-premise VMs, bare metal, or multiple cloud provider environments. Yet, despite this portability promise, developers may include configuration and application definitions that constrain or even eliminate application portability. In this session we'll describe best practices for "configuration as code" in a Kubernetes environment. We will demonstrate how a properly constructed containerized app can be deployed to both Amazon and Azure ...
The now mainstream platform changes stemming from the first Internet boom brought many changes but didn’t really change the basic relationship between servers and the applications running on them. In fact, that was sort of the point. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Gordon Haff, senior cloud strategy marketing and evangelism manager at Red Hat, will discuss how today’s workloads require a new model and a new platform for development and execution. The platform must handle a wide range of rec...
While some developers care passionately about how data centers and clouds are architected, for most, it is only the end result that matters. To the majority of companies, technology exists to solve a business problem, and only delivers value when it is solving that problem. 2017 brings the mainstream adoption of containers for production workloads. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ben McCormack, VP of Operations at Evernote, discussed how data centers of the future will be managed, how the p...