Reacting May Be Best IT Security Solution

Trying to predict the next security problem is the wrong way to go about things said Bruce Schneier, chief security technology officer at BT who was speaking at an event in Singapore.

“The more we try to predict, the more the bad guys react around us,” Schneier said. Contrary to popular IT security ideology, what was more important was the ability to react as well as mitigate and recover.

This attempt to predict where the next attack will come from is creating a gap between security and attackers where cyber criminals will be constantly evolving to develop and exploit new attack vectors with IT departments constantly playing catchup.

In a world where threats are constantly changing, IT should be adaptable to respond quickly when a new threat hits Schneier added.

This “reaction” effect was supported by Phil Packman, general manager of BT’s security advocacy and operations engineering, who led BT’s team that was responsible for the maintenance of the Web site and infrastructure security for the London 2012 Olympics for which BT was the official communications services partner.

The network security for the Olympics had also been determined two years before the actual event and in many ways, Packman said that he and his team had to predict what the threats and attacks would be.

Expecting a high number of complex cyberattacks on the sites and infrastructure they managed, Packman and his team were surprised at how few and relatively low-skilled the attacks they received were. In fact, when they carried out some forensics on the attacks, they discovered that most were being carried out by teenagers or ‘hacktivists‘ rather than the organized cyber gangs or state sponsored cybercriminals usually heard about.

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Sidebar photo of Bruce Schneier by Joe MacInnis.