In an age where cyber security threats are an unfortunate everyday fact of life, cyber security systems are consistently being pushed to their limits by the new and evolving methods employed by hackers and others cyber threats. Organizations today are looking for solutions that enable them to predict, prepare and react proactively to the shifting landscape of cyber threats, and implementation of adaptive cyber security strategies is becoming inevitable to achieve that goal.
In order to combat these new threats, adaptive cyber security methods allow for the simultaneous defense of multiple attack surfaces against this new wave of advanced cyber attacks targeting businesses and services. With the emergence of the Internet of Things (IoT) currently taking big steps further connect us to our devices and appliances, advanced and capable cyber security infrastructures will need to be both intelligent and able to adapt to unforeseen and as yet unknown threats as we move into the future.
Roughly defined as a network security model designed to accommodate multiple perimeters and non-static parts on a network while also watching for anomalies and malicious traffic, identifying endpoint vulnerabilities, enforcing access rules and following compliance rules while also providing audit data. While the benefits of adaptive cyber security become clear when seen in action, many businesses are still slow to adopt the latest cyber security models and technology and many will only begin to upgrade their systems after a potentially devastating intrusion or hack.
Why Does Cyber Security Need To Be Adaptive?
Let’s now take a more detailed look into some of the driving forces behind the rise of adaptive cyber security systems.
Evolving Threats: As technology evolves and improves over time, the cyber threats we face will also evolve and become more advanced. Cyber security architecture from ten years ago may have served its purpose well back then, when threats and attacks were much rarer, but now those systems are utterly obsolete. In order to keep up with evolving threats, cyber security systems need to be able to adapt to different scenarios and environments quickly so as to best contain any possible security breaches that do manage to get through. Businesses and cyber security teams may not be able to predict the future, but they can prepare for it.
Larger Attack Surfaces: It used to be that there were limited ways in which malicious programs or hackers could gain access to a network. Now, with more and more of our workload being shifted online and into the cloud, the number of potential access points for those looking to gain unauthorized access has grown substantially. One of the main issues surrounding the growth of IoT devices is how best to secure them. Adaptive cyber security will need to be implemented in order to protect business network assets as well as secure personal devices that are brought from home and connected a company’s secure network to ensure vulnerabilities are detected and dealt with before their potential exploitation.
The Need for Context: With any cyber security system, there is always the potential for false positives to change or influence resource allocation based on a perceived threat. False positives in cyber security systems can be due to a number of facts including reactionary traffic alarms and bugs in intrusion detection systems (IDS). Adaptive cyber security systems would use security platforms that share and correlate information in order to better define or identify potential threats and relay this information to the network firewall. This could help improve the identification and reaction to suspected threats and allow appropriate measures to be taken in a quick and timely manner.
What Are The Best Ways To Utilize Adaptive Cyber Security Systems?
There are various different methods of implementing an adaptive cyber security system, however, a tiered approach to adaptive cyber security can often be one of the easiest methods to understand and then begin to implement. One of the reasons why a tiered approach seems to be popular is that it can be implemented in stages, drastically lowering the cost when compared to an all-out overhaul of existing systems. This method also allows time in between different new technology installations to further plan out an adaptive cyber security strategy. Cyber security teams could often find that the slower yet more thought-out approach to adopting adaptive cyber security systems may very much work in their favor with regards to finances, planning, and installation.
Let’s take a look at an example of a tiered adaptive cyber security system.
Tier 1: The first tier of an adaptive cyber security system should deal with known threats and commodity malware. Commodity malware is more opportunist than targeted malware, it attempts to affect a particular software rather than the device itself and will continually create copies of itself and try to infect any and all vulnerable devices it comes into contact with.
Tier 2: Tier 2 deals with advanced threat detection software and technology. This could include using virtual machine forensic analysis and heuristic techniques in order to identify, define, and react to attacks that manage to slip through the first layer. This could include the ability to automatically block incoming malicious traffic.
Tier 3: The third tier in an adaptive cyber security system would focus on advanced network forensics and endpoint capabilities. Network forensics would provide a window for cyber security teams to see the activity within and across the network. This is done to build a complete, end-to-end timeline of activity and provide useful data about certain network events and traffic. Endpoints should also be fully secured and be able to provide a complete record of their activity when required as well as be able to fix and contain any issues regardless of the endpoint’s location.
Tier 4: The fourth and final tier should be an intelligence-based tier and offer attacker-specific information. Using the data accumulated from other technologies in an adaptive cyber security infrastructure, information regarding an attackers motives, the kind of technology they use, what they may be looking for and how previous, similar attacks have unfolded can all be used to further protect against these types of threats as well as add the collected data to a database of known attacks/attackers.
As we see, there are multiple approaches to consider when building an adaptive cyber security system. Knowing what assets and resources need the most protection can help with the allocation of cyber security resources, however, if your cyber security infrastructure is able to adapt to new threats, offer increased protection due to shared and correlated data and provide information about the attacker and their tools, it stands more of a chance than your average cyber security set up at protecting and securing your network and assets. With increasing inter-connectivity predicted in the future, cyber security will remain a top priority of IT professionals and business owners alike. Adaptive cyber security systems look set to provide an intelligent foundation for future cyber security solutions, and, with technological advances such as advanced machine learning and artificial intelligence lingering on the horizon, intelligent threat prevention solutions powered by AI will become the ultimate go-to cyber security strategy in the not too distant future.