Today the Information Security Arena has been shaken by two separate, although similar, events: IBM and McAfee, two giants in this troubled market, have separately decided to make a decisive move into the Security Information And Event Management (SIEM) market by acquiring two privately held leading companies in this sector.
Yesterday, September the 13th 2011, the Information Security Arena has been shaken by a couple of
announcements earthquakes unleashed by two of the most important players in this market.
The first earthquake was detected in San Francisco, at the Intel Developer Forum, where McAfee announced DeepSAFE, a jointly developed technology from McAfee and Intel that enables to build hardware-assisted security products that take advantage of a deeper security footprint. According to McAfee, sitting beyond the operating system and close to the silicon, DeepSAFE technology allows to gain an additional vantage point in the computing stack to better protect systems. Although initially conceived as an anti-rootkit (and 0-day) technology, McAfee promises that DeepSAFE Technology will be the foundation for its next gen security products, maybe landing also on the Android Platform (but not on Intel’s MeeGo Mobile Platform).
Here it is the complete list of Main Cyber Attacks for July: definitively it looks like the Dog Days did not stop the Cyber Attacks, which have been particularly numerous during August.
Following the trail of July, an attack against PCS Consultants, another U.S Government contractor opened this hot month, even if the controversial shady RAT affair monopolized (and keeps on to monopolize) the infosec landscape (and not only during the first half of the month). Easily predictable nearly every endpoint security vendor (and McAfee competitors) tend to minimize the event considering it only the latest example of RAT based cyber attacks with no particular features (see for instance the comment by Sophos, Kaspersky and Symantec).
Update Sep 2: August 2011 Cyber Attacks Timeline (Complete List)
It looks like the Dog Days did not stop the Cyber Attacks, which have been particularly numerous during August. This is the reason why I decided to divide my traditional collection in two parts. Today it is the turn of the first half covering the interval 1-15 August.
Strange Days for Information Security, you may watch my July 2011 Attacks Chart for noticing how troubled July has been. August promises to be even worse, but this is not the point…
The point is that in an Interview to Vanity Fair, which is not tipically an Information Security Magazine, Dmitri Alperovitch, Vice President of threat research at McAfee reported that, for at least five years, a high-level hacking campaign, dubbed Operation Shady RAT (like Remote Access Tool), has infiltrated the computer systems of national governments, global corporations, nonprofits, and other organizations. This infiltration has made more than 70 victims in 14 countries for what has been defined “Biggest-ever series of cyber attacks uncovered”, an attack so big that, according to Alperovitch: “It’s been really hard to watch the news of this Anonymous and LulzSec stuff, because most of what they do, defacing Web sites and running denial-of-service attacks, is not serious. It’s really just nuisance.”
The Google Chromebook (that is the first Chromium OS powered devices) was presented few days ago (and is ready to reach our shelves for the half of June), but only yesterday I accidentally came across an interesting article (which I had already reported in yesterday’s post) which led me to several thoughts concerning the future of endpoint security, or better, how endpoint protection technologies will adapt themselves to the rapidly mutating landscape, which is shifting from an endpoint-centric to a cloud-centric model. My personal confessions of a dangerous mind derive from Google’s assertion that: Chromebooks have many layers of security built in so there is no anti-virus software to buy and maintain. Moreover, the fact that data reside mainly on the cloud moves the data protection requirements towards the cloud rather than on the endpoint. If this is true many security giants (such as
Intel McAfee, Symantec, Trend Micro, etc.) focalized on endpoint would seriously have to worry about.
In a certain sense one might say that it could be quite easy for Checkpoint to make predictions at this point of the year considered that we are in the middle of 2011 (and truthful predictions should already come true), but this is not my point of interest. My point of interest is the fact that, in my prevision evaluation of security predictions for 2011 (we were in December 2010), I was a little bit disappointed for the fact that it had not been possible to compare Check Point, a landmark in Network Security, with the other vendors since at that time it did not release any prediction for the current year. The perspective of this vendor, focused on network security, is a really interesting complement to the landscape (that is unifying endpoint, network and cloud security), since Check Point is considered the pioneer of modern firewall, as well as inventor of the stateful inspection technology, the foundation of network protection.
The intention by UK-headquartered company Sophos to acquire Astaro, the privately-held security company co-headquartered in Karlsruhe, Germany and Wilmington, Massachusetts (USA) is simply the last effect of the process of vendor consolidation acting in the information security market. It is also the trigger for some random thoughts…
During these days I enjoyed speaking with many colleagues about the results of the tests and definitively, I must confess that firewalls were not the only entities unaware the TCP Split Handshake, as a matter of fact, none of the professionals I discussed with (of course including me the first time I read about it) were familiar with this method of establishing TCP connections.
Utilities and Security Vendors are taking very seriously the events of Stuxnet and they’re consequently running for cover. Although due to natural events, the dramatic facts of Fukushima have shown to the entire World (and likely to Cyber-terrorists) how close we are to the abyss of a nuclear meltdown, with the consequent fear that a simil-Stuxnet malware could give the final push (even if according to some urban legends Stuxnet might have played a role in the failure of cooling systems afterward the Tsunami of March 11, 2011).