The Weakest Link for Security

March 11, 2014 Arctic Wolf Networks

People are typically the weakest link in the cyber security chain. Yes, an Internet-accessible open exploit detected and infected through automation is an easy target, but when looking at recent headlines we find human frailty is the key to most successful attacks and data theft. The use of spear-phishing and social engineering, for example, are rising as it becomes easier to target users with profile information to gain their trust. What is publicly known about you becomes your weakness in these attacks.

Where is all the data coming from to profile these attacks? Autonomous and remote controls, data sensors, and advanced technologies are increasing the volume and breadth of information. As an analogy, un-manned space missions have much broader reach than manned flights where the most fragile system is the human pilot, whose physical limits place constraints on flight distances and duration. The same concept applies to our networks as exploit automation, modern malware and botnets collect data for profit or to profile much more quickly, broadly and efficiently than their human counterparts.

Paradoxically, humans do play an irreplaceable role when it comes to analyzing views, visualizations and sensing suspicious events and anomalies, which cannot be replaced by automation. As amazing as automation is, the human visualization system is far superior to programmatic controls to detect outliers and exceptions. The key is harvesting the raw data, correlating and presenting it for human analysis. Ensuring that these human analysts have the proper security education and skills increases the effectiveness of the man-and-machine security platform.

This security platform breaks down if data is missed, correlation and visualization is skewed to a non-security focus, or human resources are not available. Knowing the right mix of automation, data and human analysis is the key to cyber security success. We should expect automation to continue its advance providing an overwhelming about of data, alerts and events. But how this data is correlated and visualized in continuous monitoring cycles with skilled security experts is the next great security concern. It is also the primary focus at Arctic Wolf Networks.

In summary, security education is at the heart of strengthening the human link in the cyber security chain. Our Cyber Defense Poster seeks to educate end users to avoid being a target of opportunity, while a trial of our services will advance your IT security.

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