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News

Trust attacks signal change in cyber threats

Venafi : 14 February, 2013  (Technical Article)
Venafi comments on the changes taking place in the cyber security landscape as trust is becoming increasingly the target of attacks
Trust attacks signal change in cyber threats

Commenting on the system compromise of US-based security vendor Bit9, Venafi says that the cybercriminal incursion – whilst unfortunate – signals the significant changes in the threat landscape that have been taking place over the last few years.

According to Calum Macleod, EMEA Director with the Enterprise Key and Certificate Management (EKCM) solutions specialist, just as the hacktivist force behind the Anonymous collective has gathered pace in recent times – culminating last April with Time classifying the cause in its top 100 of the world’s most influential people - so the cybercriminal landscape has also changed.

“It’s a much darker threat landscape that IT security professionals are now dealing with, with trust – amongst clients, peer organisations and employees – having become an incredibly fragile, but essential, part of the security fabric of business,” he said.

“This situation is compounded by the fact that executives - even those in IT security arena - have little to no understanding of how truly fragile trust is today. A few kilobytes of cryptographic data can mean the difference between a company losing millions from the serious financial and reputational consequences that result,” he added.

The Venafi EMEA Director went on to say that, every business and government now relies on cryptographic keys and certificates to provide and ensure these levels of trust.

These technologies, he explained, are behind what makes society function today —from card payments, online shopping, all the way to smartphones and cloud computing.

And in parallel with this, he says, the ability to measure and track trust has also changed in what is an increasingly global and interconnected world.

Unfortunately, adds Macleod, cybercriminals now understand how fragile our ability to control trust has become.

“Malware like Flame and Stuxnet - and targeted attacks such as those on Bit9 - are just some of the examples of the escalating and accelerating attacks on trust in a business landscape that relies on technology,” he said.

“The only certainty that can be drawn from this event is that these types of attacks – and their underlying methodologies - will explode as more cybercriminals become aware of their success,” he added.

“The inability to detect these attacks, take action - and ultimately the pervasiveness of cryptographic keys and certificates, plus the protocols that depend on them – means that criminals of all types will increasingly continue to turn their attention to these attacks.”

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