External DDoS protections don’t reduce CSO collaboration onus: Akamai

Akamai's Francis Trentley

Network infrastructure providers may be able to keep high-intensity security attacks away from end users, but CSOs must focus on building collaborative security teams inside their organisations to ferret out the far more subtle threats they face every day, the global head of Akamai’s information security strategy has warned.

Having built its global content distribution network (CDN) from the ground up with security in mind, Akamai already has a robust set of tools to detect and deal with traffic spikes from DDoS attacks – with previous surges including the July 2009 W32.Dozer cyber attacks pounding Akamai’s network with around 200Gbps of attack traffic.

That was around 20 per cent of the total botnet traffic at the time, but subsequent attacks have pummelled the Akamai network with many times that much traffic – and the network’s design helped it prevent an impact on Akamai’s more than 1000 ISP customers in Australia and around the globe.

The relatively few number of ingress points into Australia’s Internet mean Akamai’s network effectively acts as a circuit breaker between the global Internet and Australia’s ISPs. With traffic dynamically rerouted depending on measured network performance every 20 minutes, the company has been able to sidestep some of the worst traffic floods in recent years – and help keep them from flooding Australia’s links to the outside world.

Akamai’s recent State of the Internet report noted security threats as a global phenomenon, with attack traffic originating in 177 different countries and 768 DDoS attacks reported by Akamai customers, and requiring human intervention to resolve, during 2012.

Of these, 269 (35 per cent) were targeted at companies in the commerce sector; 164 (22 per cent) at media and entertainment companies; 155 (20 per cent) at operating enterprises; 110 (14 per cent) at high-tech companies; and 70 (9 per cent) at public sector organisations.

Despite the protections external network providers can offer, increasing dependence on external cloud-hosted applications means Australian CSOs need to become far more proactive in implementing security monitoring and controls to ensure security is preserved, Francis Trentley, the company’s senior director for global security and government services, told CSO Australia.

“Those Web applications that used to be a nice-to-have are now mission critical,” Trentley explains. “They’re many to many, and businesses rely on them to add value to consumers. And, now that companies have to protect those applications, it’s more important than ever for them to keep those applications up and available.”

For CSOs charged with defending the borders and the associated risk profile of the enterprise, this cloud-driven mandate is given added gravitas thanks to the increasing vulnerabilities from mobile devices – and the key to meeting both these challenges is to focus on developing internal security credentials and building proactive security teams.

Such teams must inevitably involve partnerships with customers and other security experts, who Trentley says must work together to build “collaborative, cooperative” security models around shared interests and constant adaptation to the “punctuated equilibrium” in which security providers “come up with mitigations, and [hackers] come up with different tactics”.

“The majority of attacks we see now are against Web infrastructure, and the majority of those Web attacks are hitting multiple parts of your infrastructure from multiple vectors,” he adds. “Our adversaries are collaborating through the speed of the Internet, and we’re going to have to do that or we’re just not going to be able to keep up.”

Follow @CSO_Australia and sign up to the CSO Australia newsletter.

Join the CSO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags ddossecurity

More about Akamai TechnologiesCSO

Show Comments

Featured Whitepapers

Editor's Recommendations

Solution Centres

Stories by David Braue

Latest Videos

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Will your data protection strategy be enough when disaster strikes?

    Speakers: - Paul O’Connor, Engagement leader - Performance Audit Group, Victorian Auditor-General’s Office (VAGO) - Nigel Phair, Managing Director, Centre for Internet Safety - Joshua Stenhouse, Technical Evangelist, Zerto - Anthony Caruana, CSO MC & Moderator

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: The Human Factor - Your people are your biggest security weakness

    ​Speakers: David Lacey, Researcher and former CISO Royal Mail David Turner - Global Risk Management Expert Mark Guntrip - Group Manager, Email Protection, Proofpoint

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Current ransomware defences are failing – but machine learning can drive a more proactive solution

    Speakers • Ty Miller, Director, Threat Intelligence • Mark Gregory, Leader, Network Engineering Research Group, RMIT • Jeff Lanza, Retired FBI Agent (USA) • Andy Solterbeck, VP Asia Pacific, Cylance • David Braue, CSO MC/Moderator What to expect: ​Hear from industry experts on the local and global ransomware threat landscape. Explore a new approach to dealing with ransomware using machine-learning techniques and by thinking about the problem in a fundamentally different way. Apply techniques for gathering insight into ransomware behaviour and find out what elements must go into a truly effective ransomware defence. Get a first-hand look at how ransomware actually works in practice, and how machine-learning techniques can pick up on its activities long before your employees do.

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Get real about metadata to avoid a false sense of security

    Speakers: • Anthony Caruana – CSO MC and moderator • Ian Farquhar, Worldwide Virtual Security Team Lead, Gigamon • John Lindsay, Former CTO, iiNet • Skeeve Stevens, Futurist, Future Sumo • David Vaile - Vice chair of APF, Co-Convenor of the Cyberspace Law And Policy Community, UNSW Law Faculty This webinar covers: - A 101 on metadata - what it is and how to use it - Insight into a typical attack, what happens and what we would find when looking into the metadata - How to collect metadata, use this to detect attacks and get greater insight into how you can use this to protect your organisation - Learn how much raw data and metadata to retain and how long for - Get a reality check on how you're using your metadata and if this is enough to secure your organisation

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them Featuring: • John Baird, Director of Global Technology Production, Deutsche Bank • Samantha Macleod, GM Cyber Security, ME Bank • Sherrod DeGrippo, Director of Emerging Threats, Proofpoint (USA)

    Play Video

More videos

Blog Posts

Market Place