Akamai's Francis Trentley - The World of Zombies, Cyborgs and Knights

Akamai's Francis Trentley

Akamai's Francis Trentley

Francis Trentley was the CIO of the White House during the George W. Bush administration and oversaw that office's biggest ever technical transformation. Today, he is the Senior Director at Akamai Technologies. At the recent Gartner Security and Risk Management Summit, he delved into the ever-evolving cyber-threat-landscape and examined how traditional defences need to evolve.

Trentley is responsible for overseeing Akamai In the Cloud (ITC) Security Services providing DDoS mitigation, remote authorisation and visualization services for global private and public-sector customers.

In 1964, Trentley and his father visited the World Fair and saw a video call being placed between two adjacent booths. Then, 25 years ago, we saw the emergence of the World Wide Web. Since then the pace of change has been relentless with technology getting closer and closer to us as individuals. We've moved from mainframes to PCs to laptops to mobile devices and, soon, to implants.

It's clear that technology will be able to help us overcome some of the challenges that the world is facing as populations are aging. According to Trentley, wearables will change how we do business.

However, we also live in a world where assessing the risks associated with such a rapid uptake of technology that is becoming increasingly embedded into our lives and very being are almost impossible to properly assess. Trentley noted that the famous insurer Lloyds isn’t able to assess risk for cyber insurance.

Trentley, for the purpose of security threat management divides the world into three sorts of people; Zombies, Cyborgs, and Knights.

The zombies represent an asymmetric threat. While you are one target, there are thousands of zombies prepared to attack you. Think of any zombie movie and you'll get the picture - the zombies always outnumber the living humans.

In today's world the attacks are larger and faster than ever before and they can’t be mitigated at the ISP as they're too big - enterprise infrastructure can't handle big attacks of three million hits per second. And the impact of these attacks is significant. Trentley said 60% of small and medium businesses shut down within six months of a cyber attack.

However, Trentley did note that there are some ways to ensure you're ready for upcoming attacks. Citing data from Akamai's systems, he told the audience that every major event that takes place correlates to a spike in cyber attacks. For example, specific matches during the recent FIFA World Cup saw attacks increase. Specifically, when a country was defeated, attacks initiated in the losing country against the victor were common.

Trentley sees the cyborgs as his customer base or end-users. They receive the data and services and rely on what they receive to be correct and clean. Although Akamai is often associated with it's largest clients such as Apple, NASA, and many major broadcasters and content creators, Trentley told us that Akamai's services are being used by smaller organisations as well. Their capability in managing large attacks is an important part of the services they offer.

The knights are those that defend against the zombies. Trentley's advice is simple - build the best the team. That doesn’t necessarily mean having the best individuals in your team. Trentley said it was about ensuring you had the best team who complemented each other's skills and worked together.

Investing in ongoing training, continuously engaging in red-blue team exercises in order to build experience. "You can never spend enough developing your teams. The threats are never done changing", added Trentley.

This article is brought to you by Enex TestLab, content directors for CSO Australia.

Join the CSO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Akamai Technologiescyber attacksAkamai's systemsNASADDoS mitigationFrancis Trentley (CIO White House)zombiesISPcyber insurancecyber-threat-landscapeGartner securityFIFA World CupEnex TestLabenterprise infrastructuresecurity threat managementWorld Wide WebCSO AustraliaGartner Security and Risk Management SummitSenior Director at AkamaiKnightsCyborgsCSO OnlineThe World of Zombiesbuild the best the team

More about Akamai TechnologiesAppleBushCSOEnex TestLabGartnerITCNASA

Show Comments

Featured Whitepapers

Editor's Recommendations

Solution Centres

Stories by Anthony Caruana

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