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Cyber after Snowden

Kacy Zurkus | Oct. 27, 2016
The damage, scar tissue, and cleanup process in a post-Snowden world

One effort toward rebuilding that trust is the EU-US Privacy Shield, which has been temporarily implemented. "It will determine whether or not US companies can continue to provide services to European citizens from the US," said Carson.

Still, simmering beneath the surface is the pertinent question of whether secrets can stay secret any more. Certainly this year's Presidential election has shown the world how vulnerable anyone is to cyber attacks. Moreover, Christy's assertion that known actors are not always financially motivated also rings true.

Jason Matlof, executive vice president at LightCyber said, "A post-Snowden world suggests that secrets cannot remain secrets anymore. Such a conclusion is based largely on security models that are 20 years old."

In order for information to ever be kept secret, the cyber after Snowden clean up campaign has to be more proactive. "Security has largely been reactive, based on encountering a threat and then developing ways to identify and block it. Today’s challenges demand adding a new approach, one that is based on real behavior as manifested on the network," Matlof said.

Enterprises need to evolve in a way that allows them to detect the low and slow adversary before damage is done.

"Today very few organizations have the ability to find an active attacker, whether it originates internally or externally. Dwell times still average about five months, giving attackers plenty of time to accomplish their goals without being caught," Maltof said.

Expect the unexpected should become the mantra of security practitioners. "While nightmare scenarios are becoming realities, the old guard of security is still clinging to the hope that somehow protection and preventative measures will keep them safe from disaster," said Maltof.

In the post-Snowden world, hope is not a strategy. "The Yahoo! breach and even the theft of hacking tools and information from the NSA make it clear that companies are still generally blind to attacker activities," Maltof said.


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