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Sharing threat reports improves collective security

11 Dec 2017

Cyber Smart Week was a timely reminder to business leaders to review and strengthen cyber security throughout the whole year. Our research among 700 security professionals worldwide shows that cyberattacks are becoming more costly and frequent. 

Over half (53%) of organisations surveyed suffered at least one data breach in the past two years and the number of records compromised grew 566 percent in 2016 to more than 4 billion (from 600 million in 2015).

Yesterday’s “moat and firewall” security is no longer enough given the rate, pace and sophistication of attacks. The speed of modern cyberattacks like WannaCry – from 16 hospitals to 100 countries in three hours – means it is more crucial than ever to stay ahead of these attacks.

The response is to share more data on attacks, similar to the way health providers and organisations like the Centre for Disease Control and WHO collaborate to fight health pandemics. 

IBM has opened its collection of security threat data – one of the largest in the world at 700 terabytes – to the public through our cyberthreat portal, X-Force Exchange where two decades of malicious cyberattack data are analysed for new insights.

One of the challenges facing security professionals in proactively identifying threats is the sheer volume of data to be analysed. There are an estimated 60,000 security blogs published each month, and 10,000 security reports published each year. At the same time, there is a looming security skills shortage, with nearly two million analyst jobs projected to be open by 2020.

Cognitive (or artificial intelligence) technologies can address these issues. For example Watson for Cyber Security has already analysed more than one million security documents and is now tackling an additional 15,000 per day. Some clients report detecting security breaches 50 times faster than manual security analysis as a result of using Watson for Cyber Security.

Like a human immune system, today’s cybersecurity defenses need to find those attacks that will eventually breach a perimeter, quarantine and remediate them across an organisation’s data, applications and mobile devices.  We also know that cybercrime is highly collaborative with attacks driven by organised crime rings in which data, tools and expertise are widely shared.  

When it comes to sharing data for the greater good, an organisation’s cloud strategy will influence the choices and resources available to them.

Those who combine public and private data on a hybrid cloud platform can keep their data securely onshore and send incident reports via the public cloud for analysis where it contributes to informing us all about security threats and help our limited human resources respond to attacks faster.  

Article by By Jo Healey, leader, Global Technology Services, IBM NZ.

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