SecurityBrief Australia logo
Australia's leading source of cybersecurity and cyber-attack news
Story image

Cyber security innovation has stagnated, and we need a new approach

By Contributor
Wed 1 Jun 2022

Article by Virsec A/NZ regional director Robert Nobilo.

It is often said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. If that is the case, the cyber security community suffers from collective insanity. In its efforts to protect IT systems and the organisations that use these systems from cyber attacks, the cyber security community has been taking the same approach: offering solutions that are slight improvements on, but not radically different from previous ones.

With each new product or supposed innovation, the industry has promised much but delivered little. The only way to remedy the situation is to adopt a radically different approach.

Today, software runs the world

Let's look at where we are today with software. It's ubiquitous, underpinning almost everything we do: how we buy things, how we work, how we communicate; how we entertain ourselves. It processes and holds our personal data, our payment details, and much more.

All these ways in which we rely on software present endless opportunities for attack. To make matters worse, the number and severity of those opportunities exploded with the onset of COVID-19. Many people started working remotely, and the attack surface increased exponentially. More importantly, so did the number of "lucrative" targets because sensitive company data was suddenly being accessed by remote workers no longer "protected" by their corporate networks.

Unsurprisingly, the COVID-19-driven explosion in connectivity produced an explosion in cyber-criminal activity. The criminals quickly developed new tools and techniques to exploit vulnerabilities and penetrate defences, and they were very successful.

Today's approaches are not working

The cyber security community has tried to respond as quickly as possible to these threats by ramping up investments in traditional tools like EPP and EDR tools and more advanced behavioural tools, to try and identify and block threats faster. However, these approaches only work for known threats, and we are still experiencing significant dwell times before these attacks are even detected, let alone responded to and remediated.

Some of these traditional tools now employ machine learning algorithms to try and pick out malicious activity, but they also produce many false positives. Furthermore, many minutes, hours and days can pass following an attack before an alarm is raised, by which time the damage is most likely done. This is of little help when malicious software can inflict damage in milliseconds.

Also, these tools are labour intensive. They require continuous tweaking and updating by experts. Cyber security skills were already in short supply before COVID-19. Not only did the pandemic ramp up demand for cybersecurity skills, but infections and quarantine requirements also reduced personnel availability. Today, some 60% of IT security professionals claim to be short-staffed.

Traditional tools also epitomise the paradigm of cyber security that has prevailed for years: detect a threat, respond and remediate. While these tools attempt to spot malicious activity before it can cause damage, they are never 100% successful because they rely on learning from previous successful attacks to anticipate how future attacks will play out.

The obvious problem here is that they require prior knowledge of an attack in order to provide effective protection, similar to the way vaccines learn to protect against a particular virus. This also means they frequently miss any unknown threats that target them, giving an adversary plenty of time to wreak havoc on an IT system before the alarm is raised.

Taking a new and better approach: protecting IT systems from the inside out

Every cyber-attack has one thing in common: code; whereby all attacks are executed by planting malicious code. So, if we focus on the code specifically and not the attacker, we have a better chance of blocking any cyber-attack. This is software protection from the inside out. It represents a brand-new approach to cyber security, which is different from the age-old notion of protecting the perimeter of an IT network and keeping attackers out of it.

So how do we protect from the inside out? Enter 'Deterministic' security tools. 'Deterministic' tools can analyse every piece of software an organisation has running on its network and determine precisely how each one should behave (and what its code should look like). If these tools detect any deviation from the norm, they immediately block execution. Deterministic tools do not rely on any prior knowledge of the threat. They don't require threat clouds, long learning periods or regular tuning and updates to be "secure". Nor do they notify an organisation after it's too late. These tools stop attackers from planting malicious code in real-time before they've had the chance to install malware or exfiltrate data.

Businesses are using an ever-increasing number of software applications; in-house developed applications, cloud-deployed applications, open source applications, third-party applications and more.

By focussing only on how software should be running and stopping it when it does something different, deterministic protection provides 100% protection against all known and unknown threats.

Related stories
Top stories
Story image
Equinix
Aussie businesses buckle down on digital tech investments
Australian businesses are planning major investments in digital technologies to support ambitious expansion plans.
Story image
ABI Research
75% of 5G networks to advance to 5G-Advanced by 2030
5G-advanced is set to launch in 2025, and 75% of 5G networks will upgrade by 2030, according to ABI Research. 
Story image
Ransomware
Examining the future of ransomware threats with Vectra’s CTO
As customers' valuable data move to the cloud, so will ransomware. What is the current landscape and what do we need to know?
Story image
Apple
Your tools, your choice: why allow employees to choose their own devices?
Jamf Australia says giving your team the freedom to work with their digital device of choice could help to attract and retain top talent in a tight labour market.
Story image
Oracle Cloud
Commvault, Oracle to deliver Metallic Data Management as a Service
"We are excited to partner with Commvault and enable our customers to restore and recover their most mission-critical cloud data."
Story image
Digital Transformation
What CISOs think about cyber security, visibility and cloud
Seeking to uncover the minds of CISOs and CIOs across Asia Pacific, my company recently asked Frost & Sullivan to take a snapshot of cloud adoption behaviour in the region.
Story image
Cybersecurity
FIDO Alliance releases guidelines for optimising UX with FIDO Security Keys
The new guidelines aim to accelerate multi-factor authentication deployment and adoption with FIDO security keys.
Story image
WatchGuard Technologies
Ransomware volume doubled 2021 total by end of Q1 2022
Ransomware detections in the first quarter of this year doubled the total volume reported for 2021, according to a new report. 
Story image
Apple
Jamf introduces new content filtering solution for education providers
Jamf has announced the launch of Jamf Safe Internet, a new offering that looks to deliver a safe online experience to students while offering better management options for admins.
Story image
MSP
Video: 10 Minute IT Jams - An update from CyberArk
Olly Stimpson joins us today to discuss the importance of MSP programmes and how MSP partners are experiencing success with CyberArk.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Without trust, your security team is dead in the water
The rise of cyberattacks has increased the need for sound security that works across any type of business, but with any change, buy-in is essential. Airwallex explains why.
Story image
Payroll
How New South Wales state departments achieved cloud migration success
State departments in New South Wales are heading to the cloud to achieve better workflow solutions, and one company is paving the way for their success.
PwC
WSLHD and PwC’s Consulting Business came together to solve through the challenges of COVID-19. A model of care was developed to the NSW Health Agency for Clinical Innovation guidelines with new technology platforms and an entirely new workforce.
Link image
Story image
Vendor
Forescout reveals top vulnerabilities impacting OT vendors
Forescout’s Vedere Labs has disclosed OT: ICEFALL, naming 56 vulnerabilities affecting devices from 10 operational technology vendors.
Story image
State Library of Victoria
State Library of Victoria entrusts Oracle support and security to Rimini Street
“Our finance team are very happy with the support and security that Rimini Street provides, which keeps our assets and our customers secure."
Story image
Internet of Things
ManageEngine wins big in IDC MarketScape assessment
ManageEngine's Endpoint Central service has been recognised as a leader by IDC MarketScape in several categories including Internet of Things device deployments and UEM software for SMEs.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
Juniper study reveals top AI trends in APAC region
Juniper's research shows an increase in enterprise artificial intelligence adoption over the last 12 months is yielding tangible benefits to organisations.
Story image
Ransomware
Businesses unprepared to defend against ransomware attacks
Ransomware attacks continue to impact organisations worldwide with high costs, but businesses are still largely unprepared.
Story image
Research
New study reveals 51% of employees using unauthorised apps
The research shows that 92% of employees and managers in large enterprises want full control over applications, but they don't have it.
Story image
Media
Registrations for the W.Media Sydney Cloud and Datacenter Convention 2022 now open
Are you a C-Level executive looking to enhance your knowledge in the cloud and data center space in order to get the best results for your company?
Story image
Remote Working
RDP attacks on the rise, Kaspersky experts offer advice
"Given that remote work is here to stay, we urge companies to seriously look into securing their remote and hybrid workforce to protect their data."
Story image
Document Management
Regaining digital trust and enhancing digitisation in Australian Government agencies
Having a digitised ecosystem of documents, tools and data can help bolster security, improve workflow and ultimately create better services.
Story image
Documentation
Adobe study finds lack of digital trust and utilisation in Australian Government agencies
New research commissioned by Adobe has revealed a significant lack of digital trust within Australian Government departments, along with the continued underutilisation of key digital processes.
Story image
Cloud Security
Palo Alto Networks bolsters cloud native security offerings
Latest Prisma Cloud platform updates help organisations continuously monitor and secure web applications with maximum flexibility.
Story image
Enterprise Resource Planning / ERP
Five ways your ERP is letting you down and why it's time for a change
Wiise explains while moving to a new system may seem daunting, the truth is that legacy systems could be holding your business back.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
Vectra AI named as AWS security competency partner
Threat detection and response company Vectra AI has announced that it has become an Amazon Web Services Security Competency Partner.
Story image
Document Management
NZ's FileInvite raises $10M in latest investment round
FileInvite has raised $10 million in Series A investment to fast-forward the extinction of email for requesting and collecting documents online.
Story image
Cloudera
Overcoming hybrid and multi-cloud challenges to drive innovation
Driven by improvements in technology, financial services companies have advanced both internal and external systems and processes, with the likes of digitisation, personalisation and risk management redefining the industry.
Story image
Digital Fingerprint
Decline in counterfeit cherries after digital fingerprinting
Reid Fruits says there’s been a dramatic decline in counterfeit products for its cherries over the past three export seasons to Asia because of digital fingerprinting.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Zscaler launches co-located data centres in Canberra and Auckland
The investment will offer public and private sector enterprises greater resilience in support of their zero trust cybersecurity posture.
Story image
Ransomware
Secureworks reveals new information on BRONZE STARLIGHT threat group
New research from Secureworks has uncovered new information on the Chinese threat group BRONZE STARLIGHT and how they are using targeted ransomware to initiate complicated attacks.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Tech and data’s role in the changing face of compliance
Accenture's study found that 93% of respondents agree or strongly agree new technologies such as AI and cloud make compliance easier.
Story image
Tech job moves
Tech job moves - Bitdefender, Cohesity, Fortinet & MODIFI
We round up all job appointments from June 27-30, 2022, in one place to keep you updated with the latest from across the tech industries.
Story image
Compliance
SentinelOne integrates with Torq to empower security teams
"With Torq, security teams can extend the power of SentinelOne to systems across the organisation to benefit from a proactive security posture.”
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
Eight top DevSecOps trends to support IT innovation in 2022
The use of DevSecOps practices is growing, as it is increasingly seen as the best way to produce high-quality and secure code. So what are the current trends?
PwC
PwC's Consulting Business and PwC's Indigenous Consulting are proud to play an important role in helping Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience build IMAGI-NATION, a free online university for marginalised communities around the world.
Link image
Story image
Cybersecurity
How organisations can mitigate IoT and IIoT security risks
IoT and IIoT come with inherent risks because they are often deployed faster than they can be secured, putting organisations in danger of cyber threats. Here are tips on how to mitigate those risks.
Story image
Cyber Criminal
Identity and access: the fight is on
Blue team defenders are used to protecting our data, applications, and users with access controls and other security mechanisms, which is why attacks like this are especially challenging when they target identity and access control systems.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Email threats spike 101%, remains a top attack vector
"Each year we see innovation in the threat landscape, but each year email remains a major threat to organisations."
Story image
Cybersecurity
Video: 10 Minute IT Jams - An update from CrowdStrike
Scott Jarkoff joins us today to discuss current trends in the cyber threat landscape, and the reporting work CrowdStrike is doing to prevent further cyber harm.
Story image
HP Inc
Firmware attacks significant threat in age of hybrid work
Changing workforce dynamics are creating new challenges for IT teams around firmware security, according to new research.
Story image
Training
Barracuda customises training to fit ACSC Essential Eight
Barracuda has announced that its Security Awareness Training now provides a customised training curriculum in line with the Australian Cyber Security Centre’s (ACSC) Essential Eight.
Story image
Malware
Colt launches new SASE Gateway solution with Versa
Colt Technology Services’ customers now have access to an integrated full SASE solution that brings together SD WAN and SSE features.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Security driving customer identity & access management adoption
"CIAM allows businesses to embed a secure identity layer into their consumer and SaaS applications, facilitating secure, seamless end user experiences."