Turbotodd

Ruminations on tech, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

Archive for July 31st, 2012

A New Class Of Security

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Click to enlarge. This graph outlines some of the key types of security attacker types and techniques that the 2011 IBM X-Force Trends Report identified as being most common. By the end of last year, the frequency and scope of these incidents persisted, and continue to bring awareness to the basic tenants of operating a business and protecting its assets in an increasingly connected world.

As hackers increasingly find new and nefarious ways to threaten the global digital infrastructure, recent policy advancements such as the proposed “Cybersecurity Act of 2012” in the U.S. have been introduced as solutions to the world’s growing cybersecurity problem.

While IBM accepts it is an imperative to properly secure critical systems, private sector advancements should be balanced with pragmatic legislative policies that avoid overly-prescriptive mandates that can inhibit the very innovation needed to ensure cybersecurity.

Consequently, IBM moved quickly and sent a letter urging the U.S. Senate to address flaws in the proposed cybersecurity bill.

According to IBM’s X-Force 2011 Trend and Risk Report, cyber attackers are adapting and moving quickly to target newer information technologies such as social networks and mobile devices. This rapidly evolving nature of cyber attacks necessitates a new approach to enabling cybersecurity.

Responding to the ever-changing nature and volume of attacks requires agility, risk-based management, and a commitment to innovative defensive measures. IBM supports bipartisan, cybersecurity legislation, but the “Cybersecurity Act of 2012” would add bureaucracy to a process that needs speed to succeed.

Government and industry would be best served by a common-sense approach to cybersecurity that allows for investment in R&D, improved information sharing between public and private sectors, better security for federal IT networks, and criminal penalties for cyber-crimes.

Industry Solutions To A Network Problem

Advanced threats, rapid adoption of social media, and Web applications have also been driving the need for new, intelligent approaches to security.

As employee access to the Web has become ubiquitous, enterprises are struggling with massive increases in malware as well as Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs), which can compromise proprietary data.

Many of today’s security solutions often offer limited visibility and control over network activity, which can put the company at risk.

To help clients proactively protect against evolving security threats, including those posed by social media sites and malicious websites, IBM today announced a new class of network security appliance that delivers a more granular view of a company’s security posture and a simplified security management interface.

This new next-generation intrusion prevention appliance helps clients address advanced attacks targeting their organization, providing visibility into exactly what applications are being used on the network, where users are going on the Web, with the ability to monitor and control this activity, which can result in improved security and reduced operational costs.

IBM Security Network Protection XGS 5000

IBM Security Network Protection XGS 5000 is a next-generation intrusion protection system specifically designed to address the constantly evolving, increasingly sophisticated threats that organizations face today.

It builds on the proven, core security features found in IBM Security Network Intrusion Prevention System, including helping protect against “zero-day” exploits, by adding new levels of visibility and control over the network, applications, data and users to help improve security by helping prevent misuse and identify previously undetectable threats.

IBM Security Network Protection incorporates global threat intelligence from X-Force, including a Web filter database of over 15 billion URLs — capable of monitoring and categorizing millions of Web servers and applications each day to provide superior protection against the changing threat landscape.

Gaining Control, And Visibility, Into Security Events

Once organizations are aware of the nature of activity on their network, the new application control features enable clients to have granular control over what is happening on their network; this means granular user and group-level control over which applications and Websites are permitted, and how they are used down to individual actions or activities within these applications and sites.

IBM Security’s Advanced Threat Protection Platform helps clients by providing the following features and capabilities:

  • Proven security to help protect against zero-day threats: enables preemptive protection against a full spectrum of advanced threats, including Web application attacks and exploits hidden in files. IBM’s protection engine is built upon years of security intelligence gathered by X-Force Research, and can stop entire classes of attacks — including new and unknown threats – without updates; most solutions available today match individual protection signatures — a process that can be too slow to stop evolving threats and can result in higher rates of false positives and false negatives.
  • Visibility and insight: provides application awareness, monitoring and control, with high level dashboards for drilling down into events and reporting. Also provides deep insight into the nature of activities on the network through broad application awareness and flow data analysis. Integrates with QRadar Security Intelligence Platform to provide even greater levels of insight including anomaly detection and event correlation.
  • Control: utilizes intelligence related to Web applications, Websites, and non-Web applications, including Web application and Web site coverage with over 15 Billion URLs across 68 categories and support for 1000+ applications and actions.

IBM Security Network Protection XGS 5000 will be available starting in 3Q12.

 About IBM Security

IBM’s security portfolio provides the security intelligence to help organizations holistically protect their people, data, applications and infrastructure. IBM offers solutions for identity and access management, security information and event management, database security, application development, risk management, endpoint management, next-generation intrusion protection and more.

IBM operates one of the world’s broadest security research and development, and delivery organizations. This comprises nine security operations centers, nine IBM Research centers, 11 software security development labs and an Institute for Advanced Security with chapters in the United States, Europe and Asia Pacific. IBM monitors 15 billion security events per day in more than 130 countries and holds more than 3,000 security patents.

A Deal In Cement

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IBM is partnering with global building materials company, CEMEX, to deliver business process and information technology services over a 10-year period.

CEMEX provides high-quality products and reliable service to customers and communities in more than 50 countries throughout the world.

CEMEX has a rich history of improving the well-being of those it serves through its efforts to pursue innovative industry solutions and efficiency advancements and to promote a sustainable future.

This agreement is expected to generate CEMEX savings of close to US$1 billion during the life of the contract. Additionally, it will improve the quality of the services provided to CEMEX; enhance business agility and scalability; maximize internal efficiencies; and allow the company to better serve its customers.

The 10-year services contract awarded to IBM is worth just over US$1 billion, and will include: finance and accounting, and human resource back-office services, as well as IT infrastructure, application development and maintenance services.

IBM currently delivers global scale, talent and technology based on business expertise and a global network of more than 70 Service Delivery Centers and more than 400 Data Centers, in 170 countries covering more than 40 languages.

To learn more about CEMEX, go here, and here to learn more about IBM’s services capabilities.

The Blackout In India

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To my friends in India, I hope you’re fairly weathering your blackout.

I was just reading through some BBC coverage which has reporters spread across northern India, including Utter Pradesh, Delhi, Rajasthan, and West Bengal.

The report suggests Calcutta was not as badly affected as other regions, because it has a private electricity board, but that power went out across the rest of West Bengal state.

Thus far, coverage suggests the power breakdowns in India are mainly in the north, the east, and the northeast, and that about 600 million people have been in affected in over 20 Indian states.

To put that in perspective for those of us here in the west, that would be like the power going out across all of the U.S. and all of the United Kingdom, at once.

Yes, just imagine that.

Obviously, there will be lots of fingerpointing until an investigation can get to the bottom of this, but in the meantime it demonstrates once again how fragile infrastructure can be, in both emerging and advanced economies.

In the Northeast blackout of 2003 here in the U.S., some 55 million U.S and Canadian citizens were impacted and some left without power for up to 16 hours.

Though there was no major civil unrest during that particular blackout, one need simply just read the Wikipedia entry of that event to remember how many “systems” were impacted: everything from transportation to healthcare to water supply.

In India, telecommunications are being particularly hard hit in this outage, because so many people there depend on mobile phone service for their communications.  Even if the cell towers have backup generators, many folks in rural India have no alternative method of recharging their cell phones once that primary charge dissipates.

Also, business process outsourcing companies such as Wipro, Genpact, WNS and others have “kicked in business continuity plans” to ensure continuity of services to global clients. Thus far, The Hindu Business Line is reporting that the IT-BPO industry, which accounts for over 7% of Indian GDP, are running their operations at centers in the north and eastern India using backup generators running on diesel.

The Wall Street Journal India has an “IndiaRealTime” blog where you can follow the latest on the India power outage.

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