Today’s Burning Question: Stopping Cyberattacks Like the One on Spamhaus

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ADOTAS – We asked our panel of industry leaders to the following question, which comes via  The New York Times:

An escalating cyberattack involving an antispam group and a shadowy group of attackers has now affected millions of people across the Internet, raising the question: How can such attacks be stopped?

Here are their responses.

“Attacks like the Spamhaus attack going on right now cannot be stopped. The ‘bad guys’ will get smarter about how they attack and will take advantage of new angles in new technologies. Businesses aren’t defenseless, but need to be more vigilant and better equipped. As we put more and more of our businesses on the web, as our customers, partners and vendors demand more ability to see into and control how our businesses work, it becomes critical to make sure we lock down identity and access monitoring (IAM) as precisely as possible. Fundamentally, the solution revolves around being ready and whether the organization has an end-to-end security strategy in place. From firewall and malware protection to identity and access management, security takes many forms.” – Jonathan Sander, director of IAM product strategy, Dell Software Group.

“The DDoS attack suffered by Spamhaus is an example of how poor global security can lead to significant problems for everyone else. The attacks abused open DNS resolvers to perform an amplification attack, but DNS is just one of many vectors that can be abused this way. The internet as a whole is in bad shape and there are dozens, if not hundreds of botnets that rely on misconfigured network devices, weak passwords, and poor desktop security. The recently published ‘Internet Census 2012′ project was able to compromise 1.2 million devices using weak passwords over Telnet. The AIDRA and LIGHTAIDRA botnets use the same weakness and have the sole purpose of providing DDoS capabilities. I recently uncovered an AIDRA-based botnet that had compromised over 350,000 unique systems in a one month period, all of which were insecure embedded linux devices.” — HD Moore, CSO of Rapid7.

“The answer is we can’t. For every program that we develop to prevent cyberattacks, the individuals or groups launching them will devise a new way to implement them. Quite frankly, those behind cyberattacks are today’s latest terrorists” – David E. Johnson, CEO, Strategic Vision, LLC.

“This is like asking, ‘How can we stop war?’ You can’t, at least not until all weapons are removed from every country, and the technology for making weapons also disappears. The fundamental problem is that the technology used to code is the same technology that allows for attacks. So, live with it, and figure out how to have drones, force shields, anti-ballistic missiles, etc. until humanity finally figures out that since life causes death already, accelerating the process isn’t all that great an idea.” – Christopher Laurance, Partner at Lightwire Media.

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