Defending technology is hard. It is even harder to defend systems you have not learned about yet! And to make matters worse, attackers are constantly motivated to study the technology landscape and in many cases will know your technology better than you! With technology innovation generating new tech at faster and faster paces it is keeping us all on a constant treadmill. Innovations come, they are deployed, then bad guys break into them, then defenders seek to mount defenses.
We have a simple model that can speed your ability to assess and defend modern technology. It is a look at modern technology from an operational defender’s viewpoint.
From a defender’s viewpoint, the most important thing to know about the technological landscape is really simple. Know that technology will either be under control of allies or adversaries.
Take, for example, your IT at work. If the technology team in your business has put in place strong defenses, good account management, well thought out encryption and capabilities for monitoring for unauthorized activity, it will be very hard for an adversary to control your company IT. They may surprise you from time to time, but you will remain in control.
Consider, however, the company with out of date operating systems and poorly configured firewalls, or an outdated device authorization capability. This company does not have adequate controls. Adversaries are probably already in the enterprise system and may be able to get as much done in that type of network as a trusted employee.
This same point needs to be considered for all the suppliers and partners of your business. If your business partners and suppliers cannot control and monitor their technology, then odds are that adversaries are going to be able to operate in those systems, perhaps placing information you share with your partners at risk.
Also consider your home IT. If you keep your systems patched, are using good anti-malware programs, and configure your devices by following expert advice, then you are going to have much greater control over your systems. If you do not, you could have malicious actors in your home PC and mobile devices right now.
A memorable way to consider this topic of control is to think of all interconnected technology as a new territory or domain. The word for this new territory is a word coined by William Gibson in Neuromancer. This is cyberspace.
Some of cyberspace is managed and controlled by good guys. Some is managed and controlled by adversaries. Some is in a constant state of contest where neither has the upper hand but exist side by side.
This leads to a goal: Configure and control your portions of cyberspace to deny the objectives of your adversaries while enabling your team to succeed.
Now how do you do that? First adopt a mindset that says you will never give up! You will keep learning and keep configuring to mitigate risks.
We want to help you learn and keep mitigating risks. We provide tips on how to do that here in our ThingsCyber Defend Yourself Page, and will continuously update that with the latest as new strategies develop.
This topic of control, and the fact that technology is either under the control of you or your adversary or is contested, is important to consider as you leverage newer technologies at home or innovate at work. You should always seek to control your systems. After all, you own them, right?.
You can track developments in the systems you need to control by tracking the ThingsCyber Tech Landscape site. We provide insights and closely track the megatrends of:
As you keep learning, please keep in mind that it will be helpful to all if you teach others too! As you come across information of use to others please share and help others raise their defenses, it will help us all enjoy the benefits of the age of ubiquitous computing.