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Battle on for consumer data

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The development in cyber attacks over the past couple of years has been rapid, but what is even more worrying, says BRYAN HAMMAN of Arbor Networks, is that companies are only now waking up to the idea that their current defences are inadequate.

The last couple of years have seen rapid and complex developments in the cyber threat landscape. A significant portion of cyber attacks are now being made up of brute-force, volumetric distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks, which look to disrupt on-line presence and conceal malicious activity, often with the aim of stealing data. What’s worrying is the fact companies are only now starting to realise their defences might not be ready for these types of attacks.

Adding to this concern is the fact that attackers are becoming increasingly adept at combining tools to their best effect and targeting all sorts of organisations. It’s not solely large companies that are being hit. Businesses large and small, across all industry sectors, public and private, even charities, are being targeted, for a variety of reasons. The rise of ideological hacktivism, the use of DDoS attacks to distract or disguise from other kinds of cyber-crime and the use of DDoS as a “competitive weapon’” in some industry sectors are just some of the key motivations behind those attacks, as shown in Arbor’s 11th annual Worldwide Infrastructure Security Report.

As a consequence there has been a clear increase in the level of interest from businesses in solutions and services to help protect themselves. Executives within a wide variety of businesses are now aware of the severe consequences of a successful DDoS attack – both in terms of financial and reputational damage – and businesses are starting to realise the fact that a one-size-fits-all approach to security is unlikely to be successful in the long term.

Specific threats require, in a lot of cases, specific solutions and DDoS is a good example. On-premise firewalls and intrusion detection system (IDS) products can deal with small, more simple attacks – but they can’t stop the more sophisticated application layer attacks that have become more prevalent over the past five years.  As such, firewalls or cloud-only mitigation solutions are no longer comprehensive enough to protect the network. Firewalls can’t deal with volumetric attacks, which saturate Internet connectivity, while cloud-based solutions may not proactively detect more stealthy attacks and take several minutes to activate, by which time significant damage has already been done.

Clearly then, organisational defences, from all kinds of threats, need to be multi-layered. To successfully deal with DDoS attacks, businesses need specialised defences at the network perimeters to proactively protect their networks from attacks and at the same time, cloud-based DDoS protection that can be called upon when an attack saturates the connectivity.

This layered approach is also needed when organisations try and protect themselves from compromise via malware or insider misuse. Organisations can have firewalls, IDS and antivirus systems in place but these aren’t always enough. With modern network and service architectures and the increasing prevalence of obfuscation techniques available to malware, businesses now need to monitor “inside” their network perimeters, as well as “at” the perimeter, to detect suspicious and malicious activities or compromised devices on their networks.

When thinking about enterprise security, it’s important to remember that additional layers of security need not be more complex to operate or deploy. If the right solutions are selected, with the right workflows, then organisations can actually help their operational security teams to become more efficient and effective. This helps IT pros to protect the organisation against the growing number of cyber threats out there. Thinking proactively about security and combining different layers of defences will ultimately help companies keep the front foot in the cyber war over customer data.

* Bryan Hamman, territory manager for sub-Saharan Africa at Arbor Networks 

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CES: So long, and thanks for all the beer!

Last week, the Las Vegas expo showed off its fun side with state-of-the-art technologies for enjoying beer, writes BRYAN TURNER

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From craft beer-making machines to robots that pour beer, CES had more beer than usual in Las Vegas last week. And even free beer if you found the right stand. Stampede’s saloon-style booth offered beer to visitors who tried out its latest drones, virtual reality, and other gaming products. No beer tech, though.

Here are some of the beer technologies that stood out:

LG HomeBrew – Craft beer made at home

LG’s HomeBrew craft beer-making machine,  debuted at CES 2019, brings the brewing process home thanks to single-use capsules,  a self-cleaning feature, and an algorithm optimised for fermentation. 

Like a Nespresso coffee machine, the beer maker uses capsules, which contain malt, yeast, hop oil and flavouring. At the press of a button, LG HomeBrew automates the whole procedure from fermentation and carbonation to ageing. A companion app lets users check HomeBrew’s status at any time during the process, from their handsets.

The beer machine not only offers a simple way to make craft beer, but also enhances the quality of beer it makes. The fermentation algorithm intelligently controls the fermenting process with precise temperature and pressure control. It automatically sanitises itself, using nothing more than hot water, ensuring everything is hygienically clean for the next batch.

Designed with discerning beer lovers in mind, HomeBrew allows for in-home production of batches of more than 4 litres of beer in a variety of styles. The following five distinctive, flavoured beers are available now: 

  • Hoppy American IPA
  • Golden American Pale Ale
  • Full-bodied English Stout
  • Zesty Belgian-style Witbier
  • Dry Czech Pilsner

The only catch? It takes about two weeks to make, depending on the beer type.

“LG HomeBrew is the culmination of years of home appliance and water purification technologies that we’ve developed over the decades,” said Dan Song, president of LG Electronics Home Appliance & Air Solutions Company. “Homebrewing has grown at an explosive pace, but there are still many beer lovers who haven’t taken the jump because of the barriers to entry, like complexity, and these are the consumers we think will be attracted to LG HomeBrew.”

Click here to read about the party speaker that holds beer and robots that pour beer.

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CES: Alienware gets Legend-ary

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At CES in Las Vegas last week, Dell’s Alienware released a family of high-end, thin, light, and affordable machines for both amateur and professional gamers – and a new identity.

Alienware marked CES 2019 as a brand milestone with the debut of a new design identity, Alienware Legend. It aims to set a new bar of excellence for what gamers want most – performance and function. Alienware says it evaluated multiple concepts and chose one that was the biggest and boldest departure from its current look.

Alienware Legend, says the company, stays true to the brand’s core design tenets, taking cues from its deep roots in sci-fi culture and its early industrial designs, to distinguish the brand from the rest of the industry. The new Legend design is optimised with cutting-edge thermal cooling technology to achieve and sustain overclocking power, improved AlienFX lighting, and ultra-thin screen borders. It also unveiled a new “three-knuckle hinge” design that reduces the overall dimension while creating a stronger assembly, all combining to yield a better gaming experience.

“We’re excited to come to this year’s CES with some truly groundbreaking products, next-gen software and strategic partnerships that will bring more people to experience PC gaming and advance the industry,” said Frank Azor, vice president and general manager of Alienware. “The legend design answers the call for more and better from our gaming community, and the new G Series laptops will make PC gaming even more accessible to those looking for high-performance gaming at a cost they can appreciate.”

Click here to read about Alienware Legend in action with the Area-51m and m-series laptops

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