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Beware these DDoS myths

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As a rapidly evolving threat, Distributed Denial of Service attacks are surrounded in a haze of confusion. DARREN ANSTEE, chief security technologist at Arbor Networks explores some of the most-common myths.

Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks have appeared on the threat horizon as one of the most pressing issues for security experts. In today’s cloud-based, always-on business environment, DDoS attacks can pull down an organisation’s online systems, bring workflow and mission-critical processes to a halt, and cause untold reputation damage.

Yes, many businesses and organisations remain at risk, lulled into a false sense of security by believing in one, or more, of the many ‘DDoS myths’. Here are nine of the most-common examples:

1. My type of organisation isn’t a target… Big businesses are not the only targets of malicious web bots. Almost every type of organisation – from corporates to small businesses, banking, governments, hospitals, universities, schools and non-profit organisations have all suffered from debilitating attacks in the past few years.

2. The costs of DDoS protection outweigh the impact of attacks… Many organisations only wait to address the issue of DDoS protection after they have already been hit. Unfortunately, by this stage, it’s already too late and the damage has been done. Don’t fall into the trap of underestimating the combined impact of DDoS attacks at a number of levels:

·        Direct financial loss

·        Costs to recover from an attack

·        Brand damage and loss of consumer trust

·        Supply chain disruption

·        Contract fines from SLA beaches

·        Regulatory fines from compliance breaches

3. My firewall or IPS will keep me safe… While traditional perimeter security solutions are certainly vital aspects of an integrated security set-up, they are not designed specifically to cater for DDoS attacks. Attackers look for gaps in traditional security solutions, they’ll look for devices that conduct stateful inspections of network connections, and take advantage of networks that are left unguarded.

4. My Internet Service Provider guarantees protection… Remember that modern attacks blend volumetric TCP-state exhaustion and application-layer attack vectors. While ISPs upstream may well be able to detect some of the most blatant, larger attacks, it’s the more subtle application-layer attacks that can only be properly managed at the customer premises.

5. I have more than enough bandwidth to survive an attack… Some of the coordinated attacks saturate hundreds of gigs in bandwidth. In fact, Arbor’s most recent Annual Worldwide Infrastructure Security Report confirmed sightings of attacks of an astonishing 800Gpbs in scale. That’s 60 percent bigger than the previous year’s largest reported attack – and in the future they’ll only get worse. It’s unlikely that anyone has enough bandwidth to cater for attacks like this!

6. I have DDoS protection in place, now I can forget about it… DDoS attacks are evolving at an alarming rate – growing in scale and sophistication. They’re moving in new directions, such as connected sensors and devices like cameras and DVRs that are being weaponised into devastating zombie armies of botnets to launch massive attacks.

7. The odds of being attacked are low – I’ll take the chance… In fact, the odds of DDoS attacks hurting your business are at an all-time high. The Worldwide Infrastructure Security Report revealed that more than half of service providers are now seeing upwards of 21 attacks per month (a 44 percent increase). Twenty-one percent of data centre respondents see more than 50 attacks per month (versus only eight percent last year). Finally, a surprising 45 percent of enterprise, government and education respondents experience more than 10 attacks per month (17 percent up on the previous year).

8. DDoS isn’t an advanced threat (which is where I should focus my resources)… Arbor research shows that more than a quarter of all DDoS attacks are actually used as a diversion tactic, or smokescreen, to cover up the exfiltration of confidential data. Today’s sophisticated attacker often uses a combination of techniques, and DDoS attacks often have a complicated interrelationship with other forms of advanced threats.

9. All DDoS protection tools are the same… There is a vast difference between vendors and between different solutions. Ensure you select a trusted provider with deep experience and resources dedicated to the field of DDoS security. Ensure you have a specialised market-leading DDoS protection, as a key component of your broader security estate.

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Legion gets a pro makeover

Lenovo’s latest Legion gaming laptop, the Y530, pulls out all the stops to deliver a sleek looking computer at a lower price point, writes BRYAN TURNER

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Gaming laptops have become synonymous with thick bodies, loud fans, and rainbow lights. Lenovo’s latest gaming laptop is here to change that.

The unit we reviewed housed an Intel Core i7-8750H, with an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 GPU. It featured dual storage, one bay fitted with a Samsung 256GB NVMe SSD and the other with a 1TB HDD.

The latest addition to the Legion lineup has become far more professional-looking, compared to the previous generation Y520. This trend is becoming more prevalent in the gaming laptop market and appeals to those who want to use a single device for work and play. Instead of sporting flashy colours, Lenovo has opted for an all-black computer body and a monochromatic, white light scheme. 

The laptop features an all-metal body with sharp edges and comes in at just under 24mm thick. Lenovo opted to make the Y530’s screen lid a little shorter than the bottom half of the laptop, which allowed for more goodies to be packed in the unit while still keeping it thin. The lid of the laptop features Legion branding that’s subtly engraved in the metal and aligned to the side. It also features a white light in the O of Legion that glows when the computer is in use.

The extra bit of the laptop body facilitates better cooling. Lenovo has upgraded its Legion fan system from the previous generation. For passive cooling, a type of cooling that relies on the body’s build instead of the fans, it handles regular office use without starting up the fans. A gaming laptop with good passive cooling is rare to find and Lenovo has shown that it can be achieved with a good build.

The internal fans start when gaming, as one would expect. They are about as loud as other gaming laptops, but this won’t be a problem for gamers who use headsets.

Click here to read about the screen quality, and how it performs in-game.

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Serious about security? Time to talk ISO 20000

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By EDWARD CARBUTT, executive director at Marval Africa

The looming Protection of Personal Information (PoPI) Act in South Africa and the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the European Union (EU) have brought information security to the fore for many organisations. This in addition to the ISO 27001 standard that needs to be adhered to in order to assist the protection of information has caused organisations to scramble and ensure their information security measures are in line with regulatory requirements.

However, few businesses know or realise that if they are already ISO 20000 certified and follow Information Technology Infrastructure Library’s (ITIL) best practices they are effectively positioning themselves with other regulatory standards such as ISO 27001. In doing so, organisations are able to decrease the effort and time taken to adhere to the policies of this security standard.

ISO 20000, ITSM and ITIL – Where does ISO 27001 fit in?

ISO 20000 is the international standard for IT service management (ITSM) and reflects a business’s ability to adhere to best practice guidelines contained within the ITIL frameworks. 

ISO 20000 is process-based, it tackles many of the same topics as ISO 27001, such as incident management, problem management, change control and risk management. It’s therefore clear that if security forms part of ITSM’s outcomes, it should already be taken care of… So, why aren’t more businesses looking towards ISO 20000 to assist them in becoming ISO 27001 compliant?

The link to information security compliance

Information security management is a process that runs across the ITIL service life cycle interacting with all other processes in the framework. It is one of the key aspects of the ‘warranty of the service’, managed within the Service Level Agreement (SLA). The focus is ensuring that the quality of services produces the desired business value.

So, how are these standards different?

Even though ISO 20000 and ISO 27001 have many similarities and elements in common, there are still many differences. Organisations should take cognisance that ISO 20000 considers risk as one of the building elements of ITSM, but the standard is still service-based. Conversely, ISO 27001 is completely risk management-based and has risk management at its foundation whereas ISO 20000 encompasses much more

Why ISO 20000?

Organisations should ask themselves how they will derive value from ISO 20000. In Short, the ISO 20000 certification gives ITIL ‘teeth’. ITIL is not prescriptive, it is difficult to maintain momentum without adequate governance controls, however – ISO 20000 is.  ITIL does not insist on continual service improvement – ISO 20000 does. In addition, ITIL does not insist on evidence to prove quality and progress – ISO 20000 does.  ITIL is not being demanded by business – governance controls, auditability & agility are. This certification verifies an organisation’s ability to deliver ITSM within ITIL standards.

Ensuring ISO 20000 compliance provides peace of mind and shortens the journey to achieving other certifications, such as ISO 27001 compliance.

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