A recent report has revealed that large businesses that struggle to attract sufficiently skilled IT security experts end up paying up to three times more to recover from a cybersecurity incident.
This is one of the key findings of the recent report by Kaspersky Lab based on the 2016 Corporate IT Security Risks survey conducted by the company in cooperation with B2B International among more than 4000 business representatives from 25 countries, including South Africa. Besides the measurable budget impact, a significant share of businesses is observing a growth in wages, a general shortage in expert availability, and the need for more specialists in the field.
Citing complexity of IT infrastructure, compliance requirements and the overall desire to protect business assets, companies are highly motivated to grow their security intelligence. In fact, for a third of businesses, the improvement of specialist security expertise is one of the top three drivers for an additional investment in IT Security. The growing demand is not easy to fulfill due to a lack of available specialists and increasingly complex requirements. Kaspersky Lab employs hundreds of security professionals, and the company’s own recruitment managers’ report that on average, only one applicant out of forty, meets the strict criteria for an expert position.
But the challenge is not limited to technical know-how. The report quotes Kaspersky Lab’s security experts, who indicate that the need for security managers is even more substantial. On top of deep technical knowledge, managers’ duties include communication with top management and overseeing the overall strategy – qualities that are especially important, and in fact, more appropriate, for large companies. The report adds a final touch to the bigger picture of talent shortage with education challenges. Success in IT security requires a certain degree of passion for this particular IT field, willingness to constantly self-educate, and the ability to adapt to an ever-changing threat landscape. Higher education institutions recognise the need to revise their programmes, and at the same time acknowledge the challenge of embedding security-oriented thinking into a wide variety of IT courses.
Overall, 68.5% of companies expect an increase in the number of full-time security experts, with 18.9% expecting a significant increase in headcount. Higher education is an important part of fulfilling such a demand, but this is also a call for a change within the security industry itself. One of the solutions is to aid universities with relevant experience. Another, and very important in the long term, is to adapt R&D efforts towards the effective sharing of intelligence with corporate customers in the form of threat data feeds, security training and services. A proper combination of security solutions and intelligence is what helps corporate security teams to spend less time on regular cybersecurity incidents and focus on strategic security development and advanced threats.
Veniamin Levtsov, Vice President, Enterprise Business at Kaspersky Lab, comments: “In this evolving industry the relationship with our customers already goes beyond the shipment of a technology or a product. We need to provide them with the skills and training required to identify on-going attacks. Detailed knowledge about attacks on other businesses, in the form of intelligence reports, is also necessary, along with actionable, machine-readable data about on-going threats. Solving the different challenges of threat prevention, the detection of targeted attacks, incident response and prediction requires a lot of flexibility. As a security vendor we are dedicated to increasing the quality and size of the expert security workforce around the world. Among many projects to support this initiative we are developing IT Security Fundamentals – an educational course that will hopefully help more IT professionals to start their journey in the field of security expertise”.
The full report titled “Lack of security talent: an unexpected threat to corporate cybersafety” is available at Kaspersky Lab’s website here.
Money talks and electronic gaming evolves
Computer gaming has evolved dramatically in the last two years, as it follows the money, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK in the second of a two-part series.
The clue that gaming has become big business in South Africa was delivered by a non-gaming brand. When Comic Con, an American popular culture convention that has become a mecca for comics enthusiasts, was hosted in South Arica for the first time last month, it used gaming as the major drawcard. More than 45 000 people attended.
The event and its attendance was expected to be a major dampener for the annual rAge gaming expo, which took place just weeks later. Instead, rAge saw only a marginal fall in visitor numbers. No less than 34 000 people descended on the Ticketpro Dome for the chaos of cosplay, LAN gaming, virtual reality, board gaming and new video games.
It proved not only that there was room for more than one major gaming event, but also that a massive market exists for the sector in South Africa. And with a large market, one also found numerous gaming niches that either emerged afresh or will keep going over the years. One of these, LAN (for Local Area Network) gaming, which sees hordes of players camping out at the venue for three days to play each other on elaborate computer rigs, was back as strong as ever at rAge.
MWeb provided an 8Gbps line to the expo, to connect all these gamers, and recorded 120TB in downloads and 15Tb in uploads – a total that would have used up the entire country’s bandwidth a few years ago.
“LANs are supposed to be a thing of the past, yet we buck the trend each year,” says Michael James, senior project manager and owner of rAge. “It is more of a spectacle than a simple LAN, so I can understand.”
New phenomena, often associated with the flavour of the moment, also emerge every year.
“Fortnite is a good example this year of how we evolve,” says James. “It’s a crazy huge phenomenon and nobody was servicing the demand from a tournament point of view. So rAge and Xbox created a casual LAN tournament that anyone could enter and win a prize. I think the top 10 people got something each round.”
Read on to see how esports is starting to make an impact in gaming.
Blockchain is generally associated with Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, but these are just the tip of the iceberg, says ESET Southern Africa.
This technology was originally conceived in 1991, when Stuart Haber and W. Scott Stornetta described their first work on a chain of cryptographically secured blocks, but only gained notoriety in 2008, when it became popular with the arrival of Bitcoin. It is currently gaining demand in other commercial applications and its annual growth is expected to reach 51% by 2022 in numerous markets, such as those of financial institutions and the Internet of Things (IoT), according to MarketWatch.
What is blockchain?
A blockchain is a unique, consensual record that is distributed over multiple network nodes. In the case of cryptocurrencies, think of it as the accounting ledger where each transaction is recorded.
A blockchain transaction is complex and can be difficult to understand if you delve into the inner details of how it works, but the basic idea is simple to follow.
Each block stores:
– A number of valid records or transactions.
– Information referring to that block.
– A link to the previous block and next block through the hash of each block—a unique code that can be thought of as the block’s fingerprint.
Accordingly, each block has a specific and immovable place within the chain, since each block contains information from the hash of the previous block. The entire chain is stored in each network node that makes up the blockchain, so an exact copy of the chain is stored in all network participants.
As new records are created, they are first verified and validated by the network nodes and then added to a new block that is linked to the chain.
How is blockchain so secure?
Being a distributed technology in which each network node stores an exact copy of the chain, the availability of the information is guaranteed at all times. So if an attacker wanted to cause a denial-of-service attack, they would have to annul all network nodes since it only takes one node to be operative for the information to be available.
Besides that, since each record is consensual, and all nodes contain the same information, it is almost impossible to alter it, ensuring its integrity. If an attacker wanted to modify the information in a blockchain, they would have to modify the entire chain in at least 51% of the nodes.
In blockchain, data is distributed across all network nodes. With no central node, all participate equally, storing, and validating all information. It is a very powerful tool for transmitting and storing information in a reliable way; a decentralised model in which the information belongs to us, since we do not need a company to provide the service.
What else can blockchain be used for?
Essentially, blockchain can be used to store any type of information that must be kept intact and remain available in a secure, decentralised and cheaper way than through intermediaries. Moreover, since the information stored is encrypted, its confidentiality can be guaranteed, as only those who have the encryption key can access it.
Use of blockchain in healthcare
Health records could be consolidated and stored in blockchain, for instance. This would mean that the medical history of each patient would be safe and, at the same time, available to each doctor authorised, regardless of the health centre where the patient was treated. Even the pharmaceutical industry could use this technology to verify medicines and prevent counterfeiting.
Use of blockchain for documents
Blockchain would also be very useful for managing digital assets and documentation. Up to now, the problem with digital is that everything is easy to copy, but Blockchain allows you to record purchases, deeds, documents, or any other type of online asset without them being falsified.
Other blockchain uses
This technology could also revolutionise the Internet of Things (IoT) market where the challenge lies in the millions of devices connected to the internet that must be managed by the supplier companies. In a few years’ time, the centralised model won’t be able to support so many devices, not to mention the fact that many of these are not secure enough. With blockchain, devices can communicate through the network directly, safely, and reliably with no need for intermediaries.
Blockchain allows you to verify, validate, track, and store all types of information, from digital certificates, democratic voting systems, logistics and messaging services, to intelligent contracts and, of course, money and financial transactions.
Without doubt, blockchain has turned the immutable and decentralized layer the internet has always dreamed about into a reality. This technology takes reliance out of the equation and replaces it with mathematical fact.