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Make the vulnerable visible

Dealing with encrypted traffic can be complex, costly, and disruptive. The problem escalates immeasurably if you are operating blind to cyber threats, which is basically what businesses are doing without a comprehensive SSL/TLS strategy in place, writes SIMON MCCOLLOUGH, Major Channel Account Manager, F5 Networks.

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Regrettably, too many still misplace their trust in inadequate security solutions, often leaving IT departments with an unenviable choice: let the traffic go uninspected or suffer extreme application performance losses.

In the new age of digital consent and compliance, can you afford to expose vulnerable data to high risk due to operational myopia, which will damage your brand reputation and lose customer trust?

Bypassing traditional security

Encrypting data-in-transit with SSL/TLS is already standard practice. Important security initiatives, such as built-in web browser warnings and the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), have significantly improved privacy awareness and helped mitigate data breach magnitudes.

While this is all good news, cybercriminals will always find a way to hide threats within encrypted payloads or use encrypted channels to propagate malware and exfiltrate data. Traditional security inspection solutions are becoming an increasingly easy challenge to overcome.

Ostensibly, gaining full visibility into encrypted traffic is never easy. Most organisations typically lack a central control to implement decryption policies across the multiple security inspection devices commonly found in the security chain. Consequently, security teams resort to daisy-chaining devices or tedious manual configurations to support inspection activities, increasing latency, complexity, and risk. All too often, the provisioning of network and security services, such as firewalls and security gateways, can turn into a time-intensive and error-prone process if SSL inspections are in the mix.

At the same time, eavesdropping and man-in-the-middle hijacks will continue to rise due to superannuated transport layer encryption standards still being in use, even though they have been officially retired as “broken”.

Many are also struggling to get the most out of the technology or understand how to best deploy it. Recent research from F5 Labs reveals that while 63% of surveyed business respondents use SSL/TLS encryption for their web applications, only 46% use it for the majority of their applications.

Furthermore, 47% of organisations said they use self-signed certificates, which reduces application trustworthiness. This is unacceptable. Security teams need to ensure all applications are running suitable levels of encryption and have adequate third-party signed certificates in place.

There is far too much confusion and bad practice out there. It’s high time businesses get their heads around growing SSL/TLS complexities, not to mention the associated impacts on data breaches, compliance, and privacy.

Improving your cryptographic posture

Fortunately, it is not all opaque doom and gloom. With the right encryption orchestrator solution, it is now possible to dramatically reduce the risk of encrypted attacks through dynamic service-chaining, which enables automatic insertion of physical or virtual security service appliances.

It is important to note that the best tools always balance app performance and risk mitigation, giving security teams all-encompassing visibility into encrypted traffic. This allows them to effectively manage and quickly respond to previously invisible threats. In addition, improved threat detection and attack remediation capabilities can improve overall operational efficiency across your entire application security infrastructure. As a rule of thumb, your SSL/TLS strategy should be able to:

·        Defend against encrypted threats by scaling SSL across multiple security devices blind to encrypted traffic

·        Prevent data loss and ensure compliance by gaining visibility into all data connection points (inbound and outbound traffic)

·        Have a single point of control across multiple security tools for greater efficiencies

·        Prevent attacks by reducing risks of selective blind spots

·        Reduce latency with high-performance decryption and encryption of inbound and outbound SSL/TLS traffic

·        Leverage policy-based service chaining to drive greater efficiencies within your security stack

·        Load balance between devices to minimise bottlenecks

·        Reduce the administrative burden with centralised key management, saving considerable time and money by offloading SSL instead of terminating on the device itself

Securing tomorrow

The ultimate goal is to simplify the SSL/TLS management process, keeping data secure and gaining full visibility into encrypted traffic without compromising application speed or availability.

To do this, businesses need the ability to properly scan inbound and outbound traffic. Crucially, they have to vividly visualise and analyse the nature of today’s attacks vectors in order to secure their applications, which are by far the most valuable, data-laden assets at stake. Remember, there’s nowhere to hide when it comes to the cybercriminals’ encryption corruption. Now is the time to future-proof yourself against tomorrow’s threats.

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YouTube Music announces Smart Downloads, SA playlists

The service has introduced Smart Downloads which takes allowing users to store and play hundreds of tunes offline, automatically.

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The latest updates from YouTube Music, for subscribers of its Music Premium and Premium services, include a new feature that allows users to switch seamlessly between a song and its music video for an uninterrupted experience.

It has also introduced Smart Downloads which takes the work out of downloading music, allowing users to store and play hundreds of tunes offline, automatically. YouTube Music has also announced new playlists for South Africa. 

The updates all reflect features that are popular on the global leader in music streaming, Spotify, and that have been key to its growth.

YouTube said in a statement on Friday: “Imagine listening to a new track by your favourite artist in the YouTube Music app and having the ability to seamlessly switch over to watch the music video – no pauses, no interruptions, just a simple tap that keeps the music flowing. This standout new feature from YouTube Music allows YouTube Premium and YouTube Music Premium subscribers to make a seamless transition between a song and its music video for uninterrupted listening and/or watching. Whether you’re in the mood for listening or watching (or a little of both)… it’s all here – no app switching required.”

With Smart Downloads, YouTube Music automatically saves music at night, when connected to Wi-Fi, helping subscribers to use less mobile data, enjoy a smoother updating experience and save up to 500 songs offline using Liked Songs playlist as well as other playlists and albums. 


Previously, music lovers could use the Offline Mixtape feature to download up to 100 songs, specifically chosen for them based on what they listened to most on the platform. Now, with Smart Downloads, they select the number of songs they would like automatically downloaded by toggling their YouTube Music Settings. This means YouTube Music Premium subscribers with Smart Downloads enabled on their mobile devices can now access hundreds of tracks regardless of connectivity. 

This feature is currently available on Android, with plans to bring it to iOS in the future.

Click here to read more about YouTube Music playlists, and find out what is inside them.

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Make cars, not waste

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Jaguar Land Rover is trialling an innovative recycling process which converts plastic waste into a new premium grade material that could feature on future vehicles. 

It’s estimated that the amount of waste plastic is predicted to exceed 12 million tonnes globally by 2050*. Today, not all of this plastic can be recycled for use in automotive applications – especially in vehicle parts that are required to meet the most exacting safety and quality standards.

Working in conjunction with chemical company, BASF, Jaguar Land Rover is part of a pilot project called ChemCycling that upcycles domestic waste plastic, otherwise destined for landfill or incinerators, into a new high-quality material. 

The waste plastic is transformed to pyrolysis oil using a thermochemical process. This secondary raw material is then fed into BASF’s production chain as a replacement for fossil resources; ultimately producing a new premium grade that replicates the high quality and performance of ‘virgin’ plastics. Importantly, it can be tempered and coloured making it the ideal sustainable solution for designing the next-generation dashboards and exterior-surfaces in Jaguar and Land Rover models.

Jaguar Land Rover and BASF are currently testing the pilot phase material in a Jaguar I-PACE prototype front-end carrier overmoulding to verify it meets the same stringent safety requirements of the existing original part.

Pending the outcome of the trials and progression in taking chemical recycling to market readiness, adoption of the new premium material would mean Jaguar Land Rover could use domestically derived recycled plastic content throughout its cars without any compromise to quality or safety performance**. 

Chris Brown, Senior Sustainability Manager at Jaguar Land Rover, said: “Plastics are vital to car manufacturing and have proven benefits during their use phase, however, plastic waste remains a major global challenge. Solving this issue requires innovation and joined-up thinking between regulators, manufacturers and suppliers.

“At Jaguar Land Rover, we are proactively increasing recycled content in our products, removing single-use plastics across our operations and reducing excess waste across the product lifecycle. The collaboration with BASF is just one way in which we are advancing our commitment to operating in a circular economy.”

This is the latest example of Jaguar Land Rover’s commitment to addressing the challenge of waste plastic. The company has collaborated with Kvadrat to offer customers alternative seat options that are both luxurious and sustainable. The high-quality material, available initially on the Range Rover Velar and Range Rover Evoque, combines a durable wool blend with a technical suedecloth that is made from 53 recycled plastic bottles per vehicle. 

Jaguar Land Rover has already met its 2020 target for Zero Waste to Landfill for UK operations. This includes the removal of 1.3 million m2 – equal to 187 football pitches – of plastic from its manufacturing lineside and replacing 14 million single use plastic items in business operations. 

Together, these efforts are driving towards Jaguar Land Rover’s vision for Destination Zero; an ambition to make societies safer and healthier, and the environment cleaner. Delivered through relentless innovation to adapt its products and services to the rapidly-changing world, the company’s focus is on achieving a future of zero emissions, zero accidents and zero congestion.

Editor’s notes:

https://advances.sciencemag.org/content/3/7/e1700782.full

** All Jaguar and Land Rover vehicles tested have achieved a Euro NCAP 5* rating.

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