#eWEEKchat Jan. 12: What's Up in Next-Gen Security

Join us Tuesday, Jan. 12 for our 94th monthly #eWEEKchat, because data security is everybody's concern. We can almost guarantee you'll learn something new that will enlighten you.

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On Tuesday, Jan. 12, at 11 a.m. PST/2 p.m. EST/7 p.m. GMT, @eWEEKNews will host its 94th monthly #eWEEKChat. The topic will be, "What's Up in Next-Gen Security." It will be moderated by Chris Preimesberger, eWEEK's editor of features and analysis.

Some quick facts:

Topic: "What's Up in Next-Gen Security"

Date/time: Tuesday, Jan. 12, 11 a.m. PST/2 p.m. EST/7 p.m. GMT

Tweetchat handle: You can use #eWEEKChat to follow/participate via Twitter itself, but it's easier and more efficient to use the real-time chat room link at CrowdChat. Instructions are on that page; log in at the top right, use your Twitter handle to register, and the chat begins promptly at 11am PT. The page will come alive at that time with the live discussion. You can join in or simply watch the discussion as it is created. Special thanks to John Furrier of SiliconAngle.com for developing the CrowdChat app.

Chat room real-time link: Use https://www.crowdchat.net/eweekchat. Sign in and use #eweekchat for the identifier.

Expert guests: Jedidiah Yueh, founder and Executive Chairman, Delphix; Bruce Kornfeld, Chief Marketing and Product Officer, StorMagic; Scott Howitt, CIO, McAfee.

What, in fact, are trends in next-gen security?

What are security teams doing to fortify their systems in the wake of last year’s FireEye and SolarWinds data breaches? 

It’s entirely possible that the U.S. government has undergone—and is still undergoing—the harshest, most potentially devastating cyber breach in the short history of digital information. 

Reuters broke the story in mid-December that foreign entities—the National Security Agency and FBI have identified them as the Russian hacking group APT29, also known as Dark Halo or Cozy Bear (logo pictured)—had infiltrated several federal IT systems, including the Pentagon, National Institutes of Health, Homeland Security and State Department. This has been confirmed by highly regarded security companies that include CrowdStrike, FireEye, Volexity and Microsoft, for starters.

This was not a cyberattack per se. The perpetrators didn’t smash into these super-important systems; they slid into them on the tails of normal software updates that hundreds of IT managers activated themselves. The targeted update was from SolarWinds, which is getting a lot of grief for these issues; however, the fact is that any one of hundreds of similar applications used by the government could have been used in the same manner. The hackers inserted malicious code into SolarWinds Orion software updates that were pushed out to nearly 18,000 customers. Now untold terabytes of stolen data could well be in the hands of U.S. enemies.

So what is the response going to be from SecOps pros, whether they use SolarWinds or some other software? Let’s discuss this on Tuesday.

Innovation in data security land

Yes, we know: It is impossible to have too many good ideas in the cybersecurity business. But we still need to keep them coming, because the bad actors keep putting distance between themselves and conventional platforms.

One major problem situation needing help: Is cybercrime-as-a-service poised to become an actual business trend? Don't be surprised to see it happen in 2021.

Security-breach news became so common in 2020 that readers' eyes often glazed over at the headlines. Ransomware and phishing, as in 2018-19, were out of control; state-run hackers were working around the clock and making money; passwords were leaked; sophisticated malware attacks kept spreading; data was breached and governments around the world once again worked around privacy rules—despite Year 2 of the General Data Protection Regulation, a set of international rules set by the European Union in May 2018.

An ongoing bad-guy trend involves cryptominers and crypto-related threats as a whole. In fact, cryptominers have taken the world by storm, becoming the leading attack vector used by threat actors in 2017 and continuing through 2020, overtaking even the ransomware wave. So far, cryptominers have greatly improved their capabilities as well as upgraded their targets array: servers, mobile devices, industrial systems and cloud infrastructure--no one is left behind.

To provide organizations with the best level of protection, security experts must be forever attuned to the ever-changing landscape and the latest threats and attack methods.

Well-established companies continue to play major roles in infosec innovation. RSA, Sophos, Symantec, Trend Micro, Fortinet, FireEye, Proofpoint, Check Point, Palo Alto Networks, AVG, Imperva, CyberArk and Webroot are among the largest security providers in the world. They got to that status because they have had substantial success previously.

Are behavioral biometrics still a key to new-gen security?

We've known for a long while that passwords, firewalls and private networks simply aren't sufficient for tight IT security anymore. It's all too easy for even a semi-sophisticated cyber-criminal to scan for passwords and find back doors into personal and business data that sooner or later amount to illicit money in a thief's bank account.

Thus, the race has been on to develop workable alternatives, with behavioral biometrics being one of the more promising ones. Behavioral biometrics is an additional layer of security that provides seamless, continuous user authentication. It works by collecting and evaluating a mix of behavior patterns, from the way we move our hand on a mobile device screen or with a mouse, to create advanced behavioral algorithms to establish a user's profile.

The next time that person uses the service, the technology will rate current interactions against his/her profile and provide a recommended action to allow, challenge or block access to the account. These patterns are continuously monitored and analyzed-- frictionlessly in the background--to provide continuous account protection.

What makes behavioral biometrics so intriguing is that it's virtually impossible to precisely imitate another person's behavior, unlike static biometrics (fingerprint, retina, etc.), which can be stolen and reused.

Questions we will ask

Anyway, those are merely a few of the topics we can discuss Tuesday. In this month's eWEEKchat, we'll be asking the following, among other questions:

  • What is your take on important security trends in this new year?
  • How will we be able to defend all the new attack surfaces we are now using in IoT, edge computing and mobile computing?
  • All of the following approaches are certainly viable for various data security use cases, but do you see any particular advantages for file, network, cloud, software-defined or container-based security coming in 2021?
  • What new security devices, software and services might we expect to see in 2021?
  • Will we ever be able to get a handle on keeping data secure? Will we ever be able to completely screen out the bad human elements?

Join us Tuesday, Jan. 12 at 11am Pacific / 2pm Eastern for this, the 94th monthly #eWEEKchat. Go here for CrowdChat information.

#eWEEKchat Tentative Schedule for 2021*

Jan. 12: What's Up in Next-Gen Data Security
Feb. 9: Why Data Orchestration Is Fast Replacing Batch Processing
March 9: New Trends & Services in Health-Care IT
April 13: Trends in Project Management & Collaboration Tools
May 11: Trends in Data Management
June 8: Trends in Data Storage, Protection and Privacy
July 13: Next-Gen Networking Products & Services
Aug. 10: DevSecOps: Open Source Security and Risk Assessment
Sept. 14: Confidential Computing and Next-Gen Security
Oct. 12: DataOps: The Data Management Platform of the Future?
Nov. 9: New Tech to Expect for 2022
Dec. 14: Predixions and Wild Guesses for IT in 2022

*all topics subject to change

Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor-in-Chief of eWEEK and responsible for all the publication's coverage. In his 15 years and more than 4,000 articles at eWEEK, he has distinguished himself in reporting...