#eWEEKchat July 11: New Trends in New-Gen Security

Yes, indeed, we're talking enterprise security once again. There's never a dull moment in this sector; Check Point will release its mid-year 2018 report July 12, and it will discuss cryptominers and crypto-related threats (among others). Join us for the July 11 #eWEEKchat.


On Wednesday, July 11, at 11 a.m. PST/2 p.m. EST/7 p.m. GMT, @eWEEKNews will host its 69th monthly #eWEEKChat. The topic will be, "New Trends in New-Gen Security." It will be moderated by Chris Preimesberger, eWEEK's editor of features and analysis.

Some quick facts:

Topic: #eWEEKchat July 11: "New Trends in New-Gen Security"

Date/time: Wednesday, July 11, 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 real-time chat room link at CrowdChat.

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

What, in Fact, Are the New Trends in New-Gen Security?

Yes, we know. Only last month our topic was “What’s Next for Cybersecurity?” And, as we said last time (June 13), it is impossible to have too many good ideas in the cybersecurity business. In fact, while it was an excellent discussion led by Sophos and yours truly, there's still so much stuff happening that I thought we should revisit this, so we’re returning to continue the conversation.

Check Point, which comes out July 12 with its midyear 2018 Cyberattack Report (you can read about it here in eWEEK on Thursday), said that the biggest ongoing bad-guy trends involve 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 this year, overtaking even ransomware. 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.

The first half of 2018 has also featured some new and interesting trends, Check Point said. The cloud infrastructure has become one of the most attractive targets for threat actors; as the vast amount of sensitive data along with the available computing resources reside on the cloud environment, have easily captivated the attackers’ attention. Tesla’s cloud servers infected with Monero miner earlier this year and a massive leak of sensitive data of FedEx customers are just two examples of what 2018 has brought to us.

To provide organizations with the best level of protection, security experts must be attuned to the ever-changing landscape and the latest threats and attack methods. The Check Point Global Threat Intelligence Trends report provides a complete overview of the malware landscape in the top categories of cryptominers, ransomware, banking and mobile threats, based on threat intelligence data drawn from the ThreatCloud World Cyber Threat Map between January and June 2018.

RSA Again a Showplace for Security Innovation

A good deal of innovation was exhibited at the most recent RSA 2018 conference in San Francisco. Security experts and practitioners from all over the globe were witness to some new ideas and services that either are already in the market or are soon to become available.

Perhaps the most important trend emphasized at the conference was that of automating manual labor with orchestration technologies; this was on display at the recent RSA Security Innovation Sandbox. Threat detection inside the cloud and for the internet of things (IoT) was another.

The third major trend involves the many efforts to gain visibility into closed-off environments such as IoT devices and a variety of cloud environments.  

In case you missed this part last month, here are some examples of new-gen infosec that was presented by emerging companies at RSA 2018:

Detecting Threats on the Network vs. Installing on Endpoints

  • Instead of forcing their way onto traditional endpoints, which are already full of installed third-party agents, these startups tap into the network. The first startup, Awake, records network traffic to collect threat intelligence and focus on what’s important. Awake founder and CEO Michael Callahan sounded the alarm that attackers are now hacking with legitimate software such as Twitter for Command and Control and Team Viewer for Remote Access. Awake enables forensic queries into its data to detect patterns of suspicious behavior hiding within the norm.
  • Acalvio falls under the category of deception technologies. These technologies set the bait to lure hackers to hit deployed sensors. When their threat detection goes off, these type of deception technologies exhibit few false positives. One judge pushed back that deception is already a crowded field. CEO and founder Ram Varadarajan retorted that their proprietary sensors differentiate Acalvio. These sensors appear as digital mirages of easily managed virtual machines.
  • BluVector also does detection and response using network traffic. Unlike the others, BlueVector provides visibility into the endpoints using an agentless technology. A judge hinted that they believed Blue Vector did too much. CEO Kris Lovejoy noted that the company's self adapting technologies emerged from 10-year-old Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) research, and that other engines were licensed from third parties. BlueVector’s probability engine not only provides users a Hunt Score but also integrates with existing threat hunting tools and infrastructure.   

Visibility into the Cloud to Detect and Respond

So much of enterprise computing is in the cloud. Gaining visibility into these environments for threat detection presents a challenge. The cloud often employs heterogeneous architectures, is encrypted, or is only visible as a black box one can see through the APIs of web giants such as Google or Amazon.

  • ShieldX's detection and response targets multi-cloud architectures. It is able discover and group cloud assets without installing agents. Founder and CEO Dr. Ratinder Paul Singh Ahuja described the company’s Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) of network traffic. ShieldX wields technology to prevent “east-west lateral movement” of hackers across assets. 
  • StackRox CTO and Co-Founder Ali Golshan promotes technology that provides visibility at the app level. It sees into both cloud containers and native environments. StackRox employs scans for vulnerabilities and misconfigurations and then orchestrates enforcement and configuration.

New Take on the Internet of Things (IoT) Security

  • IoT device manufacturers develop firmware in proprietary and minimalist environments. It's often quite difficult to deploy third-party security software inside these devices. For this reason, Refirm Labs bypasses the need to run inside IoT, and it requires zero access to a manufacturer's proprietary source code. Instead Refirm Labs scans the manufacturer's firmware image before it deploys it into hardware. Its technologies detect new “zero day” vulnerabilities, encryption keys and visible passwords.

Hackers Target People and Data, Security Should Start Here

  • Malware and vulnerabilities used to dominate the security narrative. Now we're seeing a shift toward data-centric and people-centric security. CyberGRX CEO Fred Kneip said that 56 percent of reported breaches involve a third party. CyberGRX employs a rules engine to identify, prioritize and mitigate risk from third party vendors.  
  • Hysolate introduced something called virtual air gapping by using multiple VMs with seamless connectivity and user experience--all on a single endpoint. Users can operate carefree in their internet VM. As CEO and co-founder Tal Zamir explained, "in the Internet VM, you can do whatever you want. It has full internet access and local admin rights.” When operating on sensitive tasks, users work in Hysolate's Sensitive VM. It’s locked down and limits connections to only within circles of privileged assets. 

There Can Be Only One 

  • Runner-up Fortanix is a secure key and crytpographic service delivering runtime encryption. Fortanix CEO Ambuj Kmar explained that its technology protects data in use, even when the infrastructure has been compromised. Memory is a free for all, with hackers and forensic tools often scraping out passwords and private data. With Fortanix's runtime encryption, even data held in memory remains private.
  • This year's winner and No. 1 innovator was BigID. Privacy matters enough to make billionaires blush; just ask Mark Zuckerberg. It's not surprising the winner's slogan said: “Our big idea is that privacy matters.”

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 are among the largest 10 security providers in the world. They got to that status because they have had substantial success previously.

UK-based Sophos, for one, came out recently with something it calls Phish Threat. Phish Threat benefits from the Sophos Central platform, which is an effort to provide a consolidated view of security devices and controls across an organization.  The core promise of the platform is that by testing users, lessons will be learned and behavior can improve over time.

The company has said that it doesn't expect that the click rate on phishing emails will ever go down to zero. That said, Sophos has seen positive results in the last year from the use of Phish Threat in reducing phishing rates among customers.

Join us Wednesday, July 11 at 11am Pacific / 2pm Eastern for this, the 69th monthly #eWEEKchat. Go here for CrowdChat information.

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...