Design, deliver, and run enterprise blockchain workloads quickly and easily.
All servers and systems
The hacker/geek-culture antihero drama "Mr. Robot" is adored by the technology community for its realistic portrayal of the mechanics of cyberattacks. It's the one show that doesn't make IT experts roll their eyes. Rather, it has the reverse problem: Outsiders don't think it could happen. (Note: Season 3 coming this October)
"To people who don't understand security, a lot of it seems far-fetched," says Kerry Matre, former senior manager, security portfolio marketing at Hewlett Packard Enterprise, and editor of its annual "State of Security Operations" report. "Insiders know that the little things, like turning on the camera of someone's laptop or infecting a whole company from one CD picked up on the street, are fairly easy. Even breaking into a company's HVAC system seems implausible, but all those little, individual attacks have happened."
In an example, Elliot Alderson, the main character in "Mr. Robot," attacked a major data storage facility by compromising the HVAC system, physically attaching a microcomputer to the thermostats. The scripted attack was nowhere near as bleeding edge as an attack in 2010 on the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. That intrusion turned out to be so thoroughly compromising that even after apparent remediation, a thermostat was among the devices discovered to still be communicating with servers in China.
The enterprise guide to digital disruption
While experts love the verisimilitude of "Mr. Robot," if anything, the show underplays the potential reach of hackers. But if there's one thing InfoSec insiders should question, Matre says, it's their own scarcity on the series. "What they don't show is the security experts looking for those attacks who are ready to disrupt them," Matre says. We asked her what IT security experts are doing—or should be doing—to thwart Mr. Robot-scale attackers.
Organizations must take precautions against the kind of attacks portrayed on the show. Matre recommends these key measures for minimizing the potential for trouble and maximizing the chance of disrupting it:
No enterprise can apply maximum possible protections to every corner of its business. "You'd go broke," Matre says. "Instead, you've got to prioritize."
Top priority is an inward approach centering on the data and systems that are core to the business's survival. But while a retailer, for instance, would put more value on its e-commerce systems, a criminal might care more about the HR database. Thinking from an outward-in perspective, credit card data is not nearly as valuable these days as the personal information that can fuel healthcare fraud. "Thinking like a bad guy" thus might call for a different security stance, especially once a company has squared away the business-critical basics.
"We're starting to see the most mature organizations take both approaches," Matre says. And no wonder. There are a lot of "bad guys" out there.
This article/content was written by the individual writer identified and does not necessarily reflect the view of Hewlett Packard Enterprise Company.