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Contemplating Health Analogies in Cyber Security and Why We Need The Immune System for the Internet®

Contemplating Health Analogies in Cyber Security and Why We Need The Immune System for the Internet®

July 30, 2015 | Tammy Moskites

Over the past 30 years, we’ve seen many health analogies used across the entire cyber security industry. If you think about it, it does make a lot of sense: just as viruses make humans sick, they too can also make computers sick and as a result, networks are disrupted or even shut down. To combat the problem of viruses, companies like Symantec and McAfee developed anti-virus solutions and a whole new industry was born.

Today, computer viruses have evolved into sophisticated malware and advanced persistent threats (APTs) that antivirus and other signature-based technologies simply cannot detect.While new markets and perimeter-based security technologies have been developed to help detect APT-like threats—IDS/IPS, NGFWs, DLP and more—hackers have upped their game and now are using the foundation of the Internet and cybersecurity—cryptographic keys and digital certificates—to evade detection, spoof websites and carry out their attacks to steal sensitive data. And keys and certificates run on everything including IoT devices, mobile phones, clouds, even airplanes and cars, and we blindly trust them. Unfortunately, certificate misuse by hackers is at an all-time high and it’s only getting worse. As we use more certificates to encrypt communications and authentication entities, bad guys will only become more interested in using them.

At Venafi, we have been saying for months that Global 5000 organizations and federal governments need The Immune System for the Internet™ because online trust is severely broken.

Humans have evolved a highly effective immune system. It’s always turned on, working to authenticate what is “self” and trusted and what is not self and dangerous. Unfortunately the same cannot be said of the cyber realm—there’s no effective immune system to defend against a new generation of cyber attacks—until now.

Websites, servers, mobile devices, and software are marked as “self” and “trusted” using cryptographic keys and digital certificates. With a compromised, stolen, or forged key and certificate, attackers can impersonate, surveil, and monitor their targets’ websites, infrastructure, clouds, mobile devices, and system administrators, and decrypt communications thought to be private. There’s no system today that constantly assesses keys and certificates to determine if they should be trusted, and that adapts to changing threats.

Just like your immune system, The Immune System for the Internet provided by Venafi learns and adapts as it works. It identifies what keys and certificates are trusted and those that need to be replaced. It keeps keys and certificates secured to your policy and replaces them automatically. It scales keys and certificates up and down to meet demand. From stopping certificate-based outages to enabling SSL inspection, Venafi creates an ever-evolving, intelligent response, just like an immune system, that protects your network, your business, and your brand.

So while comparing and making health analogies about cyber security is not necessarily new, Venafi as The Immune System for the Internet is—because it allows us to rapidly detect what shouldn’t be trusted and respond quickly, which is exactly what our immune system does, and what we need to do to stay ahead of the cyber criminals. Venafi is The Immune System for the Internet that protects the foundation of all cybersecurity—keys and certificates—so they can’t be misused by bad guys. Let me know if you’d like to discuss details on how we can help.

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About the author

Tammy Moskites
Tammy Moskites

Tammy is Managing Director, Senior Security Executive at Accenture. She has 30 years of experience and is noted for her expertise leading IT security organizations. She was previously the CIO/CISO of Venafi Inc.

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