Welcome!

SDN Journal Authors: Stefan Bernbo, Michel Courtoy, Amitabh Sinha, Mike Wood, Liz McMillan

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Java IoT, Microservices Expo, Linux Containers, Cloud Security, SDN Journal

@CloudExpo: Article

Maybe the Cloud Can Help Secure the Internet

Ironically, the majority of cyber security problems do not go away once they are discovered or disclosed

As recent events have confirmed once again, no single company, organization or government is up to the task of securing the Internet. The never-ending cat and mouse game of exploits chasing vulnerabilities continues. The stunning Heartbleed discovery has shaken the online security establishment to the core. Claims of security and privacy for many Web servers were patently false.

We all know a chain is only as strong as its weakest link and the unintended back door information leak that is Heartbleed has undoubtedly allowed countless secrets to escape from secure servers, albeit as random pieces of a puzzle to be reassembled by the hacker. It will undoubtedly go down in history as the most widespread compromise of online services since the advent of the Web. Why? Because we now conduct an unprecedented number of so-called "secure" communications over SSL in every facet of commerce, government and the social web.

Ironically, the majority of cyber security problems do not go away once they are discovered or disclosed. Even when corrective fixes or software updates are widely available, the original vulnerabilities live on, continuing to exist in countless systems accessible via the Internet. The risk from Heartbleed is probably increasing as the rise in the number of malicious exploits is likely to be outpacing the speed with which vulnerable resources are being protected or updated.

Another equally dramatic trend is the escalating malicious use of standard Internet services such as DNS (Domain Name System) and NTP (Network Time Protocol) as unwilling attack drones for third-party Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks. In reflection or amplification DDoS attack scenarios, the legitimate infrastructure of the Internet is tricked into attacking innocent victims. These specific services are just two common examples of Internet services with vulnerable populations of millions of publicly accessible servers that can be easily co-opted as "bots-on-demand" without any security compromise needing to have taken place in advance of the attack. These innocent servers are just sitting out there, waiting to be called into action to attack at a moments notice.

"Heartbleed" and "Amplification DDoS" attacks are just two headline examples of the serious cyber-security problems presented by an unsecured Internet. Malicious traffic carrying these threats flows freely over most service provider networks. Similarly, the cloud is generally agnostic to the intent of the traffic it delivers or serves. Many hosting providers unknowingly accommodate customers who do not practice safe Internetworking, making their public cloud offerings a platform for vulnerable services. Even more worrying is that most customers end up paying their provider for the bandwidth that delivers potentially dangerous Internet content.

What can the service provider industry do to combat these alarming trends? Ideally, we need to flip the commercial equation away from payment for raw (unsecured) Internet traffic and toward subscription services for protected (secured) Internet access. The technology exists today to squash Heartbleed as it transits the service provider network. Likewise, security devices can detect and block DNS and NTP amplification attacks in the network before they coalesce into a perfect storm of unsolicited responses - before raining down on the victim subnet, causing collateral damage to communications for other customers as they become caught up in the network traffic jam that is typical of volumetric DDoS attacks.

The cloud service provider is in a unique position to dramatically improve Internet security. Cloud customers are showing increasing interest in purchasing premium secured Internet access services, free from the malicious threats such as Heartbleed, Amplification DDoS and more. The commercial benefits are becoming even more clear with each successive breach, compromise or attack that impacts unprotected customers, compromises security or damages a brand.

For customers who willingly choose a protected cloud service, the issue of net neutrality is moot. They are explicitly deciding to purchase a network security service that is supposed to remove unwanted traffic. The network security technology is available now that can apply threat detection and mitigation policies on a per-customer basis. The decision to pay for the removal of DDoS attacks and cyber threats does not need to impact the net-neutrality perspective of other cloud customers.

An additional beneficial side effect of secured cloud offerings is the virtual patching of vulnerable Internet Services, such as open DNS resolvers and "monlist" supporting NTP servers. Even if a hosted customer unintentionally deploys a vulnerable service, it is practical to offer them paid protection to prevent those services being leveraged by malicious third parties such as those who are planning to launch DDoS attacks on third parties by leveraging vulnerable cloud resources.

In conclusion, it is clear that technically the cloud can play a significant role in securing the Internet against DDoS attacks and cyber threats. Equally important is the presence of an economic engine for such change driven by customer demand for premium secured cloud services.

More Stories By Ashley Stephenson

Ashley Stephenson is Chief Executive Officer of Corero Network Security. As CEO he leads Corero’s global expansion strategy. A seasoned executive with a proven track record in the technology industry, he brings a notable record, having co-founded or led several technology companies as Chairman or CEO.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@CloudExpo Stories
Enterprise architects are increasingly adopting multi-cloud strategies as they seek to utilize existing data center assets, leverage the advantages of cloud computing and avoid cloud vendor lock-in. This requires a globally aware traffic management strategy that can monitor infrastructure health across data centers and end-user experience globally, while responding to control changes and system specification at the speed of today’s DevOps teams. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Josh Gray, Chie...
"We're a cybersecurity firm that specializes in engineering security solutions both at the software and hardware level. Security cannot be an after-the-fact afterthought, which is what it's become," stated Richard Blech, Chief Executive Officer at Secure Channels, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Mike Johnston, an infrastructure engineer at Supergiant.io, discussed how to use Kubernetes to set up a SaaS infrastructure for your business. Mike Johnston is an infrastructure engineer at Supergiant.io with over 12 years of experience designing, deploying, and maintaining server and workstation infrastructure at all scales. He has experience with brick and mortar data centers as well as cloud providers like Digital Ocean, Amazon Web Services, and Rackspace. H...
You know you need the cloud, but you’re hesitant to simply dump everything at Amazon since you know that not all workloads are suitable for cloud. You know that you want the kind of ease of use and scalability that you get with public cloud, but your applications are architected in a way that makes the public cloud a non-starter. You’re looking at private cloud solutions based on hyperconverged infrastructure, but you’re concerned with the limits inherent in those technologies.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Massive Networks will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Massive Networks mission is simple. To help your business operate seamlessly with fast, reliable, and secure internet and network solutions. Improve your customer's experience with outstanding connections to your cloud.
DevOps is under attack because developers don’t want to mess with infrastructure. They will happily own their code into production, but want to use platforms instead of raw automation. That’s changing the landscape that we understand as DevOps with both architecture concepts (CloudNative) and process redefinition (SRE). Rob Hirschfeld’s recent work in Kubernetes operations has led to the conclusion that containers and related platforms have changed the way we should be thinking about DevOps and...
SYS-CON Events announced today that SkyScale will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. SkyScale is a world-class provider of cloud-based, ultra-fast multi-GPU hardware platforms for lease to customers desiring the fastest performance available as a service anywhere in the world. SkyScale builds, configures, and manages dedicated systems strategically located in maximum-security...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Grape Up will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct. 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Grape Up is a software company specializing in cloud native application development and professional services related to Cloud Foundry PaaS. With five expert teams that operate in various sectors of the market across the U.S. and Europe, Grape Up works with a variety of customers from emergi...
Everything run by electricity will eventually be connected to the Internet. Get ahead of the Internet of Things revolution and join Akvelon expert and IoT industry leader, Sergey Grebnov, in his session at @ThingsExpo, for an educational dive into the world of managing your home, workplace and all the devices they contain with the power of machine-based AI and intelligent Bot services for a completely streamlined experience.
Because IoT devices are deployed in mission-critical environments more than ever before, it’s increasingly imperative they be truly smart. IoT sensors simply stockpiling data isn’t useful. IoT must be artificially and naturally intelligent in order to provide more value In his session at @ThingsExpo, John Crupi, Vice President and Engineering System Architect at Greenwave Systems, will discuss how IoT artificial intelligence (AI) can be carried out via edge analytics and machine learning techn...
With tough new regulations coming to Europe on data privacy in May 2018, Calligo will explain why in reality the effect is global and transforms how you consider critical data. EU GDPR fundamentally rewrites the rules for cloud, Big Data and IoT. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Adam Ryan, Vice President and General Manager EMEA at Calligo, will examine the regulations and provide insight on how it affects technology, challenges the established rules and will usher in new levels of diligence a...
FinTechs use the cloud to operate at the speed and scale of digital financial activity, but are often hindered by the complexity of managing security and compliance in the cloud. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Sesh Murthy, co-founder and CTO of Cloud Raxak, showed how proactive and automated cloud security enables FinTechs to leverage the cloud to achieve their business goals. Through business-driven cloud security, FinTechs can speed time-to-market, diminish risk and costs, maintain continu...
When shopping for a new data processing platform for IoT solutions, many development teams want to be able to test-drive options before making a choice. Yet when evaluating an IoT solution, it’s simply not feasible to do so at scale with physical devices. Building a sensor simulator is the next best choice; however, generating a realistic simulation at very high TPS with ease of configurability is a formidable challenge. When dealing with multiple application or transport protocols, you would be...
An increasing number of companies are creating products that combine data with analytical capabilities. Running interactive queries on Big Data requires complex architectures to store and query data effectively, typically involving data streams, an choosing efficient file format/database and multiple independent systems that are tied together through custom-engineered pipelines. In his session at @BigDataExpo at @ThingsExpo, Tomer Levi, a senior software engineer at Intel’s Advanced Analytics ...
Existing Big Data solutions are mainly focused on the discovery and analysis of data. The solutions are scalable and highly available but tedious when swapping in and swapping out occurs in disarray and thrashing takes place. The resolution for thrashing through machine learning algorithms and support nomenclature is through simple techniques. Organizations that have been collecting large customer data are increasingly seeing the need to use the data for swapping in and out and thrashing occurs ...
As many know, the first generation of Cloud Management Platform (CMP) solutions were designed for managing virtual infrastructure (IaaS) and traditional applications. But that’s no longer enough to satisfy evolving and complex business requirements. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Scott Davis, Embotics CTO, will explore how next-generation CMPs ensure organizations can manage cloud-native and microservice-based application architectures, while also facilitating agile DevOps methodology. He wi...
Historically, some banking activities such as trading have been relying heavily on analytics and cutting edge algorithmic tools. The coming of age of powerful data analytics solutions combined with the development of intelligent algorithms have created new opportunities for financial institutions. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Sebastien Meunier, Head of Digital for North America at Chappuis Halder & Co., discussed how these tools can be leveraged to develop a lasting competitive advantage ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Dasher Technologies will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Dasher Technologies, Inc. ® is a premier IT solution provider that delivers expert technical resources along with trusted account executives to architect and deliver complete IT solutions and services to help our clients execute their goals, plans and objectives. Since 1999, we'v...
There is only one world-class Cloud event on earth, and that is Cloud Expo – which returns to Silicon Valley for the 21st Cloud Expo at the Santa Clara Convention Center, October 31 - November 2, 2017. Every Global 2000 enterprise in the world is now integrating cloud computing in some form into its IT development and operations. Midsize and small businesses are also migrating to the cloud in increasing numbers. Companies are each developing their unique mix of cloud technologies and service...
For financial firms, the cloud is going to increasingly become a crucial part of dealing with customers over the next five years and beyond, particularly with the growing use and acceptance of virtual currencies. There are new data storage paradigms on the horizon that will deliver secure solutions for storing and moving sensitive financial data around the world without touching terrestrial networks. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Cliff Beek, President of Cloud Constellation Corporation, d...