As the world becomes more and more connected due to the internet; as entire industries shift their processes to online networks; and as our lives become more and more intertwined with cyberspace; the more we have to face the reality that someday – heck, maybe even right now – some unconcerned third party will have access to our personal information and the world’s most important secrets.
To paraphrase that clichéd quote from Spiderman, “With great innovations come great risks”. As our technology evolves, so do hackers and attackers. More advanced, complete, and undetectable cyber threats lurk in every nook and cranny of the internet. Security programs, antivirus, antimalware, antispamware, and firewalls can only do so much regarding previously known threats and they’re practically useless against newer and constantly emerging data hazards.
Not even the biggest corporations are safe. In fact, various social media sites have experienced more than a hundred thousand data breaches since 2004. Experiencing the biggest intrusions in the last 10 years were Evernote (50,000,000), LivingSocial (50,000,000), Yahoo (22,000,000) , Facebook (6,000,000), Apple (275,000), and Twitter (250,000).
Even though you only visit “safe” sites, only use your computer for word processing, and only use apps from official sources, it is best to assume that you’re going to get attacked. 33 percent of applications in third party markets contain malware, and even ads accompanying freeware programs may take advantage of any system vulnerabilities.
Enterprises can breathe just a bit easier as FireEye, Inc., a world leader in cyber security, recently unveiled their Advanced Threat Report service for the Asia Pacific Region. As the first half of 2014 showed that the region is experiencing advanced persistent threats (APT) at a higher rate than the global average, FireEye is a more than welcome addition to a company’s existing IT security protocols. The services/consulting industry, government, high-tech companies, entertainment/media/hospitality field, and telecoms are some of the verticals most targeted by APTs. Additionally, the Philippines was the most attacked country in the ASEAN region from January to June.
APTs allow a remote user from miles (sometimes, oceans) away to manipulate your computer using hacking programs. Once your system is infected, the attacker is able to see everything in your drives, execute programs, log your keystrokes, see what you see on your screen, access your camera and microphone, transfer and dump files, and worst of all, delete everything in your system – all this in real time.
As a proactive solution to these threats, FireEye develops tailor-fit virtual machine-based security platforms that stops cyber-attacks in real time and prevents them from infiltrating your network. It is your last line of defense after the rest of your security systems have filtered out the more obvious culprits. The heart of FireEye platforms is a virtual execution engine which is best explained in a metaphor:
A king loves eating but is afraid that one day he’ll be poisoned, so he hires his peasants to taste his food for him to make sure they are safe. The peasants, not wanting do die, come up with various poison testing experiments such as dunking food in tinted water and feeding them to animals (these would metaphorically be your firewalls, IPS, anti-virus, and gateways). Inevitably, they have to risk it and taste the food themselves.
Likewise, FireEye’s virtual machines are the ones exposed to APTs for you; it runs malicious software and waits for any unusual activity; and if it detects any, it shuts down the virtual machine and stops the APT in its tracks. The whole process takes only a very short time. Afterwards, reports are sent to FireEye bases around the world to ensure that the same attack gets prevented elsewhere.
Cloud-based and site-based solutions are available for those wanting to subscribe to FireEye’s services. Cloud-based solutions work for e-mails and any data you want tested at FireEye’s servers before they reach your ISP. Meanwhile, site-based solutions take the form of physical appliances customized to the size and needs of your company, 24/7 on guard against any attacks coming from outside and inside your network.
If your network has already been contaminated, then FireEye’s response team, Mandiant, will see to it that your network remains secure, nothing gets lost or transmitted, the attacker is detected, and more importantly, you don’t make news headlines and lose credibility.
Testament to their credibility are their 2,500 customers across 65 countries, including over 150 of the Fortune 500 companies; over 2,000 employees; and over 500 tech partners. To avail of their services, you can go to their website at http://www.fireeye.com/ with prices dependent on what kind of solution you are getting. Rest assured that your FireEye investment will cost much, much less than your data’s ever important security.