Guarding the Cyber Frontier
Protecting the national borders is one thing. These are physical defenses that can be clearly visualized and preventive actions taken to safeguard the borders. But when it comes to protect a nation’s cyber frontier, its digital infrastructure from hackers on the payroll of nation states, it is a different matter all together.
Even the most powerful nation in the world has been thrust into the battle field and is reeling from their impacts and trying to find a fix to this. Thus it becomes imperative to understand such attacks and then take the steps to protect this 21st century frontier. Let us look at 5 steps that can help reduce such nation state attacks to a country’s cyber frontier.
SSL Traffic Inspection
The amour that we use to protect our information when it travels through the cyber domain could well be used by our cyber enemies. Thus it is necessary for the infrastructure that enable SSL traffic to pass through such as firewalls, routers, etc need to be armed with tools to decrypt all traffic that pass through to understand which one of these could be a weapon directed at your country.
Secure your online applications
The applications that drive huge amount of national data should be well protected from all kinds of vulnerabilities and exploits that can enable the enemy to creep in a malware, taking into control not only the specific application but the entire network on which a nation is critically dependent on.
For this it is important to analyze all the traffic that is directed to such applications and the response the application provides. Limiting HTTP access requests for example can prevent buffer overflow attacks and also alert the analyst of the origin of the requests.
Making use of VPN’s
As traffic over public network is given to be intercepted by default, companies that work for national security as well as those associated should ensure data is accessed through IPsec VPNs. However in today’s cloud computing paradigm implementing VPNs should consider supporting massive IPsec VPNs data flows., make use of BGP routing for scaling up access levels, offer on-demand IPsec tunnels and gateways, ensure data center efficiency.
Auditing of all sensitive data
Not just database on servers but also those on laptops, computers and zip drives or even mobile devices. Anywhere sensitive data exists, there has to be an audit of such devices and the access to the data. Ensuring that the access requests to sensitive data is logged with proper trail will help catch the attacker.
Prevention through Training
Last but not the least is to ensure there is no human failure in safeguarding the cyber frontier. If a solider has a gun and cannot use it effectively, obviously the fault is in the training not the soldier. This same rule applies to everyone in the cyber life cycle which handles sensitive data or infrastructure to be trained in not just the tools of the trade but also strictly follow security policies as well as understand the significance of their failing to use them effectively.