After years of enjoying relative security through obscurity, many attack vectors have recently proved successful on Apple Mac, opening the Mac up to future attack. A refection of this is the final quarter of 2016, when Mac OS malware samples increased by 247% according to McAfee. Even though threats are still much lower than for Windows OS users, Mac users cannot afford to be blissfully complacent as they may have been in the past.
At the start of a new year we look ahead to identify broad technological advancements with disruptive potential – and examine likely security implications. I believe there are two trends which will shape IT security in a profound way.
I am thrilled to have won the Great British Entrepreneur of the Year Award for cyber security at a gala event at the Lancaster Hotel in London last night. Thanks to the judges for selecting us ahead of finalists from companies such as Sophos, DarkTrace, Becrypt and others.
Last Friday (21 Oct), one of the largest DDoS attacks ever seen, created widespread internet outage affecting services from Twitter, AWS, Reddit, Netflix, Spotify, CNN, Paypal, NY Times, WSJ, and others. The attack was directed at Dyn, a domain name service provider, whose servers interpret internet addresses, directing web traffic to the affected companies. Dyn are like an internet postal code or zip code lookup system. A statement from Dyn reported traffic from “10s of millions of IP addresses”, and customers of affected sites were unable to access web services for about two hours. Two things stood out about this DDoS attack: (1) The increased traffic was not aimed directly at the networks affected, but targeted at DNS servers hosted by Dyn, and (2) The attack was conducted through a botnet of infected IoT devices, known as Mirai.
Symmetrical encryption is far quicker and less resource-intense than public/private key encryption, but has the downside that the symmetrical key needs to be distributed among parties. For this reason, we use public/private key encryption to secure the transfer of the symmetrical key, and then use symmetrical encryption to secure the actual data that needs to be transferred. But what if our symmetrical key was somehow available to the other party without us transmitting it to them? That could make the encryption process faster, less resource-intense and safer.