The headlines are startling: “Millions of Social Security Numbers Stolen by Hackers.” “Major Retailer Announces Data Breach Affecting 100,000 Customers.” In addition to that, nearly everyone has received a call from their bank or credit card provider informing them of a possible breach.
Stolen data is big business. By some estimates, a single Social Security number is worth several hundred dollars on the black market — which is why cybercriminals work around the clock to find new ways to steal data. And it’s not just individual personal information they’re after. Studies indicate small businesses are the most at risk for data breaches and theft. Think cybercriminals aren’t interested in your small construction company or accounting firm? Think again.
By some accounts, staying ahead of cybercriminals is like playing a game of virtual “Whack-a-Mole.” Once security analysts identify and contain one threat, another threat appears in another place. Given that there are more than 2.5 quintillion bytes of data produced each day, keeping ahead of these threats and blocking new, more malicious viruses requires some serious data analysis.
The good news is security professionals are using the three V’s — volume, variety and velocity — to analyze that data and protect networks and data from data breaches due to hacking, malware and viruses.
The Three V’s
Volume, variety and velocity sum up what is happening in online communications at every second of every day. Data is generated and sent using a mind-boggling array of methods. This understanding is now shaping how virus protection for your business must work to completely secure your data. Your virus protection must function in a real-time, continuously evolving framework according to the challenges presented by each of the three V’s:
- Volume. Security analysts continually detect, catalog and disseminate information on new threats in real time. By examining when, where and how attacks occur, they can compare new data against their existing knowledge to effectively identify emerging threats.
- Variety. It used to be email was the primary means for spreading viruses. As a relatively new technology, most users did not have the ability — or awareness — to identify suspicious messages. Before they realized what they were clicking, it was too late. As user sophistication improved, and tools to block email viruses became available, cybercriminals had to find new and more creative means to spread their destruction. Email viruses still abound, but Black Hole Exploit Kits, malware embedded in smartphone applications and other ways of spreading viruses are becoming more pervasive, meaning analysts need to look at all possible entry points to ensure complete protection.
- Velocity. Things happen fast in the online environment. A zero-day or zero-hour exploit kit can create a breach in hours — and then disappear before anyone notices something is wrong. Websites that work fine in the morning could be infected with malicious code by lunchtime, and that code could be international by dinner. That means analysts need to examine data quickly and in real time. Big data analytics allows for threat analysis in minutes and solution development in hours of threat discovery.
Big Data and the Cloud
In the past, collecting and analyzing threat data was a cumbersome task. However, thanks to cloud virtualization, the potentially overwhelming tasks of creating, adding to, storing, retrieving, sharing and accessing massive data sets has been somewhat alleviated. Using virtual or cloud-based server systems allows the systems to combine and interact with each other more easily than the past’s hardware-based physical servers. As machines communicate with the cloud-based security system, the security provider is able to anonymously and unobtrusively collect data on that individual machine. Since big data is about analyzing patterns and searching for anomalies, potential threats are easier to spot.
For example, a security solution collects data about a user’s typical activities each day. Over the course of several days or weeks, the security software logs information about when you log on, your typical pattern (check email, read the news, etc.) and the types of data you access. When there is an anomaly — you suddenly try to access previously restricted data or log on to an unfamiliar website before checking your work email, the security software makes note, triggering a system analysis, and, if necessary, an update of security protocols.
Using the three V’s to keep virus definitions up-to-date helps protect against security breaches, and keeps your business safe from the lost funds and productivity viruses cause. Choosing a security vendor that employs big-data analysis adds an extra layer of protection to your data, saving your company time and money — and keeping you out of the headlines.
Author Bio:- Shae Corrigan first installed Trend Micro Virus protection on his home office desktop. He then recommended the product’s company-wide installation to his IT manager. Today, Shae is in charge of the company’s employee virus protection education program.