“An attacker only has to be right once, but the defender must be right all the time.” Etay Maor, Sr. Director of Security Strategy of Cato Networks, disagrees. According to him, this is one cybersecurity myth he wishes to dispel.
Cato Networks, a cloud-native service that offers network connectivity and security to its customers, was represented at Infosecurity Europe in London 2022 by Senior Director of Security Strategy, Etay Maor. Having researched into patterns and activities of threat actors, he came armed with memes and alternative perspectives on how the cybersecurity industry ought to move forward as we transition to cloud.
It is a common idea the attacker must only be right one time for them to infiltrate a secured network and the defender must be right all the time. According to Cato, with one brilliantly effective security system, it is just the opposite. Instead, the attacker must get past every single entry-point and gap in the system. He must be right all the time. There is never only one point of failure in a system, but many. A breach, Maor says, is in fact the failure of an entire system of security, not just one vulnerability. But how is this done?
The trick to cybersecurity, he explains, is to understand the adversary, and to understand the company network. Attackers are advancing quicker than us alongside the shift from on-premises networking to cloud. This calls for a reassessment of the cybersecurity approach. Maor suggests approaching this defence in a military manner, by asking the following three questions:
- What do I know about my adversary?
- What does my adversary know about me?
- What do I know about myself?
While a company may have a certain idea of their on-premises or cloud network, the attacker has an entirely different understanding. An understanding that is altogether based around the chokepoints and gaps. So beyond knowing simply what type of attack has occurred, it is even more integral to know where the gaps are at every single point in the system. Ransomware, for example, has major chokepoints at infiltration, networking, and exfiltration. The last of which, he explains, is on the rise.
Maor’s research presented some other, perhaps surprising results. For example, the origin of most attackers is not Russia or China as one might expect, but the United States of America. Additionally, the most used applications on office networks are ones such as TikTok and YouTube and the newest threat types include those by crypto-miners and RCE’s, which bring about an all-new set of security risks.
So, how does Cato protect its clients? By understanding the adversaries. By combining visibility with cloud security. By identifying gaps and chokepoints, by testing systems, and converging the three values of actionability, timeliness, and reliability, each of which must be present in a network to fully protect them.