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For Cybersecurity, Big Data Offers Advantages and Challenges


By University Alliance
For Cybersecurity, Big Data Offers Advantages and Challenges

Amid increasing security incidents, the U.S. government has taken steps to develop a framework of cybersecurity standards and best practices. The goal is to prevent well-funded hackers and cyber criminals around the globe from interfering with the nation’s health and financial systems, as well as economic and national security. Cybersecurity in today’s big data environment faces multiple challenges and requires ever-increasing diligence and smarter, stronger technologies. Fortunately, this opens up many opportunities as well.

INTERVIEW: James Serra, Business Intelligence Expert

Big Data is Not Just a Buzzword

Big data refers to the mining of usable information from the massive amounts of data being created worldwide every day across all industries. While businesses and government agencies take advantage of this influx of information to improve operations, increase sales and lower costs, cyber criminals are mining the same data for unethical reasons.

For Cybersecurity, Big Data is a Double-Edged Sword

Big data has developed a new role in preventing adversaries from taking advantage of the massive amounts of military intelligence, trade secrets, and personal and financial data available through systems at all risk levels. Organizations are being encouraged to transition to intelligence-driven security for a broader view of risk and vulnerabilities. This requires analyzing external threat intelligence feeds, cloud-based calendars and documents, social network activity logs, website-generated information feeds and other non-traditional sources of security information.

Big data’s advantages lie in the ability to analyze massive numbers of potential security events and make connections between them to create a prioritized list of threats. With big data, seemingly disparate pieces of data connect to form a clear picture, enabling cybersecurity professionals to stay ahead of possible threats and help prevent attacks from happening.

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However, just as organizations and cybersecurity teams are using big data to increase their efficiencies, so are hackers. Using sophisticated technologies, they are able to distill the data they want from millions of Trojan-infected computers. Cyber criminals have developed plugins to query databases to transfer certain information, like credit card numbers, bank URLs or social security numbers into separate databases that they have full access to.

In addition to creating ways to mine big data for illicit gain, cyber criminals are also using it to monitor their processes and improve their own efficiency. They use big data to learn more about infected machines, breached databases and compromised information systems. They use it to spot trends, failures and successes and to make their next attack more effective.

Preparation and Prevention

How can cybersecurity professionals hope to stay ahead of cyber criminals who have all the advantages of big data at their disposal? With the right preparation and prevention strategies. Here are a few:

  • In the era of big data, awareness is the first line of defense against cybercrime. As one recent survey revealed, most cybersecurity professionals know that they need to worry about big data, but they don’t always clearly understand what it means.
  • Organizations should integrate customized processes and technical solutions geared to their specific risks and requirements to collect process, store, analyze and share data.
  • Integrating big data analytics into a solid infrastructure to provide and develop security solutions is essential – as is employing an expert IT staff to deploy them.
  • Strengthening cybersecurity teams with highly skilled data scientists and analytics experts may become increasingly essential.
  • Future investments in technology should lean toward flexible, analytics-based solutions that can change as business requirements and security threats evolve.

Big data offers advantages to both the world of business and the underworld of hackers and cyber criminals. With continuous effort, investment in technology and awareness, cybersecurity professionals can win the battle against this and other complex challenges that new technology will surely bring.

Category: Business Intelligence