May 17, 2020

Cisco: Machine learning holds great potential in enhancing cybersecurity frameworks

Cybersecurity
Cybercrime
Cisco
Machine Learning
Jonathan Dyble
2 min
Cisco
In its latest Annual Cybersecurity Report, leading US technology conglomerate Cisco has revealedthat machine learning may be one key avenue to pursue in...

In its latest Annual Cybersecurity Report, leading US technology conglomerate Cisco has revealed that machine learning may be one key avenue to pursue in the aim of enhancing cybersecurity.

Whilst encryption is a widely accepted method of enhancing security, the evolution of malware has meant that often cyberattacks go undetected despite these defences and encryption is instead used as a tool to conceal activity.

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With the sophistication of Malware, Cisco recommends incorporating machine learning and other emerging technologies into IT defence networks in businesses.

“Last year’s evolution of malware shows adversaries are becoming wiser at exploiting undefended gaps in security,” said John Stewart, Senior Vice President and Chief Security and Trust Officer, Cisco. “Like never before, defenders need to make strategic security improvements, technology investments, and incorporate best practices to reduce exposure to emerging risks.”

The report shows that security leaders are turning more readily to advanced technologies when defending against cybercrime, with 39% utilising automation, 34% using machine learning and 32% highly reliant on AI.

Further, the results have come from a survey of 3,600 Chief Information Security Officers (CISOs), with the majority of these stating that they were eager to add such technologies, despite being frustrated by the infancy of the technology.

However, Cisco states that over time these technologies will mature and become familiar with the network environments they are monitoring.

“Applying machine learning can help enhance network security defenses and, over time, “learn” how to automatically detect unusual patterns in encrypted web traffic, cloud, and IoT environments,” Cisco said.

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Jun 8, 2021

Fastly's CDN Reportedly to Blame for Global Internet Outage

Technology
Fastly
servers
websites
Tilly Kenyon & Oliver James Fr...
3 min
Multiple outages have hit social media, government, and news websites across the globe

A huge outage has brought down a number of major websites around the world. Among those affected are gov.uk, Hulu, PayPal, Vimeo, and news outlets such as CNN, The Guardian, The New York Times, BBC, and Financial Times.

It is thought a glitch at Fastly ─ a popular CDN provider ─ is causing the worldwide issue. Fastly has confirmed it’s facing an outage on its status website but fails to specify a reason for the fault ─ only that the problem isn’t limited to a single data centre and, instead, is a “global CDN disruption” that is potentially affecting the company’s global network.

“We’re currently investigating potential impact to performance with our CDN services,” the firm said.

What is Fastly?

Fastly is a content delivery network (CDN) company that helps users view digital content more quickly. The company also provides security, video delivery, and so-called edge computing services. They use strategically distributed, highly performant POPs to help move data and applications closer to users and deliver up-to-date content quickly.

The firm has been proving increasingly popular among leading media websites. After going public on the New York Stock Exchange in 2019, shares rose exponentially in price, but after today’s outages, Fastly’s value has taken a sharp 5.21% fall and are currently trading at US$48.06. 

What are CDNs?

Content delivery networks (CDNs) are a web of small computers, or servers, that link together to collaborate as a single computer. CDNs improve the performance of internet-connected devices by placing these servers as close as possible to the people using those devices in different locations, creating hundreds of points of presence, otherwise known as POPs.

They help minimise delays in loading web page content by reducing the physical distance between the server and the user. This helps users around the world view the same high-quality content without slow loading times. 

Without a CDN, content origin servers must respond to every single end-user request. This results in significant traffic to the origin and subsequent load, thereby increasing the chances for origin failure if the traffic spikes are exceedingly high or if the load is persistent.

The Risk of CDNs

Over time, developers have attempted to protect users from the dangers of overreliance through the implementation of load balancing, DDoS (Denial of Service) protection, web application firewalls, and a myriad of other security features. 

Clearly, by the state of today’s major website outage, these measures aren’t enough. Evidently, CDNs present a risk factor that is widely underestimated ─ which needs to be rectified with haste. Content delivery networks have become a key part of the global infrastructure, and so it’s imperative that organisations start to figure out risk mitigation strategies to protect companies reliant on the interconnected service from further disruption and disarray. 

Over the coming days, both Technology Magazine and Data Centre Magazine will continue to provide updates on the current situation as developments are made.

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