One of the longstanding goals of network security design is to be able to prove that a system – any system – is secure.
Designers would like to be able to show that a system, properly implemented and operated, meets its objectives for confidentiality, integrity, availability and other attributes against the variety of threats the system may encounter.
A half century into the computing revolution, this goal remains elusive.
One reason for the shortcoming is theoretical: Computer scientists have made limited progress in proving lower bounds for the difficulty of solving the specific mathematical problems underlying most of today’s cryptography. Although those problems are widely believed to be hard, there’s no assurance that they must be so – and indeed it turns out that some of them may be quite easy to solve given the availability of a full-scale quantum computer.
Another reason is a quite practical one: Even given building blocks that offer a high level of security, designers, as well as implementers, may well put them together in unexpected ways that ultimately undermine the very goals they were supposed to achieve.
Today’s new age of ubiquitous connectivity has created an insatiable and growing demand among employees and consumers to be online with familiar systems and tools at all times. Employees are no longer satisfied with the limited choices in devices and tools provided to them by their corporate IT organizations. They want to use what they want,when they want. They believe that choosing their own devices and tools provides them with the highest level of comfort and efficiency. This desire to use personal devices in work environments, referred to as “bring your own device (BYOD),” coupled with the growing cyber-attack surface, poses significant challenges to IT organizations. These challenges are leading such organizations to ask themselves – Are we ready to support BYOD?
The National Small Business Association (NBSA) recently released a report revealing that half of all small businesses have been the victim of a cyber-attack – and the cost of dealing with these attacks has skyrocketed to $20,752 per attack. In about a third of attacks, the victim’s website was taken down, often for days. The impact of such outages cannot be measured by the immediate lost revenue alone, as the long term impact of the harm to your reputation and customer loss cannot be easily calculated.
At Verisign, we’ve made the Domain Name System (DNS) our business for more than 17 years. We support the availability of critical Internet infrastructure like .com and .net top-level domains (TLDs) and the A and J Internet Root Servers, and we provide critical Managed DNS services that ensure the availability of externally facing websites to customers around the world.
As we continue to expand our role in Internet security, we are excited to announce the next step in protecting the stability of enterprise DNS ecosystems: Verisign Recursive DNS. This new cloud-based recursive DNS service leverages Verisign’s global, securely managed DNS infrastructure to offer the performance, reliability and security that enterprises demand when securing their internal networks and that communications safely and securely reach their intended destinations.
It has been another busy quarter for the team that works on our DDoS Protection Services here at Verisign. As detailed in the recent release of our Q2 2014 DDoS Trends Report, from April to June of this year, we not only saw a jump in frequency and size of attacks against our customers, we witnessed the largest DDoS attack we’ve ever observed and mitigated – an attack over 300 Gbps against one of our Media and Entertainment customers.
With the holiday shopping season quickly approaching, internet retailers are gearing up for an onslaught of web traffic – which is great, as long as they have the right measures in place to keep their customers safe and satisfied.
Even one hour of downtime due to a website outage or a malicious attack can have significant impact on a retailer’s reputation and revenue, especially during the holidays, a time which the National Retail Federation says can add up to 40 percent of an online retailer’s annual revenue. With some large e-commerce sites earning millions each day during the holiday season, even a few minutes of downtime can lead to financial losses in the tens of thousands of dollars, not to mention customer frustration.
One of the highlights of my first seven months at Verisign was attending the annual meeting of the Internet Governance Forum(IGF) in Nairobi, Kenya last September. I had the pleasure of serving with industry, policy and technical leaders from around the world on several panels concerned with how to manage the internet as a shared and connected global resource. It was my first trip to Africa, and similar to my experience at each of the other new continents I’ve visited over the course of my career, what once seemed so far away became much closer to home – especially as I sat in the conference room and tweeted and emailed over the wireless network!
Attending IGF was a strong reminder that the world has become so much more connected, with internet access a huge enabler of the global economy. People are learning, companies are forming, and society is changing in new ways as a result of an interconnectedness that puts Kenya and every other country in the same, virtual neighborhood.