Governments ride Big Data wave to combat cybercrime

by Sohini Bagchi    Jun 05, 2013

cyber attack

Big Data has finally moved out of the hype into reality and in recent times is said to dramatically alter the information security landscape. Seeing its high potential experts believe that government of respective nations can use Big Data as a weapon to combat the ever growing cyber threats.

“The role of the government can be particularly important in facilitating information sharing and creating awareness when it comes to combating cybercrime,” says Art Coviello, executive vice president of EMC and executive chairman of RSA. “Most organizations, especially in the government rely heavily on traditional perimeter-based defenses, making it nearly impossible for them to identify spot unknown threats. An intelligence-driven security model, on the other hand, leverages Big Data analytics for pervasive monitoring, threat information sharing and intelligent controls,” he explains.

Fundamentally, Big Data is the ability to extract meaning to sort through the masses of data elements and find the hidden patterns, the unexpected correlation or the surprising connection. Coviello explains that it is about analyzing vast and complex data sets at high speed and in case of cyber security, it will allow practitioners to spot the faint signal of an attack. Because at some point, no matter how clever the attacker, they must do something anomalous.

Agrees cyber security expert Howard A. Schmidt as he believes that although cybersecurity may sound technical in nature, at its core it is a business as well as a societal issue. While industry specialists are already looking for ways to prevent cyber threats, the subject requires a strong support and coordination from the government at a global level and it is with the help of Big Data that they can collectively reduce the menace of cyber crime.

The ongoing expansion of the attack surface and the escalation in the threat environment require urgent action, there must be a sense of urgency to understand the security implications and develop and implement the right security model. For example, Coviello states that security practitioners using Big Data to combat cyber crime should follow certain best practices. “Firstly, they should create a transformational security strategy. This means they should design a plan that transitions the existing infrastructure to an intelligence-driven approach that incorporates Big Data capabilities. Secondly, they should create a single architecture to allow all information to be captured, indexed, normalized, analysed and shared. Thirdly, it is important to migrate from point products to a unified security architecture using open and scalable Big Data tools. Finally, leverage external threat intelligence to get a composite view of threats,” he recommends.

On the whole, Big Data can help governments to act as a “central clearing house” to exchange information speedily about current threats and attacks and build a strong ecosystem whereby industry bodies, academia, activists, researchers and common citizens can collectively combat the menace. As Schmitz also points out the international environment should ensure global networks are open to new innovations, and are interoperable, secure and reliable enough to earn the trust of people while at the same time, persuade more countries to join the movement. He believes that game-changing technologies such as Big Data can create a future for cyberspace that builds prosperity, enhances security and safeguards openness.