Fashioning a security solution with big data | Blog
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andrew wajs

A friend of mine once told me that software engineers are fashionistas at heart. Instead of trying to out dress each other they out buzz word each other. Well the latest buzz words you likely to hear on this season’s software engineering runway are Hadoop, Splunk and Deep learning.

Yes indeed these big data buzzwords have been flying around Irdeto for some time. Now you normally think of big data as being used to analyse consumer behaviour or to learn that the breading patterns of toads are great predictors of earthquakes. But what has big data got to do with security?

Out with the old

Quite frankly deploying a security solution without a big data element is a waste of time. The sophistication of today’s systems means that there are too many attack surfaces which are difficult to completely analyse or some instances are simply impossible to close. Take a STB, you have a system with millions of lines of code sitting connected to the internet. Making sure that there is no weakness that can be exposed is a tall order. Worse still when you get to video it gets displayed on a high resolution screen which can easily be captured by a high resolution camera.

Given this, it’s not surprising that we’re finding that traditional security is no longer enough on its own. It doesn’t provide a complete picture of the threat; the organization’s security posture. Why would it?

In with the new

The systems were designed to protect perimeters that are easy to define and are clear: does this person have permissions to access this data? The narrow parameters mean that the rules and triggers are based on known threats. In reality, the security perimeters are becoming blurred. We’re opening up systems to more people: suppliers, partners, customers, employees who work from home even without adding Internet of Things into the mix. Protecting today’s perimeters requires a different approach.

With big data analytics you get a comprehensive view of the security landscape. It provides actionable intelligence which adds context to the incidents. The insight exposes what is at risk, how severe those risks are, how important the asset at risk is and what should be done to minimize the security weakness. If one device does something even a little bit different you can zero in on this, in real-time.

Style of the future

From an operator perspective this could be relevant not only for preventing attacks on STBs, but also when monitoring piracy networks as well as for fraud management and device security.

Big data analytics enables a security solution to quickly notice anomalous and potentially dangerous behaviour to prevent breaches or failing that detects malicious behaviour once a breach has occurred allowing operators to dynamically update their policies to minimize risk. This is a fashion that is here to stay, with analytics and intelligence being at the heart of all next generation security solutions.

For more similar content, please visit the Irdeto Perspective Blog.


About the Author

andrew wajsAndrew Wajs, Chief Technology Officer, Irdeto

Andrew Wajs joined Irdeto in 1992 as a development engineer where he architected the world’s first DVB Conditional Access system. Since joining he has been the senior systems architect, a key innovator and patent author. Subsequent to this he has been the force behind many start-up projects within Irdeto ranging from secure music distribution, session based watermarking for video and audio content, the world's first pay satellite mobile TV solution in Korea and software based security solutions for digital content. Andrew has held a range of positions ranging from engineering, system engineering, VP Product Line Management and is now the Chief Technology Officer of Irdeto. In his current role Andrew oversees development of new areas of business and is responsible for; security innovations in mobile payments and banking, IoT (internet of things), business development, and M&A. Before Irdeto, he managed the Advanced Products Group in Mindport during 1998-99. Prior to that, he held a similar position at Altech Public Networks. Andrew has a Master's degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa.