Blog , 10 Nov 2016

How Big Data Is Enhancing Network Security

93digital Support,

Big Data is the new buzzword when it comes to network security. Unlike traditional “whack-a-mole” methods of cause and effect, with Big Data you don’t need to wait for the network abuse to occur before taking action. That’s because Big Data generates network abuse predictions based on its analysis of enormous volumes of data – allowing your network abuse team to take the necessary steps before the attack is launched.

A real-world example of Big Data in action was the prediction of the flu pandemic in the US by Google. Google detected the spread of the flu virus before it was even reported by local health authorities by analyzing the search results of users looking to find out more information about their symptoms.

Big Data: detecting malicious activity

Big Data is essentially the vast amount of raw data generated by the Internet of Things (IoT). Today more and more people are connected to the Internet via a multitude of devices leading to an explosion in the number of interactions, accesses, and transactions. This results in a huge surge of raw data, and it is this increasingly complex, rapidly generated data that is used to create automatic learning techniques capable of predicting patterns, anomalies, and attacks. It does this in a number of ways by:

  • Following the breadcrumbs: The tens of thousands of attacks that occur each day, hide amongst the usual transactions and information that are normally generated by businesses. Big Data is used to detect the minute trail of anomalies these intrusions create – a trail so inconspicuous it is almost invisible to human detection.
  • Detecting abnormal network behavior: Big Data analytics and software-defined networking-based controllers can provide a comprehensive overview of each and every network, which allows network abuse teams to immediately detect more threats when compared with the capabilities of threat detection from a single point.
  • Processing large amounts of information: Big Data is able to process large amounts of data at rapid speeds, in order to generate real-time results. It can be used to analyze network security attacks and potential risks even before they happen, preventing network abuse.

Big Data: identifying the source, not the abuse

ISPs are one of the main targets of cybercriminals with a survey from the ISP Association reporting that 92% of UK ISPs experience monthly cyber attacks. If your ISP’s defenses are low, there is a higher likelihood you will be attractive to hackers who are looking for opportunities where they can remain active for long periods of time. In instances like these, they get a far better return on investment (ROI) as they can cause the most damage before they are discovered.

Big Data can be used to correlate multiple abuse reports in order to find a common cause and identify an attack that’s not quite underway or even recommend preventative measures to counter the attack. Products like AbuseHQ from Abusix collect and analyzes multiple sources of data relating to network attacks and other abuse incidents. It uses this Big Data to accurately predict possible threats, enabling your network abuse team to take the necessary steps to protect your ISP, even before the intrusion is underway.

Big Data is capable of indicating a threat or an imminent attack based on:

  • Traffic anomalies between servers and data warehouses
  • Suspicious activity surrounding sensitive area of your data network
  • Unusual access times, information queries, and destinations
  • Different protocols or software used to access sensitive information
  • Suspicious customer transactions.

By using Big Data and real-time analytics, your network abuse team will be empowered to make informed decisions and take decisive action. Now, instead of handling and dealing in isolation with multiple tickets that may all be related to the same DDoS attack, they will immediately be able to identify the common cause of the abuse and take the necessary action to neutralize it.

Big Data: connecting the dots

According to Computer World “5 Gbits must be analyzed every second to detect cyber attacks, potential threats, and malware attributed to malicious hackers”. Big Data analytics gives your network abuse team the ability to analyze data and correlate reports from many different sources and data types and then respond in real-time.

It ensures your ISP’s abuse team is able to connect the dots and make the correlations and connections they might otherwise have missed, enabling them to identify and shut down network abuse right at its source.

To find out more about using Big Data to proactively protect your network security, download this free e-book from Abusix:

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