22
Mon, Jul
2 New Articles

IBM Watson’s Fight Against Cybercrime

Typography
  • Smaller Small Medium Big Bigger
  • Default Helvetica Segoe Georgia Times

 

 

Watson for Cyber Security provides new tools for overwhelmed security staff.

In any IT system, how do you know if it’s under attack?

That’s really a loaded question. Systems are always under attack. Day and night, whether you’re aware of it or not, people, machines, and programs are hitting any device that can be reached either on the public Internet or on private networks. Old NAT rules on firewalls can be very effective holes to constantly probe a commonly used port on internal servers. Internal employees with computers infected with many forms of malware are hitting every machine on corporate networks in countless businesses all over the world right now.

The plight of the IT administrator or security administrator is a complete and utter data overload. In companies with modest budgets, the ability to identify security attacks is quite limited.

Data theft is one of the hardest things to uncover. If an attacker downloads a file, he or she will leave the old file where it was and attempt to cover their tracks. They won’t delete the old file. That’s a dead giveaway that someone was there.

When does IT usually start to investigate a security problem? When it’s identified, or at least when the symptoms are evident enough to trigger an action. That usually means that an application, server, or service is running far slower than usual or is not running at all. Think of a distributed brute force attack against an SMTP server port. Depending on the attack load strength, the server will likely slow down. If enabled, log files will show authentication failures coming from the same IP addresses against accounts that largely don’t exist. The usual symptom is usually identified by the users as the mail system is slow. In IT, that’s a common complaint and doesn’t trigger fears for the worst. Especially mail. Unless you’re viewing mail online in a browser in an interactive fashion, you’re not going to see the server behave slowly in real time. If you’re using a product like Outlook or Notes, the send/receive is done in the background and users won’t see much difference. Hours later, users are complaining that they haven’t received an email they know someone sent, and that can end up being the real indicator of a problem. In this scenario, IT is far behind the eight ball. In a matter of hours, it’s very possible that an account with weak credentials has already been compromised and the server is being hijacked to push spam to the world. Or worse.

While SMBs are the target du jour for attackers due to their lack of staff and expertise, larger enterprises with dedicated security staff are likely in no better shape. The more infrastructure you have, the more you need to monitor, manage, and defend. The bigger you are, the more likely you have a target on your back. There’s an old saying about when you get big enough to look over your fence is the point when people start throwing rocks at you.

In February, IBM announced Watson for Cyber Security. Watson has been trained in the past year to understand the language of cyber security, learning the contents of over one million security documents. According to IBM, the average security team has to manage over 200,000 security events per day and is wasting approximately 20,000 hours per year on false positives. These numbers are obviously describing larger enterprises than an average five-person IT department.

Watson for Cyber Security will be integrated into IBM’s new Cognitive SOC product, bridging security operations with cognitive computing. This will allow customers to manage attacks across devices, networks, and even the cloud. Watson for Cyber Security is designed to find connections between obscure data points and allow companies to quickly and intelligently react to valid attacks. Since it’s a learning solution, it will get smarter over time and be able to more accurately and proactively combat threats. A component of Cognitive SOC is called QRadar Advisor for Watson, which combines IBM’s security analytics platform QRadar with Watson in order to investigate and qualify security events or potential security events. Another component of Cognitive SOC is called IBM BigFix Detect, which is an endpoint detection and response (EDR) solution. BigFix Detect extends cognitive processing to network endpoints where it targets malicious behavior and attempts to mitigate it before it spreads to the rest of the network.

"The Cognitive SOC is now a reality for clients looking to find an advantage against the growing legions of cybercriminals and next-generation threats," said Denis Kennelly, Vice President of Development and Technology, IBM Security. "Our investments in Watson for Cyber Security have given birth to several innovations in just under a year. Combining the unique abilities of man and machine intelligence will be critical to the next stage in the fight against advanced cybercrime."

QRadar Advisor for Watson is already in use at Avnet, University of New Brunswick, and about 40 other customers worldwide.

Sean Valcamp, Chief Information Security Officer at Avnet, said, "Today's sophisticated cyber security threats attack on multiple fronts to conceal their activities, and our security analysts face the difficult task of pinpointing these attacks amongst a massive sea of security-related data. Watson makes concealment efforts more difficult by quickly analyzing multiple streams of data and comparing them with the latest security attack intelligence to provide a more complete picture of the threat. Watson also generates reports on these threats in a matter of minutes, which greatly speeds the time between detecting a potential event and my security team's ability to respond accordingly."

IBM has also invested in tools for its X-Force Command Center, including a Watson-powered chatbot for IBM Managed Security Services customers. As well, IBM announced a new research project, code named Havyn, which is a voice-powered security assistant powered by Watson’s natural language technology to interact with security professionals.

Project Havyn uses Watson APIs and BlueMix to provide real-time response to verbal requests and commands using data from customer-specific security data and open-source security intelligence, including IBM X-Force Exchange. Havyn can answer questions about recent security threats and provide remediation tasks. Imagine being able to ask a computer, in natural language, “How can I alter my company’s environment to fight recent threats that have appeared this week?” That is a game changer.

In fact, I would suggest that Watson for Cyber Security can potentially be the most significant breakthrough in combating cyber threats in the last 10 years. Society pivots on major breakthroughs in science, whether it’s the advent of vaccinations, the steam engine, or air travel. Combating cyber crime has, until now, been largely a reactive process worldwide. We may be at a point where effective and automated proactive monitoring and remediation can occur, allowing IT to focus on what it does best: adding business value.

Steve Pitcher
Steve Pitcher works with iTech Solutions, an IBM Premier Business Partner. He is a specialist in IBM i and IBM Power Systems solutions since 2001. Feel free to contact him directly This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
BLOG COMMENTS POWERED BY DISQUS

LATEST COMMENTS

Support MC Press Online

$

Book Reviews

Resource Center

  • SB Profound WC 5536 Have you been wondering about Node.js? Our free Node.js Webinar Series takes you from total beginner to creating a fully-functional IBM i Node.js business application. You can find Part 1 here. In Part 2 of our free Node.js Webinar Series, Brian May teaches you the different tooling options available for writing code, debugging, and using Git for version control. Brian will briefly discuss the different tools available, and demonstrate his preferred setup for Node development on IBM i or any platform. Attend this webinar to learn:

  • SB Profound WP 5539More than ever, there is a demand for IT to deliver innovation. Your IBM i has been an essential part of your business operations for years. However, your organization may struggle to maintain the current system and implement new projects. The thousands of customers we've worked with and surveyed state that expectations regarding the digital footprint and vision of the company are not aligned with the current IT environment.

  • SB HelpSystems ROBOT Generic IBM announced the E1080 servers using the latest Power10 processor in September 2021. The most powerful processor from IBM to date, Power10 is designed to handle the demands of doing business in today’s high-tech atmosphere, including running cloud applications, supporting big data, and managing AI workloads. But what does Power10 mean for your data center? In this recorded webinar, IBMers Dan Sundt and Dylan Boday join IBM Power Champion Tom Huntington for a discussion on why Power10 technology is the right strategic investment if you run IBM i, AIX, or Linux. In this action-packed hour, Tom will share trends from the IBM i and AIX user communities while Dan and Dylan dive into the tech specs for key hardware, including:

  • Magic MarkTRY the one package that solves all your document design and printing challenges on all your platforms. Produce bar code labels, electronic forms, ad hoc reports, and RFID tags – without programming! MarkMagic is the only document design and print solution that combines report writing, WYSIWYG label and forms design, and conditional printing in one integrated product. Make sure your data survives when catastrophe hits. Request your trial now!  Request Now.

  • SB HelpSystems ROBOT GenericForms of ransomware has been around for over 30 years, and with more and more organizations suffering attacks each year, it continues to endure. What has made ransomware such a durable threat and what is the best way to combat it? In order to prevent ransomware, organizations must first understand how it works.

  • SB HelpSystems ROBOT GenericIT security is a top priority for businesses around the world, but most IBM i pros don’t know where to begin—and most cybersecurity experts don’t know IBM i. In this session, Robin Tatam explores the business impact of lax IBM i security, the top vulnerabilities putting IBM i at risk, and the steps you can take to protect your organization. If you’re looking to avoid unexpected downtime or corrupted data, you don’t want to miss this session.

  • SB HelpSystems ROBOT GenericCan you trust all of your users all of the time? A typical end user receives 16 malicious emails each month, but only 17 percent of these phishing campaigns are reported to IT. Once an attack is underway, most organizations won’t discover the breach until six months later. A staggering amount of damage can occur in that time. Despite these risks, 93 percent of organizations are leaving their IBM i systems vulnerable to cybercrime. In this on-demand webinar, IBM i security experts Robin Tatam and Sandi Moore will reveal:

  • FORTRA Disaster protection is vital to every business. Yet, it often consists of patched together procedures that are prone to error. From automatic backups to data encryption to media management, Robot automates the routine (yet often complex) tasks of iSeries backup and recovery, saving you time and money and making the process safer and more reliable. Automate your backups with the Robot Backup and Recovery Solution. Key features include:

  • FORTRAManaging messages on your IBM i can be more than a full-time job if you have to do it manually. Messages need a response and resources must be monitored—often over multiple systems and across platforms. How can you be sure you won’t miss important system events? Automate your message center with the Robot Message Management Solution. Key features include:

  • FORTRAThe thought of printing, distributing, and storing iSeries reports manually may reduce you to tears. Paper and labor costs associated with report generation can spiral out of control. Mountains of paper threaten to swamp your files. Robot automates report bursting, distribution, bundling, and archiving, and offers secure, selective online report viewing. Manage your reports with the Robot Report Management Solution. Key features include:

  • FORTRAFor over 30 years, Robot has been a leader in systems management for IBM i. With batch job creation and scheduling at its core, the Robot Job Scheduling Solution reduces the opportunity for human error and helps you maintain service levels, automating even the biggest, most complex runbooks. Manage your job schedule with the Robot Job Scheduling Solution. Key features include:

  • LANSA Business users want new applications now. Market and regulatory pressures require faster application updates and delivery into production. Your IBM i developers may be approaching retirement, and you see no sure way to fill their positions with experienced developers. In addition, you may be caught between maintaining your existing applications and the uncertainty of moving to something new.

  • LANSAWhen it comes to creating your business applications, there are hundreds of coding platforms and programming languages to choose from. These options range from very complex traditional programming languages to Low-Code platforms where sometimes no traditional coding experience is needed. Download our whitepaper, The Power of Writing Code in a Low-Code Solution, and:

  • LANSASupply Chain is becoming increasingly complex and unpredictable. From raw materials for manufacturing to food supply chains, the journey from source to production to delivery to consumers is marred with inefficiencies, manual processes, shortages, recalls, counterfeits, and scandals. In this webinar, we discuss how:

  • The MC Resource Centers bring you the widest selection of white papers, trial software, and on-demand webcasts for you to choose from. >> Review the list of White Papers, Trial Software or On-Demand Webcast at the MC Press Resource Center. >> Add the items to yru Cart and complet he checkout process and submit

  • Profound Logic Have you been wondering about Node.js? Our free Node.js Webinar Series takes you from total beginner to creating a fully-functional IBM i Node.js business application.

  • SB Profound WC 5536Join us for this hour-long webcast that will explore:

  • Fortra IT managers hoping to find new IBM i talent are discovering that the pool of experienced RPG programmers and operators or administrators with intimate knowledge of the operating system and the applications that run on it is small. This begs the question: How will you manage the platform that supports such a big part of your business? This guide offers strategies and software suggestions to help you plan IT staffing and resources and smooth the transition after your AS/400 talent retires. Read on to learn: