The CISO of the gaming firm Electronic Arts has stated that while networks will be breached by AET and APT attacks, assets can still be protected.
Businesses need to accept that their networks are vulnerable to advanced evasion techniques (AETs) and advanced persistent threats (APTs), and look towards protecting specific assets to keep their brand intact.
This was the statement from Spencer Mott, CISO at Electronic Arts (EA), who told his keynote audience at Infosecurity Europe that their corporate networks would be hit at some point, if they hadn't been infiltrated already.
“Networks are undefendable to AETs and APTs,” he said. “These types of attacks are made up of a lot of different strands so… if one technique fails, another route is taken to achieve its end goal.
“If it is not impossible, it is still difficult to defend, even if you unplug yourself from the internet due to the internal threat.”
Mott claimed all companies, regardless of size, would be hit in time, so everyone with an ounce of IT in their business needed to wake up to the threat.
“Eventually this threat is going to impact any significant business, although the big global brands with the most, let's say ‘interesting', things to steal are going to be the most-impacted organisations,” he added.
Despite some thinking he may have been too pessimistic, Mott believed this scare tactic was the best way for board members to realise the importance of the issue.
“I do think that particular statement about [every business being infiltrated] just encourages our CEOs to get more realistic,” he said. “This isn't just a role for security teams; it is about [rebuilding] business and business processes.
“In reality, it doesn't matter how big your security group is as this is no longer a central function. It is the output of every single employee and you can go wider [to customers and partners]. The reality is that it is a completely out-weighted, undefendable position to be in.”
However, all was not lost for businesses, as despite the network being up for grabs, specific assets could still be well protected.
“Where we might not have defendable networks, we do have defendable assets,” said Mott. “We need to concentrate on what we can protect and put the measures in place for that, rather than [concerning ourselves] with the undefendable.”
The CISO concluded by saying that regardless of attacks, the best thing any company can do is understand the incoming threats and do what they can to prepare and defend.
“Be in a position as and when an attack occurs, from a brand perspective at least, to show consumers and regulators you did everything you could to defend against it,” said Mott.
“The worst thing, even if you are fully defended, is not to understand the nature of the attack and why it was successful.”