Cyber Safeguard

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TO CYBER PROTECT AND DEFEND:
HOW WE GUARD AND DEFEND PRECIOUS CRITICAL DATA

This week, thousands of cybersecurity industry leaders and experts are convening at the RSA Conference in San Francisco to address one of the most pressing concerns facing governments, industry and even private citizens: How do we best safeguard critical data?

As the largest provider of IT services to the U.S. Government, Lockheed Martin’s cybersecurity team is weighing in on the discussion and sharing our layered framework approach to safeguarding information.

Lockheed Martin’s cyber experts not only build protective systems – using things like firewalls, authentication systems and encryption software – but also continually defend those systems from cyberattack.

“We approach cyber defense in the same way you think about protecting your home,” said Michael Muckin, a Fellow at Lockheed Martin’s Corporate Information Security Architecture Group. “When you go on vacation, for example, there are things you do to secure your house. You’re effectively creating different layers of protection by locking the doors, setting timers on your lights and activating an alarm system.”

If you visualize your personal data grouped together in a “house,” where anyone could potentially break in, you can see why defending it with a multi-layered approach is important. Lockheed Martin’s cybersecurity experts have some suggestions on how to create an effective protective barricade against would-be cyber attacks:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DETERMINE WHAT NEEDS TO BE PROTECTED IN THE FIRST PLACE
What’s your most valuable possession? Is it your jewelry? Your flat panel television? Now think of what that translates into in the digital domain. “In the world of information security, this could be sensitive or classified information, competitive information or even personal information that could be used against you,” Muckin said.

 

DEFINE THE ATTACK SURFACE: HOW COULD A CRIMINAL GET TO THESE ITEMS OF VALUE?
As long as your valuable possessions are in your home, there’s always a threat they could be stolen. Are they most accessible through the front door, a backyard window or a faulty garage door? “As cyber professionals, it is our job to look at where there are points of entry in the system, whether they’re being used to take your information today or how those entry points might be compromised in the future.”

 

DECOMPOSE-WHAT ARE THE MECHANICS OF THE ATTACK
If you know someone is most likely to go through the front door, what type of lock would you put on the door – what brand, what materials? How effective is its performance against the types of attacks you expect? “Understanding what can be compromised, even if it hasn’t been, leads to more informed decisions,” Muckin said.

 

DETERMINE (AND RANK) WHO IS MOST LIKELY TO ATTACK AND WHAT METHODS THEY MIGHT USE
Is it a burglar while you are on vacation? Someone impersonating a utility worker? Are they going to pick the lock on your door? Disable your alarm system? Attempt to break your windows? Once they are inside, do you have a safe? Is it hidden and bolted? “In cybersecurity, these are known as ‘threat actors’ and ‘attack vectors,’” Muckin said. “If you understand how these elements function in an attack, you can deploy the proper controls to prevent them.”

 

DEPLOY YOUR PROTECTIVE PLAN
In cyber, people focus on a single control – like a great lock for their front door – when they are leaving the window wide open next to it. You also need to consider a robust alarm system, whether the police are still called if it’s tampered with or disabled or how the cameras and sensors are positioned to provide maximum detection and visibility. “You have to not just design and build the system to be hardened and protected, you have to be able to operate during an intrusion and have the ability to trace and reconstruct how the intrusion occurred,” Muckin said. “Even if the intrusion failed, you can learn from how it was attempted.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FINALLY, UPDATE YOUR POSTURE BASED ON LESSONS LEARNED
If the break-in was attempted through the window, how can the windows be improved to prevent a similar attack? Did the alarm system recordings provide any further information? “Constantly evolving protection and defense mechanisms is a critical role in any cyber security practice,” Muckin said, “but you have to know where and how to make those corrections.