Light Reading
New cyber threats are coming, but technology alone is not the answer.

AT&T's Amoroso: To Battle New Threats, Mobilize Your People

Dan Jones
9/5/2014
50%
50%

Your biggest online concern these days might be those embarrassing nude selfies suddenly appearing on the web, but AT&T Chief Security Officer (CSO) Ed Amoroso is here to tell you that there are far worse things lurking in cyberspace.

Amoroso highlighted one of the key security areas that CSOs should be concerned about as a new wave of advanced persistent threats (APT) loom, and they're aiming to do more than just swipe thousands (or millions) of credit card numbers.

"The next step is probably terrorists trying to destroy critical infrastructure," he told Light Reading over breakfast Wednesday morning, "with the emphasis on destructive," he added, as he demolished a "broken yolk sandwich" (which looked a lot better than the name suggests).

Amoroso doesn't seem like a man given to idle fear-mongering, despite his job title. In fact, he's one of the more informative and jovial speakers you're likely to see on the often sawdust-dry tech conference circuit. (See AT&T's Ed Amoroso on Mobile Security for proof of how entertaining he can be.)

An advanced persistent threat is one organized by a specific group, sometimes using multiple methods, to break into a particular target. Recent examples would include data breaches at Home Depot and Target.

Amoroso says the APT pattern started with nation states and the military, moved on to criminal gangs, and is shifting to terrorist groups. "The one thing you won't be able to rationalize is the destructive stuff," he suggested in his keynote at the AT&T Cyber Security conference in New York City Thursday.

This is not, of course, an unknown concept. Former US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has long warned of a "cyber Pearl Harbor." Even if the idea of what constitutes cyber terrorism is still somewhat cloudy, the broad idea is that groups could attack critical communications, energy and water networks and cause damage and wide-scale disruption.


Need to know more about mobile network security? Then check out the agenda for Mobile Network Security Strategies 2014, December 3 at the Westin Times Square, New York City.


Where Amoroso may differ is that he isn't suggesting that there is a pure technological solution to widespread security problems. The basic thrust of his keynote Thursday was: Be safer by training your employees not to do dumb stuff.

Advanced firewalls and network appliances are useful tools but people are the weakest link in the chain, he suggested. "All the times I've been hacked in my career, it was because of something that was off my radar," he said at the keynote, adding that systems are just too complicated to be 100% secure.

The focus cannot just be on technology, he suggested: People also have to be involved. Which, in the corporate environment, means pumping up the security awareness team.

"We've kind of punted on that before," he told Light Reading Wednesday. "A typical awareness document will put you to sleep."

In AT&T's case, the new approach meant using video to show employees what not to do. The funny, cutesy videos that Amoroso showed at the Thursday keynote targeted phishing attacks. They emphasized that people should not open attachments from suspicious senders, that they should run their mouse over URL links to see where they actually lead, and be very careful about information shared on social media.

AT&T has been working on this during the past six months. The amount of employees now not clicking on the faux phishing email tests that the security office sends out suggests that awareness about phishing attacks is up by 54%.

"Making the video doesn't have to be expensive," Amoroso said. The animated AT&T videos were made in-house: Firms could even use interns from film school for great results, he suggested.

"They'll love it," he said.

For more insights from Amoroso, see:

— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading

(2)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Atlantis-dude
50%
50%
Atlantis-dude,
User Rank: Light Sabre
9/8/2014 | 1:08:35 PM
Ent or SP
Is he referring to AT&T the enterprise or the service-provider?
DanJones
50%
50%
DanJones,
User Rank: Blogger
9/5/2014 | 2:44:51 PM
Breakfast
I had sliced grapefruit BTW
Flash Poll
From The Founder
It's clear to me that the communications industry is divided into two types of people, and only one is living in the real world.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Dr. Dong Sun Talks About Carriers' Digital Transformation & Huawei’s Telco OS

1|29|15   |   6:28   |   (0) comments


Dr. Dong Sun, Chief Architect of Digital Transformation Solutions at Huawei, discusses how telecom operators can become digital ecosystem enablers and deliver optimal user experiences that are in real-time, on-demand, all-online, DIY and social (ROADS).
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei's Chief Network Architect Talks about Network Experience & Operators’ Strategies

1|29|15   |   3:39   |   (0) comments


In the digital age, network experience has become the primary productivity especially for telecom operators. In this video, Wenshuan Dang, Huawei’s Chief Network Architect, discusses how carriers can tackle the challenge of infrastructure complexity in order to enhance business agility and improve user experience.
LRTV Documentaries
The Rise of Virtual CPE

1|27|15   |   01:38   |   (5) comments


As NFV strategies evolve from tests and trials to production telco networks, expect to hear a lot about virtual CPE (customer premises equipment) rollouts during 2015.
LRTV Documentaries
Optical Is Hot in 2015

1|23|15   |   01:56   |   (2) comments


Optical comms technology underpins the whole communications sector and there are some really hot trends set for 2015.
LRTV Custom TV
Policy Control in the Fast Lane

1|22|15   |   2:57   |   (0) comments


What's making policy control strategic in 2015 and beyond? Amdocs talks with Heavy Reading's Graham Finnie about the key factors driving change in the data services landscape. Find out what his policy management research reveals about the road ahead for policy control – and sign up for
LRTV Documentaries
Highlights From the 2020 Vision Executive Summit

1|21|15   |   4:33   |   (2) comments


In December 2014, Light Reading brought together telecom executives in Reykjavik, Iceland to discuss their vision for high-capacity networks through the end of the decade. The intimate, interactive meeting was set against the backdrop of Iceland's spectacular natural beauty. As one of the event's founding sponsors, Cisco's Doug Webster shared his company's ...
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei Pay-TV Partner Harmonic, Helping Carriers Accelerate 4K Video Deployment with Huawei

1|20|15   |   5:42   |   (1) comment


At IBC, Peter Alexander, Senior Vice President & CMO at Harmonic, speaks about the growing interest in pay-TV service and its branching into multiple devices.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Sony Marketing Director Olivier Bovis Discusses the Outlook for 4K and Cooperation With Huawei at IBC 2014

1|20|15   |   6:50   |   (0) comments


At IBC, Olivier Bovis, Marketing Director of Sony, speaks about the coming of the 4K era.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei Pay-TV Partner Envivio, Helping Carriers Accelerate 4K Video Deployment

1|20|15   |   2:57   |   (0) comments


At IBC, Olivier Bovis, Marketing Director of Sony, speaks about the coming of the 4K era.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Pay-TV's Networked Future

1|20|15   |   6:29   |   (0) comments


At IBC, Jeff Heynen, Principal Analyst at Infonetics, speaks about the future of the pay-TV industry and its transition.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Jeff Heynen: Distributed Access Will Help MSOs Compete in the Future

1|20|15   |   2:26   |   (0) comments


At IBC, Jeff Heynen, Principal Analyst at Infonetics, speaks about moving to distributed access and the future trend of cable business.
LRTV Interviews
Cisco Talks Transformation

1|20|15   |   13:02   |   (0) comments


In December 2014, Steve Saunders sat down with Cisco VP of Products & Solutions Marketing Doug Webster at Light Reading's 2020 Vision executive summit in Reykjavik, Iceland. They spoke about Cisco's approach to network virtualization as well as how service providers can begin to monetize high-capacity networks through the end of the decade.
Upcoming Live Events
February 5, 2015, Washington, DC
February 19, 2015, The Fairmont San Jose, San Jose, CA
March 17, 2015, The Cable Center, Denver, CO
April 14, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City, NY
May 12, 2015, Grand Hyatt, Denver, CO
May 13-14, 2015, The Westin Peachtree, Atlanta, GA
June 8, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9, 2015, Chicago, IL
September 9-10, 2015, The Westin Galleria Dallas, Dallas, TX
September 29-30, 2015, The Westin Grand Müchen, Munich, Germany
November 11-12, 2015, The Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
December 1, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City
December 2-3, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City
Infographics
Hot Topics
Google Continues Gigabit Expansion
Jason Meyers, Senior Editor, Gigabit Cities/IoT, 1/27/2015
Comcast Apologizes to 'A**hole' Brown
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 1/29/2015
Cablevision's New WiFi Try – Freewheeling Enough?
Mari Silbey, Independent Technology Editor, 1/26/2015
Overture Builds on NFV Foundation
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 1/27/2015
Bumper iPhone Sales Boost Apple Profits
Iain Morris, News Editor, 1/28/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Weekly Executive Interview
Join us live for Light Reading's interview with Jay Samit, the newly appointed CEO of publicly traded SeaChange International Inc. With a resume that includes Sony, EMI, and Universal, Samit brings a reputation as an entrepreneur and a disruptor to his new role at the video solutions company. Hear what he has to say about the opportunities in video, as well as the outlook for cable, telco, OTT and mobile service providers.