Light Reading

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        ADD A COMMENT
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
The Swedish vendor has undergone a significant transformation during the past few years, adjusting to the demands of next-generation communications companies.
LRTV Documentaries
LTE Paves the Way for the 5G Revolution

4|20|15   |   4:20   |   (0) comments


Håkan Andersson, head of 5G product strategy of the Radio Business Unit at Ericsson, discusses the role of LTE, the US and other industry verticals in building a true 5G ecosystem.
LRTV Documentaries
The 3GPP's Road to 5G Standardization

4|17|15   |   4:43   |   (0) comments


Satoshi Nagata, chairman of the 3GPP's TSG-RAN group and a manager at NTT Docomo, explains the standardization process for 5G, as well as the biggest challenges and opportunities.
LRTV Documentaries
AlcaLu CTO Makes the Case for a New 5G Air Interface

4|16|15   |   3:54   |   (0) comments


Michael Peeters, CTO of wireless at Alcatel-Lucent, explains why 5G will require a new air interface to meet its diverse performance targets.
LRTV Documentaries
AlcaLu + Nokia: The New Uber-Vendor

4|15|15   |   2:42   |   (4) comments


Heavy Reading Senior Analyst Gabriel Brown discusses the technological and competitive opportunities and challenges if a merger between Alcatel-Lucent and Nokia comes to pass.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei's Data Center Power Play

4|15|15   |   6:22   |   (0) comments


Huawei has developed industry-leading energy efficiency capabilities for its indoor and outdoor data center solutions, explains Dr. Fang Liangzhou, vice president of Huawei's Network Energy product Line.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei’s Routers, Switches Get the Green Mark

4|15|15   |   2:02   |   (0) comments


TUV Rheinland's Frank Dudley explains how Huawei's routers and switches have been successfully tested by energy efficiency experts and have gained Green Mark Certification.
LRTV Documentaries
A Finn, a Frenchman & a Guy From New Jersey Walk Into a Merger...

4|15|15   |   3:17   |   (0) comments


Stop us if you've heard this one before... Light Reading CEO Founder & CEO Steve Saunders weighs in on the technical and cultural implications of a Nokia and Alcatel-Lucent merger.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Accounting for Better Solutions

4|10|15   |   02:31   |   (1) comment


Murad Yousuf, CTO at Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Finance (Dept. of Zakat & Income Tax), talks about the benefits of deploying router technology from Huawei.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
What's in Store for Huawei & DataCore?

4|10|15   |   05:44   |   (0) comments


At the CeBIT trade show in Hannover, Germany, George Teixeira, CEO of software-defined storage (SDS) specialist DataCore Software, explains why he has just signed a partnership agreement with Huawei Technologies.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Du Puts Its Faith in Huawei's Routers

4|9|15   |   3:42   |   (0) comments


Adnan Masood, director of Enterprise MS Solutions Marketing at du, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) operator also known as Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company, explains why his company chose to use Huawei's multifunctional AR routers as part of its managed enterprise services.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei Gets Active in the Data Center

4|9|15   |   3:17   |   (0) comments


With enterprise users looking to maximize the use of their data center assets, Huawei’s Chief Architect & Technical Director of IT Data Center Solutions, Bruce Su, explains how the company's six-layer active-active data center solution is eradicating the need to deploy passive, redundant data center assets.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Blue Consult & Huawei for a Better Solution

4|8|15   |   4:01   |   (0) comments


Martin Rott, CEO, and Marc Metzler, head of sales virtualization, from Germany's Blue Consult discuss their collaboration with Huawei and TrendMicro to develop a secure, scalable IT platform that can meet the needs of the most demanding enterprise users.
Upcoming Live Events
May 5, 2015, Hyatt McCormick Place, Chicago, IL
May 6, 2015, Georgia World Congress, Atlanta, GA
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
June 10, 2015, Chicago, IL
September 29-30, 2015, The Westin Grand Müchen, Munich, Germany
November 11-12, 2015, The Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Network Instruments, a JDSU division, shares results from its 2015 State of the Network, a global survey on security.
Hot Topics
Verizon Scores New OTT Content Deals
Mari Silbey, Independent Technology Editor, 4/16/2015
What if the Comcast Merger Fails?
Mari Silbey, Independent Technology Editor, 4/20/2015
Nokia & Alcatel-Lucent: What's Going On?
Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-chief, 4/15/2015
Nokia + AlcaLu: What the Analysts Say
Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-chief, 4/14/2015
Huawei P8 Launch: Cue Applause!
Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-chief, 4/16/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Data Center Interconnect, or DCI, is one of the hottest sectors in telecom currently. Since coming back to Light Reading last year, prodigal-son style, I've ...
LR CEO and Founder Steve Saunders sits down with the head of Qosmos to talk about the changing state of the art in deep packet inspection technology, including its role in SDN and NFV architectures.