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
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Network Solutions Help the Philippines Jump Ahead

9|17|14   |   2:59   |   (0) comments


In the past, the Philippines has under-invested in technology. Now, the CEO of Softshell talks about how Huawei products help the Philippines jump ahead as the economy improves.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
VCS Observation for Safer Cities in the Netherlands

9|17|14   |   5:20   |   (0) comments


Holland's VCS Observation has been operating for 22 years. Its main goal is to get cities safer. CEO Wim van Deijzen tells us some of the challenges his company faces and how Huawei is helping to overcome these challenges.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
A Conversation With Serbia's Ministry of Interior

9|17|14   |   4:38   |   (0) comments


At HCC 2014, the Assistant Minister of the Ministry of Interior of the Republic of Serbia talks to us about his projects and corporation with Huawei. Solutions like Safe City and E-Government and services like cloud computing are just some of the areas his department is interested in.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
IHS Analyst Discusses eLTE at CCW 2014

9|10|14   |   7:09   |   (0) comments


Thomas Lynch, associate director of critical communications at IHS Technology, talks about broadband in critical communications.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
TCAA on Huawei eLTE: A Broadband Solution for Mission-Critical Communications

9|10|14   |   2:29   |   (0) comments


At CCW2014 in Singapore, the TCCA's Phil Kidner talks about the importance of broadband data for critical communications.
LRTV Custom TV
Spotlight on Cisco: SDN for Optical Networks

9|8|14   |   9:27   |   (0) comments


Cisco's Greg Nehib talks OpenFlow and more on the 'Software-Defined Networking for Optical Networks' panel at the Big Telecom Event in June 2014.
LRTV Custom TV
Cisco's Evolved Programmable Network (EPN)

9|8|14   |   4:05   |   (0) comments


A look at the various demos Cisco showed at Light Reading's Big Telecom Event highlighting Cisco's EPN innovation and how SDN and NFV technologies are enabling a variety of new services.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
The Future of Ultra-Broadband, With Kevin Kelly (UBBF2014)

9|5|14   |   1:13   |   (1) comment


If you think the technological changes we've seen up to now are astounding, just wait until you see what the future has in store. Discuss upcoming breakthroughs with Kevin Kelly, Founding Executive Editor of Wired Magazine, at the Huawei Ultra-Broadband Forum on September 24.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
The Inaugural Optical Innovation Forum in Nice

9|2|14   |     |   (0) comments


More than 170 attendees from network operators, service providers, analyst firms, and component companies from around the world convened in Nice in June for the inaugural Optical Innovation Forum, co-produced by Huawei and Light Reading.
Wagner’s Ring
Data Centers Drive Telcos Into the Future

8|28|14   |   2:20   |   (2) comments


Data centers are at the heart of key trends driving telecom -- network virtualization, the drive for increased agility, and the need to compete with OTT providers.
LRTV Custom TV
Why SPs Should Consider Cisco's EPN

8|27|14   |   5:40   |   (0) comments


Sultan Dawood from Cisco discusses Cisco's EPN, which enables SPs to build agile and programmable networks delivering new network virtualized services using Cisco's Evolved Services Platform (ESP).
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei’s Showcase @ Big Telecom Event 2014

8|26|14   |   2.56   |   (0) comments


SoftCOM is Huawei's framework for telecom business and network transformation. Haofei Liu, Solution Marketing Manager, Carrier Business Group, Huawei, showcases Huawei's SoftCOM architecture in this video.
Upcoming Live Events!!
September 23, 2014, Denver, CO
October 29, 2014, New York City
November 6, 2014, Santa Clara
November 11, 2014, Atlanta, GA
December 2, 2014, New York City
December 3, 2014, New York City
December 9-10, 2014, Reykjavik, Iceland
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
Infographics
A survey conducted by Vasona Networks suggests that 72% of mobile users expect good performance all the time, and they'll blame the network operator when it's not up to par.
Today's Cartoon
Vacation Special Caption Competition Click Here
Latest Comment
Hot Topics
Glimpsing the Self-Driving Car
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 9/12/2014
AT&T to Launch WiFi Calling in 2015
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 9/12/2014
AT&T: We'll Bundle Fixed Wireless & DirecTV
Mari Silbey, Independent Technology Editor, 9/15/2014
New NFV Forum Focused on Interoperability
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 9/16/2014
NFV & The Data Center: Top 10 Takeaways
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 9/18/2014
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed