As I was reading this article describing examples of certain healthcare practitioners using data mining and analytics of patients’ lifestyles (e.g. foods they eat, activity levels, where they live, etc.) to help predict their risk factor for ailments, I started to draw a parallel to the state of the network. I was thinking about how security analytics of a network may help predict the onset of a data breach. The common goal in both cases, human and network, is to maintain a certain level of health – call it an “equilibrium” state, one that doesn’t require immediate intervention or repair.
Inspired by the table shared in the article describing what certain collected data about a patient could indicate about his/her health habits, I came up with a table containing types of network state related which could be indicators for a potential data exploit/breach.
State of Network
Weak password for an online account
This could allow a hacker to uncover the password (by using automated tools), gain access to user data (name, address, phone #, bank account/credit card data) and perform unauthorized transaction (e.g., purchase of product/service or withdrawal of money from bank account) on the user’s behalf.
Multiple unsuccessful attempts to search for usernames and passwords via Web browser exploitation techniques
This could result in a data breach.
Improper isolation of HR records, financial, medical, credit/debit card, or other PII data within Enterprise data center/private cloud network
This could inadvertently allow an insider (e.g. employee) access to the network for obtaining and selling data on black market for profit.
Excessive communication requests to a Web server or other resource, slowing it down considerably or rendering it unavailable
This could indicate someone is trying to gain access to the server for malicious intent.
No application layer protection at Enterprise edge
This could allow a hacker to launch an application-layer attack and access data for further exploitation.
Enterprise and service providers would benefit greatly from self-monitoring and constantly improving the health of networks, to minimize the possibility of a data breach.
In addition, humans themselves should be held accountable for security. For one, it is imperative that the IT security team is proactively monitoring the network security posture, carefully balancing access to certain network resources, applications and data with control over the same. In addition, trust plays a big role in maintaining security and privacy, so it is ultimately the responsibility of individuals (business owners and employees) to not exploit data for personal gain.