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Tag Archives: cyber security

The Top Challenges for Network Engineers in 2015

In 2014, IT professionals faced myriad challenges on a number of fronts; unfortunately, these employees are unlikely to get a rest in 2015. The job of network engineer seems to grow more difficult each day, as these employees continue to see an increasing number of complex tasks land on their desks. Still, solutions do exist that can help lighten the load for these IT professionals. With that in mind, here’s a list of some of the high-priority obstacles engineers will face in the new year and the products that can help them meet those challenges:

Handling More Traffic on a Similar Budget

Worldwide IT spending is on the upswing as businesses across all sectors try to meet customer expectations. Still, global IT spending rose just 2.1 percent overall in 2014 according to Gartner, less than earlier predictions of 3.2 percent. At the same time, some analysts predict network traffic will double in 2015. So, although some IT engineers will see modest budget increases, they may not get enough money allocated to hire new personnel, meaning they will have to adopt or make better use of high-speed network monitoring solutions to handle increased traffic.

Ensuring QoS With Increased High-Bandwidth Traffic

Organizations are being forced to ramp up bandwidth to support more complex customer-facing applications and increased use of enterprise video, VoIP and other high-bandwidth internal traffic. This shift to network speeds of 10G or higher, however, can present a problem for engineers because it becomes more difficult to monitor traffic at those greater speeds. If engineers can’t see the network traffic, they can’t troubleshoot in real time, and network performance suffers both for employees and customers using the organization’s applications. As a result, network and application performance monitoring solutions will become critical to keeping systems running smoothly.

Dealing With Increasingly Frequent and Complex Security Threats                  

Unfortunately, 2014 was a banner year for hackers and a trying year for IT security and C-level executives. Businesses in a wide variety of sectors experienced malicious hacks and data breaches that had a profoundly negative impact on the infiltrated companies’ public image and fiscal health. Considering that hackers have successfully breached government agencies and large banks, the frequency of attack is likely to grow in 2015. Spending on cybersecurity is already rising, with the research firm MarketsandMarkets predicting the global market will reach $155.75 billion by 2017, up from $95.60 billion in 2014. As more businesses look to adopt high-quality cyberattack analysis and network forensics solutions, those numbers may grow even larger.

Will Your Engineer Be Ready?                                                                                               

Your network engineer is going to face some serious issues in 2015—that is not in doubt. What remains to be seen is whether that engineer will be able to handle these challenges, which will depend largely on the tools at your organization’s disposal. WildPackets offers a wide range of products and services that enable network engineers to do their jobs more efficiently with pin point accuracy.

Are you interested in learning more about network monitoring and analysis? Click here to visit our resource page and download one of our white papers.

The Worst Cyber Attacks and Data Breaches of 2014

Compiling a list of the most crippling cyber-attacks and data breaches of 2014 is a real eye-opener. Regardless of the size or industry, no business is completely immune from these vulnerabilities. As such, these criminal acts are important to publicize because they highlight a larger point about the importance of cyber security. In many ways, 2014 was the year that businesses—and the public at large—finally realized just how vulnerable they are to malicious attacks. Here are five incidents that opened eyes:

1.  JPMorgan

Hackers who perpetrated the cyber attack on JPMorgan compromised information from 76 million households and 7 million businesses. Although the financial services company says there is no evidence that personal account information or passwords were stolen, a New York Times report stated the hackers “drilled deep into the bank’s vast computer systems, reaching more than 90 servers.” This incident was particularly troubling because banks were previously considered relatively secure against hacks.

2.  Target

Although the Target data breach technically occurred during the 2013 holiday season, the company and its customers felt the ramifications well into this year. In fact, the incident eroded customers’ trust and hurt Target financially to the point that former CEO Gregg Steinhafel eventually resigned. Perhaps most disturbing about this attack was that Target received security alerts about the malware hackers were uploading into the system but ignored these notifications because they were difficult to verify.

3. eBay

The e-commerce giant was compromised sometime in February or March, as hackers were able to steal employee credentials and steal somewhere in the neighborhood of 145 million user passwords. Unfortunately the year only got worse from there, as the company was hacked again in September, this time so thoroughly that some links on the site actually directed users to spoof pages setup by criminals to look like eBay pages and trick customers into unwittingly handing over personal information.

4Home Depot

In what can only be termed an unmitigated disaster, the home improvement giant had malware running on its systems for five months before the problem was detected. Criminals made off with 56 million credit card numbers, gathering the information from self-checkout lanes at the store’s brick-and-mortar locations. In an effort to improve its public image, Home Depot offered free identity protection services for victims and is still trying to untangle all the details of the incident to get a clearer picture of what happened.

5. P.F. Chang’s China Bistro

The restaurant chain was compromised at 33 of its locations as hackers stole customer information from credit and debit cards. Amazingly, the intrusion went undetected from October of 2013 until June of this year before the Secret Service made the company aware that it had been breached.

Will 2015 Be Better?

Although hackers are always developing new techniques, businesses can drastically reduce the risk of an intrusion and make it easier to spot attacks as they happen by deploying network monitoring and cyber security solutions. For more information about how WildPackets helps protect organizations against criminals, download our white paper, “Real World Security Investigations With Network Forensics.”

State Department Latest Government Agency to Be Hacked

When retailers and restaurant chains were hacked, the public got angry. When financial institutions were invaded, the public worried. Now, as the list of organizations that have been breached grows to include government agencies, the public is starting to panic.

Shortly after news broke that the White House had its unclassified servers hacked, the State Department was forced to take the unprecedented step of shutting down its email in response to a cyber attack. The U.S. Postal Service, Office of Personnel Management, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and Healthcare.gov are all also victims of recent network intrusions.

Government agencies were once thought to have the most secure networks, but recent events have clearly placed that assumption in doubt. In fact, regardless of an organization’s mission or the industry it occupies, the network monitoring and cyber security solutions it utilizes are what determines whether it is vulnerable to or protected from malicious hackers.

No matter what industry you’re in, in light of the avalanche of hacking and data breach stories hitting the news recently, it would be wise to re-examine the security tools that you have in place today. Network Forensics is one tool that should be in your arsenal.  Security analysts and Network Engineers can use network forensics to analyze what tactics a hacker used to infiltrate the network, something particularly valuable today when cybercriminals are constantly coming up with new and more sophisticated ways to breach security.  To learn more about this topic, download our white paper entitled, “Why Your Enterprise Needs Security Attack Analysis.”