Invited Speaker: Roberto Di Pietro
Talk title: The future of security – a Bell Labs perspective.
Our way of life, including business and life safety, is more and more relying on the capacity of accessing, processing, and taking decisions based on digital information.
Two major phenomena witness this ever increasing dependence: The per capita volume of generated and stored data — that has been growing and will continue to grow at a staggering rate —; and, the reliance on seamless infinite computing capabilities — both phenomena being magnified by the cloud computing ongoing high tide.
In such a scenario, threats that affect the availability of data and services can have dire consequences on our daily life. Moreover, while on the one hand “typical” attacks like distributed denial of service (DDoS) and phishing are less effective, on the other hand we are experiencing an increasing degree of sophistication of attacks. For instance, think of the Advanced Persistent Threat (APT) attack: a carefully crafted phishing attack to gain credentials that are used as part of a subsequent attack. The APT aims at compromising specific high-value information and, the perpetrators are usually well-financed criminal, hacktivists, corporate competitors, and even governments.
To counter these and other threats, there are currently some effective tools. For instance, there is an increasing use of end-to- end encryption, in an attempt to protect the security of user data in transit between two points. Perversely, this also makes it difficult for security tools to effectively monitor networks for evidence of infiltration and compromised devices. In the future, we will need approaches that allow users to provide multiple levels of encryption and permit limited access of information by explicitly agreed-upon, trusted parties. However, these tools alone (such as antivirus and firewalls) are showing severe limitations. We do need a comprehensive end-to- end security architecture that implements holistic defense in depth principles — from endpoints (device and server) to virtualized network functions.
In conclusion, despite the evident current difficulties in providing an adequate level of security to both data and systems it is worth noting that, in this arms race, the strategic outlook is positive. In an « us versus them » world, there are simply more of « us » (those trying to protect data) than there are of « them » (those trying to steal it). Indeed, by employing massively scalable stream analytics in the edge cloud to detect the presence of attackers, by intensifying widespread sharing of this information among cloud and network providers, and by adopting advanced techniques (like introspection, biometry based access, evolved SIEM, and post-quantum crypto solutions, to name a few) we will be able to provide an adequate level of security to our digital assets, so as to enable « Expanding the human possibilities of technology ».
Invited Speaker: Zonghua Zhang
Talk title: Cost-Benefit Analysis of Software-Defined Networking (SDN): a Security Perspective.
Software Defined- Networking (SDN) has recently emerged as one of the novel networking paradigms, showing significant potential to improve network management. But its further development and widespread deployment are still heavily impeded by lots of non-trivial security concerns that remain to be clarified. On the one hand, SDN has the potential to fundamentally reshape the landscape of today’s cyber defense mechanisms thanks to its centralized management interface, global network visibility, and programmability. On the other hand, a large set of zero-day vulnerabilities and novel threats, especially the ones targeting at SDN controllers, could be introduced. The purpose of this talk is therefore two-fold: (1) to share our experiences on developing SDN-based security mechanisms, demonstrating how SDN can help to improve security management and build autonomic defense mechanisms; (2) to provide our analysis of security threats of SDN, further identify the essential attack vectors, and propose effective countermeasures.