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MY TAKE: GenAI revolution — the transformative power of ordinary people conversing with AI

By Byron V. Acohido

San Francisco, Calif. — The amazing digital services we have today wouldn’t have come to fruition without the leading technology and telecom giants investing heavily in R&D.

Related: GenAi empowers business

I had the chance to attend NTT Research’s Upgrade Reality 2024 conference here  last week to get a glimpse at some of what’s coming next.

My big takeaway: GenAI is hyper-accelerating advancements in upcoming digital systems – and current ones too. This is about to become very apparent as the software tools and services we’re familiar with become GenAI-enabled in the weeks and months ahead.

And by the same token, GenAI, or more specifically Large Language Model (LLM,) has added a turbo boost to the pet projects that R&D teams across the technology and telecom sectors have in the works.

The ramifications are staggering. The ability for any human to extract value from a large cache of data – using conversational language opens up a whole new universe of possibilities.

DEEP TECH NEWS: Respecting individual rights by using ‘privacy preserving aggregate statistics’

By Byron V. Acohido

To sell us more goods and services, the algorithms of Google, Facebook and Amazon exhaustively parse our digital footprints.

Related: The role of ‘attribute based encryption’

There’s nothing intrinsically wrong with companies seeking to better understand their customers. However, over the past 20 years the practice of analyzing user data hasn’t advanced much beyond serving the business models of these tech giants.

That could be about to change. Scientists at NTT Research are working on an advanced type of cryptography that enables businesses to perform aggregate data analysis on user data — without infringing upon individual privacy rights.

I had the chance to visit with , senior scientist at NTT Research’s Cryptography & Information Security (CIS) Lab, to learn more about the progress being made on a promising concept called “privacy preserving aggregate statistics.”

DEEP TECH NEWS: Sophos X-Ops advances threat intelligence sharing to the next level

By Byron V. Acohido

Threat intelligence sharing has come a long way since Valentine’s Day 2015.

Related: How ‘Internet Access Brokers’ fuel ransomware

I happened to be in the audience at Stanford University when President Obama took to the stage to issue an executive order challenging the corporate sector and federal government to start collaborating as true allies.

Obama’s clarion call led to the passage of the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act, the creation of Information Sharing and Analysis Organizations (ISAOs) and the jump-starting of several private-sector sharing consortiums.

Material progress in threat intel sharing, indeed, has been made. Yet, there remains much leeway for improvements. I had the chance to discuss this with Christopher Budd, director of Sophos X-Ops, the company’s cross-operational task force of security defenders.

Budd explained how Sophos X-Ops is designed to dismantle security silos internally, while also facilitating

DEEP TECH NEWS: How ‘attribute-based encryption’ preserves privacy at a fined-grained level

By Byron V. Acohido

The ubiquity of smart surveillance systems has contributed greatly to public safety.

Related: Monetizing data lakes

Image capture devices embedded far and wide in public spaces help deter crime as well as aid first responders — but they also stir rising concerns about an individual’s right to privacy.

Enter attribute-based encryption (ABE) an advanced type of cryptography that’s now ready for prime time. I’ve had several discussions with scientists who’ve led the development of ABE over the past two decades.

Most recently, I had the chance to visit with Takashi Goto, Vice President, Strategy, and Fang Wu, Consultant, at NTT Research. We discussed how ABE is ready to help resolve some rather sticky privacy issues stemming from widespread digital surveillance – and also do much more.

For a full drill down on this leading-edge form of agile cryptography, please view the accompanying videocast. Here are my takeaways.

DEEP TECH NEWS: All-powerful developers begin steering to the promise land of automated security

By Byron V. Acohido

Software developers have become the masters of the digital universe.

Related: GraphQL APIs pose new risks

Companies in the throes of digital transformation are in hot pursuit of agile software and this has elevated developers to the top of the food chain in computing.

There is an argument to be made that agility-minded developers, in fact, are in a terrific position to champion the rearchitecting of Enterprise security that’s sure to play out over the next few years — much more so than methodical, status-quo-minded security engineers.

With Black Hat USA 2021 reconvening in Las Vegas this week, I had a deep discussion about this with Himanshu Dwivedi, founder and chief executive officer, and Doug Dooley, chief operating officer, of Data Theorem, a Palo Alto, CA-based supplier of a SaaS security platform to help companies secure their APIs and modern applications.

For a full drill down on this evocative conversation discussion please view the accompanying video. Here are the highlights, edited for clarity and length:

LW:  Bad actors today are seeking out APIs that they can manipulate, and then they follow the data flow to a weakly protected asset. Can you frame how we got here?

Dwivedi: So 20 years ago, as a hacker, I’d go see where a company registered its IP. I’d do an ARIN Whois look-up. I’d profile their network and build an attack tree. Fast forward 20 years and everything is in the cloud. Everything is in Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud Platform or Microsoft Azure and I can’t tell where anything is hosted based solely on IP registration.

So as a hacker today, I’m no longer looking for a cross-site scripting issue of some website since I can only attack one person at a time with that. I’m looking at the client, which could be an IoT device, or a mobile app or a single page web app (SPA) or it could be an … more

DEEP TECH NEWS: The drivers behind the stark rise — and security implications — of ‘memory attacks’

By Byron V. Acohido

A distinctive class of hacking is rising to the fore and is being leveraged by threat actors to carry out deep, highly resilient intrusions of well-defended company networks.

Related: Memory hacking becomes a go-to tactic

These attacks are referred to in the security community as “fileless attacks” or “memory attacks.” The latter conveys a more precise picture: memory hacking refers to a broad set of practices, which can include fileless attacks, that constitute this go-deep form of network break-ins.

I had the chance at RSA 2019 to discuss memory hacking with Willy Leichter, vice president of marketing, and Shauntinez Jakab, director of product marketing, at Virsec, a San Jose-based supplier of advanced application security and memory protection technologies.

They walked me through how threat actors are cleverly slipping snippets of malicious code past perimeter defenses and then executing their payloads  – undetected while applications are live, running in process memory.

For a long time, memory hacking was the exclusive province of nation-state backed operatives. But over the past couple of years, memory attacks have come into regular use by common cybercriminals. Garden-variety threat actors are now leveraging memory hacking tools and techniques to gain footholds, move laterally and achieve persistence deep inside well-defended networks.

For a comprehensive drill down, please view the accompanying YouTube video of my full interview with Leichter and Jakab at RSA 2019’s broadcast alley. Here are excerpts, edited for clarity and length:

LW: Can you frame this new class of hacking?