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Steps forward


GUEST ESSAY: ‘Continuous authentication’ is driving passwordless sessions into the mainstream

By Nima Schei

Much more effective authentication is needed to help protect our digital environment – and make user sessions smoother and much more secure.

Related: Why FIDO champions passwordless systems

Consider that some 80 percent of hacking-related breaches occur because of weak or reused passwords, and that over 90 percent of consumers continue to re-use their intrinsically weak passwords.

Underscoring this trend,  Uber was recently hacked — through its authentication system. Let’s be clear, users want a better authentication experience, one that is more secure, accurate and easier to use.

The best possible answer is coming from biometrics-based passwordless, continuous authentication.

Gaining traction

Passwordless, continuous authentication is on track to become the dominant authentication mechanism in one to two years.

Continuous authentication is a means to verify and validate user identity —  not just once, but nonstop throughout an entire online session.

GUEST ESSAY: What ‘self-sovereign-identities’ are all about — and how SSIs can foster public good

By Piyush Bhatnagar

Government assistance can be essential to individual wellbeing and economic stability. This was clear during the COVID-19 pandemic, when governments issued trillions of dollars in economic relief.

Related: Fido champions passwordless authentication

Applying for benefits can be arduous, not least because agencies need to validate applicant identity and personal identifiable information (PII). That often involves complex forms that demand applicants gather documentation and require case workers to spend weeks verifying data. The process is slow, costly, and frustrating.

It’s also ripe for fraud. As one example, the Justice Department recently charged 48 suspects in Minnesota with fraudulently receiving $240 million in pandemic aid.

The good news is that an innovative technology promises to transform identity validation is capturing the attention of government and other sectors. Self-sovereign identity (SSI) leverages distributed ledgers to verify identity and PII – quickly, conveniently, and securely.

Individual validation

Any time a resident applies for a government benefit, license, or permit, they must prove who they are and provide PII such as date of birth, place of residence, income, bank account information, and so on. The agency manually verifies the data and stores it in a government database.

MY TAKE: Can Matter 1.0 springboard us from truly smart homes to the Internet of Everything?

By Byron V. Acohido

Ever feel like your smart home has dyslexia?

Siri and Alexa are terrific at gaining intelligence with each additional voice command. And yet what these virtual assistants are starkly missing is interoperability.

Related: Why standards are so vital

Matter 1.0 is about to change that. This new home automation connectivity standard rolls out this holiday season with sky high expectations. The technology industry hopes that Matter arises as the  lingua franca for the Internet of Things.

Matter certified smart home devices will respond reliably and securely to commands from Amazon AlexaGoogle Assistant,  Apple HomeKit or Samsung SmartThings. Think of it: consumers will be able to control any Matter appliance with any iOS or Android device.

That’s just to start. Backed by a who’s who list of tech giants, Matter is designed to take us far beyond the confines of our smart dwellings. It could be the key that securely interconnects IoT systems at a much deeper level, which, in turn, would pave the way to much higher tiers of digital innovation.

I had the chance to sit down, once more, with Mike Nelson, DigiCert’s vice president of IoT security, to discuss the wider significance of this milestone standard.

GUEST ESSAY: How humans and machines can be melded to thwart email-borne targeted attacks

By Lomy Ovadia

Phishing emails continue to plague organizations and their users.

Related: Botnets accelerate business-logic hacking

No matter how many staff training sessions and security tools IT throws at the phishing problem, a certain percentage of users continues to click on their malicious links and attachments or approve their bogus payment requests.

A case in point: With business losses totaling a staggering $2.4 billion, Business Email Compromise (BEC), was the most financially damaging Internet crime for the seventh year in a row, according to the FBI’s 2022 Internet Crime Report.

BEC uses phishing to trick users into approving bogus business payments to attackers’ accounts. BEC succeeds despite years of training users to recognize and address BEC emails properly and next-generation tools that harness AI,

GUEST ESSAY: A roadmap to achieve a better balance of network security and performance

By Sashi Jeyaretnam

Here’s a frustrating reality about securing an enterprise network: the more closely you inspect network traffic, the more it deteriorates the user experience.

Related: Taking a risk-assessment approach to vulnerabilities

Slow down application performance a little, and you’ve got frustrated users. Slow it down a lot, and most likely, whichever knob you just turned gets quickly turned back again—potentially leaving your business exposed.

It’s a delicate balance. But there’s something you can do to get better at striking it: build that balance into your network testing and policy management.

Navigating threats

Why do so many businesses struggle to balance network security and user experience? Because recent trends create new challenges on both sides of the equation. Trends like:

•More distributed users and applications. Even before COVID, enterprises saw huge increases in people working outside the traditional corporate firewall. Today, users could be working anywhere, accessing applications and data from any number of potential vulnerable public and private clouds. It adds up to a much larger potential attack surface.

GUEST ESSAY: Sure steps to achieve a robust employee cybersecurity awareness training regimen

By Idrees Shafiq

Employee security awareness is the most important defense against data breaches.

Related: Leveraging security standards to protect your company

It involves regularly changing passwords and inventorying sensitive data. Cybercriminals view employees as a path of least resistance. As such, you should limit the amount of information that employees have access to.

There are several ways you can protect your business from data breaches.

•Create security awareness for employees. One of the most important ways to protect against data breaches is to increase employee security awareness. Employees are the first line of defense against cybercrime and should understand how to recognize phishing emails and what to do if they suspect them. With proper training, employees can prevent these attacks before they happen.

While the protection of the company’s assets can never be completely guaranteed, security awareness training should be a top priority for business owners. Without it, a business is vulnerable to a variety of risks, including financial loss, damage to intellectual property, and brand reputation.

MY TAKE: Why the Matter smart home standard portends the coming of the Internet of Everything

By Byron V. Acohido

Standards. Where would we be without them?

Universally accepted protocols give us confidence that our buildings, utilities, vehicles, food and medicines are uniformly safe and trustworthy. At this moment, we’re in dire need of implementing standards designed to make digital services as private and secure as they need to be.

Related: How matter addresses vulnerabilities of smart home devices

A breakthrough is about to happen with the roll out this fall of Matter, a new home automation connectivity standard backed by Amazon, Apple, Google, Comcast and others.

Matter is intended to be the lingua franca for the Internet of Things. It’s only a first step and there’s a long way to go. That said, Matter is an important stake in the ground. To get a full grasp on why Matter matters, I recently visited with Steve Hanna, distinguished engineer at Infineon Technologies, a global semiconductor manufacturer based in Neubiberg, Germany.

For a full drill down on our evocative discussion, please watch the accompanying videocast. Here are the main takeaways: