Why Cybersecurity Is the Cornerstone of Data as a Product (DaaP)

In today’s rapidly evolving digital landscape, the importance of data security cannot be overstated. We’re entering an era where data is not just a byproduct of business operations; it’s the lifeblood of success. This brings us to the concept of Data as a Product (DaaP), a strategic approach that’s reshaping how organizations perceive and leverage their data. In this journey, we’ll explore the profound role of data-level security in DaaP and how it can be the key to unlocking unprecedented advantages in the data-driven world.

Understanding Data as a Product

Data as a Product isn’t just a buzzword; it’s a transformative strategy for the way we handle and consider information. At its core, DaaP involves treating your data not merely as a supporting actor but as the star of the show. It means packaging, presenting, and delivering your data as if it were a product on the market. 

The motivation behind this shift is clear: Data, when managed and secured correctly, has the potential to generate immense value. More organizations are adopting DaaP to monetize their data assets, enable data-driven decision-making, and gain a competitive edge in their industries. 

Viewing data as a product is gaining traction not only in the private sector but also among federal agencies. Increasingly, federal agencies are recognizing the power of DaaP to harness the data they generate and curate, enabling them to make data-driven decisions, unlock new insights, and enhance their overall effectiveness. 

These benefits for both federal organizations and private companies are undeniable, but they come with a caveat: the need for impeccable data security.

The Role of Data-Level Security in DaaP

Data-level security is the linchpin of a robust and effective DaaP strategy. While traditional security models have primarily relied on perimeter defenses like firewalls and encryption, they often fall short when it comes to safeguarding the core asset: the data itself. Imagine a castle with well-guarded gates but no protection for the treasures inside — this analogy mirrors the limitations of perimeter-focused approaches.

Data-level security takes a revolutionary approach by redefining the perimeter. Instead of concentrating solely on external threats, it recognizes that data can traverse beyond the traditional boundaries of an enterprise’s control. This means that your data can be anywhere — within your corporate network, stored in the cloud, or in transit to a partner site — and still remain shielded. By embedding security directly into the data, it becomes an active participant in its own defense, ensuring uninterrupted protection.

Eliminating Data Silos

Data silos have long been a headache for organizations, creating fragmented and disconnected repositories of information, each with its own set of security protocols. When considering Data as a Product, data must seamlessly flow across departments and partners, meaning these silos pose a significant challenge. However, data-level security brings much-needed order to this chaos.

By unifying and standardizing security across all data, regardless of its location or type, data-level security eliminates the inherent vulnerabilities of data silos. Whether you’re dealing with customer data in your CRM, financial records in your accounting software, or critical research information in cloud storage, this approach ensures a consistent and high level of secure data governance. It not only streamlines data management but also enhances security in a DaaP ecosystem where trust and reliability are paramount.

Simplified and Enhanced Security

Traditional security measures can often resemble an intricate maze constructed around your data — challenging to navigate, maintain, and secure. Data-level security flips this paradigm entirely. When your data is inherently safeguarded, it obviates the need for complex layers of defense.

In practice, this translates to streamlined security policies, reduced complexity, and substantial cost savings. Moreover, data-level protection provides unparalleled security by ensuring that only authorized individuals and systems can access and interact with your data. This level of security is especially critical in DaaP, where data is not only a product but also a trusted currency. With data-level security, consumer trust is bolstered and the integrity of data is maintained throughout its journey, whether it’s at rest or in transit.

Best Practices for Data-Level Security in DaaP

Efficiently implementing data-level security necessitates a methodical approach deeply rooted in cybersecurity principles. Commence with a thorough data audit, meticulously identifying and categorizing sensitive data. Subsequently, formulate explicit policies and access controls that harmonize with your DaaP objectives. 

It’s imperative that the data security solution you opt for is robust and can seamlessly integrate within your existing infrastructure. Vigilantly conduct periodic audits and surveillance of data access, promptly addressing any detected anomalies with an eye toward emerging threat vectors

Last but not least, enlighten your teams on the paramount significance of data-level security and cultivate a corporate ethos where data protection is intrinsic. These strategies will act as your guiding light on the path to a secure and prosperous DaaP strategy.

Embracing the Future of Secure Data Governance

The digital landscape is evolving, and data is at the center of it all. That’s why the road to success in the data-driven world of DaaP is paved with data-level security. It’s the foundation that eliminates data silos, simplifies security practices, and ensures that your data remains a trusted and valuable asset. 

As you embark on your DaaP journey, remember that the security of your data is non-negotiable. Implementing the right secure data governance strategy will not only protect your data but empower you to unlock the full potential of Data as a Product. 

As a leader in data-level security and self-protecting data technology, Sertainty knows that maintaining secure access to your files is the most valuable asset to your organization’s continued success. Our industry-leading Data Privacy Platform has pioneered data solutions that are intelligent and actionable, helping companies move forward with a proven and sustainable approach to their cybersecurity needs. 

As the digital landscape evolves and networks become more widely accessible, Sertainty is committed to providing self-protecting data solutions that adapt and grow to defend sensitive data. New threats to your data may be inevitable, but with Sertainty, privacy loss doesn’t have to be. 

How Advanced Cybersecurity Can Solve Data Silos

In the digital age, data reigns supreme. It’s the lifeblood of businesses, driving decisions, innovation, and growth. But lurking within many organizations is a problem that threatens to stifle progress and undermine security: data silos. These isolated data pockets hinder collaboration, breed inefficiency, and pose significant security risks. Traditional cybersecurity methods have struggled to address this issue effectively. 

This is not to say that organizations have to resign themselves to the compromises of data silos. Advanced cybersecurity solutions, particularly data-level security, provide an answer to the limitations of conventional approaches. In this article, we’ll take a look at how a data-level security approach can address data silos and enable fundamentally more secure, efficient data governance. 

Understanding Data Silos

In the intricate landscape of modern organizations, data silos represent a significant and often invisible challenge. These digital fortresses materialize when data is cordoned off into distinct systems, departments, or repositories, creating partitioned islands of information. This segregation erects formidable barriers that impede the flow, accessibility, and efficient utilization of data. 

The genesis of data silos can be traced to various sources. They often evolve organically, springing from disparate data collection systems, departmental specialization, or the use of incompatible software and technologies. Silos can also emerge as a result of organizational mergers and acquisitions, where different legacy systems stubbornly maintain their autonomy, further exacerbating the problem. 

The implications of data silos reverberate across both private businesses and government agencies. Firstly, they hamstring productivity and innovation. Imagine a scenario where a marketing team can’t readily access customer information from the sales department, or analysts are thwarted in their quest to merge data from multiple sources to form comprehensive, accurate results. The result is inefficiency, redundancy, and missed opportunities for data-driven insights. 

The Security Risks of Data Silos

In addition to hindering productivity, data silos pose a grave security risk. Typically, traditional cybersecurity measures invest heavily in perimeter defense — fortifying the outer walls of the organization’s networks. However, these defenses often neglect to safeguard data at its very core. Specifically, data trapped within silos is frequently inadequately protected, with inconsistent or subpar security protocols in place. This vulnerability makes data silos attractive targets for cybercriminals who seek to exploit these weak points for their own gain.

For government agencies, the stakes are equally high. Siloed data within governmental departments can lead to fragmented decision-making and hinder the efficient provision of public services. It can also hamper cross-agency collaboration, a crucial aspect of addressing complex challenges in today’s interconnected world.

Secure Data Governance and Data Silos

Data silos pose many complex challenges, but advanced data security measures can effectively address these issues. This vision is at the heart of self-protecting data, a revolutionary concept in the realm of data security. Unlike conventional cybersecurity methods, which rely heavily on perimeter defenses, self-protecting data takes a more dynamic and proactive approach. 

Self-protecting data is akin to having a sentient guardian for your information assets. It can assess who is trying to access it, from where, and under what circumstances. When faced with unusual or suspicious access attempts, it can take immediate protective actions, such as revoking access or initiating heightened security measures. This transformative capability not only ensures data security but also paves the way for the dismantling of data silos that have long hindered organizations’ productivity and growth. 

From the confines of your corporate network and secure storage clouds to the transitional periods in between partner sites, data security must not have any gaps, either at rest or in transit. This is where data-level security technology is revolutionizing the cybersecurity landscape. 

Unlike traditional security paradigms that construct fortress-like defenses around data, this framework adopts a radically different approach. It’s about embedding security directly into the data itself, making protection an inherent and inseparable part of the data. With true data-level security, your data remains unwaveringly safeguarded throughout its journey. These defenses transcend the confines of traditional cybersecurity, ensuring that data protection isn’t bound to specific locations or barriers. 

While data-level security is a pivotal piece of the puzzle, its true potential shines when it becomes part of a more extensive and holistic strategy — secure data governance. Data governance isn’t just about safeguarding data; it encompasses a comprehensive framework of policies, procedures, and controls that ensure data integrity, consistency, and responsible usage across the organization. 

Unlocking the Potential of Your Data

The advantages of implementing data-level security extend beyond the surface, profoundly impacting the way organizations manage, utilize, and secure their data. One of the paramount benefits is the dissolution of data silos, a transformation that can revolutionize an organization’s Data as a Product (DaaP) strategy. 

In a DaaP model, where data is treated as a valuable product to be packaged and delivered, the elimination of data silos is invaluable. Silos hinder productivity by creating barriers between different departments and data sources. With data-level security, these barriers are torn down. Imagine the marketing team seamlessly accessing customer data from the sales department, or analytics teams combining insights from various sources without friction. Data becomes fluid, promoting cross-functional collaboration and data-driven decision-making. 

The Impact of Enhanced Data Security

The advantages of dissolving data silos go beyond convenience. As we’ve already noted, eliminating silos is not just about streamlining operations but also safeguarding your most critical asset — your data. It’s about fortifying data against modern cyber threats. 

When data is scattered in silos, each silo operates as a separate security entity, often with varying levels of protection. This inconsistency leaves vulnerabilities that cybercriminals can exploit. Data-level security ensures that every piece of data, regardless of where it’s stored, enjoys the same high level of protection. 

Empowering Your Data with Sertainty

In the ever-evolving digital landscape, data is not just a resource; it’s a strategic asset. The challenges posed by data silos are real, but with advanced cybersecurity solutions like Sertainty’s data-level security solutions, these barriers can be torn down. 

Sertainty’s data-level security seamlessly integrates with a broader approach to data governance. It isn’t just about protection; it’s about effective management and control of data assets. A cohesive data strategy doesn’t merely break down data silos; it obliterates them. It promotes transparency, enabling organizations to trace data’s journey and usage while ensuring that it adheres to predefined policies and regulations. 

Are you ready to transform your data from a passive resource into an active, secure, and valuable asset, aligned with the organization’s goals and objectives? Learn more about our array of leading cybersecurity tools

The Future of Data Security: AI, Self-Protecting Files, and Zero-Trust

In today’s digital landscape, the future of data security is at the forefront of every organization’s concerns. With the constant evolution of cyber threats and the increasing complexity of our interconnected world, traditional security measures are no longer enough to safeguard sensitive information. 

Today, we’ll delve into the changing nature of information security threats, the limitations of conventional cybersecurity methods, and how innovative solutions like self-protecting files and zero-trust network access are shaping the future of data security. Join us on this journey as we explore the path to a more secure digital future, where organizations can protect their data with confidence.

The Evolution of Data Security

From the earliest days of computer networks, information security primarily focused on building robust perimeter defenses. Firewalls, intrusion detection systems, and access control were the standard tools in the cybersecurity arsenal. However, as technology advanced, so did the strategies of cybercriminals. The rise of sophisticated cyber threats has exposed the inadequacies of traditional security models. 

Limitations of Traditional Security Measures

The limitations of traditional security measures are evident in their inability to adapt to the evolving threat landscape. These methods often rely on static rules and predefined patterns to detect anomalies, making it challenging to detect novel attack vectors. Organizations find themselves in a constant game of catch-up, struggling to defend against new, innovative cyber threats.

Most traditional cybersecurity methods lean heavily on perimeter-based security. While firewalls and intrusion detection systems create a barrier between an organization’s internal network and the outside world, this approach has its limitations. Cybercriminals often exploit vulnerabilities to infiltrate this perimeter, making perimeter-based defenses an incomplete solution. Legacy systems and password-based authentication methods have become especially easy targets for attackers, as outdated software and weak passwords can provide cybercriminals with an open door to an organization’s sensitive data.

Insider threats pose another significant challenge. Malicious or negligent employees can bypass perimeter defenses, leading to data breaches from within.

Zero-Trust: Redefining Network Security

Zero-trust network access is a fundamental shift in the way we approach network security. Unlike traditional models that trust users and devices within the network, a zero-trust approach demands rigorous proof of legitimacy.

Zero-trust emphasizes the continuous verification and authentication of all users and devices, regardless of their location. This approach ensures that trust is never assumed, and access is granted based on real-time data and context. As a result, organizations can effectively protect their networks from both external threats and insider risks.

The Evolving Regulatory Landscape

Recognizing the need for a paradigm shift in cybersecurity, the United States government has taken significant steps to enhance data security. The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) has introduced the “Zero-Trust Maturity Model,” a framework designed to help organizations transition to zero-trust security. This model emphasizes continuous verification and authentication, ensuring that trust is never assumed, even within the network perimeter.

Executive Order 14028, titled “Improving the Nation’s Cybersecurity,” reinforces the government’s commitment to strengthening national cybersecurity defenses. The order highlights the importance of modernizing cybersecurity defenses and underscores the significance of implementing zero-trust principles. By aligning with government initiatives, organizations can stay ahead of cyber threats and contribute to a more secure digital landscape.

The Future of Data Security

Amid the evolving threat landscape, a revolutionary concept has emerged — self-protecting files. These files are not your typical data containers. Instead, they are intelligent, dynamic entities that possess the ability to protect themselves and the data they hold. 

Self-protecting files utilize cutting-edge technology to embed security directly into the data itself. They can determine who is accessing the data, where, when, and under what circumstances. If any aspect of the access does not align with pre-defined policies, the file can instantly revoke access or take other protective actions. 

Self-Protecting Data vs. Traditional Security

The advantages of self-protecting files over traditional security methods are profound. With self-protecting files, data protection becomes intrinsic, eliminating the need for perimeter defenses to protect data at rest. They also offer enhanced privacy and control, as data owners can define precisely how their data is accessed and used. This level of granularity in data security is a game-changer for organizations across various industries.

Other Emerging Security Technologies

Another type of emerging technology leverages advanced AI-driven algorithms to proactively identify and neutralize potential threats. They excel at detecting vulnerabilities that often evade traditional security measures, making them a vital component in safeguarding sensitive data.

One common focus of these technologies is securing the “edge territory” of networks, an often-ignored critical area where cyber criminals can exploit weaknesses. By concentrating on fortifying this network segment, these emerging solutions provide an additional layer of defense that is instrumental in today’s complex digital ecosystem.

Furthermore, these technologies are increasingly integrating with other cutting-edge security solutions, such as Sertainty’s technology and its Digital IDs. This integration not only enhances their capabilities but also fosters collaboration in creating dynamic ecosystems where data is both protected and empowered.

These pioneering approaches are setting a new industry standard for data security, coupled with a data-centric orientation. In a world where data security is paramount, these collaborations exemplify the potential of combining AI-driven security technologies to provide comprehensive protection in the digital age.

While these may seem fundamentally different than zero-trust, Sertainty technology can play an integral role in these platforms as well. For example, GuardDog AI‘s AI-powered Protective Cloud Services (PCS) platform employs cutting-edge technology to constantly scan and analyze network traffic in concert with the Sertainty software developer toolkit

This integration brings a unique fusion of technologies. Sertainty, a global data security leader, is known for its Data Privacy Platform, which empowers data files to protect themselves using a zero-trust methodology. This approach prioritizes data-centric security, ensuring privacy and integrity even in situations where traditional security measures may fall short.

Truly Secure Data with Sertainty

The future of data security lies in innovative solutions like self-protecting files and zero-trust network access. With the changing nature of cybersecurity threats and the limitations of traditional security measures, organizations must adapt to stay secure. 

Sertainty technology bridges the gap between technologies shaping the future of data security (self-protecting files and zero-trust network access) with a software development kit that can be seamlessly integrated into a wide range of applications. As we navigate the digital future, the path to a more secure data environment becomes clear — a path paved with innovation, adaptability, and trust in the face of evolving threats. 

Explore Sertainty’s solutions and embark on this journey towards a safer digital world.

Mitigating and Responding to RDP Security Threats

Today, remote work has become the norm for many organizations, and the reliance on technologies like Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) has surged. As more organizations come to use RDP, the number of security risks associated with remote access has also increased exponentially. By overlooking the dangers of remote workflows, many organizations unknowingly expose themselves to numerous cybersecurity risks. For example, RDPs can be the perfect vehicle for deploying malware or targeted ransomware campaigns.

How Does RDP Work?

Remote Desktop Protocol, commonly known as RDP, serves as the digital bridge between a user’s device and a remote computer or server. It’s the technology that allows you to access and control another computer from a distance. Think of it as a virtual connection that simulates sitting in front of the remote computer.

To make this possible, RDP relies on a few key components:

  • Client: This is your device — the one you’re using to access the remote system.
  • Host: This is the remote computer or server you want to connect to.
  • RDP Protocol: The set of rules and procedures that govern the communication between the client and the host.
  • Remote Desktop Services (RDS): The host-side software that manages incoming RDP connections.

Why Is RDP Vital for Modern Businesses?

The modern work landscape has shifted. Remote work, once considered a perk, has become a necessity for businesses worldwide. RDP plays a pivotal role in enabling remote work. It allows employees to access company resources, collaborate on projects, and troubleshoot issues on remote servers, all from the comfort of their home offices.

Scalability and Efficiency

RDP doesn’t just facilitate remote work; it makes it efficient and scalable. Businesses can scale their operations seamlessly by adding or removing remote users. This allows organizations to adapt quickly to changing business needs without costly infrastructure changes.

What Are the Security Risks of RDP?

Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) is a versatile tool, but like any technology, it has its vulnerabilities. Cybercriminals are highly skilled at identifying and exploiting these weaknesses. Below, we’ll delve into some of the most prevalent security threats associated with RDP:

Brute Force Attacks

Brute force attacks are akin to a digital guessing game. Attackers methodically try numerous combinations of usernames and passwords until they stumble upon the correct one. Essentially, it’s a trial-and-error approach that relies on the probability that, eventually, they will guess the right credentials. While this methodology may sound inefficient, quantum-enabled tools have drastically increased the potential effectiveness of brute-force attacks. 

Social Engineering and Credential Theft

Cybercriminals employ various methods to pilfer login credentials. These include (but are by no means limited to): 

  • Phishing Attacks: Attackers send deceptive emails or messages designed to trick recipients into revealing their login information.
  • Keyloggers: Malicious software silently records keystrokes, capturing usernames and passwords as users type them.
  • Credential Harvesting from Past Data Breaches: If a user’s credentials are compromised in a separate data breach, cybercriminals may employ these stolen credentials to gain unauthorized access to RDP services.

Software Vulnerabilities

Like any software, RDP software can have vulnerabilities. These vulnerabilities may exist in the form of bugs, errors, or overlooked security gaps. Cybercriminals often target unpatched or outdated RDP software, as it may harbor known vulnerabilities that hackers can exploit to gain unauthorized access.

Case Study: The SamSam Ransomware Campaigns

RDP security threats aren’t just theoretical risks; they have real-world consequences. Take the SamSam ransomware attacks, for instance. While the initial incidents of this attack predate the remote work surge COVID-19 era, they vividly illustrate the tangible impact of RDP vulnerabilities, emphasizing the urgency of securing RDP access. 

The SamSam attacks focused on infecting internal networks to extract ransom payments from organizations that could not afford the time or risk it would take to recover their files without paying. Later analysis of the affected networks indicated that, among other means of gaining access, attackers had purchased stolen RDP credentials, which they used to grant themselves administrative access and plant the ransomware executable file. 

This malicious campaign resulted in significant financial losses, operational disruptions, and reputational damage to affected organizations. 

Responding to RDP Security Risks 

There are a number of standard methods used to reduce potential RDP vulnerabilities. First, using strong and unique passwords is essential to thwart potential attackers. Account lockout policies should also be implemented to counter brute force attacks, preventing unauthorized access attempts.

Keeping RDP software and systems up to date is equally vital, as it helps address known vulnerabilities. Furthermore, network segmentation can be employed to isolate RDP services from critical systems, effectively reducing the attack surface. 

Additionally, implementing multi-factor authentication (MFA) serves as a significant security enhancement. MFA requires users to provide multiple forms of identification before granting access, ensuring that even if an attacker possesses the password, they cannot access the system without the additional authentication factor.

The Role of Zero-Trust and Self-Protecting-Data

While the above methods are helpful, they fail to address the most fundamental weaknesses of network access tools like RDP. Traditionally, organizational data has been hidden behind firewalls and is left vulnerable to those already inside the system. However, Sertainty has redefined how information is protected to ensure data privacy even where firewalls and other security measures fail. 

Unlike conventional cybersecurity methods, zero-trust network access does not depend on networks and devices remaining secure. Rather than relying on security perimeters with the assumption that users within a system have the right to access its information, zero-trust security demands continuous verification. Meanwhile, Self-Protecting-Data capabilities enable files to protect themselves when faced with unauthorized access or even unauthorized actions from legitimate users.

These protocols support conventional perimeter security measures, turning firewalls into the first layer of defense rather than the sole source of protection for your files. This means that, in addition to enhancing your network access security, Self-Protecting-Data also prevents insiders from creating chaos.

Sertainty Data Security

Sertainty leverages proprietary processes through its UXP Technology that enable data to govern, track, and defend itself — whether in flight, in a developer’s sandbox, or in storage. These UXP Technology protocols mean that even if systems are compromised by AI tools or accessed from the inside, all data stored in them remains secure. 

At Sertainty, we know that the ability to maintain secure files is the most valuable asset to your organization’s continued success. Our industry-leading Data Privacy Platform has pioneered what it means for data to be intelligent and actionable, helping companies move forward with a proven and sustainable approach to their cybersecurity needs. 

As the digital landscape evolves and networks become more widely accessible, Sertainty is committed to providing self-protecting data solutions that evolve and grow to defend sensitive data. With the proliferation of vulnerable remote systems, security breaches may be inevitable, but with Sertainty, privacy loss doesn’t have to be.

Defense-In-Depth: The Future of Data Security

In a digital world brimming with cyber threats, adopting a “defense-in-depth” approach is a vital weapon in your arsenal against potential breaches and vulnerabilities. Rather than fixing security issues after the fact, defense-in-depth focuses on crafting technology with multiple layers of security included at each stage of development and implementation. This proactive approach has become imperative in the cybersecurity landscape, reshaping how we build and fortify our digital systems.

In this ever-evolving landscape, traditional perimeter-based security models often falter. Hackers exploit vulnerabilities, slipping through the gaps of systems designed to trust too much. While the idea of addressing security threats at the development level is not fundamentally new, the measures coded into many programs are themselves imperfect, leading to a false sense of security from users and developers alike. 

This is not to say that defense-in-depth has to be predicated on more layers of the same flawed technologies. On the contrary, reimagining this framework has led to revolutions within the cybersecurity world. 

Understanding the Value of the Defense-In-Depth Approach

At its heart, defense-in-depth embodies a philosophy where security is not an afterthought, but rather an integral part of the creation process. The core principles revolve around integrating security measures right from the inception of a technological solution. By baking security into every layer, from design to deployment, we create a robust and fortified environment to withstand potential threats.

Secure-by-Design Technology

Often, the far-reaching benefits of a combined defense-in-depth approach and DevSecOps lead to technology referred to as “secure by design.” As the name suggests, utilizing this approach entails considering security from the outset, minimizing vulnerabilities, and reducing the attack surface that malicious actors can exploit. This, in turn, leads to more resilient systems, enhancing the overall cybersecurity posture of organizations. Trustworthiness and reliability become hallmarks of the technology, inspiring user confidence.

Secure IoT Devices and Smart Systems

Secure-by-design technology does not have to refer exclusively to data storage solutions, either. This thinking can be applied to a wider variety of technologies, such as IoT devices and smart systems. While the potential vulnerabilities present in these systems are often overlooked, a true defense-in-depth approach accounts for all threat vectors, including seemingly innocuous peripheral technologies. 

Elements of a Defense-In-Depth Approach

Integrating security throughout the development lifecycle means that every step is taken with potential threats in mind. Secure coding practices ensure that vulnerabilities are not inadvertently introduced during the coding process

DevSecOps

In order to fully embrace a defense-in-depth system, security must be part of any discussion from the earliest stages of development. DevSecOps merges development, security, and operations into a unified approach. It emphasizes continuous security testing and collaboration throughout the software development lifecycle. DevSecOps is all about identifying vulnerabilities early and addressing them in real time, ensuring that security is not compromised while speeding up development.

Other Elements of Defense-In-Depth Security

As the development and implementation of security protocols progress, new layers are added at each step. For example, threat modeling identifies risks and guides decisions, while continuous security testing identifies and addresses weaknesses before they’re exploited.

Other elements commonly incorporated into a secure-by-design model include conventional perimeter security protocols and encryption safeguards. Perimeter security in a defense-in-depth system often entails more than simple passwords. More comprehensive verification methods can include a combination of elements, such as security questions, physical security keys, and biometrics. 

On the transit side, encryption safeguards sensitive data, both at rest and in transit, rendering it useless even if intercepted. Some seemingly secure transmission methods are erroneously considered to be an acceptable form of data security, but in reality, technologies like blockchain bring their own set of potential pitfalls — and should not be solely relied upon in place of a thorough defense-in-depth approach.

The Future of Secure-by-Design Technology

While all of the above elements are crucial aspects of defense-in-depth, each step still leaves gaps that can be exploited by knowledgeable, committed hackers. This is where zero-trust data security and self-protecting data solutions come into the picture. Rather than simply adding another layer of security, Sertainty self-protecting data technology introduces an entirely new type of data protection to a defense-in-depth framework. These technologies redefine data security, focusing on safeguarding data itself and ensuring its integrity in the face of ever-evolving threats

Unlike conventional security measures, zero-trust access protocols and data-level security solutions ensure that data remains protected from all sources, regardless of how files are accessed. This approach reshapes the data security landscape, ensuring that sensitive information remains under an impenetrable cloak, safeguarded against breaches and unauthorized access.

The essence of Sertainty’s zero-trust data security technology lies in its proactive stance. It does not merely shield the perimeter; it safeguards the very data at the core of your digital ecosystem. This technology empowers data with the ability to defend itself, rendering it useless if intercepted or tampered with. Whether data is at rest, in transit, or being processed, Sertainty UXP lets developers give data its own security, regardless of the environment.

This technology brings a paradigm shift in how we view data breaches. Rather than relying only on barriers to keep threats out, Sertainty UXP’s zero-trust data security technology empowers data files to monitor and protect themselves. Even if an attacker gains access, the protected data becomes an enigma, rendering their efforts fruitless. This also means that insider attacks, which are virtually impossible to mitigate, are a non-factor. 

Embrace Truly Secure-by-Design Technology Solutions with Sertainty

As a leader in self-protecting data, Sertainty leverages proprietary processes to ensure that even if systems are compromised or accessed from the inside, all data stored in them remains secure. 

At Sertainty, we know that the ability to maintain secure files is the most valuable asset to your organization’s continued success. Our industry-leading Data Privacy Platform has pioneered what it means for data to be intelligent and actionable, helping companies move forward with a proven and sustainable approach to their cybersecurity needs. 

In an era where cyber threats continue to morph and infiltrate, Sertainty zero-trust data security technology shines as a sentinel of data integrity. As we gaze into the horizon of secure-by-design technology, Sertainty is committed to providing self-protecting data solutions that evolve and grow to defend sensitive data. Cyber threats may continue to advance, and security perimeter breaches may be inevitable, but with Sertainty, privacy loss doesn’t have to be.

The Quantum Leap: Why Data-Level Security Is the Vanguard Against the Next Wave of Cybersecurity Threats

In the ever-evolving theater of cybersecurity, the proliferation of quantum computing presents a formidable challenge to our current defense-in-depth strategies. While conventional data security has traditionally provided a layered defense against intrusions, it is largely predicated on the computational limitations that quantum computers are expected to obliterate. The stark reality is that the standard security algorithms that guard much of our most sensitive data, today, could be effortlessly decrypted, tomorrow, using quantum machines. 

The solution to this looming tidal wave is not in fortifying the walls of our sandcastles, but in looking toward a new paradigm enshrining data security. Henceforth, despite the still-nascent nature of these risks, the technology required to address quantum security threats actually exist. True, whilst industry giants like Microsoft are only beginning to discuss the nature of these threats, the military, enterprises and leaders in cybersecurity are looking toward a data-level security approach such as exemplified by the Sertainty Self-Protecting Data technology. The novelty behind Self-protecting data encryption is that it allows each data file to become a cryptographically micro-perimeter and secure object that can defend itself, irrespective of the system it resides in. 

This type of self-protecting data that can resist quantum threats was recently discussed by my colleague Dr. Behzad Nadji in his whitepaper, “Quantum Computer Threats Against PKI Data Security and a Digital-ID Based Self-Protecting-Data Solution.” 

The similarity between quantum-enabled security threats and the recent surge in AI-enabled cybersecurity breaches perfectly illustrates how self-protecting data has the potential to address quantum threats. Like quantum encryption-breaking, machine learning algorithms can be commanded to simulate a“brute force” attack in which the sheer computational might foreseen in a quantum computer will break traditional cryptographic defenses in concert with AI algorithms that will identify the vulnerabilities that apply Shor’s Law. 

Likewise, generative AI’s rapidly growing capability to produce social engineering attacks — creating more sophisticated phishing attempts that can fool the most vigilant — is a precursor to the scale of disruption quantum computing will bring on the classical computing paradigm premised on Moore’s law. 

A data-level security approach addresses today’s Quantum Encryption and AI challenges by embedding a symmetrical – lattice-like protection scheme within the data itself. This implies that even if a quantum computer could process intercepted data, or an AI  fakes legitimate access of a user, the data will remain secure. The reason is that the Sertainty Self-Protecting Data mechanism requires authentication at the data layer, which is a significant departure from perimeter-based security models.

Thus, the data becomes its own sentinel, capable of making decisions about who can access it, when, and under what circumstances. This is akin to a biometric system that not only knows who you are but also understands the context of your request. If the context is inappropriate — say, during an AI-driven brute force attack or a quantum-decryption attempt — the data remains locked.

As we stand on the precipice of a quantum future, it is clear that a paradigm shift in our approach to cybersecurity is not just warranted but essential. The Sertainty approach to data-level security provides an archetype for the quantum age, ensuring that data can stand resilient against the foreseen formidable capabilities of quantum computers and AI-driven cyber threats. We must transition from defense-in-depth to data-in-depth, focusing on making the data itself an active participant in its defense. This is not merely a strategic choice; it is the cornerstone upon which the future of digital security must and will be built. 

About Amir Sernhell

Amir Sternhell, Chief Strategy Officer of Sertainty Corporation, has thirty years of experience in the Global IT and Corporate Learning Industries. Amir spearheads the strategic direction to set “Self-Protecting-Data” as a new global standard in the data protection space. He oversees Sertainty’s strategic thrusts and partnerships into Enterprises, Critical Infrastructure, and Defense.  

He has held senior positions whilst working for a leading IT company – close to two decades – that represented Harvard Business Publishing in the Latin American markets for fifteen years, whereby he became a Chief Learning Officer as well as a pioneer in the Corporate Learning world and was the first to deploy over fifty blended programs on Leadership, Innovation, and Creativity utilizing content from Harvard Business Publishing as means to generate ‘Leadership at every Level’. He was awarded the Most Valuable Distributor Award three times. 

Amir founded the first non-profit organization that assisted Israel’s burgeoning incubator system, later becoming the Vice Chairman of the American-Israel Chamber of Commerce and Industry, overseeing its High-Tech initiatives for two decades. Amir currently sits on multiple Advisory Boards and continues to help execute groundbreaking initiatives in the Tech Industry. He is a Keynote and Panelist at major industry and cybersecurity events. 

Beyond Defense-in-Depth: Why It’s Time to Embrace Data-Level Security

As we enter a new age of cybersecurity threats, our defense practices need more than a simple tactical change — we need a strategic evolution that promises to streamline cybersecurity, reduce costs, and enhance protection. That’s why shifting from a reactive, perimeter-focused defense-in-depth strategy to a more proactive, data-centric security approach is becoming a matter of necessity. 

Defense-in-depth has been the bedrock of our cybersecurity strategy for decades, providing a sophisticated, layered approach to security. However, this model is fundamentally reactive, and as time has progressed, it has become increasingly complex and siloed. Because the defense-in-depth model operates on the premise that breaches will occur at the outer layers, it demands multiple fallbacks. While each layer has its role, the complexity and isolation of these systems can create gaps that savvy attackers exploit — including both malicious and inadvertent risks from insiders, who represent an increasing threat vector today. 

However, if data itself is our central focus, it becomes both the perimeter and the endpoint, behaving as an active participant in its own defense. When adopting this model, security measures are embedded within the data itself, ensuring that it remains protected regardless of its location — whether within the corporate network, in the cloud, or in transit to a partner site. 

Envisioning data as the new perimeter means recognizing that data traverses beyond the traditional bounds of enterprise control. It makes its presence known in the cloud, across devices, and through various networks. By embedding security controls directly within the data, we create a dynamic, mobile perimeter that offers protection wherever the data resides or travels. This approach ensures continuous protection and addresses the critical pain points of the private sector, where agility and responsiveness to threats are paramount. 

Simultaneously, viewing data as the new endpoint emphasizes the need for protection at the point of use. Whether it’s personal information or intellectual property, the data endpoint is where the value — and the vulnerability — lies. By encrypting data, we ensure that even if it falls into the wrong hands, its confidentiality and integrity remain intact. 

Acknowledging this, it’s time to recognize the role of data-level security in the coming age. This data-centric methodology offers a more streamlined and efficient security process, significantly reducing the need for extensive security teams and layers of protection. This approach also translates to a direct impact on organizations’ bottom lines — not only saving on costs but also on personnel and complexity, as well as eliminating the data silos that a conventional defense-in-depth approach inadvertently creates. These benefits are especially vital when the current cybersecurity landscape is marked by drastic increases in security spending and a shortage of qualified personnel. 

As the world shifts toward adopting a data-as-a-product (DaaP) approach to information, securing this product is paramount. This perspective is not limited to data-centric businesses but is a universal value across all sectors. A data-centric security approach is not just about defense but also about empowerment. This transformation anticipates and preempts emerging threats, such as those enabled by machine learning, and, in the near future, quantum computing, constructing a more intelligent, data-first line of defense. 

The transition to a data-level security approach represents a strategic reorientation that can simplify, secure, and streamline corporate cybersecurity. It’s a shift that addresses the current landscape of threats and the evolving regulatory environment, recognizing data as the invaluable asset that it is. It’s time for cybersecurity leaders to align themselves with this shift, to not only defend but to empower data to protect itself and, by extension, the enterprises that depend on it. 

About the Author

Jeff Snyder is a senior Sertainty Advisory Board member and cybersecurity expert, boasting over twenty years of experience. His career is marked by significant Cyber contributions to both federal agencies and the private sector. He has been instrumental in the strategic acquisition and growth of over 20 companies in the cybersecurity industry. 

Additionally, Jeff is a sought-after speaker regarding a spectrum of pressing topics, from the

Understanding and Responding to Different Types of Social Engineering Threats

Social engineering is a deceptive and manipulative tactic used by cybercriminals to exploit human psychology and gain unauthorized access to sensitive information. In the current digital age, where personal and financial data is at risk, it is crucial to be aware of various social engineering threats and take steps to protect ourselves. 

Today, we’ll take an in-depth look at social engineering, explore some common types of social engineering attacks, and discuss solutions to protect your data from imposters. 

What Is Social Engineering?

At its core, social engineering is an art of deception. Instead of exploiting vulnerabilities in computer systems, social engineers manipulate individuals into divulging confidential information or performing actions that benefit the attacker. By preying on human psychology and trust, they gain access to personal, financial, or sensitive data. 

These types of threats can be particularly difficult to mitigate using traditional security systems because there is no “hole in the code” that can be patched to solve the issue. That’s not to say that there is no solution to social engineering attacks; rather, addressing them in a truly secure way requires a more holistic approach than simply increasing perimeter security. 

While they can vary greatly in tactics, most types of social engineering attacks have common goals. These typically involve gaining access to your systems in order to steal or tamper with valuable information, commit financial fraud, or compromise the security of individuals or organizations. 

Types of Social Engineering Threats

Before we discuss how to keep your data safe, it’s important to understand some of the types of social engineering attacks your data may face. While there is no end to the potential number of ways in which scammers can attempt to gain your confidence, the following are a few of the most common examples you may encounter. 

Phishing

Phishing is one of the most prevalent types of social engineering attacks. These attacks involve impersonating a trustworthy entity, such as a bank or a popular online service, to trick individuals into revealing sensitive information like usernames, passwords, or credit card details. Phishing attacks are typically carried out through emails, text messages, or fake websites designed to resemble legitimate ones.

Common phishing techniques include sending deceptive emails that mimic reputable organizations, creating fake login pages to steal login credentials, and using urgent or alarming language to prompt immediate action without stopping to assess the source of the message more thoroughly. 

Pretexting

Fundamentally similar to phishing, pretexting involves creating a false scenario to deceive individuals into sharing confidential information. The attacker creates a pretext to gain the target’s trust, often assuming a false identity to sell the narrative. They may pose as a co-worker, customer support representative, or contractor to manipulate victims into revealing sensitive data or performing actions that compromise security. 

Pretexting attacks often involve the scammer doing research and playing a slightly longer game to help them establish credibility. This allows them to leverage personal or emotional connections, and create a genuine sense of urgency. 

Baiting

Baiting attacks lure people into taking specific actions with an enticing or appealing offer. Unlike the previous two types of social engineering attacks, which primarily prey on fear, baiting exploits people’s natural curiosity or greed to trick individuals into compromising their security. 

Different forms of baiting attacks include leaving infected USB drives labeled as important files, offering free downloads of pirated software that contains malware, or enticing users with the promise of prizes or rewards in exchange for sensitive information. While this may seem somewhat far-fetched, research has shown that hardware-based baiting scams can be a particularly effective social engineering threat vector. 

Tailgating

Tailgating is an even more physical type of social engineering attack. Also known as piggybacking, these attacks involve an attacker gaining access to secure servers by physically following an authorized person through secured access points. This type of attack exploits the natural human tendency to hold the door open for others or be polite, allowing the attacker to gain unauthorized entry.

Tailgating attacks can occur in various settings, such as office buildings, data centers, or restricted areas. By blending in or exploiting moments of distraction, the attacker bypasses security measures and gains access to sensitive locations or systems.

Impersonation

A more in-depth alternative to tailgating is impersonation, where attackers assume the identity of legitimately authorized parties to gain access to your databases. Attackers may pose as employees, customers, and service providers in order to be let into places where they can then hack into your databases more easily.

Methods employed by impersonators can include using fake email addresses or phone numbers, manipulating caller IDs, or creating realistic social media profiles to establish credibility. 

Quid Pro Quo

Perhaps the most direct form of social engineering attacks, quid pro quo exploits involve an exchange of something valuable in return for sensitive information or access. Rather than tricking targets into unwittingly granting them access, attackers promise a benefit or favor in exchange for personal or confidential data. This type of social engineering attack often targets employees within organizations. 

Examples of quid pro quo schemes can include a scammer posing as an IT support technician offering free technical assistance in exchange for login credentials or an attacker promising a substantial discount or exclusive access to a service in return for sensitive financial information. 

Protecting Against Different Types of Social Engineering Threats

As we mentioned above, addressing social engineering threats requires a fundamentally different approach than other areas of cyber security. Increasing the strength of passwords or introducing measures to prevent software-based attacks such as cache poisoning is completely ineffective when hackers gain access to your databases using legitimate credentials. 

Contrary to popular belief, protecting your data from social engineering attacks also requires more than training. While employee training is a common step used to counter all types of social engineering scams, the human component often remains the weakest link in your security system. To this point, a 2022 study of different types of social engineering attacks concluded that “providing awareness against SE-based cyberattacks is not sufficient.” 

Zero Trust Data Security

The true key to solving all types of social engineering attacks is rethinking our entire approach to cybersecurity. Traditionally, the focus of digital privacy systems has been to keep outsiders from accessing the private networks and stores where data is hosted. While there will always be a place for maintaining this security perimeter, relying on this alone leaves all data within vulnerable to anyone who has already gained access to the servers or data files. 

This is where a Zero Trust framework for self-protecting data can be of the most use. Rather than simply trying to improve on perimeter measures, self-protecting data reimagines the entire approach to security. 

As the name implies, the goal of self-protecting data is not just to keep hackers out of your system but to create truly secure files. Instead of being left accessible to any “trusted” users, self-protecting files themselves are coded with the ability to recognize malicious activity and counter it immediately, regardless of who appears to be performing the action. 

Empower Your Data with Sertainty

Sertainty leverages proprietary and patent processes through its Data Privacy Platform and core technology that enable data to govern, track, and defend itself — whether in flight, in a developer’s sandbox, or in storage. These technology protocols mean that even if systems are compromised by AI tools or accessed from the inside, all data stored in them remains secure. 

At Sertainty, we know that the ability to maintain secure files is the most valuable asset to your organization’s continued success. Our industry-leading Data Privacy Platform has pioneered what it means for data to be intelligent and actionable, helping companies move forward with a proven and sustainable approach to their cybersecurity needs. 

As the digital landscape evolves and networks become more widely accessible, Sertainty is committed to providing self-protecting data solutions that evolve and grow to defend sensitive data. With the proliferation of human and AI threats, security breaches may be inevitable, but with Sertainty, privacy loss doesn’t have to be.

How Hackers Use Key Tracking to Access Your Private Data

In today’s digital world, data security is of paramount importance. More than ever before, companies must stay vigilant against constantly evolving cyber threats that can compromise sensitive information. Compared to AI-based threats that have only emerged in recent years, tactics like key tracking continue to fester without much success in curbing them. Recent attacks, including last year’s TikTok inquest, demonstrate that these threats are far from obsolete.

While key tracking attacks have seen a decrease in the media over the past decade, the threat is still very real. Contemporary data show that companies are still very much vulnerable to keystroke logging whilst facing newer, more direct attacks. Today, we’ll delve into the world of key log tracking, its potential dangers, and how to ensure that data remains secure, irrespective.

What Is Key Tracking?

Key tracking is a sophisticated technique used by hackers to gain unauthorized access to a computer or system by monitoring and recording keystrokes. Every time a person types on a keyboard, whether it’s entering passwords, sensitive data, or even simple messages, key tracking software records each keystroke and sends it to a server or device – as would a spyware virus, giving cybercriminals access to valuable information.

This technique is commonly associated with keyloggers, which can be hardware or software-based. Hardware keyloggers are physical devices connected between a keyboard and a computer, while software keyloggers are malicious programs that hide within the operating system, evading detection.

Many businesses invest in firewalls, antivirus software, and other security measures, believing their systems are impenetrable. However, employee credentials can be an easy entry point for cybercriminals. Similar to social engineering attacks, key tracking can bypass these defenses – entirely, leaving corporate files exposed to potential data breaches as if the threat came from the inside.

Types of Key Tracking Attacks

Keyloggers make up a significant cybersecurity concern that can be extracted in various forms, client connections, and shared logs. Some keyloggers use hypervisors to remain hidden under the operating system, while others operate at the kernel level, making them difficult to detect. Others can be integrated into hardware components or computer peripherals, acting as keyboard device drivers, accessing and recording all keyboard inputs before they reach the operating system.

Software-Based Keystroke Logging

All keylogging software has two primary components: a Dynamic Link Library (DLL) file and an executable file. The executable file installs and initiates the DDL, which can then begin tracking and recording keystrokes. The specifics, however, can vary significantly. 

API-based keyloggers are particularly tricky to detect since they hook into keyboard APIs – as if they were legitimate applications – and register keystrokes in a covert manner. Form grabbing-based keyloggers – malware that works by retrieving authorization and log-in credentials – target web form submissions whilst recording sensitive data before its transmission over the Internet.

JavaScript-based keyloggers infiltrate web pages through malicious script tags, waiting for key events to record. Memory-injection-based keyloggers, like the notorious Zeus and SpyEye trojans, manipulate memory tables to bypass security mechanisms and gain access to confidential information.

To establish remote communication, keyloggers upload data to websites, databases, or FTP servers. Some opt for periodic emails to predefined addresses, while others use wireless transmission through hardware systems. As obfuscation goes, some keyloggers enable remote logins, allowing unauthorized access to locally stored data on the target machine.

Hardware-Based Keystroke Logging

Hardware-based key tracking is a fundamentally different threat vector, but similar in its outcome. While firmware-based keyloggers can modify BIOS-level firmware to intercept keyboard events while remaining hidden, hardware keyloggers use physical circuits attached between the keyboard and computer or USB connectors to record keystrokes without the need for software installation, making them difficult to detect.

Threats from hardware-based key tracking are especially relevant today when working from home or with a demand for Bring-Your-Own-Device. What this means is that company computers are not necessarily safely locked in an office at all times, even when all corporate policies and rules must be adhered to in that place. 

Moreover, wireless keyboard and mouse sniffers passively collect wireless data packets, requiring decryption for access. This is inducing criminals to employ keyboard overlays on ATMs to capture PINs, appearing as integrated while deceptive to bank customers.

In addition, acoustic keyloggers use sound monitoring to identify keystrokes based on acoustic signatures, requiring a large sampling for accurate mapping. Electromagnetic emissions can also be captured from wired keyboards at a distance, and optical surveillance can be used to observe passwords and PINs via strategically placed cameras. 

Furthermore, physical evidence can be exploited when the keypad’s security code is known, reducing the possibility of a brute-force attack. Smartphone sensors, such as accelerometers, have been used to capture nearby keyboard keystrokes with high accuracy. The most advanced keyloggers will analyze body movements to determine pressed keys and audible signals to identify keystrokes in near real-time. There are methods of key tracking which provide hackers with a way into certain systems. 

Addressing Key Tracking Threats

To combat the threat of key tracking and ensure robust data security, companies need advanced solutions like Sertainty’s self-protecting data technology. Rather than rely on a series of firewalls and trust that those with access are legitimately allowed to be there, Zero Trust security gives data the ability to protect itself. 

Unlike conventional perimeter security, Sertainty data privacy technology empowers data itself to become an active defender against threats. By embedding intelligence directly into data files, self-protecting data can recognize and thwart malicious activities, even in the presence of key-tracking malware. This means that even if a hacker gains access to sensitive information, they will be unable to access or modify sensitive data. 

Truly Secure Data with Sertainty

As the digital landscape evolves, companies need to stay one step ahead of hackers by embracing innovative and proactive data protection strategies. With the right tools and the commitment to data security, businesses can maintain the trust of their customers and protect what matters most — their invaluable data. 

Sertainty leverages proprietary processes through its UXP Technology that enable data to govern, track, and defend itself — whether in flight, in a developer’s sandbox, or in storage. These UXP Technology protocols mean that even if systems are compromised by AI tools or accessed from the inside, all data stored in them remains secure. 

At Sertainty, we know that the ability to maintain secure files is the most valuable asset to your organization’s continued success. Our industry-leading Data Privacy Platform has pioneered what it means for data to be intelligent and actionable, helping companies move forward with a proven and sustainable approach to their cybersecurity needs. 

As the digital landscape evolves and networks become more widely accessible, Sertainty is committed to providing self-protecting data solutions that evolve and grow to defend sensitive data. With the proliferation of human and AI threats, security breaches may be inevitable, but with Sertainty, privacy loss doesn’t have to be.

Zero-Day Exploits: What They Are and How You Can Prepare

Zero-day exploits are among the most elusive and dangerous cyber threats in today’s digital landscape. These sophisticated attacks target undisclosed vulnerabilities, leaving organizations defenseless and scrambling for solutions. In this article, we will explore the world of zero-day exploits and their profound impact on data security. 

What Are Zero-Day Exploits?

Zero-day exploits refer to cyberattacks that take advantage of undisclosed software vulnerabilities. The term “zero-day” indicates that organizations and their developers have no time to prepare for these attacks, as the vulnerabilities are exploited before any patch or fix is available to the flaws. These exploits pose significant challenges to cybersecurity, as they leave victims defenseless against unseen threats.

Zero-day attacks emerged around 2006, due to the collaboration between the United States NSA and Israel’s 8200 Unit which berthed a 500Kb computer worm called Stuxnet. This worm featured a design and architecture that were not domain-specific and could be utilized for attacking modern SCADA and PLC systems. This made Stuxnet capable of infecting Iranian nuclear centrifuges that were enriching weapons-grade Uranium as part of its Nuclear program.

It was the first time that a Zero-Day cyber attack was used for military purposes. This opened the floodgates for competition in the cyber arena through en-masse weaponization of zero-day attacks as part of the military doctrine of China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea. Or, as an integral part of the Forward Defense activities of the US, UK, and Israel, to keep the cybersecurity arena from escalating further. 

Thereafter, the potential of zero-day exploits—whether by malicious organizations, nation-states and their proxies, or individual hackers—began to seep into the psyche and operations of the DoD and IT world. The threat of zero-day attacks have underlined the need to mitigate any software security vulnerabilities as soon as they are discovered. 

How Zero-Day Exploits Work

Zero-day exploits follow a well-defined technical process that malicious actors use to infiltrate systems. Attackers tirelessly search for undisclosed vulnerabilities, knowing that these are the keys to high-impact attacks. Once found, they skillfully exploit these weaknesses, gaining unauthorized access to systems, stealing sensitive data, or disrupting critical operations.

Identifying Zero-Day Vulnerabilities

Researchers and hackers use various methods to identify zero-day vulnerabilities. Vulnerability research involves analyzing software code to uncover potential weaknesses. Bug bounty programs encourage ethical hackers to report zero-day vulnerabilities in exchange for rewards. The dark web also plays a role, serving as a marketplace where hackers buy, sell, or trade information about undisclosed vulnerabilities.

The Implications of Zero-Day Exploits

The consequences of zero-day exploits can be devastating. Real-life examples have shown how these attacks compromise the security and privacy of individuals, organizations, and even critical infrastructure. The financial impact can be significant, with remediation costs and potential legal liabilities. Furthermore, the reputational damage resulting from a successful zero-day exploit can tarnish an organization’s image for years to come.

Significant Historical Zero-Day Exploits

While Stuxnet is perhaps the most widely-publicized example of a zero-day exploit, other threats of this nature have only increased in the nearly two decades since it first made waves. In fact, a 2022 report found that a shocking 40% of all zero-day exploits that happened between 2012 and 2021 happened in 2021 alone

Let’s take a look at some significant zero-day exploits from the last decade to better understand how these types of threats can affect your business. 

Yahoo (August 2013)

Though it’s been eight years since the Yahoo attack, this zero-day incident remains one of the most prominent to date. In 2016, the company revealed that more than 3 billion accounts had been accessed by hackers in the attack. In addition to exposing user data, the incident caused Yahoo’s value to drop significantly in the midst of a potential acquisition. 

LinkedIn (June 2021)

Another notable incident occurred in 2021 when LinkedIn reported that it had been hit by a zero-day attack that affected over 90% of its user base (700 million users). In this attack, a hacker scraped data by exploiting the site’s API. Before being taken down by law enforcement, the group responsible for CVE-2021-1879 publicly released a data set of around 500 million users. 

Microsoft (July 2023)

In July of 2023, Microsoft confirmed a shocking 132 security vulnerabilities across its product lines, including six confirmed zero-day exploits. One of these zero-days was remote code execution found within Microsoft Office and Windows HTML that could allow hackers to create Microsoft Office documents enabling them to perform remote code execution in victims’ devices.

While patches for significant exploits like these are typically quickly released, as of July 21st, Microsoft has yet to release a patch for CVE-2023-36884. The company is instead offering mitigation steps for affected users. 

Defense Strategies Against Zero-Day Exploits

Mitigating the risks posed by zero-day exploits requires a proactive approach to cybersecurity. Vulnerability management and prompt patching are essential in reducing the attack surface and limiting the window of opportunity for attackers. However, traditional security measures may not always be enough. 

Leveraging Self-Protecting Data for Zero-Day Exploit Defense

Enter self-protecting data solutions, such as Sertainty’s cutting-edge technology. By embedding intelligence directly into data files, self-protecting data can recognize and counter malicious activities, even in the absence of known vulnerabilities or patches. While firewalls and secure networks are essential elements of any complete information security plan, truly guarding data against all attacks requires Self-Protecting Data

As a pioneer of this approach, Sertainty redefines how information is protected to ensure data privacy where perimeters fail. Using cutting-edge protocols and embedding intelligence directly into sensitive data files or datasets, Sertainty leverages patented processes to govern, track, and defend data through the data itself. 

Instead of database security being based on granted privileges to access the network directory where the file currently resides, Sertainty Self-Protecting Data (SPD) technology empowers the files themselves to protect themselves against malicious activity immediately. The Sertainty Data Privacy Platform technology recognizes itself through a Zero-Trust framework that contextualizes the environment, behavior, and action of the intended receiver — whether human, machine, or application. With these protocols, the data remains secure even in situations where systems have been compromised. 

Zero-day exploits represent a constant and formidable challenge to data security. As cyber threats evolve, organizations must stay ahead by adopting proactive defense strategies. Sertainty Self-Protecting Data technology offers a powerful shield against the unseen dangers of zero-day exploits. By embracing innovative solutions and staying vigilant, we can fortify our data defenses and navigate the ever-changing cybersecurity landscape with confidence. Protecting our data is not just a matter of staying one step ahead — it’s a commitment to safeguarding what matters most.

Truly Secure Data with Sertainty

At Sertainty, we know that the ability to maintain secure files is the most valuable asset to your organization’s continued success. Our industry-leading Data Privacy Platform has pioneered what it means for data to be intelligent and actionable, helping companies move forward with a proven and sustainable approach to their cybersecurity needs. 

As the digital landscape evolves and networks become more widely accessible, Sertainty is committed to providing self-protecting data solutions that evolve and grow to defend sensitive data. Cyber threats may continue to advance, and security perimeter breaches may be inevitable, but with Sertainty, privacy loss doesn’t have to be. 

Data Chain Custody Part 2: AI Data Security History, Flaws, and Emerging Solutions

Recently, we discussed emerging open-source AI threat vectors, including the proliferation of potential open-source threats to private servers and data chains. Today, we’ll take a closer look at the history of AI data governance and discuss whether emerging trends in the marketplace can address them. 

When it comes to data security, AI presents a whole new field of dangers. But despite the high-tech nature of the data protection industry, even leading companies and government agencies are burying their heads in the sand and relying on existing security protocols to manage these threats. Regardless of whether or not your organization is on board with AI, these tools are here to stay. Reports have predicted that the AI market will experience a shocking Combined Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of between 20.1% and 32.9%. As such, data privacy methodologies must pivot to take these AI tools into account.

AI Data Gathering and Security 2013–2023

While the underlying principles of artificial intelligence have existed for a long time, the widespread emergence of usable AI tech is less than a decade old. Depending on your definition, you may consider early algorithms introduced in the 1990s to be a precursor to current machine learning tools, but many experts generally regard 2013 as the origin of usable “deep learning,” as we now know it. 

The primary revolution at this stage was the use of five convolutional layers and three fully-connected linear layers and parallel graphics processing units (GPUs), as well as the introduction of a more efficient rectified linear unit for activation functions. 

The following year, in June 2014, the field of deep learning witnessed another serious advance with the introduction of generative adversarial networks (GANs), a type of neural network capable of generating new data samples similar to a training set. Essentially, two networks are trained simultaneously: (1) a generator network generates fake, or synthetic, samples, and (2) a discriminator network evaluates their authenticity.

2017 saw the introduction of transformer architecture that leverages the concept of self-attention to process sequential input data. This allowed for more efficient processing of long-range dependencies, which had previously been a challenge for traditional RNN architectures. 

Unlike traditional models, which would process words in a fixed order, transformers actually examine all the words at once. They assign something called attention scores to each word based on its relevance to other words in the sentence.

Generative Pretrained Transformer, or GPT-1, was introduced by OpenAI in June 2018. Since then, the program has gone through numerous evolutions. While OpenAI has not disclosed the specifics, it is assumed that the current iteration, GPT-4, has trillions of parameters. 

Emerging Trends in AI Data Security

On the other side of the same coin, some data security companies have already introduced tools utilizing the same AI protocols. These programs utilize the information-gathering and analytical capabilities of machine learning to identify potential threats and suggest courses of action to mitigate them. 

However, it’s important to note that — despite the use of new, powerful machine learning technology — the fundamental premise of this solution is based on a conventional understanding of data security. The system’s proactivity only extends as far as any traditional perimeter security and threat analysis (albeit in a more efficient manner). 

This inherent inadequacy means that even the most sophisticated form of conventionally-minded AI security can (theoretically) be exploited or circumvented by the same means as their predecessors.  

As such, truly addressing all potential threat vectors requires a complete rethink of how secure data governance is handled, rather than applying new technology to existing systems. 

AI-Informed Secure Data Governance 

Though many “leading” commercial tools rely on outdated security structures, a better solution is already available. Unlike traditional data privacy, Zero Trust security provides a proactive method for mitigating attacks. 

The key differentiator between Zero Trust and other, more traditional solutions is letting go of the (incorrect) assumption that sensitive databases can be secured simply by keeping malicious actors out. Rather than rely on a series of firewalls and trust that those with access are legitimately allowed to be there, Zero Trust security gives data the ability to protect itself. 

Following this methodology, Sertainty has redefined how information is protected to ensure data privacy even where firewalls fail. Using cutting-edge protocols and embedding intelligence directly into datasets, Sertainty leverages proprietary processes that enable data to govern, track, and defend itself. These protocols mean that even if systems are compromised, data remains secure. 

With specific regard to emerging AI threats, the core Sertainty UXP Technology empowers data chain custodians to opt in or out of the use of Personal Identifying Information (PII) by AIs like ChatGPT. This ensures that organizations exposed to ChatGPT — as well as their employees and clients — maintain privacy, regulatory compliance, and protection in all scenarios. 

Sertainty UXP Technology also allows developers working with open-source AI programs like those from OpenAI to maintain their own privacy commitments by giving data files the ability to protect themselves and generating repositories of those who approve the processing or those who wish to opt out of data sharing.

Even regulators have taken notice of the shortcomings inherent in today’s cybersecurity paradigm and expressed interest in this new way of approaching data privacy. Prompted by both real and potential dangers, including AI threat vectors, an Executive Order titled “Improving The Nation’s Cybersecurity” has outlined the need for US federal agencies to move toward a zero-trust security model. 

Sertainty Data Privacy 

In the current landscape of trendy tech and buzzwords, concrete solutions are more vital than ever. Sertainty Zero Trust technology enables secure data governance and the training of AI models with a tried-and-true multi-layer security solution.

Sertainty leverages proprietary processes through its UXP Technology that enable data to govern, track, and defend itself — whether in flight, in a developer’s sandbox, or in storage. These UXP Technology protocols mean that even if systems are compromised by AI tools or accessed from the inside, all data stored in them remains secure. 

At Sertainty, we know that the ability to maintain secure files is the most valuable asset to your organization’s continued success. Our industry-leading Data Privacy Platform has pioneered what it means for data to be intelligent and actionable, helping companies move forward with a proven and sustainable approach to their cybersecurity needs.

Secure-by-Design Technology

While the need for total digital security has only increased over the past decades, the technology we rely on every day is often far from as secure as consumers assume. While virtually all devices, networks, and users utilize some form of information security practices, the overwhelming majority of these are separate systems that aim to keep outsiders from accessing vulnerable networks and data stores rather than improvements to the intrinsic security of the technology. 

While this may seem sufficient for some cases, the reality is that most security solutions are woefully inadequate when it comes to addressing the inherent flaws and vulnerabilities of cybersecurity technology. 

This issue has not escaped the notice of major regulatory agencies either. Earlier this year, Jen Easterly, director of the US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), criticized tech companies for their failure to prioritize the safety and privacy of consumers. This indictment is particularly potent coming from Easterly, who heads the United States’ national effort to understand, manage, and reduce risk to digital and physical infrastructure. 

The Burden of Safety

In many critical industries, a combination of legislation and presumed ethical responsibility mandate designers and manufacturers to account for the safe, secure usage of all new products from the outset. The world of technology, however, lacks many of these safeguards. 

The reasons for this are manifold. For one, the tech industry, as we currently know it, is still relatively young. For example, it was more than 80 years from the time automobiles were introduced until the US federal government mandated that all new cars being sold must have built-in seatbelts. 

Another reason that new technology pertaining to the cybersecurity space often lacks the oversight present in other industries relates to the nature of the threats in question. While the potential for accidental user-caused data breaches certainly exists to some extent, the majority of modern data threats come from malicious actors. This is the current industry dynamics that make it easier for tech companies to pass off the burden of safety, making it the responsibility of customers to protect themselves from attackers. 

While it is still up for debate on whether or not tech companies should be held responsible for the safety of their products, CISA Director Easterly was clear in her Carnegie Mellon University talk on where her organization stands regarding where the burden of security lies. 

“We find ourselves blaming the user for unsafe technology. In place of building-in effective security from the start, technology manufacturers are using us, the users, as their crash test dummies — and we’re feeling the effects of those crashes every day with real-world consequences,” she said. “This situation is not sustainable. We need a new model.” 

Information Security Legislation

Despite the lack of regulation surrounding the creation and distribution of software and Data-Centric technologies, the information stored and transferred using these tools is often bound by strict legislation. For instance, in the United States, all information related to individual health is protected under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). Compliance with HIPAA regulations is dictated by the US Department of Health and Human Services and enforced by the Office for Civil Rights. 

Moreover, it should also be noted that non-compliance with privacy laws such as HIPAA for health-related data, CCPA legislation in California, or the GDPR (pertaining to EU subjects) is prone to penalization. 

Secure-by-Design Technology

Critical security concerns surrounding data that relies on digital privacy measures highlight the need for a better data protection paradigm than most individuals and organizations currently use. This is where “secure-by-design” technology is urgently needed. 

In the current system, tech companies create and sell technology that leaves users to contend with suboptimal solutions to their own security needs. However, as the name suggests, secure-by-design technology is created with privacy and security and embedded into a data-file from its origination to its expiration. 

CISA Director Easterly noted the importance of this approach in her address, pointing out that “… ultimately, such a transition to secure-by-default and secure-by-design products will help both organizations and technology providers: it will mean less time fixing problems, more time focusing on innovation and growth, and importantly, it will make life much harder for our adversaries.”

For now, the vast majority of ubiquitous security solutions are simply bandages over the inherent flaws of digital networks. However, a better, more fundamental type of cybersecurity does exist. 

Self-Protecting Data and Zero-Trust Security

Whether or not new regulations will compel the technology industry to create fundamentally more secure systems in the future, sensitive data — currently stored in digital spaces — already faces more threats than ever before. 

To date, the concept of perimeter security has been the de facto standard for data security. With the advent of the internet, securing networks has become a greater priority, and reliance on tools such as IP address verification and multi-factor authentication has only increased. Although relatively mature, these methods still serve as the primary ways in which most companies attempt to ensure that private information stays private. 

While perimeter security continues to serve an important purpose in protecting secure files, this form of traditional data protection is fundamentally flawed. When an organization’s defense relies purely on perimeter security, identifying and addressing vulnerabilities becomes a game of whack-a-mole between hackers and network administrators. 

Both conceptually and in practice, Zero-Trust security is a revolution. Rather than rely on a series of firewalls and trust that those with access are legitimately allowed to be there, Zero-Trust security protects data by demanding continuous authentication from users. Meanwhile, self-protecting data protocols — unlike perimeter security — are designed to give data files the ability to protect themselves from creation. 

Sertainty

As a leader in self-protecting data, Sertainty leverages proprietary processes that enable data to govern, track, and defend itself. These protocols mean that even if systems are compromised or accessed from the inside, all data stored in them remains secure. 

At Sertainty, we know that the ability to maintain secure files is the most valuable asset to your organization’s continued success. Our industry-leading Data Privacy Platform has pioneered what it means for data to be intelligent and actionable, helping companies move forward with a proven and sustainable approach to their cybersecurity needs. 

As the digital landscape evolves and networks become more widely accessible, Sertainty is committed to providing self-protecting data solutions that evolve and grow to defend sensitive data. Open-source security breaches may be inevitable, but with Sertainty, privacy loss doesn’t have to be.