Mobile cyber threats: start with a blank page

Stuart Constable

Friday 15 February 2019

In the real world and in the digital environment, security is about so much more than simply putting up fences or checking credentials. It begins with the design of the systems you want to protect, whether they are towns and communities, or devices and the infrastructures that connect them. Stuart Constable shows why your systems need to be secure by design.

Security can’t be an afterthought these days.

When you’re designing a modern device, ready for use by people who are likely to be connecting to all kinds of different networks, you have to make security part of its DNA from the outset.

You also have to think about the big picture and the little details at the same time. A simple fix like a sliding door to cover a laptop’s camera has to be considered, alongside sophisticated detection technology that can sense an unnaturally long over-the-shoulder gaze at a screen.

One of the biggest headaches is the constantly shifting nature of the endpoints now out there in the hands of your staff. Laptops, tablets, phones, tablets and phablets all need to be secured, no matter what operating system they may be running, or what apps they may use.

Not forgetting, of course, that the people themselves may in fact be your biggest problem. Even the most competent and conscientious employees have been known to leave devices on trains, or look at sensitive documents without noticing the interested glances of the strangers sitting next to them.

No matter how fast the security solutions out there move to keep up with the evolving threats, the pace and scale of change and the ever-smarter ingenuity of attackers makes it a constant case of catch-up. What’s required now is an end-to-end approach that can encompass the human and non-human threats and vulnerabilities: the internet of things, as well as people.

This is why security has to be designed into devices and infrastructures from first principles, not as a layer to be broken or skirted around. An effective approach also has to reach beyond the firewall to remote connections such as mobile networks or WiFi hotspots.

Lenovo has always approached security with this holistic, adaptive and agile approach as a starting point. It’s a philosophy that has gained full expression with the introduction of Lenovo ThinkShield.

This is a suite of security solutions encompassing security for devices, data, online presence, and identity. More importantly, it is defined by a consultative and customized approach that recognizes the unique nature of the threats and vulnerabilities that each organization has to deal with. Where security is concerned, there can be no off-the-peg solutions.

As part of our thinking on ThinkShield we have also recognised that no one has the whole story on security. Putting together an end-to-end solution means weaving together a suite of specialist technologies from trusted partners.

So as well as our own innovations, such as FIDO®-certified password-free logins, ThinkShield can incorporate WiFi security from Coronet, MobileIron mobile device management and virtual container endpoint protection from BUFFERZONE.

The risks around security are set to increase in complexity. We’re seeing issues such as encryption for data in transit and the likelihood of a fresh round of ransomware driving investment in long-term, sustainable protection against a highly volatile risk environment.

It’s one of the great paradoxes of security that the more effective it is, the greater the freedom it enables. Perhaps we’re now entering the era of a new paradox of protection, in which the ability to close down threats requires an open, agile mind.

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