If you’re paying attention, you saw the news about Yahoo’s breach. Five hundred million accounts. That’s a whole lot of data if you think about it. But here’s the thing. If you’re a security person, are you surprised by this? If you are, you’ve not been paying attention.
It’s pretty well accepted that there are two types of large infrastructures. Those who know they’ve been hacked, and those who don’t yet know they’ve been hacked. Any group as large as Yahoo probably has more attackers inside their infrastructure than anyone really wants to think about. This is certainly true of every single large infrastructure and cloud provider and consumer out there. Think about that for a little bit. If you’re part of a large infrastructure, you have threat actors inside your network right now, probably more than you think.
There are two really important things to think about.
Firstly, if you have any sort of important data, and it’s not well protected, odds are very high that it’s left your network. Remember that not every hack gets leaked in public, sometimes you’ll never find out. On that note, if anyone has any data on what percentage of compromises leaked I’d love to know.
The most important thing is around how we need to build infrastructure with a security mindset. This is a place public cloud actually has an advantage. If you have a deployment in a public cloud, you’re naturally going to be less trusting of the machines than you would be if they were in racks you can see. Neither is really any safer, it’s just you trust one less which will result in a more secured infrastructure. Gone are the days where having a nice firewall is all the security you need.
Now every architect should assume whatever they’re doing has bad actors on the network and in the machines. If you keep this in mind, it really changes how you do things. Storing lots of sensitive data in the same place isn’t wise. Break things apart when you can. Make sure data is encrypted as much as possible. Plan for failure, have you done an exercise where you assume the worst then decide what you do next? This is the new reality we have to exist in. It’ll take time to catch up of course, but there’s not really a choice. This is one of those change or die situations. Nobody can afford to ignore the problems around leaking sensitive data for much longer. The times, they are a changin.
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