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The Challenge took participants through assessments comprised of 10 cyber security-related questions. All participants began at the novice, or White Belt, level and advanced to higher expert belt levels - Yellow, Green, Red, then Black Belt - by correctly answering increasingly difficult questions. Each round revealed the areas where IT managers need to improve their security expertise most, derived from the subject matter of the questions that were frequently answered incorrectly. Among them were:
More than 63 percent of White Belt participants were unable to correctly identify the most common problem with a cloud scrubbing-solution (Correct answer: The time it takes to start effective scrubbing once the service is initiated). Nearly 60 percent of Yellow Belt participants could not distinguish attributes of a financially-motivated attack technique (Correct answer: Focus on monetizing targeted electronic data, "Loud" aggressive & persistent, single-vector intrusions). Forty-three percent of White Belt participants could not identify the most ineffective deployment of a web application firewall used to mitigate threats (Correct answer: Span-port). Nearly 39 percent of White Belt participants could not select the least favorite tool of the group Anonymous in hacktivism attacks (Correct Answer: Raptor).
"Out of the 383 participants that started the Challenge, nearly 10 percent had the required security expertise needed to complete the four levels and achieve Black Belt Status," said Carl Herberger, Radware's vice president of Security Solutions who also developed and administered the Challenge. "This statistic should be a fire bell to the IT security industry. We hope that this disparity is the catalyst for IT managers and security professionals to pursue professional educational classes that will not only enhance their attack mitigation expertise, but also help them apply that newly developed knowledge to better protect their companies' networks."
The Challenge results did hold some good news, as participants were adept at understanding cyber security issues such as Advanced Persistent Threats, DoS and DDoS attacks.
More than nine out of 10 participants could positively identify attributes of Advanced Persistent Threats (Correct answers: Spread over days and/or weeks, leverage multiple vectors, combine zero-day - known vulnerabilities and reconnaissance). Ninety-three percent of participants could identify the primary cited reason for launching a DoS or DDoS attack (Correct answer: Political/hacktivism). One hundred percent of participants knew that a "denial-of-service" attack is characterized by an explicit attempt by attackers to prevent legitimate use of that service.
"It is imperative for IT managers to have a real-time assessment of their attack mitigation expertise, so they can properly defend their enterprises' networks and applications," continued Herberger. "As the challenge unfolded, the real security experts started to shine with the average scores increasing to more than 95 percent. One of these experts will become the Attack Mitigation Black Belt Champion."
Announcing the Attack Mitigation Black Belt Champion
The Black Belt Challenge Champion will be announced July 25 at a ceremony in Radware's Black Hat USA 2012 booth (# 624) at 7:00 P.M. (PT). The Champion will be selected among the Black Belt-level players who finished all of the rounds in the shortest total amount of time and will receive a package that includes $1,495 towards early conference registration to Black Hat 2013, plus $2,000 towards conference training, and $1,500 cash allowance towards travel and accommodation.
For more information about The Attack Mitigation Black Belt Challenge, please visit the Radware corporate blog at http://www.blog.radware.com.
About the Attack Mitigation Black Belt Challenge
As sources for the questions, Herberger drew from his years of experience as one of the nation's leading authorities on application and network security, as well as from the 2011 Radware Global Application & Network Security Report - research on the state of global cyber security published by Radware's Emergency Response Team (ERT).
Participants had 90 seconds to answer each question. A minimum of nine correct answers was required to pass each round, and players who pass received an email with their digital colored belt for that level along with a special code to advance to the next round. Players had numerous chances to retake the test if needed. Once players passed all five rounds, they achieved Black Belt status, which qualified them to become the Attack Mitigation Black Belt Challenge Champion. The contest ended July 23.
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