Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Perimeter

9/30/2012
03:35 PM
Wendy Nather
Wendy Nather
Commentary
50%
50%

The Plural Of Data Is Not Analytics

When it comes to security monitoring, searching and reporting aren’t always enough. The added value comes from analytics: turning data into information

One of the terms most recently in danger of becoming a buzzword has been "analytics." Put it together with the words "big" and "data," and it starts reaching critical mass. Everyone claims to be doing it; figuring out what's real is harder.

You can think of security analytics as information used to drive risk management or incident response decisions (that is, proactive or reactive security decisions). As such, the information is made security-relevant and useful by using data manipulation such as statistical analysis; comparisons against historical data, policies or other previously made decisions; correlation and connection-mapping with disparate data types; false-positive and false-negative identification; various methods of visualization; and other proprietary algorithms and techniques. The data that is manipulated in this fashion may range from events, states and alerts captured by security products, to the output of quantified risk modeling, social media data, directory listings, world news events, or any other searches that are deemed a part of the decision model.

Please note that this excludes the mechanisms of searches themselves, or formatting processes such as de-duping. The result of these searches is what undergoes further manipulation by the analysis process. There's a distinction between searching and/or reporting versus analytics.

Here are the kinds of decisions or statements you can infer using analytics: many of them involve a comparison against a timeline, a policy, or even a belief.

"This series of events should never have happened within this application."

"This user is providing input too quickly; we think this is automated."

"It's four in the morning in that country, not business hours. Why are we getting traffic from them?"

"It's physically impossible for this user to have logged in from two locations 500 miles away within the space of ten minutes. Something's going on."

"We're not going to put more money into this technology until we see security incidents that cost us at least 50% of our current budget." (I'm not pretending that this makes a lot of sense, but let's go with it.)

Before you can start with analytics, you need to start with a model. What questions do you want to answer, and how will you know when you've gotten an answer? What will you consider to be sufficient accuracy or precision in the answer (these are not the same thing)? From there, you can look at the data you have available, and see whether that data can address your requirements. You also need to think about how you will use that data to get to an answer, whether it's manual analysis, automated, or a combination of both. The industry is full of patent-holding mathematicians and data scientists who have come up with ways of automating analysis that had to be done by people before; this is especially important as the volume of available data goes up and the need for speed increases.

So when you're evaluating an "analytics" product, think about what questions it's assuming you have, and see how it answers them. Even more importantly, make sure it's flexible enough to be able to address new questions as they come along. When used right, analytics can help you make better security decisions.

Wendy Nather is Research Director of the Enterprise Security Practice at the independent analyst firm 451 Research. You can find her on Twitter as @451wendy. Wendy Nather is Research Director of the Enterprise Security Practice at independent analyst firm 451 Research. With over 30 years of IT experience, she has worked both in financial services and in the public sector, both in the US and in Europe. Wendy's coverage areas ... View Full Bio

 

Recommended Reading:

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Threaded  |  Newest First  |  Oldest First
COVID-19: Latest Security News & Commentary
Dark Reading Staff 7/14/2020
Omdia Research Launches Page on Dark Reading
Tim Wilson, Editor in Chief, Dark Reading 7/9/2020
Why Cybersecurity's Silence Matters to Black Lives
Tiffany Ricks, CEO, HacWare,  7/8/2020
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
Special Report: Computing's New Normal, a Dark Reading Perspective
This special report examines how IT security organizations have adapted to the "new normal" of computing and what the long-term effects will be. Read it and get a unique set of perspectives on issues ranging from new threats & vulnerabilities as a result of remote working to how enterprise security strategy will be affected long term.
Flash Poll
The Threat from the Internetand What Your Organization Can Do About It
The Threat from the Internetand What Your Organization Can Do About It
This report describes some of the latest attacks and threats emanating from the Internet, as well as advice and tips on how your organization can mitigate those threats before they affect your business. Download it today!
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2020-14499
PUBLISHED: 2020-07-15
Advantech iView, versions 5.6 and prior, has an improper access control vulnerability. Successful exploitation of this vulnerability may allow an attacker to obtain all user accounts credentials.
CVE-2020-14501
PUBLISHED: 2020-07-15
Advantech iView, versions 5.6 and prior, has an improper authentication for critical function (CWE-306) issue. Successful exploitation of this vulnerability may allow an attacker to obtain the information of the user table, including the administrator credentials in plain text. An attacker may also ...
CVE-2020-14503
PUBLISHED: 2020-07-15
Advantech iView, versions 5.6 and prior, has an improper input validation vulnerability. Successful exploitation of this vulnerability could allow an attacker to remotely execute arbitrary code.
CVE-2020-14497
PUBLISHED: 2020-07-15
Advantech iView, versions 5.6 and prior, contains multiple SQL injection vulnerabilities that are vulnerable to the use of an attacker-controlled string in the construction of SQL queries. An attacker could extract user credentials, read or modify information, and remotely execute code.
CVE-2020-14505
PUBLISHED: 2020-07-15
Advantech iView, versions 5.6 and prior, has an improper neutralization of special elements used in a command (“command injection�) vulnerability. Successful exploitation of this vulnerability may allow an attacker to send a HTTP GET or POST request that create...