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.

Threat Intelligence

4/19/2018
09:00 PM
Connect Directly
Twitter
LinkedIn
Google+
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Microsoft CISO Talks Threat Intel, 'Data Inclusion'

Dark Reading caught up with Microsoft's Bret Arsenault to discuss intelligence, identity, and the need to leverage more diverse datasets.

RSA CONFERENCE 2018 – San Francisco – The need to simplify security drove Microsoft to break its strategy into three distinct parts: platform, intelligence, and partnerships. It was the importance of data that CISO Bret Arsenault focused on during an interview with Dark Reading this week at the RSA Conference. 

"Intelligence, in general, is a big differentiator in how we think about security now, versus what we could do five years ago or ten years ago," Arsenault said. While Microsoft is securing everything in its Windows platform by default establishing partnerships in the public and private sector, it's the company's massive, diverse data store that's shaping its strategy.

The effectiveness of artificial intelligence and machine learning, two of the biggest buzzwords circling the security industry (along with blockchain), heavily rely on data, Arsenault said. Threat intelligence became core to Microsoft's plans fifteen months ago, following a $1 billion investment to integrate security across its products and services.

Throughout 2016, those funds went toward projects such as doubling the number of security execs and launching the Microsoft Enterprise Cybersecurity Group (ECG) and Cyber Defense Operations Center (CDOC). By the end of the year, Arsenault said, Microsoft had seen a shift away from the "spray and pray" approach to security and toward better detection and response, fueled by threat intelligence. The need for data has only intensified.

"What I know about artificial intelligence and machine learning is the accuracy of those things is very highly correlated to the amount of the data you have," he explained. However, while the size of the dataset certainly matters - Microsoft's data repositories more than double each year, he noted - even more important is the information's quality.

Data Diversity vs. Inclusion

"A diverse workforce creates better products," said Arsenault. "Diversity of data is equally, if not more important than the amount of data."

Some companies mostly handle a single data type; he pointed to telecom companies, which primarily handle network traffic, as an example. Microsoft, with a large and varied portfolio of products and services, collects network data, device data, and identity data, Arsenault noted. The company has data on the one billion machines it updates each month. It gathers cloud data, which is pulled from Azure business services and varies across industries.

Yet it's not enough to only be diverse, Arsenault pointed out. Having a rich set of data means little without inclusion, or putting it to practical use. "Diversity is interesting, but inclusion has created a whole new priority," he added. Businesses often place more emphasis on diversity of data than inclusion.

Looking ahead, Arsenault touched on an idea that was top of mind for many security pros during RSA: the rise of cloud and disbanding of the traditional perimeter. As we operate in a client-to-cloud world, the idea of the network as a control point has eviscerated in its effectiveness, he explained. Now the most effective control point is users' identities.

"You have to go really hardcore at the device piece, because the network is dissolving," he said. One of Arsenault's priorities is to eliminate passwords within Microsoft, where in the past year 66% of users log into Windows Hello for Business with biometrics or PIN. Employees are encouraged to shift away from passwords, which they are only required to change once a year.

Related Content:

Interop ITX 2018

Join Dark Reading LIVE for an intensive Security Pro Summit at Interop IT X and learn from the industry’s most knowledgeable IT security experts. Check out the agenda here.Register with Promo Code DR200 and save $200.

Kelly Sheridan is the Staff Editor at Dark Reading, where she focuses on cybersecurity news and analysis. She is a business technology journalist who previously reported for InformationWeek, where she covered Microsoft, and Insurance & Technology, where she covered financial ... View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
RyanSepe
50%
50%
RyanSepe,
User Rank: Ninja
4/20/2018 | 8:44:02 AM
Discovery vs Inclusion
Discovery and Diversification are helpful when trying to shape intelligence but similar to unreviewed logs lack of inclusion into practical process limits their effectiveness. The transition from non-inclusion with D&D to inclusion can be described as the transition from satisfying a compliance check-box to more of a security best practice approach.
RyanSepe
50%
50%
RyanSepe,
User Rank: Ninja
4/20/2018 | 8:41:15 AM
Passwords
Glad to hear MS is trying to shift away from passwords. They are inherently insecure and without a password policy driving complexity and password expiration they become eternally instantiated.
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Current Issue
Navigating the Deluge of Security Data
In this Tech Digest, Dark Reading shares the experiences of some top security practitioners as they navigate volumes of security data. We examine some examples of how enterprises can cull this data to find the clues they need.
Flash Poll
Rethinking Enterprise Data Defense
Rethinking Enterprise Data Defense
Frustrated with recurring intrusions and breaches, cybersecurity professionals are questioning some of the industrys conventional wisdom. Heres a look at what theyre thinking about.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2019-19317
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-05
lookupName in resolve.c in SQLite 3.30.1 omits bits from the colUsed bitmask in the case of a generated column, which allows attackers to cause a denial of service or possibly have unspecified other impact.
CVE-2019-19602
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-05
fpregs_state_valid in arch/x86/include/asm/fpu/internal.h in the Linux kernel before 5.4.2, when GCC 9 is used, allows context-dependent attackers to cause a denial of service (memory corruption) or possibly have unspecified other impact because of incorrect fpu_fpregs_owner_ctx caching, as demonstr...
CVE-2019-19601
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-05
OpenDetex 2.8.5 has a Buffer Overflow in TexOpen in detex.l because of an incorrect sprintf.
CVE-2019-19589
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-05
The Lever PDF Embedder plugin 4.4 for WordPress does not block the distribution of polyglot PDF documents that are valid JAR archives.
CVE-2019-19597
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-05
D-Link DAP-1860 devices before v1.04b03 Beta allow arbitrary remote code execution as root without authentication via shell metacharacters within an HNAP_AUTH HTTP header.