June 2, 2012

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Cyber Attacks Inevitable, Good Response Key

Di Lewis

June 2, 2012

Having an effective response to cyber attacks is critical to maintaining a company’s reputation, said a panel of experts at Friday’s Utah Cyber Defense Challenge & Symposium.

“One hundred percent prevention is an impossible goal,” said Steve Shillingford, Solera president and CEO. Because some attacks will get through, Shillingford said it’s important to properly handle the reaction to the attack.

Companies that have successfully addressed situations are very forthright, he said. The company should detail what was compromised and what steps were taken in the aftermath of a breach.

Andrew Barney, manager of information security at Adobe, said companies need to remember that it’s not just pranksters defacing websites anymore. Now entire nations are launching cyber attacks to get information and technology.

Companies should not think being small means they aren’t targets, Barney said. If a company has a product or information that makes money, it will be a target.

“There will be attacks and some of those will get through,” said James Whitchurch, VP of engineering at BlueCoat. Once an attack does get through the company needs to know what happened, know the scope of the compromise and respond well.

In addition to the speakers and panels, the Cyber Defense Challenge began at 9 a.m. and went until 3 p.m. The challenge pitted seven teams against each other to see who could best secure a computer system and defend against attacks, said Duke Ayers, program manager for CyberNEXS Global Services.

Each team could have up to six people and were given a Windows or UNIX system with different purposes. The systems had preconfigured vulnerabilities and the teams had to find and fix the vulnerabilities while keeping the systems up.

A separate team then attacked all the teams in competition, targeting the vulnerabilities. Teams won and lost points based on how well they responded to the attacks. The Clearfield High School JROTC team won first place, BYU took second and a Utah Information Security team took third.

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