Today’s blog begins with a discussion of the relatively low-tech video surveillance or security camera. Why, you may be asking, and what does this have to do with cybersecurity? Let the story unfold…
As you know, security cameras are video cameras that are used to observe an area, like a parking lot, a traffic zone, or an office work space. The cameras are connected to a recording device or IP network, and may be watched by a security guard or law enforcement officer. Security cameras are even becoming ubiquitous in the home. Not only can you check on your home directly from your smartphone or connected computer, you can also view a gallery of your captured images if something or someone in your home goes awry while you’re away.
One of the first questions law enforcement is likely to ask you if your home or business has been targeted is, “Do you have a security camera system?” When I am out of the house, my home security cameras are continuously recording, and alert me if they detect any movement that might indicate an unwanted intruder. Fortunately, it’s usually just a cat dashing across the room. A false positive!
In the workplace, security cameras are used extensively to capture human activity and protect physical assets. These are a bit more sophisticated than home security systems. The cameras are simply the window used by the DVR (digital video recorder) to see. The DVR is responsible for compression, conversion, storage and streaming of all the video that comes from each camera. The DVR is the intelligence behind the cameras and is responsible for all the motion detection and alerts. When an incident occurs and you receive an alert, you can simply hit replay to review what happened and respond accordingly.
The video security camera seems like a straight-forward approach to providing protection for important physical assets, like your home or office. But the rapid advent of the internet and digitalization has resulted in the creation of vast amounts of digital assets, which for most businesses far exceed the value of their physical assets.
Digital assets include intellectual property, trade secrets, presentations, spreadsheets, word documents, electronic mails, and a multitude of other digital formats and their respective metadata. Even hard currency, as exemplified by the bitcoin, has become a digital asset. While businesses have a self-interest in protecting digital assets for which they claim ownership, some extremely sensitive digital records such as patient health information (PHI) and personally identifiable information (PII) are also protected by legislative mandates.
Despite the increasing amount of digital assets, in cyberspace there is no cybersecurity equivalent to the video security camera. That’s because a traditional video camera to secure physical items by monitoring and recording their images is easy to make, but creating a “camera” that can “see” digital assets moving across cyberspace represents an extraordinary challenge. But there’s more…a cyber security camera needs the cybersecurity equivalent to the DVR, which provides the intelligence to analyze what the camera sees, convert that into meaningful information, and provide alerts when digital activity that represents a risk is observed.
Whenever a security incident occurs, security operations teams want to be able to instantly and accurately answer four critical questions: What data is compromised, by whom, using what device, and from where? Our goal at HoloNet Security is to make answering these questions as simple as replaying a captured video, by ingeniously converting bits and bytes into a visual format that is meaningful to the human mind. In our next blog, we will share the challenges that HoloNet Security is addressing to make the intelligent security camera and DVR for cyberspace a reality.