Cut Cybersecurity Threats to Your Organization

by Nancy DuVergne Smith on January 8, 2016 · 1 comment

in Alumni Life, Engineering, In the News, Video

Computer system breaches, data theft, and other cyberattacks are not only big news, they are costing America’s businesses billions of dollars every year. A new report from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) and an upcoming MIT Professional Education course take a future-focused approach to this problem.

Howard Shrobe SM ’75, PhD ‘78, executive director of the Cybersecurity@CSAIL initiative

Watch the interview on the state of cybersecurity with Howard Shrobe SM ’75, PhD ’78, executive director of the Cybersecurity@CSAIL initiative

Howard Shrobe SM ’75, PhD ’78, executive director of the Cybersecurity@CSAIL initiative, acknowledges the usefulness of the many new tools in the marketplace, but he says they are generally aimed at solving yesterday’s attacks. In the report and the course that starts next week, Cybersecurity: Technology, Application, and Policy, he takes a different approach. “The things that attract my attention—and the course is very focused on this—are things that would remove whole classes of attacks from consideration altogether.”

Shrobe says all companies must first learn to identify—and then overcome—the two fundamental cybersecurity threats to businesses:

  • Legacy weaknesses in the architecture of most of today’s computer systems
  • Flaws in how to identify individuals and to authorize access to highly sensitive data

Research organizations like CSAIL are working to resolve these weaknesses and guarantee security despite human error and accidental vulnerabilities, he says. For more, read an excerpt from “The Future Postponed,” a new report from the MIT Committee to Evaluate the Innovation Deficit. To learn how to reduce your organization’s exposure to cyberattacks, enroll now in MIT Professional Education Digital Program’s Cybersecurity: Technology, Application and Policy. The self-paced, six-week course begins January 12, 2016, but you can join the course through Jan. 19. MIT alumni are eligible to save 15 percent; just email from your email address to received your discount code.

Despite the serious topic, Strobe sees reasons for optimism. “Although it takes a long time for new ideas to permeate the mainstream, I think over ten years we are going to see machines that are just fundamentally less prone to attacks,” he says in a recent interview. “In the next few years, we are going to do away with the sort of cheap attacks that steal people’s passwords and things like that.”

MIT’s recent move to a two-factor authentication system for critical systems is a good step. “The great thing about two-factor schemes is that it is very hard for an attacker to succeed at breaking those because they not only have to steal your secret, your password, but they also have to steal your token. Where stealing passwords at scale is possible, stealing tokens at scale isn’t.”

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

dave January 17, 2016 at 11:18 am

thank y’all for the wealth of information relevant to my new objective in my declaration of war both on terror an the health care crisis in America . to further my laudable comments on joining an institution that far exceeds my limited level of higher education. research of the aforementioned endeavors has led me to this phase of exploration an far beyond my wildest dreams. both addressing national security an cognitive improvements via computers I have extrapolated more levels of good old cowboy logic or horse since. much enjoyment from the paper reference anti aging an foremost the dangerous an much hidden effectiveness that jihads implement both stealth cyber attacks an social media recruitment and propaganda activities .


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