Infosecurity Europe 2018 – Trends and Innovations

Just recently, TSE visited the annual Infosecurity Europe conference to stay up-to-date with recent trends and innovations in the cyber security space: The Information Security Europe is the region’s largest and most comprehensive conference. It took place in the Olympia exhibition and conference centre in London, from June 5-7. 2018. Over 400 exhibitors showcased their products to about 20,000 information security professionals. At this cost-free event, more than 240 additional sessions were offered, such as workshops, technical talks and keynotes. Our schedule for the conference included identifying relevant products for upcoming test clusters, discovering new trends in the security landscape, getting in touch with previously unknown vendors as well as gathering new information about already evaluated products.

This post attempts to reflect our subjective impressions of current developments and innovations in the cybersecurity space.

GDPR and compliance software

One of the outstanding product categories at the conference was GDPR and compliance software. Due to the GDPR regulations, which had just become effective two weeks before the conference, this was the most prominently displayed theme. GDPR was present at a variety of vendor booths and mentioned in keynotes, tech talks and hour-long workshops.

Besides security products commonly claiming to be GDPR compliant, there were multiple specialized solutions solely focused on enabling GDPR compliant data processing. Some vendors concentrate on GDPR only, while others try to cover as many compliance regulations as possible, including PCI-DSS, ISO 20000, ISO 27001 and ISO 9001. Several of those offerings are based on content management systems, Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC) software as well as information risk management solutions. They are obviously trying to take advantage of the current GDPR hype!

The technical approaches vary from project management solutions offering templates with detailed operating instructions and a roadmap to achieve compliance with GDPR in every aspect, to solutions which pinpoint Personal Identifiable Information (PII) in a company’s resources. Techniques included continuous network scanning and analysis for data in flow and at rest, as well as machine learning-based categorization of detected data sets, with automated remediation of identified violations supported by some of the compliance tools as well. Companies worth mentioning regarding GDPR include OneTrust, a company specialized in privacy management solutions, Varonis with its GDPR patterns solution as well as MetaCompliance with its policy and compliance products.

Along with the upcoming new EU ePrivacy regulation and the trend towards software as a service (SaaS) companies face further challenges regarding privacy regulations. While SaaS has massive benefits in agility, scalability, innovation and security, it also introduces significant risks due to personally identifiable information being handled by a third party.

Prediction of future breaches and security risks

TSE noticed a meta-trend in breach prediction products. Symantec’s CTO, for example, propagated a changed mindset for handling threats in a proactive, preventive way. This requires security relevant resources to be prioritized in favour of high-risk assets. The general approach would be to analyze ongoing and historical attacks, detect similar attack vectors and high priority assets and take appropriate defense measures. This requires a combination of analysis regarding recent attack methods, knowledge about the most critical assets within the organization as well as the identification of areas with the highest vulnerability. The common evaluation approach is the calculation of risk scores for the most important assets and scores for the most interesting targets. In order to achieve an ongoing evaluation and adjustment of such risk scores with acceptable effort, the use of artificial intelligence seems to be a suitable instrument. In a further step, one could consider semi-automatic countermeasures.

Multi-Factor Authentication

One of our upcoming clusters for this year is related to “Multi-Factor Authentication” (MFA) and management of identities in a cloud-driven world, so we tried to discover new or underrated companies in this space as well. The addition of biometrics-based factors does not come as a surprise given the latest smartphone development. Numerous companies, both large and small, drive support for such features for user authentication. The most promising products encountered were not delivered and promoted by the large, well-known companies, but rather by small ventures hidden at the sides of the venue. US-based Crossmatch, as well as the Polish startup Rublon, caught our attention with integration for many services established in enterprise environments and a large number of supported factors, including biometrics, hard- and soft tokens, Yubikeys and many more.

Artificial Intelligence

There was a huge amount of hype not long ago around Artificial Intelligence, one of the most used terms in recent IT security-relevant publications. AI was and can still be considered an ongoing trend. Many products still promote machine learning or artificial intelligence for handling large amounts of data and to detect anomalies. However, we were surprised by the humbleness of vendors and researchers alike when confronted with the topic of AI. Some of the tech talks focused on artificial intelligence, its limits and issues as well as practical use cases. If one were referring to Gartner’s hype cycle, one could assume that AI is currently heading for the “valley of disillusionment” and is now judged by more objective criteria.

IoT Security

Finally, IoT device security was yet again a heavily advertised topic at InfoSec, especially with news about hijacked, unsecured devices used in recent DDoS attacks. Many vendors of all sizes, including ForeScout and Darktrace, advertised security solutions for specific IoT devices or promoted support for “all devices with an IP address”, respectively. We also noticed that many “conventional” security vendors are adding more and more support for devices of all kinds and try to cover all IP-based assets regardless of their type or primary usage.

Takeaways

All in all, Infosecurity Europe 2018 was a very comprehensive event. The combination of a traditional exhibition together with an informative conference program is a noteworthy characteristic of this event. We were able to gather lots of information regarding product updates, emerging companies and their solutions as well as new technical know-how.

Our main takeaways from the event are:

  • although GDPR regulations were already effective, compliance solutions (especially in regard to GDPR) were prominently displayed all over the exhibition premises
  • long-term trends, such as IoT security and artificial intelligence, still command lots of attention
  • some of the most promising companies are hidden in small booths at the side of the venue
  • most of the talks are solely held for promotional purposes, so the educational ones were even better

Further information: infosecurityeurope.com

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The “Technology Scouting & Evaluation” (TSE) service identifies and evaluates promising IT security solutions. With this service, DCSO supports companies in staying ahead of a dynamic and ever-changing market. The centralized and unbiased evaluation process is supplemented with the experience of all community members.