THE BLOG

What if Time Travel is Possible?

10/05/2013 15:05 BST | Updated 09/07/2013 10:12 BST

Hindsight, as the saying goes, is a wonderful thing. How often do we wish we could jump in a battered blue police box like "Doctor Who" and go back a few weeks, months or even longer to change something which has gone wrong?

That's a dream that many in the security industry feel all too regularly....

According to Price Waterhouse Cooper's 2013 Information Security Breaches Survey for the Department for Business Innovation & Skills 93 percent of large organisations had a security breach in 2012, and 87 percent of small business. The cost of those breaches has never been higher - an average of £450-850,000 for large organisations and £35-65,000 for smaller businesses. How many of those businesses would love to be able to turn back time, I wonder?

Today's cybercriminals are professional, well-funded, and highly motivated. Many of their attacks take place over a period of weeks, months or even years and are often highly focused and targeted.

The satirical website The Onion recently published a very interesting blog in which they outlined the steps taken by hackers to gain access to their network. By using a combination of social engineering, persistence and phishing attacks, the cybercriminals were able to get a breach hold into their network, and then spread out from there.

The reality today is that security incidents of this type will happen and the IT security teams in all businesses need to start looking at the problem from a stance of what do we do when this happens to us' rather than the traditional 'what if' scenario'.

So are we doomed to failure if the attackers can get in, despite our best efforts to stop them? Well that's where the time travel comes in. Today we can call on clever solutions that can determine the scope of an outbreak and track malware or suspicious files across the network - even if they happened weeks or months ago. This gives unprecedented visibility into malware attack activity, ultimately bridging the gap from detection to remediation to control of a malware outbreak. So while we cannot stop it from happening, we can at least turn back the clock and stop damage being caused to our business reputation and customers.

Maybe that is not as cool as time travel, but it's certainly very useful in the real world we live in! Doctor Who might think so, anyway.