Insight by BlackBerry

More brazen hackers force agencies to lean into automated detection and response tools

The impact of the BlackBerry® handheld device on agencies continues to this day. In fact, when asked about it, 73% of federal employees told Federal News Network the device had been “very impactful.”

So when BlackBerry decided to stop supporting the much-beloved device, it marked an end of an era in the federal government.

But what it didn’t mark the end of is what made the BlackBerry so popular — no not the Qwerty keyboard,...

READ MORE

Shape

 

Playing catchup and having partial solutions is not a great mode of operation. I think you need to be prepared for future threats as well, and I really believe that artificial intelligence technologies are one of those things that gives us a step function — ability to help fight the increased threats that are coming out.

Shape

 

We think a solid cybersecurity strategy needs to focus on prevention because it’s much harder to contain a cyberthreat once it’s been let into the network and exposed. We use AI, for example, to detect something before it’s ever opened so it doesn’t create any of the cleanup challenges that would otherwise be needed.

The impact of the BlackBerry® handheld device on agencies continues to this day. In fact, when asked about it, 73% of federal employees told Federal News Network the device had been “very impactful.”

So when BlackBerry decided to stop supporting the much-beloved device, it marked an end of an era in the federal government.

But what it didn’t mark the end of is what made the BlackBerry so popular — no not the Qwerty keyboard, which a majority of people mentioned was the best part of the device — and that is security for mobile users.

Several respondents to the survey mentioned how much they trusted the BlackBerry device. It was maybe the only device that actually worked during the September 11 attacks.

It was that security and trust that helped establish the device and company in the federal sector.

Now, BlackBerry is known as a security company.

As agencies move toward a zero trust architecture and continue to expand their networks to support remote workers and the hybrid workforce and address the challenges of connected devices, the ever-growing cybersecurity challenge becomes more complex.

Security mantra: Build in, not bolt on

Agencies must continue to figure out how to navigate the current cyber environment and find the right balance between security and accessibility, said Charles Eagan, chief technology officer at BlackBerry.

“Security is not something you want to be retrofitting,” he said on the Innovation in Government show. “You want to learn [as you go and] we have a long list of wisdom that comes from our cybersecurity background. We should be applying that so that we can react and adapt to the next level threats that are coming.”

Eagan said this is especially true as hackers are becoming more sophisticated and nation states more brazen.

“Playing catch up and having partial solutions is not a great mode of operation,” he said. “I think you need to be prepared for future threats as well, and I really believe that artificial intelligence technologies are one of those things that gives us a step function — ability to help fight the increased threats that are coming out.”

He said the remote work environment raised the cyber stakes across the public and private sector.

“As everyone went home and started working, that environment wasn’t necessarily secure, and we had to figure it out as we went along,” Eagan said. “Incidentally, I think we’ve probably built up some security backlog. There’s probably some sensitive information that is being stored and managed in insecure ways just out of necessity. There’s probably some cleanup required.”

Hope is not a cyber strategy

One way to get at that backlog is through AI and machine learning tools and capabilities.

AI can provide dynamic security modeling to detect mobile devices, desktop and laptop computers, the network and anything else that could be compromised, Eagan said.

“Certainly, artificial intelligence is an important part of building the solutions to detect when these have been compromised, but I think you first need to understand what you have in your network,” he said. “Then, you need to understand what the threats are and how you’re preventing against them today because hope is not a good plan for your cyber strategy.”

Eagan said once agencies take that first step to understand what is on their network and where threats could be coming from, AI can help monitor and manage all the data that comes from the network.

Whether the AI tools are detecting malware or alerting security operations center workers about behavior patterns that don’t match historical precedent, agencies will be in better shape to protect themselves, he said.

Eagan offered some examples, such as a lot of files being read from the internet or sent to the internet, or a directory that’s being operated on. Using AI monitoring, agency might not specifically know that there’s malware involved, but it would know that the activity “kind of smelled bad” and offer a probability of malicious activity, he said.

“We think a solid cybersecurity strategy needs to focus on prevention because it’s much harder to contain a cyberthreat once it’s been let into the network and exposed,” he said. “We use AI, for example, to detect something before it’s ever opened so it doesn’t create any of the cleanup challenges that would otherwise be needed.”

What’s more, agencies need to take more advantage of automated detection and response tools as attack vectors continue to increase and bad actors become cleverer and more dangerous, Eagan added.

“There’s a great urgency for companies and governments to strengthen their cyber resilience because of this increased attack surface. They need to understand their supply chains and rely on vendors to publish their software bills of materials,” he said. “I think our AI-driven approach can help agencies create the right security infrastructure to help them get to that more protected state of operations within this increased threat environment.”

Listen to the full show:

About BlackBerry

BlackBerry provides intelligent security software and services to enterprises and governments worldwide. The company secures more than 500M endpoints including 195M cars on the road. By leveraging AI and machine learning, the company delivers a prevention-first security posture. BlackBerry’s vision is clear—to secure a connected future you can trust.