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Recapping 2017’s biggest trends in networking technology

Editor’s note: Cisco accelerated its shift to software, vendors launched new tools for managing data centers, and analytics, fueled by machine learning, stole the spotlight. Here, a recap of some of the most significant 2017 trends in networking technology.

Data center infrastructure trends in networking

In February, Cisco joined Microsoft to offer Azure Stack services in its UCS server. Throughout the early months of the year, Cisco revenues continued to fall, dropping for a fifth consecutive quarter because of declining sales of routers and switches.

Cisco attracted a lot of attention for its Digital Network Architecture (DNA) software initiative, which included a new line of Catalyst campus switches engineered to pave the way for a more intuitive way to program the network. DNA eliminates the need to program devices manually through the command-line interface; instead engineers use a policy-based approach to determine network behavior. Later that summer, Cisco said it would acquire SD-WAN vendor Viptela for $610 million in a bid to consolidate its WAN offerings.

In the fall, Cisco launched Intersight, a software-as-a-service initiative slated to become a management option for the vendor’s Unified Computing System and HyperFlex, a hyper-converged infrastructure platform. It also bolstered its Application Centric Infrastructure SDN software by enabling it to run across multiple data centers.

Other data center news included Juniper’s work on a switch fabric intended for multiple data centers, with a single set of management tools and higher spending on public cloud services. Juniper also made a series of announcements in December that included the release of bot software aimed at automating certain network functions.

Additionally, Dell EMC made its NOS standard on new open networking switches and Arista expanded its spine-leaf architecture for hyperscale data centers. Dell followed up its NOS announcement by releasing a line of high-speed switches for data centers and carriers in the fall.

Vendor consolidation gained traction, with Extreme Networks purchasing the data center business of Brocade, as well as the networking assets of Avaya.

Wireless LAN technology trends

The past 12 months were relatively quiet in WLAN trends in networking, as enterprises worked to deploy systems based on the 802.11ac Wave 2 specification.

One important technological development took place, however, as vendors began to release switches and other components capable of supporting the 2.5 and 5 GbE standard, which was ratified by the IEEE in late 2016. Toward that end, Dell EMC, among others, released multigigabit campus switches for both wired and WLAN deployments.

In February, Arris International said it would purchase WLAN vendor Ruckus Wireless Inc. for $800 million. Arris said Ruckus would continue to operate as an independent unit as it targets its technology to service providers and the hospitality market.

That acquisition was followed by a similar move by Riverbed Technology, which bought wireless LAN vendor Xirrus to complement its SD-WAN portfolio.

In June, Aruba released a core switch, aimed at large campus networks and internet of things applications. The 8400X switch also supports Aruba’s WLAN portfolio of products and software.

Extreme Networks announced plans in July to embed its recently acquired Avaya fabric technology in switches and management software to centralize control of large campus wired and wireless networks. And Aerohive, one of the last remaining independent Wi-Fi vendors, said it would add SD-WAN features to its cloud-based wireless controller in a bid to offer a more comprehensive service package to its customers. It also released a low-cost version of its Connect management platform for smaller deployments.

Network performance management and monitoring

In February, Cisco added policy-enforcement capabilities to its Tetration Analytics engine. The upgrade included a cheaper version for midsize companies. Following on the Tetration update, the vendor also launched cloud management for hyper-converged infrastructure in early March, providing enterprises with more choices in how they oversee the vendor’s  HyperFlex product.

VeloCloud beefed up its SD-WAN software with policy options to make it more responsive to network performance problems. The new capabilities let enterprises dedicate segments of the network to specific traffic. In the event of glitches, the software reroutes traffic to alternative routes.

Intent-based networking (IBN) — policy-based software that tells the network what you want instead of telling it what to do — was one of the biggest trends in networking technology. Cisco said IBN would reshape much of its network management efforts, while startup Apstra Inc. upgraded its software that lets companies configure and troubleshoot network devices from multiple vendors.

The addition of analytics — fueled by machine learning — within network management and monitoring applications also gained steam. ExtraHop Networks added machine learning as a service to its Discover packet capture appliances.

In November, Nyansa upgraded its Voyance remediation engine to flag potential sources of network trouble, improve analytics and recommend fixes.

The Bitcoin boom and its infosec effects

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In this week’s Risk & Repeat podcast, SearchSecurity editors discuss the recent bitcoin boom and how the cryptocurrency’s rising value could affect the cybersecurity landscape.

The bitcoin boom that saw a dramatic rise in the cryptocurrency’s value in recent weeks could have big implications for information security.

In the last month, the price of a single bitcoin tripled, jumping from approximately $5,700 to more than $17,000. A number of factors, including interest in the opening of the first regulated bitcoin futures exchanges and a hard fork in the cryptocurrency, could be contributing to the bitcoin boom beyond a general increase in buying and selling volumes.

But the surge also comes at a time of rampant global ransomware attacks, many of which demand payment from victims in bitcoin. While some enterprises have disclosed ransomware attacks, experts generally believe that many more attacks are kept quiet.

Could cybercriminals and ransomware attacks be contributing to the bitcoin boom? What will the rising price of the cryptocurrency mean for the cybercrime economy? Will the high value of bitcoin lead to more cyberattacks on bitcoin owners and exchanges, like NiceHash, which recently lost approximately $80 million in bitcoin following a massive data breach?

SearchSecurity editors Rob Wright and Peter Loshin discuss those questions and more on the bitcoin boom in this episode of the Risk & Repeat podcast.

Analyzing the accidental data breach

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In this week’s Risk & Repeat podcast, SearchSecurity editors discuss the rise of accidental data breaches following a series of enterprise exposures of user data online.

Data breaches are so common these days that some of them don’t even include threat actors or malware of any kind.

Troy Hunt, security researcher and creator of the website HaveIbeenpwned.com, recently testified before Congress in a hearing titled “Identity Verification in a Post-Breach World,” in which he discussed how organizations are often committing accidental data breaches. Such incidents typically involve enterprises mistakenly making corporate or user data public on the internet through cloud services, web services and other technologies.

Hunt’s testimony comes on the heels of a number of accidental data breaches via Amazon Web Services (AWS); several organizations, including the NSA and U.S. Army, have exposed sensitive data through misconfigured instances of AWS’ Simple Storage Service. More recently, Kromtech Security Center revealed that mobile app developer Ai.type exposed more than 370 million personal records of users, including, in some cases, users’ contact lists, through a misconfigured MongoDB database.

During the congressional hearing last week, Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-Va.) asked Hunt why these accidental breaches keep happening. “Is it really that easy to accidentally share your cloud services with the world?” Griffith asked.

“The simple answer to the last question is, yes, it is that easy,” Hunt said. “It’s very often just a simple misconfiguration.”

Why are enterprises committing so many accidental breaches? Do these incidents reflect a lack of security competency? Should cloud providers and software developers do more to protect customers from making these types of errors? SearchSecurity editors Rob Wright and Peter Loshin discuss those questions and more in this episode of the Risk & Repeat podcast.

Sale of Symantec Website Security completed

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In this week’s Risk & Repeat podcast, SearchSecurity editors discuss the sale of Symantec Website Security to DigiCert and what it means for Symantec’s troubled certificate business.

DigiCert Inc.’s acquisition of Symantec Website Security was completed last week, but concerns in the browser community still remain about Symantec’s SSL certificates.

DigiCert agreed to acquire the Symantec Website Security division, which includes the vendor’s public key infrastructure (PKI) business, in August, following months of negotiations between Symantec and web browser giants Google and Mozilla regarding widespread issues with the security vendor’s certificate authority. Those issues included certificate mis-issuance and a lack of proper auditing, which led Google and Mozilla to propose a removal of trust for certificates issued by Symantec Website Security.

After tense negotiations and delays, Symantec ultimately agreed to a remediation plan that would turn over its SSL certificate operations to another trusted certificate authority that would oversee issuance and validation. Instead of choosing a third-party partner, Symantec agreed to sell its PKI business to DigiCert.

However, Mozilla expressed concerns that Symantec’s old PKI operations, as well as its culture and processes, would continue to operate despite DigiCert assuming ownership of the business — DigiCert has said that all Symantec certificates will be issued and validated by DigiCert’s PKI by Dec. 1.

Questions still remain about how DigiCert will address the systemic problems within the Symantec Website Security division and when they will be resolved. SearchSecurity editors Rob Wright and Peter Loshin discuss those questions and more in this episode of the Risk & Repeat podcast.

Amazon Prime Video to Launch on Xbox One X and is Available Globally on Xbox One Today

Editor’s Note: We have removed regional pricing from this post. Please consult Amazon.com for the most up-to-date pricing of Amazon Prime for your home territory.

Starting today, the Amazon Prime Video app will be available for download globally through Microsoft Store. Prime Video members  will be able to enjoy streaming of leading TV shows and movies on Microsoft’s Xbox One family of devices, including the Xbox One X, once it makes its global debut on November 7.

Last December, Amazon Prime Video launched for customers in more than 200 countries and territories around the globe. From Australia to Canada and even Bhutan to Uzbekistan, Amazon Prime Video members are now enjoying popular new original series like the superhero comedy “The Tick,” the most-watched Prime Video series worldwide –  “The Grand Tour” – from Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May, and popular and award-winning Amazon Original Series like “The Man in the High Castle,” “Transparent,” “Mozart in the Jungle,” “American Gods,Sneaky Pete” and more, along with popular Hollywood movies and TV shows.  Prime Video also has titles available in 4K UHD meaning customers can enjoy their favorite movies or series with unprecedented picture clarity – details are sharper with smoother lines so that even up-close images seem clearer and more realistic.

New customers can sign-up for a Prime Video membership at PrimeVideo.comto stream on Xbox One and many more connected devices. Members can also download all movies and TV shows for offline viewing on mobile devices—that means watching on a plane, train, anywhere, it’s completely up to you.

For existing Amazon Prime members, you can start watching today at no additional cost to your Prime membership. Interested in getting the latest from Amazon Prime Video on Xbox? Head over to the Microsoft Store and download the app today!

Risk & Repeat: Is vulnerability marketing problematic?

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In this week’s Risk & Repeat podcast, SearchSecurity editors discuss vulnerability marketing and compare how the recent KRACK attack and ROCA flaw were publicized and promoted.

Should security vulnerabilities be marketed like products? That was the question after two major security flaws brought to light last week — the KRACK attack and the ROCA flaw — offered a contrast in the practice of vulnerability marketing.

While the KRACK attack, which exploits a vulnerability in the WPA2 protocol, received more marketing and media attention, some infosec experts argued the ROCA flaw, which affects RSA encryption in Infineon Technologies chips, was equally, if not more serious than KRACK.

Both vulnerabilities were discovered primarily by security researchers at universities, not by vendors. Yet, ROCA appeared to have taken a backseat to the KRACK attack; the latter discovery benefited from vulnerability marketing efforts, which included a dedicated website and promotional efforts to raise awareness of the WPA2 flaw.

What are the potential drawbacks of vulnerability marketing? Should the researchers that discovered the ROCA flaw have done more to promote their findings, or is the infosec community treating vulnerabilities too much like products? SearchSecurity editors Rob Wright and Peter Loshin discuss those questions and more in this episode of the Risk & Repeat podcast.

Risk & Repeat: Kaspersky ban turns ugly

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In this week’s ‘Risk & Repeat’ podcast, SearchSecurity editors discuss the U.S. government’s Kaspersky ban and how competitors like McAfee are trying to capitalize on it.

The ongoing controversy surrounding the U.S. government’s ban on antivirus vendor Kaspersky Lab took another ugly turn, thanks to a competitor.

Last week, it was revealed that McAfee, formerly Intel Security, was using the Kaspersky ban to promote its McAfee Total Protection software. Specifically, the promotion highlighted the fact that McAfee is headquartered in the U.S., while Kaspersky is based in Russia. It also included an inflammatory headline, which claimed, “FBI advises removal of Kaspersky for suspected ties to Russia spies.” McAfee has since changed the promotion page, but not before Kaspersky Lab CEO Eugene Kaspersky criticized the vendor’s actions on Twitter.

The Kaspersky ban came amid investigations regarding the Russian government’s alleged interference in the 2016 presidential election. While there’s no evidence of wrongdoing, the Department of Homeland Security this month ordered every federal agency to remove Kaspersky products from their systems within 90 days.

Should antivirus competitors try to capitalize on the Kaspersky ban? Was McAfee’s approach out of line? Is Kaspersky being treated unfairly by the U.S. government? SearchSecurity editors Rob Wright and Peter Loshin discuss those questions and more in this episode of the Risk & Repeat podcast.