When people think about data security, it is often in the context of programmes used to protect the data that already exists in a database or system. Essentially a massive anti-virus system that is meant to prevent hackers from accessing the information.
However, in a somewhat meta way, data itself can become the key to effective data protection.
We have seen this discussed before in relation to fraud prevention and crime detection, but data can also help us to protect ourselves from a wide range of security issues, and indeed forms the basis of of many of the most powerful security systems that exist today.
A prime example of this is in the use of anti-viruses, which utilize the use cases from millions or billions of events to identify potential weaknesses in systems or malicious software that may not have previously been identified. This process is almost completely data orientated, as actions need to be logged and evaluated in an automated system. These can then be analyzed to assess potential security flaws and imminent threats.
Similarly, what companies are typically finding is that many of the cyber attacks that occur follow similar patterns, both in terms of the lead up to and execution of an attack. This means that if precursors to attacks can be identified, it will act as an early warning system for companies. This would allow them to beef up security in the knowledge that a particular form of attack is either imminent or underway.
However, it is not simply in the ways that companies can protect themselves at the point of an attack, it can also be one of the most effective ways of identifying attackers before they have the chance to undertake hacks.
One of the most important ways that this can be done is through mining social data and data from forums. Through doing this, and implementing text analysis on what is found, it is possible to identify individuals who may be either undertaking attacks or organizing those who do. It may be true that many of the communications between these kinds of groups takes place on untraceable formats, but there are still going to be people using more open technologies to talk or even just to talk about these people.
Data is at the centre of effective cyber security, from both a preventative and protective perspective. When you consider the complexity of modern cyber attacks, it is not surprising that data analysis creates a strong foundation. It also means that as more attacks occur and more data is collected about them, the more effective the protection will be in the future.