Where there's connectivity, danger lurks -- which essentially means those living and breathing in today's digitized world and doing anything at all on the Internet are ever in harm's way. But maybe, just maybe, big data will help keep us safe.
Certainly that's the expectation of CTO Dan Hubbard and his colleagues at OpenDNS, a cloud-based provider of Internet security and DNS services. I talked this week with Hubbard about harnessing big data for security -- a topic he'll address at the upcoming Interop Las Vegas 2014 conference.
As Hubbard explained to me, one of OpenDNS's key assets is a huge user footprint, with more than 50 million users around the world. "When we built our security team two years ago, we thought about this a lot," he said. "[Because of this user footprint], we knew we had this highly diversified, distributed set of data. We knew that our data was really valuable."
By combining security expertise, data science know-how, and Hadoop/big data smarts, OpenDNS reasoned it would be able to address three big weaknesses of Internet security today.
Going back in time
The first weakness has to do with the "time continuum" of today's security solutions, which move forward from the first known victim. "Typically, what happens is someone or some entity -- a server, client, phone, whatever -- will get infected," Hubbard explained. "After that, the defenders get a copy of what's out there, and then they react to that copy." From a security perspective, that means you're always behind the bad guys.
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