Ali, Foreman, and “The Rumble in the Jungle”

All the boxing world can talk about nowadays is the upcoming Mayweather-McGregor fight. The highly anticipated match-up will undoubtedly bring in millions upon millions of dollars, a hefty portion of which will be pocketed by both participants–win or lose. It will hopefully be an entertaining fight–unlike the Mayweather-Pacquiao duel–as the two legends duke it out in a traditional boxing ring. However, it is hard to imagine this fight eclipsing the greatness of world famous boxing matches of the past. Take for instance the 1974 “Rumble in the Jungle” where Ali took the favored Frazier to eight rounds before putting him on his back with a devastating right hand. Frazier looked unstoppable, and Ali looked unbeatable–though the exact opposite proved to be the case. In many ways, the fight between cyber criminals and cyber security experts is panning out in a similar way. With the onslaught of cyber attacks in this year alone, it looks like cyber criminals have the upperhand. But some cybersecurity experts are taking a page out of the Greatest’s Playbook, floating like a butterfly and stinging like a bee.

The First Rounds Aren’t Looking too Great

It comes as no surprise that 2017 hasn’t been a great year for cybersecurity experts. There have been a seemingly countless number of attacks, ranging from the infamous Wanna Cry virus to cases of blockchain hacking that have left cyber victims suffering. One report sums it up well, “[it is] no longer enough to simply implement incident response solutions. Today’s threats require a dedicated team of security experts to maximize these tools with dynamic, continuously updated threat intelligence.” The current landscape has left many wondering how to combat the increasingly complex threats facing the common computer user.

Some cybersecurity experts have made themselves available for dialogue, in an attempt to help the everyday layman grasp what’s going on behind the scenes. One such person is Mike Oppenheim, the global research lead for IBM’s X-Force IRIS (Incident Response and Intelligence Services). In a recent interview, Oppenheim commented that the attacks that have happened so far “really highlight the need for visibility within networks and underscores the need for companies to have a good incident response plan so that they know how to respond in the face of these huge global incidents.” It is not enough to react to attacks–companies and firms need to learn how to detect and neutralize hostile threats. The team that Oppenheim leads is “on the ground” when attackers are active, allowing them to gather a large amount of data. Because of their data collection efforts, the team creates a “really good response service to try to figure out root cause analysis and also stop attackers from actually accomplishing their goals.”

Like a great boxer, IRIS is able to study and analyze the movements of cyber attackers. Then, in a quick counterpunch maneuver, cybersecurity experts at IRIS can both fend off the attack and shut it down. Another encouraging aspect of the developments of IRIS is its expansion to IBM products. Undoubtedly the end goal is not just an improvement in IBM Security Services, but advances in IBM’s specific products and ultimately cybersecurity as a whole. Though it seems like cyber criminals have the upper hand, cyber security experts hope to stand over their opponents and declare “I am the greatest.”

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