Three Emerging Cyber Security Trends from NIAS

Last week, we exhibited at the NIAS Cyber Security Symposium in Mons, Belgium. The conference features presentations from security thought leaders, offers networking and exhibition opportunities, cyber workshops and even a hacking contest. NIAS is well known for its partnership with NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization). The partnership was created to help bolster the communication between NATO and the private sector and to effectively address cyber threats.

Secure facilities, such as those operated by the military, use air-gapped networks to protect classified information. Although air gaps add a layer of security for networks, they can cause a huge disruption in the flow of data and information. One of our missions at the show was to present our joint solution as a way for secure facilities to overcome this obstacle by using diodes to transmit data and multi-scanning to check that data for threats.


Presentation at NIAS Cyber Security Symposium

This year, we collaborated with our partner, Arbit Security, to showcase our joint solution that enables secure and threat-free data flow for high-security networks such as Industrial Control Systems (ICS) and government or military networks. The joint solution combines our multi anti-malware scanner, Metascan®, which powers our MetaDefender solution, with Arbit's one-way Data Diode. MetaDefender allows files contained on portable media devices such as USBs to be checked for threats before they are allowed to enter the diode. In order to determine whether it is safe for files to enter the diode, Metascan performs a scan to check for malware. We also offer a Secure File Transfer product as part of our joint solution with Arbit that allows organization to send and receive large and confidential files.
As NIAS was the first NATO show for both OPSWAT and Arbit, we wanted to share some trends we noticed from the event, especially in relation to NATO members' views towards cyber security.

A Shift In Attitude Towards Threats

In the past, NATO viewed potential threats only as a possibility but not as an immediate danger that needed to be actively addressed. Fortunately, their attitude has shifted towards labeling hacking and malware as imminent threats. This new outlook has been adopted for many high-security networks including those that are wireless and air-gapped. This new view was brought to light in most of the seminars at the event, which were centered on promoting awareness of the danger and a hacking contest which was designed to raise awareness of how threats can enter a secure network.

Increased Familiarity with Scanning Products and Data Diodes

A data diode is an information transfer device that helps to connect networks with different security levels. This allows data such as product updates, office documents and other types of files to pass from low-security to high-security networks. Since the diode only allows information to flow in one direction, it prevents sensitive data from leaving the secure network.
Multi-scanning provides protection by scanning files for threats with multiple anti-malware engines. This scanning process allows files to be blocked before they even enter a data diode, which adds yet another layer of security. Files can then be scanned before entry into the diode.
NIAS attendees seemed to be familiar with multi-scanning and data diodes as separate technologies but were not familiar with the technologies as a joint solution. OPSWAT and Arbit's joint solution is the first of its kind to be presented to this group.

Safe File Transfer Recognized as Effective Security Solution

As separated military networks continue to exist in the foreseeable future, the need for a safe, file-based data transfer solution will only continue to grow. Although NATO has its own internal networks for communication, each member country of NATO also has its own individual networks through which to transfer data. This causes a huge problem in the flow of data between NATO and member countries as a large amount of data going to NATO becomes unmanageable and may require multiple servers just to upload.
OPSWAT's Policy Patrol Secure File Transfer solution is easily configured with Arbit's one-way data diode to provide an additional layer of protection to secure networks. After the configuration is made, the MetaDefender solution is integrated, enabling more control over the data transferred between an unsecured network to an air-gapped network. Policy Patrol SFT works by storing files that are scanned and sanitized by MetaDefender in a secure location that is only available within the organization. Guests to a facility that use MetaDefender can also have sessions sent via Policy Patrol SFT through the data diode. Guests receive a token that will be used for storing the files and then later used to retrieve them.

To see our joint solution with Arbit in action, you can watch the video below:


Click to play video

Overall, we saw strong interest at the event in our combined solution as well as a heightened interest in finding a way to prevent threats from reaching offline networks.

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