Feeds

Younger generation taking 'sledgehammer' to security

Digital natives v digital immigrants

Seven Steps to Software Security

RSA 2012 The new generation of "digital natives" coming into the workplace is going to blow apart existing security practices, Symantec's CEO Enrique Salem warns.

In his keynote speech on Tuesday at the RSA 2012 conference in San Francisco, Salem said that the current young generation, born in the 1990s, has a radically different approach to the internet and security than that of the older "digital immigrants" who built it.

"These digital natives are a freight train coming that will hit businesses like a sledgehammer," he warned. "They are the sledgehammer of change, and they're going to need to work with digital immigrants like you and me."

Salem said that the average US 21-year-old has sent over 250,000 emails, text messages, and IM sessions, has spent over 14,000 hours online, and doesn't accept information from a single source, but checks with his or her network instead. They use email rarely and have never known life without the internet. They even think differently, multitasking constantly in what he called "continuous partial attention."

Companies are going to have to get used to this, and should see productivity benefits, Salem said. But this style of working is going to need a dramatic reworking of traditional security practices, he warned, then proposed new ways to deal with the situation.

Authentication needs to be altered, he suggested, so that it is similar to single sign-on, but much more flexible for working across a variety of platforms. Security has to work on multiple devices, since digital natives take a "bring your own device" approach to hardware, and on multiple levels, so that it can incorporate new data such as location and online behavior.

The firewall will also need to be reinvented, he said, so that it not only watches what data comes into an organization, but also what data goes out. That data leaving via the cloud needs to be automatically tagged, since users can't be trusted to do it themselves, and clear cloud audit trails need to be set up and monitored. Finally, IT administrators need to be able to shut down access to information quickly when the native leaves the company.

Salem raised some good points, but he was short on solutions. He promised that Symantec would provide protection, but gave little indication as to how and why. No doubt details will be forthcoming, but he set himself a very high target. ®

Mobile application security vulnerability report

More from The Register

next story
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
Mozilla fixes CRITICAL security holes in Firefox, urges v31 upgrade
Misc memory hazards 'could be exploited' - and guess what, one's a Javascript vuln
BMW's ConnectedDrive falls over, bosses blame upgrade snafu
Traffic flows up 20% as motorway middle lanes miraculously unclog
LibreSSL RNG bug fix: What's all the forking fuss about, ask devs
Blow to bit-spitter 'tis but a flesh wound, claim team
Attackers raid SWISS BANKS with DNS and malware bombs
'Retefe' trojan uses clever spin on old attacks to grant total control of bank accounts
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
Don't look, Snowden: Security biz chases Tails with zero-day flaws alert
Exodus vows not to sell secrets of whistleblower's favorite OS
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.