Using big data to combat cybercrime

Since big data first emerged as a potential resource for enterprises looking to enhance their business operations, the technology has found many applications. Data analytics tools have been used to predict market trends, increase sales and advertising efforts and even predict the likelihood of a customer leaving for a competitor. Big data tools may have an even more remarkable use, however: fighting cybercrime.

The rising threat of cyberthieves
The growth of cybercrime has nearly mirrored big data's meteoric rise. A report issued by Panda Lab found that in 2012 alone, 27 million unique strains of malware were identified, bringing the total number in existence to 125 million. Sectors ranging from the banking industry to the federal government have experienced massive data breaches in recent months. To combat this threat, cybercrime experts are increasingly looking to big data tools to help mitigate the danger of data thieves.

Research conducted by Teradata and the Ponemon Institute suggests that IT experts believe big data software can be a useful tool in the fight against cybercrime, reported Business 2 Community contributor Lisa Arthur. Sixty-one percent of respondents said data analytics tools could solve pressing security issues. However, only 35 percent could confirm that their organizations had implemented those tools. Furthermore, although the rate and severity of cybercrime has increased over the past few years, only 20 percent of respondents believed their enterprises' efforts to prevent data breaches had become more effective.

The crime-fighting potential of big data
Using real-time big data analytics programs, however, IT security professionals may be able to more effectively identify patterns in network activity that would not be noticed by traditional defensive protocols. The battle between cybercriminals and security professionals has largely been an arms race, with one side releasing a new weapon or defense and the other responding with a direct counter method. What this amounts to is the proliferation of anti-virus tools that have very specific functions. With big data's superior processing power, analytics software could monitor network traffic to identify changes that might suggest the presence of malware.

Data analytics tools could also be used to determine what malware poses the greatest threat to a business' network. By analyzing different factors such as the defensive systems in place and comparable networks' breach rates, big data software could identify a business' largest vulnerability. With that information, security professionals could take steps to improve network defenses.

Using a Hadoop architecture, IT departments can create data analytics programs that monitor network defenses in real time. Without data bottlenecks to slow down processing speeds, security professionals using Hadoop tools can create quick and effective analytics-based solutions.

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