Moving Target Defense’s Expanded Role in Cybersecurity

August 2020

In the world of cybersecurity, there are defenders and there are attackers. Defenders are constantly looking for new ways to keep their data safe on the internet, while attackers are typically quick to circumvent whatever new security technology may have been put in place. This inevitably results in a generally unproductive cycle of attacks and the implementation of new defenses.

However, a concept known as moving target defense (MTD) that was created by the Department of Homeland Security is now being applied to cybersecurity to help users better protect their information. If you run an online business or simply want to keep your personal information safe, having a better understanding of the MTD strategy could aid you in your quest to improve overall data security.

Let’s take a closer look!

Understanding the Moving Target Defense Strategy

The primary component that differentiates MTD from standard security strategies is that the attack surface itself is constantly changing and moving across system dimensions. The goal in doing this is to create uncertainty and confusion among attackers, making it much more difficult for them to hone in on their target. There are several options for implementing the MTD strategy; for example, false endpoints in the form of servers can be used as “decoys” to thwart major web attacks or redirect attackers.

The Benefits of Moving Target Defense

The idea of implementing MTD can be daunting, especially when you consider the many steps that would need to be taken to set up this type of strategy. However, the benefits of MTD are well worth the effort and potential cost.

For starters, moving target defense reduces a security team’s reliance on threat detection software. It’s also completely scalable, so once an MTD solution is in place, it can be adjusted as needed to suit an organization’s changing needs. Perhaps the main advantage of MTD, however, is that it adds a significant layer of protection between defenders and attackers. It’s much more difficult for a hacker to hit a moving target, so to speak, which is the exact principle upon which this strategy operates.

What MTD Means for You

Depending on the size of your organization and the type of data you’re working to protect, now may be a good time to consider implementing a moving target strategy as part of your security protocol.

While there are many ways to harness the power of MTD, one common practice is to create a decoy server to distract and confuse attackers. This strategy is not only beneficial for thwarting attacks, but it can also help you detect threats before they reach your real server.

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