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Germany planning ‘trustworthy’ supplier requirement for all networks and 5G

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Germany’s Federal Network Agency, the Bundesnetzagentur (BNetzA), published on Thursday a set of planned additional security requirements for telco networks within the country, which are due to appear in draft form during the Northern Hemisphere’s spring.

The BNetzA pointed out that the requirements will apply to all networks, not just 5G.

“Systems may only be sourced from trustworthy suppliers whose compliance with national security regulations and provisions for the secrecy of telecommunications and for data protection is assured,” the first requirement BNetzA states.

“Network traffic must be regularly and constantly monitored for any abnormality and, if there is any cause for concern, appropriate protection measures must be taken.”

Further, components may only be used if they are certified by the Federal Office for Information Security and have undergone approved, regular testing.

“Proof must be provided that the hardware tested for the selected, security-related components and the source code at the end of the supply chain are actually deployed in the products used,” BNetzA said.

Also: Germany proposes router security guidelines

The planned requirements will force German telcos to avoid using a single vendor, and only “trained professionals” will be allowed to work in security-related areas. In situations where telcos outsource this type of work, “professionally competent, reliable, and trustworthy contractors” must be used.

“We revise the security requirements on a regular basis in light of the current security situation and technological developments,” Bundesnetzagentur president Jochen Homann said.

“Security requirements apply to all network operators and service providers, irrespective of the technology they deploy. All networks, not just individual standards like 5G, are included.”

The German publication comes as Huawei announced yesterday it had filed to sue the US government.

Huawei rotating chair Guo Ping said in Shenzhen on Thursday that the company was seeking a declaratory judgement that the National Defense Authorization Act, which forbids US government entities from using Huawei or ZTE equipment, as unconstitutional, as well as seeking a permanent injunction against the restrictions.

“The US government has long branded Huawei a threat. It has hacked our servers and stolen our emails and source code,” Guo Ping said. “Despite this, the US government has never provided any evidence supporting their accusations that Huawei poses a cybersecurity threat.

“Still, the US government is sparing no effort to smear the company and mislead the public about Huawei. Even worse, the US government is trying to block us from the 5G markets in other countries.”

At the end of last year, reports said the Five Eyes alliance containing the US, the UK, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand, was passing classified information on Chinese foreign interference to countries such as Germany and Japan.

In December, the Czech Republic’s National Cyber and Information Security Agency issued a warning against equipment Huawei and ZTE.

See: Cheat sheet: How to become a cybersecurity pro (TechRepublic)

“China’s laws, among other things, require private companies residing in China to cooperate with intelligence services, therefore introducing them into the key state systems might present a threat,” says the director of NCISA Dusan Navrátil.

Navrátil also warned that China “actively pursues its interests in the territory of the Czech Republic, including influence and espionage intelligence activities”.

Earlier this week, former Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said the ban Australia placed on Huawei was not done at the behest of another nation or for protectionist reasons, but because it defended Australia’s sovereignty and as a “hedge against changing times”.

“It is important to remember that a threat is the combination of capability and intent,” he said.

“Capability can take years, decades to develop. And in many cases won’t be attainable at all. But intent can change in a heartbeat.”

Turnbull bemoaned that the Five Eyes members did not have a company capable of competing in 5G.

“In many discussions with my western counterparts, I raised the concern that we, and in particular the Five Eyes, had got to the point where there were now essentially four leading vendors of 5G systems — two Chinese, Huawei and ZTE, and two European, Ericsson and Nokia,” Turnbull said.

“With the benefit of hindsight it beggars belief that the countries which pioneered wireless technology — the United States, the UK, Germany, Japan and with WiFi, Australia — have got to the point where none of them are able to present one of their own telcos [as] a national, or a Five Eyes, champion in 5G.”

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Cloud Data Security

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Data security has become an immutable part of the technology stack for modern applications. Protecting application assets and data against cybercriminal activities, insider threats, and basic human negligence is no longer an afterthought. It must be addressed early and often, both in the application development cycle and the data analytics stack.

The requirements have grown well beyond the simplistic features provided by data platforms, and as a result a competitive industry has emerged to address the security layer. The capabilities of this layer must be more than thorough, they must also be usable and streamlined, adding a minimum of overhead to existing processes.

To measure the policy management burden, we designed a reproducible test that included a standardized, publicly available dataset and a number of access control policy management scenarios based on real world use cases we have observed for cloud data workloads. We tested two options: Apache Ranger with Apache Atlas and Immuta. This study contrasts the differences between a largely role-based access control model with object tagging (OT-RBAC) to a pure attribute-based access control (ABAC) model using these respective technologies.

This study captures the time and effort involved in managing the ever-evolving access control policies at a modern data-driven enterprise. With this study, we show the impacts of data access control policy management in terms of:

  • Dynamic versus static
  • Scalability
  • Evolvability

In our scenarios, Ranger alone took 76x more policy changes than Immuta to accomplish the same data security objectives, while Ranger with Apache Atlas took 63x more policy changes. For our advanced use cases, Immuta only required one policy change each, while Ranger was not able to fulfill the data security requirement at all.

This study exposed the limitations of extending legacy Hadoop security components into cloud use cases. Apache Ranger uses static policies in an OT-RBAC model for the Hadoop ecosystem with very limited support for attributes. The difference between it and Immuta’s attribute-based access control model (ABAC) became clear. By leveraging dynamic variables, nested attributes, and global row-level policies and row-level security, Immuta can be quickly implemented and updated in comparison with Ranger.

Using Ranger as a data security mechanism creates a high policy-management burden compared to Immuta, as organizations migrate and expand cloud data use—which is shown here to provide scalability, clarity, and evolvability in a complex enterprise’s data security and governance needs.

The chart in Figure 1 reveals the difference in cumulative policy changes required for each platform configuration.

Figure 1. Difference in Cumulative Policy Changes

The assessment and scoring rubric and methodology is detailed in the report. We leave the issue of fairness for the reader to determine. We strongly encourage you, as the reader, to discern for yourself what is of value. We hope this report is informative and helpful in uncovering some of the challenges and nuances of data governance platform selection. You are encouraged to compile your own representative use cases and workflows and review these platforms in a way that is applicable to your requirements.

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GigaOm Radar for Data Loss Prevention

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Data is at the core of modern business: It is our intellectual property, the lifeblood of our interactions with our employees, partners, and customers, and a true business asset. But in a world of increasingly distributed workforces, a growing threat from cybercriminals and bad actors, and ever more stringent regulation, our data is at risk and the impact of losing it, or losing access to it, can be catastrophic.

With this in mind, ensuring a strong data management and security strategy must be high on the agenda of any modern enterprise. Security of our data has to be a primary concern. Ensuring we know how, why, and where our data is used is crucial, as is the need to be sure that data does not leave the organization without appropriate checks and balances.

Keeping ahead of this challenge and mitigating the risk requires a multi-faceted approach. People and processes are key, as, of course, is technology in any data loss prevention (DLP) strategy.

This has led to a reevaluation of both technology and approach to DLP; a recognition that we must evolve an approach that is holistic, intelligent, and able to apply context to our data usage. DLP must form part of a broader risk management strategy.

Within this report, we evaluate the leading vendors who are offering solutions that can form part of your DLP strategy—tools that understand data as well as evaluate insider risk to help mitigate the threat of data loss. This report aims to give enterprise decision-makers an overview of how these offerings can be a part of a wider data security approach.

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Key Criteria for Evaluating Data Loss Prevention Platforms

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Data is a crucial asset for modern businesses and has to be protected in the same way as any other corporate asset, with diligence and care. Loss of data can have catastrophic effects, from reputational damage to significant fines for breaking increasingly stringent regulations.

While the risk of data loss is not new, the landscape we operate in is evolving rapidly. Data can leave data centers in many ways, whether accidental or malicious. The routes for exfiltration also continue to grow, ranging from email, USB sticks, and laptops to ever-more-widely-adopted cloud applications, collaboration tools, and mobile devices. This is driving a resurgence in the enterprise’s need to ensure that no data leaves the organization without appropriate checks and balances in place.

Keeping ahead of this challenge and mitigating the risk requires a multi-faceted approach. Policy, people, and technology are critical components in a data loss prevention (DLP) strategy.

As with any information security strategy, technology plays a significant role. DLP technology has traditionally played a part in helping organizations to mitigate some of the risks of uncontrolled data exfiltration. However, both the technology and threat landscape have shifted significantly, which has led to a reevaluation of DLP tools and strategy.

The modern approach to the challenge needs to be holistic and intelligent, capable of applying context to data usage by building a broader understanding of what the data is, who is using it, and why. Systems in place must also be able to learn when user activity should be classified as unusual so they can better interpret signs of a potential breach.

This advanced approach is also driving new ways of defining the discipline of data loss prevention. Dealing with these risks cannot be viewed in isolation; rather, it must be part of a wider insider risk-management strategy.

Stopping the loss of data, accidental or otherwise, is no small task. This GigaOM Key Criteria Report details DLP solutions and identifies key criteria and evaluation metrics for selecting such a solution. The corresponding GigOm Radar Report identifies vendors and products in this sector that excel. Together, these reports will give decision-makers an overview of the market to help them evaluate existing platforms and decide where to invest.

How to Read this Report

This GigaOm report is one of a series of documents that helps IT organizations assess competing solutions in the context of well-defined features and criteria. For a fuller understanding consider reviewing the following reports:

Key Criteria report: A detailed market sector analysis that assesses the impact that key product features and criteria have on top-line solution characteristics—such as scalability, performance, and TCO—that drive purchase decisions.

GigaOm Radar report: A forward-looking analysis that plots the relative value and progression of vendor solutions along multiple axes based on strategy and execution. The Radar report includes a breakdown of each vendor’s offering in the sector.

Solution Profile: An in-depth vendor analysis that builds on the framework developed in the Key Criteria and Radar reports to assess a company’s engagement within a technology sector. This analysis includes forward-looking guidance around both strategy and product.

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