24 May 2017

The ability to store bulk data in one central mainframe presents a unique challenge to countering cyber-attacks. By storing data in one location, it prevents would be attackers from sneaking in through weak spots, back doors, and less secure access points. Moreover, if an attack or breech does occur, tracking through cyber forensic methods is much simpler when the data is not dispersed over a wide array of networks. Despite the typically secure setting of mainframe technology, it remains a central location for mass amounts of information. If breeched, the damage could be catastrophic for businesses, governments, and private entities. Although, there has never been a significant cyber-attack recorded, all signs point to a future where the threat is imminent.

As far back as 2013, companies like IBM have reported that “more than half a billion records of personally identifiable information were leaked…through a number of attacks against strategic targets.” Whether the attack is geared towards the financial sector, government and military institutions, or any number of potential targets, the ability to defend and secure mainframes should represent a must for any entity storing bulk data.

Moving towards a more secure future, institutions should be able to not only defend against threats, but develop the ability to use new methods to find and understand where attacks are originating from. Using forensics allows organizations to record suspicious activity or backtrack and trace successful attacks. Combining defensive measures with tracking and forensic capabilities can limit the potential loss of data that now runs modern day life.

The modern threat to cyber security is here. Much like the psychical attacks that now plagues society, the threat existed well before there was any physical manifestation of violence. Not maintaining and developing security measures against mainframe breeches simply because there has not been a large scale attack is an excuse that will ultimately cause more problems. Once the attacks become a more prevalent part of our world, backtracking and racing against time to secure hacked systems will be a much more complicated practice. Begin the process of securing data and information now and maybe we can avoid the mistakes of the past.