CenturyLink is working to increase cybersecurity

Cyberattacks are the fastest-growing crime in the United States.

With more than 4 billion people having access to the internet, cyber theft is estimated to cost the global economy nearly $600 billion annually, according to a report from computer security company McAfee. 

Black Lotus Labs, the threat research and operations arm of internet service provider (ISP) CenturyLink, is working to combat the issue. 

“Our mission is to leverage our network visibility to both help protect customers and keep the internet clean,” CenturyLink SVP & Chief Security Officer Chris Betz said. “We do this because we believe we have a responsibility to help protect the internet, notify victims and proactively mitigate cyber threats.” 

According to a report by Cybersecurity Ventures, cybercrime damage costs could hit $6 trillion annually by 2021.

“DDoS [denial-of-service] attacks, ransomware, and an increase in zero-day exploits are contributing to [the] prediction becoming a reality,” Robert Herjavec, founder and CEO at security services provider company Herjavec Group, said. “It’s concerning that all of the hype around cybercrime…makes us complacent. The risk is very real, and we can’t allow ourselves to be lulled into a sense of inevitability. We all have a role to play in how we protect our businesses from the accelerating threat of cybercrime.” 

In 2017, CenturyLink Threat Research Labs tracked an average of 195,000 threats per day, impacting on average 104 unique targets —servers, computers, handheld or internet-connected (IoT) devices owned by businesses, government entities or consumers — daily. 

In 2016, 95 percent of breached records were from either the government, retail or technology industries reports TechRepublic. However, it takes most companies more than six months to detect a data breach. 

Black Lotus Labs is uniquely capable of handling cybersecurity threats by leveraging an expansive view of the global internet to protect CenturyLink customers and non-customers from malicious actors, and by working to actively prevent bad actors from using CenturyLink network resources to conduct criminal activities.

“We’re serious about doing our part to help protect the internet – including disrupting the work of bad actors,” CenturyLink Senior Lead Communication Manager Kerry Zimmer said. “We believe we have a responsibility to help protect the internet. We do this by sharing our threat intelligence with the security community, notifying victims and proactively mitigating known cyber threats.” 

According to Black Lotus, the lab collects 114 billion NetFlow sessions, which is how IT professionals determine where the traffic is coming from; monitors more than 5,000 command and control servers on an ongoing basis; responds to and mitigates roughly 120 DDoS attacks per day; and removes almost 40 malware control networks per month. 

“We build our threat intelligence from one of the world’s largest internet backbones, which gives us a massive field of view when it comes to emerging and evolving cyber threats,” Betz said.

Locally, the Arizona Department of Administration identifies 200 brute force attempts per day, 500 Trojan attacks per day, 35,000 malware attacks per month and 500 SQL injection attacks per month. 

In 2016, Arizona set out to quantify and improve the state’s cyber defenses. In Oct. 2016, Arizona’s cybersecurity score was below the industry average at 638. Now it’s above the average of 700. 

“In today’s world, the threat of cyberattacks is persistent and constantly evolving, which is why we are taking proactive steps to mitigate that threat and making sure agencies continually improve their cyber defenses,” Governor Doug Ducey (R-AZ) said.

This month, Black Lotus Labs will be releasing its 2019 Threat Report that goes in-depth to shine a light on the network-based threats the lab discovered while also providing insights and recommendations to take action against the malicious attacks.

To see its 2018 Threat Report, click here. To learn more about Black Lotus Labs, click here.  

Emily Richardson

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