Few would debate legendary martial artist Chuck Norris’ ability to take out any opponent with a quick combination of lightning-fast punches and kicks. Norris, after all, is legendary for his showdowns with the best of fighters and being the last man standing in some of the most brutal and memorable fight scenes. It’s no surprise, then, that hackers named one of their most dubious botnet attacks after “tough guy” Norris, which wreaked havoc on internet routers worldwide. The “Chuck Norris” botnet, or CNB, was strategically designed to target poorly configured Linux MIPS systems, network devices such as routers, CCTV cameras, switches, Wifi modems, etc. In a study on CNB, the University of Masaryk in the Czech Republic, examined the attack’s inner workings and demonstrated how it employed Netflow as a countermeasure to actively detect and incapacitate the threat.
With the pace at which the social, mobile, analytics and cloud (SMAC) stack is evolving, IT departments must quickly adopt their security monitoring and prevention strategies to match the ever-changing networking landscape. By the same token, network monitoring solutions (NMS) developers must balance a tightrope of their own in terms of providing the detail and visibility their users need, without a cost to network performance. But much of security forensics depends on the ability to drill down into both live and historic data to identify how intrusions and attacks occur. This leads to the question: what is the right balance between collecting enough data to gain the front foot in network security management, and ensuring performance isn’t compromised in the process?