Seeking Tomorrow's Security Solutions

The growing consumerization of IT, the rapid pace of change in technology, the rise of new variants of malware, and the hack attacks carried out by cybercommunities such as LulzSec and Anonymous are putting enterprise IT under tremendous pressure.

Users are increasingly bringing in their own devices for use in the enterprise, keeping IT on the hop.

Meanwhile, new technologies such as near-field communications (NFC), which not only enable mobile payments but also let users transfer files between two NFC-enabled devices by tapping them together, may be opening up new vectors of attack.

Traditional security solutions, including in-depth defense, have proved infuriatingly helpless against aggressive, highly competent hackers such as the members of LulzSec or Anonymous, who seem able to waltz into any system they like and wreak havoc freely.

Their victims include the CIA, the FBI, Sony (NYSE: SNE) and Congress.

The government and our elected officials are trying to fight back.

The Department of Homeland Services has released a list of the top 25 software weaknesses.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology, or NIST, is seeking comment from businesses on how to improve security.

Meanwhile, Senator Mary Bono Mack has proposed legislation making it a criminal offense not to report a security breach.

Labs Go Dark as Google Puts Away Childish Things

In a continuing effort to streamline product development, Google announced Wednesday the company will be shutting down its Google Labs project.

The Google Labs initiative was the tech giant's testing facility, where employees and engineers were given creative freedom to tinker with experimental projects that perhaps didn't necessarily fall within their job descriptions. The emphasis on encouraging innovation and imagination was seen as one of the core elements that separated Google from competitors.

Labs was the birthplace of popular products that are now mainstays of the company, such as Gmail, Google Maps, Google Reader, Google Docs and some Android apps. But for all its success stories, Google Labs had its fair share of flops, and the company now believes prioritizing its development efforts is the best strategy going forward.

Greater focus will be necessary in order to capitalize on upcoming opportunities, according to Bill Coughran, senior vice president for research and systems infrastructure at Google.

Many projects that have stemmed from Labs that are now solidly in place, such as Gmail, will continue in their current capacity, Coughran emphasized in a company blog post. Now, he pointed out, much of the development in Labs is devoted to apps for the Android platform, and those will continue to be available in the separate Android Market.

Cyber Weapons: The New Arms Race

n the early morning hours of May 24, an armed burglar wearing a ski mask broke into the offices of Nicira Networks, a Silicon Valley startup housed in one of the countless nondescript buildings along Highway 101. He walked past desks littered with laptops and headed straight toward the cubicle of one of the company’s top engineers. The assailant appeared to know exactly what he wanted, which was a bulky computer that stored Nicira’s source code. He grabbed the one machine and fled. The whole operation lasted five minutes, according to video captured on an employee’s webcam. Palo Alto Police Sergeant Dave Flohr describes the burglary as a run-of-the-mill Silicon Valley computer grab. “There are lots of knuckleheads out there that take what they can and leave,” he says. But two people close to the company say that they, as well as national intelligence investigators now looking into the case, suspect something more sinister: a professional heist performed by someone with ties to China or Russia. The burglar didn’t want a computer he could sell on Craigslist. He wanted Nicira’s ideas.