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FireEye expert: Analysing the "flow of data" is the only way to detect new threats

Home automation, connected objects, e-health and quantified self, bio-informatics and Web 4.0... All these are part of the emerging trends of the future, and innovation is constantly progressing.

But the security of these new technologies is not always anticipated.

At the International Forum for Cybersecurity (opens in new tab) (FIC), an elite panel formed of industry-leading experts from the top cyber security companies in the world seeks to answer the question: How can we consider the security and uses of the future?

Bruno Forgiarini, regional sales manager for government at FireEye, shared with us his predictions, fears and hopes for the future of security.

How is the search for cyber threats developing?

Rather than running after signatures, most of us agree that now most signatures are polymorphic and hard to detect.

Recently our founder decided that we need to concentrate less on detecting certain signatures, but rather to focus of the so-called "flow" of data, and allow us to spot and isolate suspicious behaviours.

This has allowed us to detect many new zero day attacks which exploited previously unknown weaknesses in Microsoft's Internet explorer (opens in new tab).

In fact, most of the zero-day attacks discovered in 2013 were discovered in our labs.

What are the challenges of covering a business from cyber attack?

The problem is that every two years, our machines more than double in terms of power - and sometimes when computing power increases, you get people going for the less costly option with regards security and their IT systems.

Today our mission is to differentiate between the virtual spaces and our actual workspaces. We need to instrumentalise the power of virtual systems to detect unknown attacks. As we know, our daily lives will soon be more and more effected by artificial intelligence, so we hope that soon it will also help us to prevent this kind attack in an efficient and automated way.

Are security companies cooperating sufficiently to fight cybercrime?

Yes, I think so. For instance, there's a website called Virus Total (opens in new tab), where users can scan their files using more than 50 antivirus companies' software.

Researchers can also post any new malware or exploit they discover, so that when a new virus emerges, you can put it on the site and anyone can access that and develop solutions to fight the new threat. So I think there's a lot of collaboration going on in the security sphere.

Should companies be legally obliged to report data breaches?

Companies can be embarrassed to reveal that they lost information in a data breach (opens in new tab), and in France right now there's no legal obligation to report a data breach. That's not the case in Anglo-Saxon countries, and I think that's what we need in France.

Everyone will win if this gets put in place, as our security will improve as a whole.

What do you foresee as the future of security for the internet of things?

When we talk about the big companies, we're not going to be looking at protecting a refrigerator, for instance. We've all heard about the fridge that was recently found to be part of a botnet (opens in new tab), but it's not the place of big companies to put protection in place for low-value consumer products.

What we might see is companies providing a solution that covers the whole house, say, or controls gateways to the entire array of connected devices.

More from FIC 2014:

Prominent lawyer: Does the cloud have international borders? (opens in new tab)

US Navy professor defends PRISM, calls Internet "a lawless frontier" (opens in new tab)

French defence minister calls for unified front against cyber crime (opens in new tab)

Estonian IT security chief: "I don't want to use American encryption anymore" (opens in new tab)

(opens in new tab)Palo Alto director: "We could see AI in antivirus in the next 5-10 years" (opens in new tab)

Paul has worked as an archivist, editor and journalist, and has a PhD in the cultural and literary significance of ruins. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, The BBC, The Atlantic, National Geographic, and Discover Magazine, and he was previously Staff Writer and Journalist at ITProPortal.