Cybersecurity at the Center: A Smart and Highly Secure Network is the First Line of Defense

November 03, 2016
By John Donovan

Cybersecurity used to be something you had to explain. Now, it’s something we all experience.

Data breaches and hacks target hospitals, retailers, restaurants and email providers. Distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks strangle access to popular websites. International online espionage. Cybersecurity is a growing part of everyday life. A massive DDoS attack slowed the internet to a crawl for many of us just a few weeks ago.

AT&T is connecting the world. So we have to integrate security into everything we build. Hackers and vandals are now so sophisticated it’s nearly impossible for individuals to spot and stop threats. The network itself must become a security tool.

Last week, I outlined the problem at the 18th Annual Cybersecurity Conference in New York City.  I described how we’re integrating security from the ground up at AT&T.

The scope of this is huge. According to our research:

  • 90% of companies experienced a malware attack in the past 12 months.
  • 73% of companies suffered at least one DDoS attack in the past 12 months.
  • 7X increase in ransomware attacks from July to August 2016.
  • $740 million in reported losses at more than 7,000 companies, due to employees targeted by phishing scams from 2013-2015.

We must combat this. Here are some of our security efforts:

  • We have 2,000 security experts across AT&T. They monitor 118.8 petabytes of data traffic crossing our network every day. And cybersecurity is everyone’s responsibility. Big data analytics, machine learning and AI will help us spots attacks even faster, all central to our Threat Intellect solution. 
  • We’re building our software-centric network to recognize and contain threats as they occur. We plan to virtualize 75% of our network by 2020.
  • We’re deploying our security tools in innovative ventures, such as Project DOC.
  • AT&T Labs and the AT&T Foundry are developing the future of security technologies. We’ll have more to share on those areas soon.

In short, security is front-and-center in designing and building our network. From our software engineers, IoT and AI experts, to our R&D centers around the world, at AT&T security is top-of-mind.

For more information, check out our latest Cybersecurity Insights report

John Donovan - Chief Strategy Officer and Group President – AT&T Technology and Operations

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