THU and DELTA Summit Information Security assessments and monitoring

The Malta Information Technology Agency (MITA) has recently been entrusted to provide IT services during the Trojan Horse was a Unicorn (THU) Conference and the DELTA Summit held in Malta. To support these events, MITA implemented a state of the art wireless infrastructure.

 

The THU conference is an event targeted for digital artists. This year’s edition was being held in Malta for the first time and was spread over six days. The attendees were able to share experiences, learn more about the digital entertainment industry, network, participate in workshops and meet well-known artists. This event took place in three different locations in Valletta; the Mediterranean Conference Centre, Fort St. Elmo and the War Museum.

 

The DELTA summit is Malta’s official platform from where to promote the blockchain technology and its associated business prospects. Over 4,000 attendees and investors from all over the globe attended the two-day event held at the InterContinental Arena Conference Centre.

 

These events were brimmed with important workshops, high-profile companies and prominent speakers. Such events posed potential targets for cyber criminals, where a successful attack could lead to theft of corporate information, disruption in trading, loss of trust and reputational damage.

 

Thus, MITA carried out information security assessments and monitoring. Indeed, MITA’s Information Security and Governance team worked alongside the infrastructure project implementation team and discussed the proposed infrastructures, the information security assessments and the monitoring to be carried out. The primary aim for both teams was to provide a secure and stable Wi-Fi service. Subsequently, a list was compiled describing information security related services that were going to be assessed and monitored.

 

A security assessment was carried out on the devices within the infrastructure. Furthermore, several simulations of Wi-Fi attacks were carried out to identify any weaknesses or misconfigurations. The security monitoring was carried out both from the Security Operations Centre (SOC) within MITA’s Data Centre and from a designated control room in the event location.

 

Several tools were deployed to achieve greater visibility and detection capabilities. This included a network monitoring tool which monitors all the traffic and assets deployed within the infrastructure. By making use of this tool, the security team had the visibility on the availability of the assets and sporadic fluctuations in network flows. Furthermore, this tool helped in detecting any potential Denial of Service attacks, whereby an attacker would try to oppress the network resources, making them unavailable to legit users.

 

In addition to the above, the Wi-Fi network was monitored for any rogue access points within range. Rogue access points could lead to attacks such as a man-in-the-middle attack, where an attacker would secretly relay the communication amongst victims actively eavesdropping and possible changes communication.

 

On the forefront of the infrastructure set up for both events, MITA deployed a Next Generation Firewall (NGFW). This device has the capability of a traditional firewall which includes functions such as packet filtering based on IP addresses and network ports. Moreover, the NGFW has the capability of an application firewall using Intrusion Prevention System (IPS) which actively prevents malicious activity and policy violations. All the logs generated by the NGFW were also being sent to a syslog server specifically set up, in which every alert was furtherly investigated.

 

MITA have also monitored high-profile web applications and social media sites that could have been targeted by cyber criminals to carry out a defacement attack. A defacement attack occurs when an attacker alters the visual appearance or text of a social media message or web application. This attack has various motives for example, misleading the attendees or to deliver a politically motivated message. External Information Security advisors were hired to provide cyber threat intelligence. Such intelligence was collected and revised daily.

 

Cyber Security is a chain, which is equally strong as its weakest link. This is not something which can be achieved solely by using the above-mentioned tools. Cyber Security is also the responsibility of everyone! Thus, during both events, MITA also took the opportunity to communicate messages through various media to heighten further cyber security awareness.

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