What does Chat GPT think about cybersecurity with Software Defined Networking?
As I dug deeper into the Chat GPT application, I realized that I could validate or debate with the AI engine our value proposition and value statements on SDN. Although I may be accused of leading the witness, here are the responses to basic questions we get every day on our approach to securing and managing OT networks. After each response, I have added some commentary on agreement or disagreement with the information provided.
So – hot of the AI algorithms – what does Chat GPT have to say about the benefits software defined networking for securing OT networks?
How does software defined networking improve security on industrial networks?
Chat GPT answer:
Software-defined networking (SDN) can help improve security on industrial networks in several ways:
- Centralized network management: SDN provides centralized management of network policies, which can help ensure consistent security measures across the network. Security policies can be created and enforced at the network level, rather than on individual devices, making it easier to detect and respond to security threats.
- Access control: SDN allows for more granular access control by segmenting the network into smaller domains and controlling access to specific resources. This can help prevent unauthorized access to critical systems and data, reducing the risk of security breaches.
- Automated security policy enforcement: SDN can automate security policy enforcement, reducing the risk of human error and ensuring that security policies are consistently enforced across the network. This can help reduce the risk of security breaches and improve incident response times.
- Real-time threat detection and response: SDN can provide real-time threat detection and response capabilities by using machine learning algorithms to analyze network traffic and detect anomalies. Security events can be detected and responded to in real-time, reducing the impact of security incidents on the network.
- Network segmentation: SDN allows for more effective network segmentation, which can limit the scope of security breaches and reduce the potential impact on the network. By isolating critical systems and data, SDN can help prevent the spread of malware and other security threats.
Overall, we think these statements nailed it. SDN can help improve security on industrial networks by providing centralized management, access control, automated security policy enforcement, limit the ability for adversaries to take command and control of the network, and effective network segmentation.
Is using Software Defined Networking for securing industrial networks a better approach than deploying Intrusion detection technology?
Chat GPT answer:
Software-defined networking (SDN) and intrusion detection technology (IDS) serve different purposes and are not mutually exclusive. Both can be used together to help secure industrial networks.
SDN provides centralized network management, access control, automated security policy enforcement, real-time threat detection and response, and effective network segmentation. It can help improve network reliability and security by providing a holistic view of network traffic, allowing network administrators to easily detect and respond to security threats.
IDS, on the other hand, is specifically designed to detect and alert administrators of suspicious activity on the network. IDS can be deployed as a standalone system or integrated into an existing security infrastructure to provide an additional layer of security. IDS can help detect and alert administrators to potential security threats, allowing them to quickly respond and prevent further damage.
Both SDN and IDS can be effective in securing industrial networks. SDN provides a proactive approach to network security by enabling the enforcement of security policies and the detection of anomalies in real time. IDS, on the other hand, provides a reactive approach to network security by detecting and alerting administrators to potential threats. Depending upon the size of the network and the skill set available to interpret or integrate security data, SDN may be a more cost-effective starting point than IDS.
In what order should you deploy the following technologies for defense in depth in industrial networks. Network Segmentation. Perimeter Firewalls. Network IDS. Configuration Change Management. Patch management. Host IDS.
Chat GPT answer:
The order in which you should deploy the following technologies for defense in depth in industrial networks may vary based on the specific network and security requirements, but a possible order is as follows:
- Configuration Change Management: This technology should be deployed first to ensure that all devices on the network are configured securely and to prevent unauthorized changes that could compromise the network.
- Patch Management: Once Configuration Change Management is in place, Patch Management should be deployed to ensure that all devices on the network are updated with the latest security patches to address known vulnerabilities.
- Host IDS: After Configuration Change Management and Patch Management, Host IDS should be deployed to monitor individual devices on the network for signs of compromise and to detect threats that may have bypassed other security measures.
- Network Segmentation: Network segmentation should be deployed next to divide the network into smaller, more manageable segments, reducing the attack surface and containing potential security breaches.
- Perimeter Firewalls: Perimeter firewalls should be deployed after Network Segmentation to filter traffic and prevent unauthorized access to the network, as well as to prevent the spread of malware and other threats.
- Network IDS: Once the Perimeter Firewall is in place, Network IDS should be deployed to monitor network traffic for signs of suspicious activity that may have been missed by the firewall.
Veracity’s thoughts: This was an interesting result. Most OT Cyber assessments generally start with recommending perimeter firewalls then network segmentation. In practice our industry has often started their cyber journey by segmenting OT from IT networks with firewalls and then introduced OT network IDS/anomaly detection applications. Having visibility into the network has often been at the top of the CISO’s list, and is viewed as non-invasive technology to OT operations , but does little to harden the attack surface or manage change or threats. This may be a function of level of deployment difficulty. As an example, putting a patch management program in place is time consuming and can break a lot of things out of the gate, but it does introduce a high degree of resiliency into the network once you have it up and running effectively.
Chat GPT is actually pretty entertaining and seems to be spot-on with many responses. For example, when asked ‘would most people rather have a root canal or do a network segmentation project?’ the answer really resonated:
Comparing a root canal procedure to a network segmentation project is not an apples-to-apples comparison, as they are completely different in nature and context. A root canal is a dental procedure to treat an infected tooth or damaged nerve, while network segmentation is a cybersecurity practice to divide a network into smaller, more secure subnetworks.
That being said, most people may not be familiar with the technical details of network segmentation and may find the project daunting or complex, especially if they do not have prior experience or knowledge in networking or cybersecurity. However, with proper planning and implementation, network segmentation can significantly improve the security and resilience of industrial networks, which can ultimately lead to fewer cybersecurity incidents and better protection of sensitive data and critical infrastructure.
It is worth noting that the perception of difficulty or complexity around network segmentation can be addressed by working with experienced network and cybersecurity professionals who can provide guidance and support throughout the project. In the end, the benefits of network segmentation can outweigh the challenges and efforts involved, making it a worthwhile investment for organizations seeking to improve their cybersecurity posture.
Stay tuned for part 2 of our Chat GPT blog where we dig into using SDN for network management.