Events like the Republican and Democratic National Conventions are enormous threat vectors, said Katherine Gronberg, VP for Government Affairs at ForeScout Technologies, a San Francisco and Washington, D.C.-based firm in charge of protecting both conventions from cyber attacks.
To secure the conventions, said Gronberg, "We think about the nature of the network security environment and what kinds of threats events like this face." Malware and phishing attacks are the most common threats facing the RNC. "By and large [security at the RNC and DNC] looks a lot like what we would face for a commercial organization," she said.
ForeScount's emphasis is protecting IoT devices during IP-intensive events. "It's very high visibility," said Gronberg. "In the arena...you have screens, you have cameras and lights that are all IP-enabled."
Malware is bad for individual machines, she said, but the true menace is that malicious code can get inside a network and sniff around for weaknesses to exploit. "You've got to have lanes of separation and separate high priority networks, from lower priority public facing networks," said Gronberg.
The primary method of security ForeScout uses is a strong defense powered by continuous monitoring. In a massive command center located a few blocks from the arena, near the press filing center, ForeScout, Gronberg said, is "continuously looking at the network of the RNC...to see how all the devices connected to the network are behaving, and the threats they may pose to the network."
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Dan Patterson has nothing to disclose. He does not hold investments in the technology companies he covers.
Dan is a Senior Writer for TechRepublic. He covers cybersecurity and the intersection of technology, politics and government.