AT&T security guru talks DoS attacks, hackers

Botnets, protection of personal information pose biggest challenges, AT&T CSO Edward Amoroso says.

Edward Amoroso is the chief security officer at AT&T in the US, as well as a professor who has written several textbooks on information security. Amoroso spoke with Jon Brodkin last week in Boston, where he delivered a keynote about network security during Forrester's Security Forum.

What are your biggest security challenges at AT&T?

The biggest challenge right now is sensitive personal information being all over the place, Social Security numbers, credit card numbers. It's an IT problem. I'm not even convinced it's appropriate to call it a security problem, it's just IT infrastructure has developed in a way where that stuff is all over the place. We're encrypting the whole company. That's a pretty heavy-handed approach to solving the problem, but that's really the only option.

Have you lost any sensitive data?

We've had some laptops that have been lost just like anybody else. So we report those and move on. That's been the extent of it, it could be worse.

You also spoke about network security and defending against botnets and denial-of-service attacks in your keynote.

That's our second-biggest challenge. Keep in mind, we're a service provider, so the availability threat is way more important than if we were selling software. If is down for an hour, it wouldn't be good but it's not a stock-price-affecting problem. If our network services are down for an hour, that is a very big problem.

Will AT&T be able to successfully defend against these botnets?

We do it now. These things we see, a lot of them are aimed at us all the time. Any carrier that says 'we're not under attack' is lying to you.

Last December, we saw some pretty significant increases in traffic aimed at our host. We think that somebody was aiming big denial of service attacks at our hosting DNS services. We just filter the traffic, we survive it. It's just the normal course of business for that stuff to be lobbed at you, and you block it.

You're an adjunct professor of computer science at the Stevens Institute of Technology. What can we expect from the next generation of computer scientists?

They're good hackers, that's for sure. They come in and they've been reading hacking magazines since they were little kids. There's a lot of foolishness in youth so a lot of young people do design attack tools. They're better [than previous generations]. But they're also better as computer scientists. I would say there's a general uplift in capability, good and bad. It keeps me sharp. They let me have it if I don't know the answer to something.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jon Brodkin

Network World
Show Comments


James Cook University - Master of Data Science Online Course

Learn more >


Sansai 6-Outlet Power Board + 4-Port USB Charging Station

Learn more >



Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?