22. Guest Lecture by MIT IS&T | Summary and Q&A

March 30, 2017
MIT OpenCourseWare
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22. Guest Lecture by MIT IS&T


MIT faces diverse cybersecurity challenges, including DDoS attacks, web server breaches, and exploitation of network and human vulnerabilities.

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Questions & Answers

Q: What are some of the specific challenges faced by MIT's cybersecurity team?

MIT faces challenges in maintaining the security of its open network, mitigating DDoS attacks, protecting web servers and DNS infrastructure, and dealing with registrar compromises.

Q: How does MIT protect its DNS infrastructure from attacks?

MIT utilizes Akamai's content distribution network to mitigate DNS-based attacks, allowing external and internal access to different views of the DNS based on user location or affiliation. By leveraging Akamai's global infrastructure, MIT can maintain availability even during attacks.

Q: What were the consequences of the web server breach at MIT?

While the MIT web server itself was not compromised, the attacker targeted the institution's registrar, leading to defacement of web pages. MIT resolved the issue by modifying DNS records and securing its registrar account.

Q: How does MIT address network vulnerabilities exploited through human actions?

MIT works to educate its users about cybersecurity best practices and develops measures like restricting management interfaces to specific IP addresses. Additionally, they employ endpoint protection tools and enforce access control policies to mitigate human-related vulnerabilities.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • MIT operates an open network, making it vulnerable to potential attacks from anywhere in the world.

  • DDoS attacks, leveraging reflection and amplification techniques, pose a significant threat to the availability of MIT's resources.

  • MIT has implemented mitigation strategies such as BGP-based redirection and DNS protection through Akamai to safeguard against attacks.

  • The institution faced a web server breach and a registrar compromise, highlighting the importance of securing all levels of the infrastructure.

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