An Insight into Machine Identities

By CIOReview | Friday, January 11, 2019

Humans and machines are two actors present in every network. Humans use usernames and passwords to identify themselves. Machines also need authentication when they connect to each other, for this they use keys and certificates. Protecting machine identities is as important as protecting user identities. Machine identities are being used to support vital business functions in many ways including,

• securing web transactions with HTTPs
• securing privileged access
• securing fast IT and DevOps
• securing communication on consumer devices
• authenticating software code

Developments in the Horizon of Machine Identities:

1. Expanding attack surface for machine identities: As machine identities are revolutionizing organizations of all sizes, the threat landscape also becomes bigger and more appealing. Cybercriminals will pay more to have access the assets as they are protected with machine identities and had become more valuable.

2. Increased maturity of machine identity industry: The anticipated increase in machine identity attacks triggered further evolution of the overall machine identity industry. Users have become more disciplined about acquiring machine identities. Changes have occurred in certificate authorities and browsers. They are

• Expanded use of blockchain - There is an increase in blockchain first stage projects, this will present new and challenging security implications not considered previously.

• Further CA consolidation - CA market evolving and this will challenge attackers.

• The falling price of domain validated certificates

3. Increasing consequences of machine identity violations:

• Tighter privacy laws - Tighter privacy laws will bring correspondence increase in the lack of trust as consumers choose public records and data retention. With this large scale, breaches will decrease.

• Greater accountability at the top levels

The Future of Machine Identities:

The widespread encryption will help the organization reduce threats and protect privacy, and this will mitigate the use of machine identities. They will be used to create encrypted connections, protecting the privacy of authorized users. Machine identities will continue to explode in both information technology and operational technology ecosystems. This will change the security posture for segmented networks and increase the importance of short validity cycles and certificate life cycles.