July 16, 2012


Ran Mosessco Principal Security Researcher

Here in Websense's own backyard, the 2012San Diego Comic-Con has just folded up its superhero cape after four days of workshops, film screenings, panel discussions, and collectible exhibits. Beginning in 1970 with a one-day event and 145 attendees, Comic-Con now caps attendance at about 130,000 and brings in about $162.8 million to our local economy.

Judging by some of the costumed attendees we spotted downtown over the weekend (at least we hope that's what they were), zombies are an increasingly popular theme. As we observed the undead shuffling around near the Convention Center in search of human brains, we couldn't help but reflect on some obvious parallels between the zombie apocalypse and the security threats we face down every day here at Websense. 

Night of the Living Bots! Compromised hosts as digital zombies! 


Think about it: 

  • Zombies eat brains; in the security world, “brains” are confidential/proprietary data, customer data, and secrets.
  • Zombies take over their hosts, so do bot networks.
  • Zombies attack in hordes, just like huge scale SPAM and DoS attacks.


Coincidence?  We think not. 

Fortunately, the world has been dealing with the zombie threat long enough to have established some Best Practices from the movie "Zombieland" to help survive an attack. These also have parallels in the security arena. 

  • Rule No. 1:  Cardio.  "Zombies lead a very active lifestyle. So should you." The fitter you are, the better your chances of outrunning the undead. Websense pumps it up with up-to-the-millisecond proactive classification in real-time, keeping you a step ahead of security threats--always the safest place to be.
  • Rule No. 2:  The Double Tap.  "Just because the zombie is down is no reason not to finish it off." The Websense double tap is to classify and block both outbound malicious traffic and outbound proprietary data. Threats are down and OUT.
  • Rule No. 3:  Beware of Bathrooms. "Zombies smell when you are at your most vulnerable." Websense classifies and blocks cesspool websites based on poor web reputations, keeping you, your systems and your data clean and minty fresh.
  • Rule No. 4:  Avoid Strip Clubs. "Hang out in sleazy places, and bad things are likely to happen."  Websense goes there so you don't have to, hanging out where malware does in order to classify objectionable content before it finds you.
  • Rule No. 5:  The Buddy System. "Why don’t zombies attack each other? Possibly a herd instinct keeps them safe and you should do the same." The ThreatSeeker network has your back.


Beyond the established and internationally-recognized canon of zombie fighting rules, we've added a few new wrinkles. Bona fide professional zombie hunters Columbus, Tallahassee, Wichita, and Little Rock are available through Websense CSI to help you determine if you are under a zombie attack, and more important, to help you fight back and survive. ThreatScope, our very own version of Pacific Playland, lures the zombies out to play and reveals their true flesh-eating colors. Check out a sample report that helped avert a zombie apocalypse! 


Another essential rule is "Get a ...gnarly... partner," and nobody fills that bill better than Websense.


Ran Mosessco

Principal Security Researcher

About Forcepoint

Forcepoint is the leading user and data protection cybersecurity company, entrusted to safeguard organizations while driving digital transformation and growth. Our solutions adapt in real-time to how people interact with data, providing secure access while enabling employees to create value.