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March 2014 Threat Metrics

The median rate of web malware encounters in March 2014 was 1:260, compared to a median rate of 1:341 requests in February. At least some of this increased risk appears to have been a result of interest in the NCAA tournaments (aka March Madness), which kicked off during the second week of March in the United States.

Mar2014rate

In February 2014, web malware encounters from sports and video sites were in the 18 and 28 spot, respectively. During March 2014, web malware from sports- and video-related sites jumped to the number 7 and 8 spots, respectively. The presumed longer time spent viewing sports-related content may have been a factor in a 1% decrease in the total volume of web requests in March coupled with a corresponding 18% increase in terabytes received.

Mar2014catall

The ratio of unique non-malicious hosts to unique malware hosts decreased by 1%, at 1:4841 in March 2014 compared to 1:4775 in February. The ratio of unique non-malicious IP addresses to malicious unique IP addresses also dropped from 1:1351 in February 2014 to 1:1388 in March. There was also far less volatility in the rate of unique malicious IP addresses throughout March compared to February.

Mar2014hosts

Java encounters dropped from 9% of all web malware encounters in February 2014 to 6% in March. At 43% of all Java encounters, Java version 7 exploits were the most frequently encountered, with 26% targeting Java version 6, and 32% targeting other versions of Java.

 

Mar2014java

Web malware encounters from mobile devices decreased 24% from February to March 2014. In March 3.6% of all Web malware encounters resulted from mobile device browsing, compared to 4.7% in February. Conversely, web malware encounters from non-Android and non-iOS devices doubled for the period, from 0.1% in February to 0.2% in March. The cause of this increase was not due to any specific device, but rather an across-the-board increase affecting all non-Android and non-iOS devices.

Mar2014mobile

At 18%, advertising was the most common vector of mobile device encounters, followed by business-related sites at 13% and video-related sites at 11% of mobile device encounters. For comparison purposes, in February 2014, sites in the business category were the most common vector of mobile device encounters (20%), followed by advertising (13%) and personal sites (8%). Video came in fourth in February, at 7%.

Mar2014catmob

Pharmaceutical & Chemical remained at 1100% of median risk for web malware encounters in March 2014, the same rate experienced in February. Companies in the Entertainment vertical experienced an increase from 321% in February to 643% in March. The Energy, Oil & Gas vertical increased from a rate of 276% in February to 397% in March.

To assess vertical risk, we first calculate the median encounter rate for all enterprises, and then calculate the median encounter rate for all enterprises in a particular vertical, then compare the two. A rate higher than 100% is considered an increased risk.

 

Mar2014vert

Following a 73% increase from January to February, spam volumes increased another 45% in March to an average of 207 billion spam messages per day.

Mar2014spamvol

The top five global spam senders in February 2014 were the United States at 8%, followed by the Republic of Korea at 5%, Russian Federation at 3%, China at 2%, and Ukraine at 1%.

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OpenSSL Heartbleed vulnerability CVE-2014-0160 – Cisco products and mitigations

*** UPDATED 15-April 2014  ***

By now, almost everyone has heard of the OpenSSL Heartbleed vulnerability with CVE id CVE-2014-0160. The vulnerability has to do with the implementation of the TLS heartbeat extension (RFC6520) and could allow secret key or private information leakage in TLS encrypted communications. For more detailed information, visit the VRT’s analysis.

Cisco maintains an Cisco Event Response Page with details and network mitigations about the vulnerability

Read More »

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Drivers for Managed Security and what to look for in a Cloud Provider [Summary]

The first blog of this series discussing the role of data security in the cloud can be found here.

In 2014 and onward, security professionals can expect to see entire corporate perimeters extended to the cloud, making it essential to choose a service provider that can deliver the security that your business needs.

While organizations can let business needs trade down security we’ve begun to see how a recent slew of data breaches are encouraging greater vigilance around security concerns. For example, a recent CloudTweaks article highlights the need for organizations to be confident in their choice of cloud providers and their control over data. IT leaders have the power to control where sensitive information is stored. They also have the power to choose how, where and by whom information can be accessed.

An important driver in mitigating risk and increasing security is to ask the right questions.

An important driver in mitigating risk and increasing security is to ask the right questions.

Institute Control By Asking the Right Questions

However, adding to fears about ceding the control of data to the cloud is lack of transparency and accountability about how cloud hosting partner/ providers secure data and ensure a secure and compliant infrastructure.  Cloud consuming organizations often don’t ask enough questions about what is contained in their  service-level agreements, and about the process for updating security software and patching both network and API vulnerabilities.

Organizations need reassurance that a cloud provider has a robust set of policies, process and than is using automated as well as the latest technologies to detect, thwart and mitigate attacks, while in progress as well as be prepared to mitigate after an attack.

An important driver in mitigating risk and increasing security is to ask the right questions. When evaluating cloud service providers, IT leaders need to ask:  Read the full blog here.

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NSS Labs Breach Detection Systems Testing Demonstrates Why Threat Protection Must be Continuous

Long before becoming a part of Cisco, the Sourcefire team was aggressively addressing the advanced malware challenges our customers face daily. We believe that the most effective way to address these challenges is a continuous Advanced Malware Protection (AMP) approach that does more than just track malware at a point in time, but is also unrelenting in both monitoring and applying protection. Cisco shares this vision, which is why the combination of our technologies is so powerful. It’s not just about the network, or just about the endpoint— it’s about connecting these and everything in between for complete protection.

While our customers knew it and we knew it, the industry at large can now be certain that this continuous approach is the most effective for addressing advanced threats. NSS Labs tested AMP along with other security solutions for its 2014 Breach Detection System Security Value Map (SVM) and Product Analysis Report (PAR). NSS Labs defines Breach Detection Systems as solutions that provide enhanced detection of advanced malware, zero-day and targeted attacks that could bypass traditional defenses. The SVM results speak for themselves:

NSS Labs Breach Detection SVM Graphic

The SVM is a unique graphical representation of the security effectiveness and value of tested products. It’s no surprise to us that AMP scored as high as it did, but the results are great validation of our commitment to delivering this leading protection with the best total cost of ownership (TCO).

The SVM is also further proof that solutions marketed at addressing targeted advanced persistent threats (APT) and zero-day attacks can’t stop at only offering point-in-time detection. Advanced Malware Protection is the only solution to offer continuous analysis, retrospective security, and multi-source Indicators of Compromise (IoC) for protection before, during and after attacks across the extended network. These capabilities address an important gap that exists in all point-in-time products. Our AMP solution provides the continuous capability to “go back in time” and retrospectively identify and then remediate files that initially evade defenses.

Some highlights from testing:

  • AMP has the lowest TCO of any product tested
  • AMP is a leader in security effectiveness achieving detection of 99 percent of all tested attacks
  • AMP excelled in time-to-detection, catching threats faster than competing Breach Detection Systems

When we talk about AMP with our customers, we call it “AMP Everywhere” because it can protect from the cloud to the network to the endpoint. It has been available as a connector for endpoints and mobile devices, a standalone appliance, and as part of Next-Generation Firewall and Next-Generation IPS for the last two years. It has also recently been integrated into Cisco’s portfolio of Web and Email Security Appliances and Cloud Web Security. With web and email interactions remaining one of the primary vectors for malware infection in organizations, AMP integration on our leading email appliance and web security gateways provides our customers with even stronger protection wherever a threat can manifest itself.

“AMP Everywhere” is a reality. An extremely effective one, at that. I encourage you to see the results for yourself. Download a free copy of the 2014 NSS Labs Breach Detection Systems SVM and PAR for Advanced Malware Protection.

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The Security Imperative As Mobility Evolves

Editor’s Note: This post is a response to EN Mobility Workspace. Please see that post for full context.

A colleague of mine here at Cisco, Jonathan, recently spoke well to the Evolution of Cisco Mobility Workspace Journey. Like all technologies, there is an adoption and engagement cycle based on maturity and risk level. We begin at the device-focused phase with a simple “get me on the network.” Following is the application-focused phase, “now that I am on what can I do with my ability to move around without a wire and work anytime and anywhere.” And the final is the overall experience, which is tailored to the user based on who they are, where they are, what they need or can do. And one can argue the next mobility phase for organizations is IoT (Internet of Things) as more single purpose devices (not necessarily with a user behind it) move to the wireless network.

What is critical to point out is the consistent requirement (not a nice to have) for security as the mobile user experience expands. Why is this so important? According to IDC over 47 percent of organizations see security enhancements required with their mobility initiative. The questions to consider are:

  • What are the secure mobility issues today and potentially tomorrow?
  • What are the implications?
  • What is likelihood of these threats?

The top secure mobility concerns noted by numerous surveys indicate the following:

  1. Data protection
  2. Application access
  3. Lost and stolen device
  4. Rogue devices

Read More »

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