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Threat Spotlight: “Kyle and Stan” Malvertising Network 9 Times Larger Than Expected

This post was authored by Armin Pelkmann.

On September 8th, Cisco’s Talos Security Intelligence & Research Group unveiled the existence of the “Kyle and Stan” Malvertisement Network. The network was responsible for placing malicious advertisements on big websites like amazon.com, ads.yahoo.com, www.winrar.com, youtube.com and 70 other domains. As it turns out, this was just the tip of the iceberg. Ongoing research now reveals the real size of the attackers’ network is 9 times larger than reported in our first blog. For more details, read the Kyle and Stan Blog.

The infographic below illustrates how much more of the malvertisement network was uncovered in comparison to our first assessment. We have now isolated 6491 domains sharing the same infrastructure. This is over 9 times the previously mentioned 703 domains.  We have observed and analyzed 31151 connections made to these domains. This equals over 3 times the amount of connections previously observed. The increase in connections is most likely not proportional to the domains due to the fact that a long time that has passed since the initial attacks.

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The discovery difference from the previous blog to this one in raw numbers. With more than 3-times the now observed connections and over 9-times the revealed malicious domains, this malvertising network is of unusually massive proportions.

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Evolving the Next-Generation Firewall: The Importance of Being Platform-Based

Why is platform-based a key imperative for next-generation firewalls (NGFWs)? In our previous blog posts, we outlined what it means to be threat-centric, integrating best-in-class security layers with shared intelligence across all layers to combat advanced multi-vector threats.

Multiple point products create considerable management complexity and cost for IT staff who are under tremendous pressure to efficiently manage IT environments, keep operational costs low, and maintain the best defenses to keep pace with the dynamic threat landscape.

To protect extended networks, the idea of being platform-based entails delivering a more effective yet simplified architecture with fewer security devices to manage and deploy. Unifying security layers in a single device not only closes gaps that attackers exploit but this architecture also reduces cost and complexity in a number of ways.

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Mobile Cloud Security: What CXOs Need to Know

As organizations seek ways to maintain real-time connections with their workforce and customers in an increasingly digital and mobile-centered world, the growth of mobile cloud will be a major force in shaping the business landscape and future tech decisions. The first blog post in this series, by Padmasree Warrior, explores how the convergence of mobility and cloud will deliver unprecedented transformation for all organizations. The second blog post in this series, by Sujai Hajela, answers the question of what mobile cloud really is and how it continues to provide new business opportunities. In the third post, Joe Cozzolino looks at what mobile cloud means for service providers and enterprises. And finally, this post will discuss the need for end-to-end security in a mobile cloud environment.

Mobile cloud services are growing exponentially in both number and scope. According to a report from Smith’s Point Analytics released late last year, mobile cloud services platforms are projected to grow over the next four years from US$579 million to a staggering US$4.4 billion in 2017.

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Step Up to a New Standard in Threat Defense

The 135 Spanish Steps are perhaps one of the most popular tourist attractions in Rome—and this in a city where your alternatives include stunning options like visiting the Vatican, the Colosseum or the Trevi Fountain. And yet, a visitor to the Spanish Steps today is first—and ahead of any chance to delve into the rich history or architectural heritage of this monumental stairway—forewarned of the dangers of the omnipresent pickpockets that frequent the area! I bring this up because while European vacations may not always be part of our quotidian routine, our daily lives do involve shopping online, visiting our neighborhood retailer or posting updates on social media. And none of these places post enough warning signs urging us to be wary of the virtual pickpockets, waiting to steal and profit from personal, financial and business information that traverses across thousands of transactions at places we visit in person or on our browsers every single day.

As consumers we may even squeeze by with a bit of a lax attitude, but businesses are only painfully aware of the speed, ferocity and variety with which attackers move to try and gain access to critical business data. Our customers tell us that their cybersecurity teams work tirelessly—but often in reactive mode—to fight against breaches and constantly assess ways to eliminate vulnerable links. Today, we are thrilled to share that we’re stepping up to provide our customers and partners with enhanced capabilities to combat the changing nature of threats. Cisco ASA with FirePOWER Services integrates the proven Cisco ASA 5500 Series firewall with application control, and the industry-leading Next-Generation Intrusion Prevention Systems (NGIPS) and Advanced Malware Protection (AMP) from Sourcefire in a single device, providing integrated threat defense across the entire attack continuum—before, during and after an attack. Read More »

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Why a Next-Generation Firewall Must Be Threat-Centric

In an earlier blog, we discussed the importance of a visibility-driven approach to Next-Generation Firewalls (NGFWs) and the need for capabilities that offer full visibility and contextual awareness into everything on networks since we know you can’t protect what you can’t see.

In addition to offering an unprecedented network visibility foundation, a NGFW must also be threat-centric to stop advanced, multi-vector threats, both known and unknown.

This means offering integrated threat defense for better control to combat these attacks across the attack continuum—before, during, and after an attack.

In complex environments, delivering integrated threat defense means ensuring that best-in-class capabilities, such as third-party tested and market-leading Intrusion Prevention Systems (IPS), Advanced Malware Protection (AMP), and URL filtering work together to protect against threats coming from multiple vectors.

Other NGFWs have not offered best-in-class network security capabilities in their devices, but rather, rudimentary versions of them. In addition, these solutions are poorly integrated and cannot share intelligence between security layers, making advanced threat detection and remediation difficult, if not impossible. Read More »

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