This blog will suggest a change of strategy in how we address the threat of cyber espionage. One which leverages traditional tactics of counter-intelligence and uses a new approach different than the Lockheed Martin Cyber Kill Chain approach to security, which seeks to disrupt the chain of attack as quickly as possible. Rather than simply cut off an attack, a method of intelligence gathering before stopping the event is proposed, without leaking sensitive information. Often these same approaches can discover yet unknown activities.
A recent Bloor Research Market Update on Advanced Threat Protection reminds us of something that many security vendors have long been loath to acknowledge: traditional, point-in-time technologies, like anti-virus or sandboxes, are not entirely effective when defending against complex, sophisticated attacks.
This is due to something we have said before and we will say again: malware is “the weapon of choice” for malicious actors. We know blended threats introduce malware. Our 2014 Annual Security Report notes that every Fortune 500 company that was spoken to for the report had traffic going to websites that host malware. Bloor tells us all, once again, that attack methods are becoming more complex.
To put it plainly, when it comes to networks being breached, it is not a case of if, but when.
Cisco Live, May 18-24, 2014, is quickly approaching and registration is open. This is the 25th anniversary of Cisco Live and we return to the Bay Area at San Francisco’s Moscone Center. Educational sessions are organized into technology tracks to make it easy to find the topics that most interest you. With network and data security being top of mind, I’d like to highlight the Security technology track’s exciting content lineup. Read More »
Tags: ASA, byod, cisco live, Cisco Live US, Cisco Live! 2014, Cloud Computing, cybersecurity, data security, firewall, IoT, malware, mitigations, network security, Network Threat Defense, psirt, security, security training, training, vpn
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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%.
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.
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.
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%.
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:
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.