Beyond signatures and behavioural heuristics

August 2012 Information Security, Products & Solutions

Defending against next-generation threats requires a strategy that moves beyond signatures and behavioural heuristics. Over 95% of businesses unknowingly host compromised endpoints, despite their use of traditional and next-generation firewalls, intrusion prevention systems (IPS), antivirus and web gateways.

“Criminals are leveraging multiple zero-day vulnerabilities, commercial-quality toolkits and social media to perpetrate next-generation attacks,” says Hildburg Hofer, FireEye product manager at AxizWorkgroup.

Over 90% of today’s attacks morph within hours to look new and unknown to signature-based tools. “Advanced targeted attacks use custom-created code that remains undetected by signature-based techniques. While traditional security mechanisms offer policy controls and compliance value, they no longer stop advanced targeted threats, leaving your business vulnerable to cybercriminals,” warns Hofer.

FireEye provides next generation threat protection and focuses on inoculating networks from targeted polymorphic, zero-day APTs, says Ray Kafity, FireEye regional sales director, Middle East and Africa. “If you are using a solution that depends on signature based technologies, your security is unequipped to detect next generation threats. The attacks are designed to take up residency on a device and from that desktop it will spread unilaterally to the rest of the organisation. The malicious intent is to steal data, intellectual property or to do damage to the infrastructure within an organisation by finding the easiest and the simplest way to infiltrate your infrastructure.”

Traditional protection methods use a database of signatures for cross-referencing as a means to identify and block an attack. A zero-day targeted APT attack will most likely circumvent the process 95% of the time. “I am not however advocating that FireEye will replace traditional methods such as firewalls, IPS, antivirus and web gateways. There is certainly still a place for them. FireEye will complement any existing infrastructure by adding another defensive layer to your security solution that can detect a zero-day APT,” explains Kafity.

The system basically works on the premise of a virtual machine that acts as a buffer. A host of virtual scenarios are loaded with the typical operating processes of applications and programmes that are typically in use such as Windows 7, Internet Explorer, Adobe and MP3 players to name a few.

“Using forensic analysis, any suspicious activities or a suspicious increase in traffic will raise a flag. Forensic tools are then deployed to determine what the suspicious activity is doing within the registry. Is it changing any of the software services or trying to establish a call back?” asks Kafity.

Once an attack is identified, two processes are executed to simulate the scenario in FireEye’s virtual network:

* The profile or the signatures of the unknown malware is issued into the FireEye malware protection cloud, allowing other FireEye appliances to benefit from it.

* The entire back profile of the scenario is also issued in order to prevent hackers from finding a residency in the target device and establishing a call back channel.

FireEye currently has 4000 appliances across the world from where clients can benefit from the information that has been gathered. “FireEye is essentially a physical appliance that sits on your network and is ideally suited for enterprise businesses with high bandwidth consumption and a larger user base. The product is available exclusively from AxizWorkgroup,” concludes Hofer.

For more information visit www.AxizWorkgroup.co.za





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