Signature-based Defense Is No Longer Effective

Why Signature-based Defense Is No Longer Effective Against Today’s Cyber-threats?

Today’s cyber attacks are constantly and rapidly evolving into alarmingly sophisticated Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs). New breeds of malware such as HDDCrypt ransomware utilize advanced deception strategies and diverse (and often non-conventional) attack vectors to cleverly circumvent conventional defense systems and successfully deliver their payload network-wide undetected and at lightning speeds.

Organizations spend millions to deploy effective technological barriers and perimeter security in an attempt to mitigate threats on their systems and endpoints. Multi-layered defense mechanisms, generally comprising antimalware (AV, etc), Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS), Intrusion Prevention Systems (IPS), firewalls as well as specialized endpoint defenses are deployed to ensure wider threat coverage.

Many of the commonly used cyber defenses feature signature analysis as their primary protection mechanism, leveraging a database of known threats constantly updated by security experts and vendors. While such measures may at first glance provide comprehensive protection, research indicates that these are becoming considerably less effective against the latest strains of advanced malware which evolve by the second. As corroborated by Cisco in their 2017 Annual Cybersecurity Report, 95% of malicious files analyzed were zero-day exploits with less than 24 hours. Such research affirms that the recent malware like Jigsaw have a fast (< 1 day) incubation period, putting organizations that use signature-based defenses at serious risk of an exploit in the absence of timely-updated signatures.

Signature-based defense mechanisms have become inadequate in today’s scenarios. Reasons abound, including:

  • Signatures can detect a portion of a known intrusion within your enterprise. However, signature databases need to be updated continuously and on a millisecond basis for effective detection.
  • The Achilles heel of signature-based defenses is their ineffectiveness against zero-day malware and exploits that aren’t based on any existing malware for which signatures already exist.
  • Signature-based mechanisms do not allow you to search for higher order pattern malwares while you are countering lower order malwares.
  • Signatures may actually prompt you to waste your resources while searching for something that an attacker may have never used to target you.
  • Signature-based defense mechanisms work while collecting information about antivirus as well as malware signatures. This constantly consumes system resources while scanning and updating signatures and may subsequently slow down your system.
  • For signatures to remain constantly updated, continuous internet access is required, which may expose the network to further attacks.
  • Setting up multi-tiered defenses is typically a laborious process to install, configure, run and maintain – this heavily dilutes the ROI and potentially instills a false sense of security in organizations due to signature dependencies.

So, what would be a better solution? New malware requires inherently new approaches to security and protection. Behavioral analysis is one of the newest mechanisms in the cyber-defense arsenal. It works by analyzing an object based on its intended actions and monitoring for outlying suspicious activities; manipulation of security settings, self-triggered installation or download of files, and self-registering in application auto-start groups may be indicative of malicious behavior. The stronghold of such technologies is the real-time analysis, which can be highly effective at discovering new types of threats that are only a few hours old. The most effective behavioral analysis solutions are those that provide in memory, run-time protection.

Introducing Digital Immunity

Digital Immunity provides a deterministic, preventive cyber security solution that guarantees the integrity of trusted code in memory at runtime based on advanced behavioral analysis constructs. It stops advanced threats including Advanced Persistent (and Volatile) Threats (APT/AVTs) and zero-day attacks from occurring at the most vulnerable parts of the network: the execution pipeline on the endpoint.

Applying a patented Digital DNA Mapping and in memory protection of all executable code, the Digital Immunity endpoint protection creates an alternate digital representation of all trusted executable code and compares that to actual code executing in memory at runtime, immediately prior to its execution on the endpoint to detect and thus prevent threats other traditional solutions cannot – all this while using a fraction of the system resources typically consumed by endpoint protection like antivirus and similar detect and respond solutions deployed in organizations.

Through its advanced algorithms, the Digital Immunity approach prevents virtually all foreign or malicious code, even zero-day and novel strains of malware, from executing and exploiting vulnerabilities on your network. Digital Immunity is highly scalable and can be deployed to effectively protect both SMB and Enterprise infrastructures with low maintenance overheads.

Some key aspects of Digital Immunity

  • Prevent and Detect the Execution of Malware / Ransomware – File or Fileless
  • Active in Memory at Runtime – when Applications are most Vulnerable
  • No Pre-Existing Knowledge of Exploits or Vulnerabilities Needed
  • No Dependency on signatures downloads
  • Threat Intelligence directly at your endpoints – Forensics Artifacts at Point of Attack
  • Remediate at the Endpoint
  • Lightweight on system resources – Sensor runs at Kernel level

Sound too good to be true? Don’t just take our word for it – we invite you to take our solution for a spin! Request a Digital Immunity demo now.

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