Isolation Technology: The Guaranteed Protection Against Advanced Threat Actors

Samir Shah, CEO, Cyberinc - An Aurionpro Company | Wednesday, 11 October 2017, 12:30 IST

• 2 Minutes. That’s the amount of time it takes for cyber criminals to attack an IoT device.

• 357 Million. That’s the number of new malware variants detected in 2016.

• 7.1 Billion. That’s the number of identities that have been exposed in data breaches over the last 8 years.

These metrics paint a grim picture for governments, enterprises and individuals all alike, anywhere across the globe. As we transform into a digital era of connected devices, the threat of cybercrime threatens to kill the opportunity that digital offers. International bank heists, disrupted elections, and state-sponsored attacks, define the threat landscape of today. Even as enterprises strengthen their cyber security infrastructure, cyber criminals continue to get more ambitious, innovative and sophisticated in their attacks, with each passing hour.

Our dependence on Cloud technology for anytime, anywhere access and IoT for connected devices and personalized services has resulted in expanding the perimeter of the enterprise. This has resulted in increased vulnerabilities associated with cloud infrastructure, devices and connected things and these present the next frontier for cyber-attacks.

As per the RSA Cybersecurity Poverty Index 2016, 70% of organizations had reported that they’ve had a security incident that negatively affected their business operations in the past 12 months. Attacks by web-borne malware is on the rise! According to a report by Symantec, an average of more than 229,000 web attacks were detected every single day in 2016 and of the 76% of scanned websites that contained vulnerabilities, 9% were deemed critical. On average, there were 2.4 browser vulnerabilities discovered per day in 2016. All these data points clearly indicate the vulnerabilities of a digitally connected economy and the need for establishing a stronger and comprehensive security foundation – aligned to the modern business needs and the changing business ecosystem.

Web-Browser – The perilous channel of connect

A 2015 Ponemon Institute study pegs that more than 80% of all malware enters through the browser. With such a high figure of malware attacks recorded through the browser and about 10 new strains of malware per second – browsers are increasingly becoming the primary channel of attacks. With each passing day hackers are innovatively exploiting the inherent vulnerabilities associated with browser code and plug-ins for launching complex strains of APTs, drive-by malware, polymorphic threats, and various zero-day attacks.

Such web-based attacks deployed via e-mail based “phishing” techniques or even more dangerous “drive-by downloads” mechanism cannot be detected, leave alone prevented by the conventional detection based technologies. (DID) defense-in-depth based security technologies like secure web gateways (SWGs), firewalls, signature-based malware scanning have fallen prey to these advanced web-based attacks. Enterprises of all shapes and sizes are severely challenged and are unable to completely eliminate the “window of vulnerability” exposed by these new-age threat actors to ensure seamless business continuity and continued brand loyalty.

Isolation Technology: Complete protection against advanced web-based malware attacks

There is a need to transition from malware detection – which can never be 100% accurate - to malware isolation. Isolation technology is a new approach to threat prevention designed to adopt a ‘isolate everything’ approach versus the traditional ‘detect and respond’ approach, thereby redefining how one secures the enterprise from malware-based threats. Seamless to

the end user, the technology helps to keep suspicious documents in a contained ‘isolated’ environment, preventing malware from executing. Working in tandem with existing security measures, isolation technology is an effective endpoint security strategy.

Research firm Gartner has picked Isolation Technology as the top technology to protect against cyber threats. Gartner predicts that one in every two businesses would have adopted Isolation in some form or the other by 2021. In its assessment, it noted that one can significantly, even completely, eliminate the surface area for attack by isolating the browsing function from the rest of the endpoint and corporate network, keeping malware off the end-user's system.

How Isolation Works

With isolation, as all content is executed away from endpoints, users are completely protected from malicious websites. Based on the concept of creating an ‘air-gap’ between the web and users, Isolation technology helps to eliminate the possibility of cyber threats reaching devices. Newer innovations being developed today allow enterprises to integrate this technology with web gateways without requiring any endpoint installation. It helps organizations to be:

Always Prepared: Existing detection solutions require perfect accuracy to recognize attacks, which may just not be realistic. The beauty of isolation technology is that it expects to be attacked, and therefore places itself between the users and the web eliminating all malicious or potentially malicious content in a secure containerized environment.

Maximum Protection: From content and process isolation, session isolation, appliance isolation, to connection isolation and physical isolation, isolation technology promises complete enterprise coverage by defeating all web malware.

Designed for Tolerance: Isolation technology is designed for maximum scalability and fault tolerance. Current server processing capabilities coupled with smart load balancing techniques make it capable to support any size organization while minimizing capital and operational costs.

Isolate Malware - Embrace Secure Business Transformations

While the benefits of the digital revolution surpass the pitfalls, one cannot take risks like data leaks and losses lightly. The proliferation of cyber threats has prompted asset owners in industrial environments to search for security solutions that can protect their assets and prevent potentially significant monetary loss and brand erosion. While some industries, such as financial services, have made progress in minimising the risk of cyber attacks, the barriers to improving cybersecurity remain high.

There is a clear need to establish a solid security-first approach; with centralized security control, better defined policies, stringent adherence to compliance requirements and regular security awareness programs. According to a Gartner report while currently only five percent of enterprises have invested in Malware Isolation technologies, by 2021, this number will rise to be as high as 50 percent. We strongly believe that Isolation technology will act as an essential barricade to help organizations proactively contain threats emanating from this evolving cybersecurity landscape and help build resilient digital businesses.