Persistent threats are among the major challenges for in-company security management teams, because they use more evasive techniques with a long-term action plan and multi-layer approach.
Their goal is basically:
- prevent local controls from detecting the action of suspicious applications; and
- collect large volumes of confidential information.
This type of action is more sophisticated and, combined with the expansion of digital initiatives, which advance across all markets, creates a major disruption for most companies.
In this scenario, achieving a greater level of visibility of network locations, devices, users and all their activities becomes a great challenge as well as offering resources to facilitate the adoption of new technologies that communicate efficiently and securely with traditional network management architectures and initiatives.
As companies remodel their infrastructure and offer new ways so their users can access information, the visibility of traditional and new features tends to decay. This creates a potential security problem.
Surely, criminals also understand this scenario. They create new applications that tries to take advantage of these gaps. Recent major attacks show that. Criminals focus on two aspects:
- vulnerabilities in the integration of local and digital infrastructure resources; and
- poor visibility of the environments and lack of appropriate settings or controls for digital expansion.
So, that indicates that the integration of security controls is crucial: the ability to detect advanced threats, evasive actions, suspicious behavior of applications and users, and add threat intelligence to increase the visibility of the entire environment.
Why more visibility?
Visibility over network activities represents the line between an effective or precarious security strategy. That’s why a layered approach is so relevant and, therefore, protection against advanced threats offers more defense capability.
As the market demands more digital presence, attackers also work to optimize their capabilities to exploit the gaps derived from digital technologies. And the latest threats created by cybercrime take advantage of the gaps that arise with the transformation of traditional approaches to local network security that also communicate with digital infrastructures.
How does Advanced Threat Protection improve network visibility?
Persistent threats can act for a long time without being identified. Many applications used in these schemes are hybrid, recent and employ various techniques to achieve their goal.
A good example is the advancement of botnets through IoT devices. Every connected device must be protected, under penalty of being recruited as one of the malicious points that engage in DDoS attacks or act on theft of user information.
Your strategy needs to be comprehensive to effectively protect network locations and devices.
A comprehensive strategy means that, since each threat has a different origin and purpose, its detection demands peculiar technological features.
So the action of an Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) tool combined with advanced analysis of network traffic is so important.
On the one hand, Firewall rules state what types of traffic are accepted on your network. Whenever controls are able to inspect encrypted content, in addition to addressing traffic, they add a level of security to the environment.
However, firewall only sees connection requirements, not applications. Another level of security will, therefore, be to add this type of capacity.
ATP can analyze, from intelligence signatures, known threats. But by being able to identify malicious patterns in seemingly harmless codes, this technology can detect and block unknown threats as well.
Still, with the same control it is possible to add more security layers, such as Secure Web Gateway (content filters) and even behavioral analysis of suspicious packages, in Sandboxes.
Sandbox controls, when integrated with your network security platform, can evaluate the status of suspicious files as a quarantine, returning information to the ATP to take corrective action when applicable. It can be a great tool for identifying Zero Day threats.
This intelligence will be added to your entire platform, increasing the ability to prevent your environment in future episodes.
But if a platform does not have the ability to analyze and identify suspicious actions or use cybersecurity intelligence to cross data that indicates that an unknown application is indeed suspect or malicious, that breach is used by the attacker.