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Is this a pandemic?

By Dan Hadaway | Saturday, August 30, 2014 - Leave a Comment

20% of Business Assets Infected


“We better have at least two layers of defense!”

A recent study reminds us to recognize that even if anti-malware is the least of our worries, that doesn’t mean our partners or customers are controlling it.  With almost 20% of your customers’ computers infected with malware, according to a recent study by Damballa, we must acknowledge a high likelihood for the threat.

The study highlights the need for layered defenses, including Anti-Malware and Intrusion Detection, as well as the need to start figuring out where our data is, so that we can map out those layers of security, and use data classification to determine where to install additional layers of defense.

One in five of your customers and vendors could be sending viruses your way!

And even if they are not your systems, how do you define what is your network versus what is your customers’ or vendors’ networks?  The stakes are higher now than ever, as this study shows that over 20% of business assets are already compromised.

According to Sean Waugh CISSP MCSA, Lead Technical Auditor for infotex, “a data inventory  is an effective effective tool for awareness and incident response.  If you have one you know where your treasure is.  Without one you don’t know what you may have already lost.”

One deliverable of a data inventory is that you can then map out where your layers of security protect (and fail to protect) your data classified as Critical or Confidential.

It’s not as hard as you would think.  Below is a map of authentication controls on “branchless banking assets.”


And given the prevalence of Malware as a key attack vector, consider drawing the layers of defense between your data and malware exposure.  You will be surprised, in our opinion, if you were agreeing with the statement above.  For you probably have more than two layers of defense.

For example, if you allow customers to e-mail you financial statements, the layers of protection would include:

  • Secure Messaging
  • AVS on the E-mail Client . . . real-time scanning . .  (because, since the e-mail is encrypted, any attached malware may not be caught on your perimeter)
  • AVS on the user’s workstation.

Now, that’s the layers of protection on the way in.  But in order for a virus to violate confidentiality (rather than availability and integrity), it must connect back out to the internet.  So how many layers of protection do you have on the way out?

  • AVS on the Workstation
  • Intrusion Detection
  • Your Firewall
  • Event Log Management

So back to the “we need at least two layers of malware controls . . . . we believe that if you’re only relying on your firewall and AVS systems to protect you from malware, you might be a “breach waiting to happen!”

So consider a Data Inventory, and then a map of the layers protecting that data.

Original article by Damballa
Read the full story here.



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