Article

Ilan Paretsky
Ilan Paretsky 22 August 2018
Categories B2B, Technology

How to Protect your Network from Security Blind Spots

Enterprise networks are rapidly becoming larger and more complex, as new technological advances transform familiar architectures and IT environments. With these rapid changes, traditional cybersecurity solutions alone are no longer effective in preventing breaches.

Although sophisticated perimeter defenses are still capable of protecting against various types of cyber threats such as APTs and zero-day attacks, breaches can and will occur “thanks” to cybercriminals’ ever-evolving skill sets and sophisticated tools. These tools enable them to infiltrate organization networks via the many attack vectors presented by most network architectures.

The increasingly complex nature of today’s networks creates numerous blind spots, making it harder to identify threats and attack vectors. As such, protecting networks from these blind spots should be a top priority for cybersecurity professionals.

Below are four security blind spots that are common to most organization networks.

1. Enterprise Mobility

The increase in the volume of traffic hitting mobile infrastructure coupled with the number of new devices being connected to organizations’ networks has given rise to a number of security blind spots.

Most enterprises have policies which allow employees to use their own mobile devices to connect to networks, introducing unknown mobile devices, patch processes, and OS versions.

Together with increasing the volume of traffic, mobile devices have introduced new threat vectors which are doubly dangerous since most networks are either unable or not configured to monitor their activities.

2. The Rise of Virtualized Infrastructure,

In recent times, more enterprises have begun opting for virtual IT environments. Surveys show that 76% of organizations have already adopted server virtualization. The reason behind the preference for virtualized infrastructure is its ease of deployment, reduced implementation and operating costs, better business continuity, and improved IT efficiency.  

However, this raises a number of concerns — particularly around virtual machine sprawl, mobility, workload isolation, trust relationships, and multi-tenancy. As such, enterprises might not enjoy the benefits they anticipate due to security threats inherent in virtualized infrastructures.

In addition, monitoring and securing virtual IT environments is becoming a very challenging task due to their complex nature, rapid proliferation, ability to scale rapidly, and their use in mission-critical operations without a thorough understanding of the risks.

3. The Human Factor

In today’s business environment, employees and infected devices are serious threat vectors. Due to human error and in some cases, malicious intent, employees are considered the weakest and the most exploitable links in an organization’s network.

Employees’ devices can become infected with malware while connected to public networks. Once they re-enter the workplaces and connect to the organization’s network, the malware can spread throughout the enterprise’s systems.

Also, security teams cannot detect when disgruntled employees with relevant access permissions start stealing data from the network and selling it to competitors or cybercriminals. It could also take them a while to realize that data has been stolen, and even then it could take a long time to trace it back to the culprit.

The most common threat, however, comes from smart social engineering. Typically, 4% of recipients click on every phishing mail — no matter how much training they’ve had in cybersecurity threat awareness. That’s why the most effective data exfiltration strategy against enterprises is phishing campaigns.

No matter how robust perimeter security solutions may be, they cannot protect organizations when employees fall for downloading malicious content disguised as innocent files or apps, or click suspicious links in emails.

4. Browsers

Many businesses have started using browser-based applications rather than software installed locally on their systems. Although this shift has many benefits, it also creates a lot of challenges due to the architecture of web applications.

The very nature of web app architectures makes it difficult for traditional network security tools to detect, manage, and gain visibility, thus giving rise to numerous security blind spots.

With mission-critical business apps running on the web and being served from the cloud, there is an increase in the number of threat vectors that can be exploited by savvy hackers. Currently, browsers are the most susceptible threat vector of all, as the danger comes from random content sites, as well as public and ad supported applications such as file sending, video streaming, gaming, etc. Reports show that over 90 percent of detected malware originate via the browser vector.

How to Protect Your Network

To confront these security blind spots, organizations typically implement measures, including:

  • Comprehensive user training sessions and cybersecurity awareness workshops for employees

  • Data loss prevention solutions (DLP)

  • Endpoint detection and response solutions (EDR)

  • Security information and event management systems (SIEM)

  • Perimeter defenses such as:

    • Intrusion prevention systems

    • Next-generation firewalls

    • AV solutions

Although these defenses are robust and can help protect networks against numerous attacks, they are not fully effective at protecting your network against all malware. This is because they are reactive and protect only against known threats (or new threats with signatures similar to those of known threats).  They are not effective at protecting against new or unknown malware-related activity.

To overcome this, it is necessary for organizations to implement an additional layer of protection, such as remote browser isolation (RBI). This technology leverages remote, container-based virtual browsers to render websites and delivers only safe interactive visual streams to endpoint browsers in real time. All browser-executable code is isolated in the remote container, away from user endpoints. At the end of each browsing session, the containers are destroyed, along with all content - benign, infected, or malicious.

Conclusion

Identifying security blind spots and protecting networks against them is crucial for the survival of any organization. Security professionals must prevent malware and browser-borne threats from entering and spreading through their organization networks by implementing a variety of security measures and isolating browsing activity from endpoint devices. Doing so will keep organization networks protected from most security blind spots, particularly those originating from browsers.

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