it-sa 2015: Virtualize all you want, but protect yourself intelligently against malware

Smaranda Dobrovicescu

October 16, 2015

it-sa 2015: Virtualize all you want, but protect yourself intelligently against malware

At the IT Security Expo and Congress in Nürnberg last week, Bitdefender’s Cristian Avram tackled the hottest topics of the moment, virtualization and virtualization security, with a full house. 

More than half of all companies use virtualization nowadays, with strong growth prospects for the future, but they lack adapted security solutions to match. As malware changes at a frantic pace, new threats evolve quicker than the traditional anti-virus solutions.

Symantec generated controversy in the security arena some time ago with its declaration that AV is dead. This may be the case for traditional antivirus solutions based solely on signatures, but current programs must be much more than that. Some 14 million malware samples are discovered every month, bringing us to an average of around 300 new samples per minute. If cybercriminals can adjust so quickly to the changing environment, we certainly can’t rely any longer on a reactive solution as our only defense. Current security solutions must be proactive and include artificial intelligence, behavioral patterns or real-time analysis to stay on top of the game.

This evolving threat landscape gave way in recent years to an interesting phenomenon -- Malware as a Service (MaaS). Typically carried out by lone individuals, malware creation has evolved into an ecosystem of organizations, small groups and freelancers all working together. This new model of doing business is fueling innovation and ever-increasing sophistication.

Modern malware vendors operate in similar ways to a legitimate business: they provide obfuscation, 24-hour support via e-mail and instant messenger, regular updates and new features as well as in-depth training for inexperienced cyber-criminals who are new to their platform. Other verticals cater to niches in this ecosystem: bulletproof hosting specialists maintain and sell high-resilience networks for malware deployment or command and control. Regardless of the type of exploit they provide or the money needed to keep it up to date, at the end of the day, the hackers will inevitably cash out. The payment mechanisms vary in accordance with the type of exploit provided, this being the last step in the business cycle.

This new business model that is financially motivated with spectacular returns on investment for malware actors is fueling collaboration, innovation and creativity, all of which fuel exponential malware growth. As the malware actors try to remain unnoticed amongst the millions, what can you do against an avalanche of threats of such proportions? You mustn’t forget the basics: your security solution will need to be proactive and competent, especially when it comes to performance, detection and accuracy.





Smaranda Dobrovicescu

Smaranda enjoys writing as much as learning new languages. The two passions can fortunately coexist in her work as PR coordinator for DACH, stimulating her creativity. With a background in Marketing, she wishes to share her personal take on enterprise security and monitor its evolution. When she is not pondering malware and viruses, Smaranda enjoys skiing, traveling and reading a good book.

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