Hadoop mines its way to antivirus land

Big data tools find a place in anti-malware

Major hardware vendors are rallying around Apache Hadoop to package "big data" analytics for the enterprise, but it has also found a place in antivirus.

Sourcefire, the company behind the open source intrusion detection system, Snort, has deployed Hadoop for Immunet, a cloud-based reputation system it acquired last year that compliments Sourcefire's ClamAV engine.

"From our perspective, security is fundamentally a big data problem nowadays," Zulfikar Ramzan, Chief Scientist from Sourcefire's cloud group told CSO Australia.

Sourcefire this week heralded its two millionth installed endpoint. It's a sizeable pool from which it can mine data to, for example, avoid false-positives or detect the five to seven per cent of "more sophisticated" threats that Ramzan claims other vendors are likely to have missed.

Hadoop has limitations though because it is “batch oriented”, which makes it best suited to general purpose mining rather than real time analytics, according to Ramzan.

Still, Sourcefire can use Hadoop to test new detection technologies — traditional vendors are "often shooting in the dark" when they lab test how a product would actually work in the field, said Ramzan — as well as mine data for regional specific activity and global threat characteristics.

Hadoop was just one of the data mining tools it used, but the momentum behind it has helped make it stable enough to put into a production environment. Hadoop’s biggest users include Yahoo and Facebook, and in the past year it has attracted hardware vendors EMC, Dell, and NetApp, which have launched various Haddop packages aimed at streamlining big data for the enterprise.

Besides packing analytics capabilities into its services, Ramzan highlights Immunet’s capabilities in dealing with “advanced persistent threats”, which it does by automatically isolating files that were previously not detected as a threat, thus avoiding another time-consuming full-system scan.

“If we identify a match — that is, a file that we now know to be malicious — we can automatically quarantine that file on the end-user's system.

“All of this cross-referencing is happening in the cloud, and we are really taking advantage of the cloud as an advanced analytics platform.”

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Tags hardwaresourcefireZulfikar RamzanclamaventerpriseSnortApache Hadoop

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