Security tools taking too long to detect new malware, analysis warns

It can be weeks or months before conventional antivirus solutions can properly detect new malware signatures, security firm Damballa has warned after an analysis showed that 28 percent of malware took more than a week to be addressed through a signature update.

In preparing its recently released Q4 2014 State of Infections Report, Damballa analysed tens of thousands of infected files sent to it by enterprise customers between January and October 2014.

Antivirus products missed nearly 70 percent of the malware that had been embedded within the files for less than an hour, while two-thirds of infected files had been identified as malicious within 24 hours.

It took over six months before AV solutions could create signatures for 100 percent of the malicious files in the enterprise

The findings prompted new warnings about the need to look past signature-based security, Damballa CTO Brian Foster said in a statement. “What's clear from these figures is that we have to turn the table on infection 'dwell' time,” he explained.

“Much the same way that a flu vaccine hinges on making 'best-guess' decisions about the most prevalent virus strains, AV is only effective for some of the people some of the time. Viruses morph and mutate and new ones can appear in the time it takes to address the most commonly found malware.”

The updating cycle for security tools has left enterprise security teams struggling to keep up with the 17,000 alerts they received every week, the report warned: in Damballa's malware sample, the tested products would have missed 796 malicious files on day one alone.

Only 4 percent of all alerts are ever investigated, the survey found, with only 19 percent of alerts deemed to be reliable and 40 percent of infections ultimately going undetected. And less than a quarter of security professionals said that their organisation had a structured and automated approach to dealing with malware.

Warnings that conventional scanning is outdated are nothing new: Enex TestLab's eThreatz testing of leading security tools has seen a growing percentage of false negatives when tools were presented with samples of recent malware.

Read more: Developing a successful mobile authentication strategy

Recent eThreatz figures found that security tools were missing up to 100 percent of the malware they were presented with, and month-to-month variation confirmed that the cat-and-mouse game between security researchers and malware authors continues unabated.

This article is brought to you by Enex TestLab, content directors for CSO Australia.

Read more: iPhone 6 buyers must be wary of new security exposure: ThreatMetrix

Upcoming IT Security Events

March 3rd, March 5th, March 9th 2015

Join CSO for the day@#csoperspectives and hear from @kimzetter @LeviathanSec

3 International Keynote speakers, 36 Key IT Security Industry Speaker, 21 Exhibitors, Security Analysts and many more.. Register today

Dont miss one of the biggest IT Security events in ANZ (registration is free, but seats are limited)

Join the CSO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Malware authorsIT upgradeEnex TestLab's eThreatzDamballaIT Securityauthenticationsecurity toolsCSO Australianew malware

More about CSOEnex TestLabIT Security

Show Comments

Featured Whitepapers

Editor's Recommendations

Solution Centres

Stories by David Braue

Latest Videos

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Will your data protection strategy be enough when disaster strikes?

    Speakers: - Paul O’Connor, Engagement leader - Performance Audit Group, Victorian Auditor-General’s Office (VAGO) - Nigel Phair, Managing Director, Centre for Internet Safety - Joshua Stenhouse, Technical Evangelist, Zerto - Anthony Caruana, CSO MC & Moderator

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: The Human Factor - Your people are your biggest security weakness

    ​Speakers: David Lacey, Researcher and former CISO Royal Mail David Turner - Global Risk Management Expert Mark Guntrip - Group Manager, Email Protection, Proofpoint

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Current ransomware defences are failing – but machine learning can drive a more proactive solution

    Speakers • Ty Miller, Director, Threat Intelligence • Mark Gregory, Leader, Network Engineering Research Group, RMIT • Jeff Lanza, Retired FBI Agent (USA) • Andy Solterbeck, VP Asia Pacific, Cylance • David Braue, CSO MC/Moderator What to expect: ​Hear from industry experts on the local and global ransomware threat landscape. Explore a new approach to dealing with ransomware using machine-learning techniques and by thinking about the problem in a fundamentally different way. Apply techniques for gathering insight into ransomware behaviour and find out what elements must go into a truly effective ransomware defence. Get a first-hand look at how ransomware actually works in practice, and how machine-learning techniques can pick up on its activities long before your employees do.

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Get real about metadata to avoid a false sense of security

    Speakers: • Anthony Caruana – CSO MC and moderator • Ian Farquhar, Worldwide Virtual Security Team Lead, Gigamon • John Lindsay, Former CTO, iiNet • Skeeve Stevens, Futurist, Future Sumo • David Vaile - Vice chair of APF, Co-Convenor of the Cyberspace Law And Policy Community, UNSW Law Faculty This webinar covers: - A 101 on metadata - what it is and how to use it - Insight into a typical attack, what happens and what we would find when looking into the metadata - How to collect metadata, use this to detect attacks and get greater insight into how you can use this to protect your organisation - Learn how much raw data and metadata to retain and how long for - Get a reality check on how you're using your metadata and if this is enough to secure your organisation

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them Featuring: • John Baird, Director of Global Technology Production, Deutsche Bank • Samantha Macleod, GM Cyber Security, ME Bank • Sherrod DeGrippo, Director of Emerging Threats, Proofpoint (USA)

    Play Video

More videos

Blog Posts

Market Place