Given today’s threat landscape, operating an enterprise Security Operations Center (SOC) presents a high-stakes challenges. With modern IT infrastructures comprised of a labyrinth of assets, endpoints, and third-party dependencies, threat actors continue to succeed in infiltrating vulnerable systems with inherently sophisticated, difficult-to-detect malware. As complexity of infrastructures grow, SOCs across all industries strive to keep up with the changes, while facing significant technology, process, and staffing gaps in implementing effective security measures across the enterprise.
A crux actor in the battlefield of the ever-changing cybersecurity landscape — high priority malware. High priority malware is malicious software with a high-risk score, which is calculated by addressing a variety of relevant areas, including business and operational risk, along with other metrics such as availability/downtime, systems performance, data breaches and severity of impact. When successful, high priority malware can have detrimental consequences on your enterprise, partners and customers.
Sophisticated threat actors engineer malware around existing gaps within enterprise infrastructure and security systems and apply deception and evasion tactics to ensure their attacks succeed. That’s why it’s vital to investigate potential SOC gaps, including the security ecosystem tools and integrations most vulnerable to high priority malware before establishing a defensive strategy.
SOC Gap #1 No Comprehensive, Real-Time Visibility
When malware strikes, every second counts. A malicious attack can surface from anywhere in an organization’s vast IT infrastructure. Detecting and containing the attack is a time-critical matter. The SOC’s actions to speed a proper response against the malware can make the difference between successful containment and remediation, and detrimental damage to high-value infrastructure and data loss that places the entire enterprise and clients at risk.
Real-time visibility is vital for swift and effective security efforts. While most SOCs are equipped with the necessary tools to prevent or cease an identified malicious attack, quickly and accurately detecting malware and promptly applying appropriate action continues to be an issue. The lack of actionable insights within the SOC can stem from various issues within the organization: insufficient resources to quickly classify and dispose malicious files, no comprehensive inventory of existing IT assets or endpoints, and limited visibility into the associated IT dependencies that define the business services. This lack of visibility and intelligence precludes the ability to automate successfully, leads to manual actions, and overloads staff’s capacity to respond. By obtaining full, real-time visibility into the entire security profile of the enterprise’s networks and systems, the SOC can gain actionable insight on the company’s exposure to an attack.
SOC Gap #2 Software Supply Chain Attacks
Monitoring attacks originating from the software supply chain can pose a challenge due to the SOC’s lack of accessibility into internal software development processes or IT operational deployment practices. Even objects from trusted vendors may have been infiltrated at an early stage during the software development life cycle (SDLC) and moved undetected to your organization. Malicious code can penetrate your enterprise’s software supply chain by circumventing traditional security detection using tactics like obscure file formats, large packed objects, impersonated certificates, and typo squatting.
Stringent inspection of all third-party components, by way of static analysis, to deobfuscate incoming embedded objects, inventory sub-resources and dependencies, ensure valid certificate chains within your own organization, and other methods, allows for more thorough monitoring and protection against high-priority malware sourced through the software development life cycle.
SOC GAP #3 Out-of-Date Servers in Old Frameworks
The SOC must adjust security controls to fit the new, contemporary IT architectures, as it evolves to sustain stringent protection against advancing malware. Modern IT architectures are mostly comprised of highly distributed, highly virtualized environments — a much more diversified and abstracted structure compared to the traditional mainframe, client-server, web-based or even on-the-cloud approaches. This means that if the servers and containers supporting your services are not regularly updated, the attack actors can easily penetrate vulnerable areas and breach high-stakes assets.
At the same time, completely abandoning old mainframes, terminals and languages can pose a risk on its own. Many attackers exploit the industry’s progression by attacking lesser supported environments, and utilizing outdated languages in malware code where expertise has been aged out for more modern languages— with the perspective that their malware has greater potential to execute undetected since fewer security agents specialize in or use these legacy systems and languages . The key to closing the SOC gap is in identifying at-risk infrastructure and maintaining the necessary regular updates to all servers within the organization.
Close the SOC Gaps with High Priority Malware Detection
By leveraging modern, high priority malware detection to fill susceptible gaps, SOCs can leverage a more sophisticated cybersecurity strategy that supports data protection against new-age attackers. High priority detection means gaining meaningful visibility into risk, and understanding the intent of suspicious and malicious files often hidden or encrypted in an otherwise validated objects. Compliance fines, financial liability, and tangible loss of customer confidence through data breaches or fraud — these are just a few adverse outcomes of neglecting a high priority malware detection strategy.
Read our prior blog on supply chain attacks “How Existing Cybersecurity Frameworks Can Curb Supply Chain Attacks”
Join our Nov 13 webinar “Minimize SOC Alert Fatigue and Accelerate Triage"