Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Operations

Companies Struggle for Effective Cybersecurity

The money companies are spending on cybersecurity tools doesn't necessarily result in better security, a new survey shows.

Organizations of all sizes are under near-constant attack from cybercriminals — that we know. And of course they must defend themselves against attacks. But there are some huge questions about just how effective their ability to do so is. A new report by Mandiant Security Validation aims to address those questions.

"Customers are making decisions and deploying technologies with a lot of assumptions ... around the value that they're getting," says Chris Key, founder of Verodin and now senior vice president at Mandiant Security Validation. "And what we're seeing in almost every case is that it falls short."

Indeed, less than 10% of the attacks, on average, even generate an alert, he adds. 

"I think it speaks to the fact that a lot of controls are sold with weak out-of-the-box configurations," says Key, explaining the difference between the number of test attacks generated and the number that generate alerts. "And then customers don't have the resources to tune and tweak them."

According to the "2020 Mandiant Security Effectiveness Report," the effectiveness gap exists throughout the security stack, from more than half (54%) of organizations that found they were missing early-stage attack tactics, to 67% that saw successful data exfiltration tactics used against them. The numbers were generated from attacks that were executed in 100 Fortune 1000 production environments representing 11 industries employing 123 market-leading security technologies, such as network, email, endpoint, and cloud products and services.

Those security services and product are part of the problem, according to Key. "As you add more tools, you increase the complexity. And the more complex we are, the more challenging it is to keep things configured correctly — to know what to rely on and to actually really get value," he says.

With security expertise a well-documented issue for the industry, the real question isn't whether the security technology is up to the job, but whether organizations are up to the task of properly purchasing, configuring, and getting the most from the technologies they purchase.

"You could could argue the layers of security are now probably more complicated than the general networking and IT environment layers," Key says. "But we've got nothing validating and going through the signal ensuring that these things are working together correctly, ensuring that my sensors are time-stamped correctly, ensuring that those events are getting through my firewalls and load balancers to my SIEM, or ensuring that my SIEM is passing it correctly to my management tools so there's no database corruption and all the alerts are firing."

That lack of collaboration and correlation is part of the environment that allows malicious files to be delivered and begin to move 48% of the time, with lateral movement success in 54% of cases, according to the report.

While deploying security tools using nothing more than out-of-the-box configuration is a source of failure compounded by a lack of resources to deploy them in any other way, Key says the report does contain the seeds of optimism.

"There is a lot of capability in the core tools that are out there. And so there is a lot of room to go from zero to 60 very quickly," he explains. The acceleration process may be critical, especially in the current business environment.

"There's a business conversation right now that CEOs are being asked across the board around whether we're sure that we're spending the dollars on the right things," Key says. "Are we sure that we're rationalizing what we have and what our costs are?"

Ultimately, Key says, it's not just about asking whether security products and services tick off boxes on a requirements list. The stakes are higher.

"How can I, as a security professional, speak to this in a quantifiable way to ensure that we're being a responsible corporate citizen and not wasting dollars in this environment on technology that we can't really demonstrate whether it's actually doing anything for us or not," he asks.

Quantifiable effectiveness is where security must go, he believes, and there are many steps still to take on the road.

Related Content:

 
 
 
 
Learn from industry experts in a setting that is conducive to interaction and conversation about how to prepare for that "really  bad day" in cybersecurity. Click for more information and to register
 
Curtis Franklin Jr. is Senior Editor at Dark Reading. In this role he focuses on product and technology coverage for the publication. In addition he works on audio and video programming for Dark Reading and contributes to activities at Interop ITX, Black Hat, INsecurity, and ... View Full Bio
 

Recommended Reading:

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
tysonbushby
50%
50%
tysonbushby,
User Rank: Apprentice
5/15/2020 | 11:12:25 AM
Re: Deploying a new security control is only step 1
Exectly too
franckgilbert
50%
50%
franckgilbert,
User Rank: Apprentice
5/13/2020 | 1:19:41 PM
Re: Deploying a new security control is only step 1
Exectly
Doug Helton
50%
50%
Doug Helton,
User Rank: Author
5/12/2020 | 4:02:41 PM
Deploying a new security control is only step 1
I've seen multiple situations where control tuning and ongoing content rollout to security controls get lost in the shuffle in the same way that lesson learned reviews of major incidents fall by the wayside. One the control is deployed and alerts are firing, it's easy to get distracted but the final mile of rule content development is probably one of the most critical.
hudsonhaydon
50%
50%
hudsonhaydon,
User Rank: Apprentice
5/12/2020 | 11:33:17 AM
Re: This is very informative topic
 thanks so
infokik
50%
50%
infokik,
User Rank: Apprentice
5/9/2020 | 4:48:45 AM
This is very informative tropic
Thanks for this helpfull information. thanks again
COVID-19: Latest Security News & Commentary
Dark Reading Staff 7/14/2020
Omdia Research Launches Page on Dark Reading
Tim Wilson, Editor in Chief, Dark Reading 7/9/2020
Russian Cyber Gang 'Cosmic Lynx' Focuses on Email Fraud
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  7/7/2020
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
Special Report: Computing's New Normal, a Dark Reading Perspective
This special report examines how IT security organizations have adapted to the "new normal" of computing and what the long-term effects will be. Read it and get a unique set of perspectives on issues ranging from new threats & vulnerabilities as a result of remote working to how enterprise security strategy will be affected long term.
Flash Poll
The Threat from the Internetand What Your Organization Can Do About It
The Threat from the Internetand What Your Organization Can Do About It
This report describes some of the latest attacks and threats emanating from the Internet, as well as advice and tips on how your organization can mitigate those threats before they affect your business. Download it today!
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2020-6287
PUBLISHED: 2020-07-14
SAP NetWeaver AS JAVA (LM Configuration Wizard), versions - 7.30, 7.31, 7.40, 7.50, does not perform an authentication check which allows an attacker without prior authentication to execute configuration tasks to perform critical actions against the SAP Java system, including the ability to create a...
CVE-2020-6289
PUBLISHED: 2020-07-14
SAP Disclosure Management, version 10.1, had insufficient protection against Cross-Site Request Forgery, which could be used to trick user in to browsing malicious site.
CVE-2020-6290
PUBLISHED: 2020-07-14
SAP Disclosure Management, version 10.1, is vulnerable to Session Fixation attacks wherein the attacker tricks the user into using a specific session ID.
CVE-2020-6291
PUBLISHED: 2020-07-14
SAP Disclosure Management, version 10.1, session mechanism does not have expiration data set therefore allows unlimited access after authenticating once, leading to Insufficient Session Expiration
CVE-2020-6292
PUBLISHED: 2020-07-14
Logout mechanism in SAP Disclosure Management, version 10.1, does not invalidate one of the session cookies, leading to Insufficient Session Expiration.