Feeds

Most security products not up to scratch

But most of all, you've let yourself down

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

Only four per cent (one in 25) information security products pass muster when first tested under a widely-used industry kitemark scheme.

Most products require two or more cycles of testing before achieving certification, according to security testing outfit ICSA Labs.

ICSA Labs, which has tested anti-virus and firewall products for more than 20 years, reported in the study published Monday that problems included basic failures to perform often cropped up. Across seven product categories, core product functionality shortcomings accounted for 78 per cent of initial test failures.

For example, anti-virus products often failed to prevent malware infection at the first attempt, while firewalls or IPS (intrusion prevention) products failed to make the grade in blocking attack traffic.

Shortcomings in accurately logging data was the second most common reason for security product test failures, particularly for firewalls. Security flaws introduced by the products also created a frequent source of problems, along with "random behavior that affects product availability" (ie crashes).

The ICSA Labs testing and certification process is tough, with only four per cent of products tested making the grade during the first testing cycle. However, 82 per cent of products resubmitted for testing eventually pass and earn ICSA Labs certification, a benchmark they have to match periodically to gain ongoing certification.

Taken at face value the test failings might appear damning, but the test process itself helps to push vendors towards delivering more secure products. ICSA Labs details common pitfalls to avoid and factors that contribute to testing success in its report that vendors would do well to note.

Information security technology is even more subject to the vagaries of fashion than other aspects of IT, with the possible exception of mobile phone handsets.

ICSA Labs advises end users to choose simplicity over complexity, and suggests a bias towards more established products over newer products that whose kinks are yet to be worked out. The advice runs contrary to conventional industry marketing, which would have users believe innovation is making products better-performing and more secure.

ICSA Labs Product Assurance Report covers testing across seven product categories - anti-virus, network firewall, Web application firewall, network IPS, IPSec VPN, SSL VPN and custom testing. The study, which was sponsored by Verizon Business, can be found here (PDF). ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Ice cream headache as black hat hacks sack Dairy Queen
I scream, you scream, we all scream 'DATA BREACH'!
Goog says patch⁵⁰ your Chrome
64-bit browser loads cat vids FIFTEEN PERCENT faster!
JLaw, Kate Upton exposed in celeb nude pics hack
100 women victimised as Apple iCloud accounts reportedly popped
NIST to sysadmins: clean up your SSH mess
Too many keys, too badly managed
Scratched PC-dispatch patch patched, hatched in batch rematch
Windows security update fixed after triggering blue screens (and screams) of death
Researchers camouflage haxxor traps with fake application traffic
Honeypots sweetened to resemble actual workloads, complete with 'secure' logins
Attack flogged through shiny-clicky social media buttons
66,000 users popped by malicious Flash fudging add-on
New Snowden leak: How NSA shared 850-billion-plus metadata records
'Federated search' spaffed info all over Five Eyes chums
Three quarters of South Korea popped in online gaming raids
Records used to plunder game items, sold off to low lifes
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.