Feeds

Most security products not up to scratch

But most of all, you've let yourself down

Protecting against web application threats using SSL

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). ®

Reducing the cost and complexity of web vulnerability management

More from The Register

next story
Spies would need SUPER POWERS to tap undersea cables
Why mess with armoured 10kV cables when land-based, and legal, snoop tools are easier?
Early result from Scots indyref vote? NAW, Jimmy - it's a SCAM
Anyone claiming to know before tomorrow is telling porkies
TOR users become FBI's No.1 hacking target after legal power grab
Be afeared, me hearties, these scoundrels be spying our signals
Jihadi terrorists DIDN'T encrypt their comms 'cos of Snowden leaks
Intel bods' analysis concludes 'no significant change' after whistle was blown
Home Depot: 56 million bank cards pwned by malware in our tills
That's about 50 per cent bigger than the Target tills mega-hack
Hackers pop Brazil newspaper to root home routers
Step One: try default passwords. Step Two: Repeat Step One until success
NORKS ban Wi-Fi and satellite internet at embassies
Crackdown on tardy diplomatic sysadmins providing accidental unfiltered internet access
UK.gov lobs another fistful of change at SME infosec nightmares
Senior Lib Dem in 'trying to be relevant' shocker. It's only taxpayers' money, after all
Critical Adobe Reader and Acrobat patches FINALLY make it out
Eight vulns healed, including XSS and DoS paths
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.