Feeds

Websense boosts defenses against spear-phishing, data theft

Also improves email security

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

Websense has added a slew of new defenses with the launched of Triton v7.7, which it says are designed to prevent the advanced data-theft attacks that have emerged as spear-phishing becomes more sophisticated.

Of particular interest to security managers will be a focus on detecting the more patient attacks (in industry parlance, “low and slow” attacks), exemplified by Stuxnet, Duqu and Flame. Alison Higginss-Miller, the company’s APAC vice-president, told The Register such attacks have been around for many years, but only recently begun to get the attention they deserve.

“If you park malicious software inside an organization, but drip-feed information slowly, it might not raise any red flags,” she said.

If a single customer record leaving an organization doesn’t trip a security trigger, then “the drip feed” can become an open door, Higgins-Miller claimed. To address such threats, Websense’s Triton platform now looks for slower patterns, such as a small number of records leaving an organization on a regular basis.

Triton has also been equipped with OCR capabilities, to look for information leaving organisations in non-document format, such as an insider using screen shots rather than text files to pass information to outsiders.

Another attack vector observed by the company’s labs is to implant an innocuous HTML link in emails, allow it to be classified as harmless by security software, and then change it to a malicious link later.

“Email security evasion is becoming more common,” Higgins-Miller told The Register. “The approach is this: the attacker takes control of a Website, but doesn’t change the destination immediately. That way, the URL [in the email] gets analyzed and okayed.”

If the email is sent at the right time – for example, on a Friday night – there’s plenty of time to activate malicious code on the target. “Then the recipient comes in on Monday morning, clicks on the link, and is infected.

“We’re trying to anticipate those behaviours, so we now have the ability to mark emails for real-time URL sandbox analysis.”

That sandbox has been moved into the company’s cloud, Websense says, so that mobile users get the same protection regardless of location.

To protect against the kind of password-theft that has hit the headlines over the last year or so (courtesy of attacks on Sony, Stratfor, e-Harmony, LinkedIn and others), Triton v7.7 is now analyzing the kind of encryption applied to data exiting an organization. If the platform spots a file using encryption that’s previously unknown on the network (that is, if the attacker’s code is using its own encryption engine), then a high-severity alert is raised to the dashboard. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
14 antivirus apps found to have security problems
Vendors just don't care, says researcher, after finding basic boo-boos in security software
Only '3% of web servers in top corps' fully fixed after Heartbleed snafu
Just slapping a patched OpenSSL on a machine ain't going to cut it, we're told
How long is too long to wait for a security fix?
Synology finally patches OpenSSL bugs in Trevor's NAS
Israel's Iron Dome missile tech stolen by Chinese hackers
Corporate raiders Comment Crew fingered for attacks
Roll out the welcome mat to hackers and crackers
Security chap pens guide to bug bounty programs that won't fail like Yahoo!'s
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
Researcher sat on critical IE bugs for THREE YEARS
VUPEN waited for Pwn2Own cash while IE's sandbox leaked
Four fake Google haxbots hit YOUR WEBSITE every day
Goog the perfect ruse to slip into SEO orfice
Secure microkernel that uses maths to be 'bug free' goes open source
Hacker-repelling, drone-protecting code will soon be yours to tweak as you see fit
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.