A blog posted on Monday by Trend Labs shines a telling light on the reality of targeted attacks and advanced threats. Entitled “Heuristic Scanning and Sandbox Protection: The Best of Both Worlds,” the article touches on why sandboxing alone is not the be-all and end-all of combating targeted attacks and advanced threats.
An important component – absolutely – however, regardless of the claims of being proprietary or extra-special, do not let any vendor try to convince you that sandbox analysis is a silver bullet. Although effective, sandboxing alone cannot solve the problem of targeted attacks and advanced threats. At the risk of oversimplification, here are three reasons why:
- Like any security technology, sandboxes have their weaknesses. No two vendor offerings are alike; however, in general terms, sandbox technology can be evaded by attackers who are thorough in their advanced reconnaissance and attack preparations.
- As indicated in the TrendLabs article, attackers build checks into their advanced malware to look for specific Windows operating systems licenses, language and other settings inclusive of checks for virtual environments. Mature vendors will build in countermeasures; however, few offer the ability to build customizable sandboxes that emulate the target desktop image that attackers are trying to exploit.
- As the volume of traffic and attack vectors increase, few organizations will have both the financial and security resources to establish a scalable sandbox service that does not impact end-user productivity.
In addition to disciplined research to stay ahead of attackers’ sandbox evasion techniques, Trend Micro is also unique in the use of heuristics on network traffic flow. By monitoring over eighty protocols and applications across all network ports, we can uniquely provide a form of advanced triage to detect advanced malware and zero-day exploits without absolute reliance on sandboxing technology. Together, the two technologies combine to produce a higher rate of efficacy to detect and respond to targeted attacks and advanced threats.
Don’t take our word for it; the proof is in the pudding: