Stacked Security Tools Detect Less Malware Than Predicted: Study
Combining two security products can improve detection rates of attacks, but generally less than predicted, research finds.Security companies tend to use the same threat data to construct their defenses against the latest attacks, a practice that causes different security products to fail to catch specific attacks more often than expected, according to a report released by security information firm NSS Labs. In tests over the past 18 months, the company evaluated 37 intrusion-prevention systems, antivirus programs and next-generation firewalls and found that none of them stopped every exploit in the company's testing pool. While 19 out of the 606 combinations of two security products were able to stop all the exploits, combining two products tended to not produce the level of improvement expected, Stefan Frei, research director at NSS Labs, told eWEEK. "Layered security performs well if you do the right combinations," he said. "If you don't do the right combinations, you will not see as much benefit." The results of the tests suggest that security applications, even those from different vendors, tend to miss the same exploits. For example, in tests conducted against next-generation firewalls in 2013, eight exploits bypassed all nine devices tested, while it took at least 12 different intrusion-prevention systems to block all the exploits in the 2012 tests of those devices.
The vulnerabilities exploited in the tests consisted of 21 percent of the most highly critical vulnerability affecting 208 vendors in the past decade, the company said.The study found that many products missed a "significant number" of older exploits, and that basic evasion techniques—such as delivering an exploit using secure HTTP instead of simple HTTP—foiled many defenses.