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Enjoy the Speed and Safety of TLS 1.3 Support

SonicWall NGFWs offer full TLS 1.3 support — ensuring your network can handle the latest encryption protocols.

The best products tend to stick around for a while. In the first two years that the Ford Mustang was manufactured, 1965 and 1966, roughly 1.3 million cars rolled off assembly lines in Dearborn, Mich.; Metuchen, N.J.; and Milpitas, Calif. Of those, a remarkable 350,000 are still on the road today — and with proper care, still getting from Point A to Point B just as well as they did during the Johnson Administration.

But aesthetics aside, does that make them a good choice for a daily driver today? In a crash test with any modern vehicle (or a race with any of today’s Mustangs), the first-generation Mustang would be completely overwhelmed. Safety features we take for granted, such as airbags, lane-keep assist, blind spot detection and anti-lock brakes, are absent. These cars might do fine for the occasional Sunday spin around town. But would you put your family in one?

When a product forms the boundary between something precious and grave disaster, you want that product to be as safe as possible. This also holds true for another Milpitas innovation: SonicWall firewalls. To know whether your current choice is still the right choice, it helps to look at what innovations have occurred since then, and whether they were incremental improvements or giant leaps forward. In the case of TLS 1.3 encryption support, it’s unquestionably the latter.

TLS 1.3 is the latest version of transport layer security, which offers reliable encryption for digital communications over the internet. And as with the Mustang before it, modern innovations have led to sizeable leaps in two areas: safety and performance.

TLS 1.3: Safety First

Since the original SSL technology was introduced in 1994, each new version has worked to solve the problems of the previous versions while also maintaining compatibility with those versions. But, unfortunately, maintaining backward compatibility meant leaving in many unnecessary or vulnerable ciphers.

These legacy ciphers made the encryption susceptible to attack, offering attackers a vector through which to circumvent newer security advances in favor of older and weaker protection. A few of the ciphers that persisted up through TLS 1.2 were so weak that they allow an attacker to decrypt the data’s contents without having the key.

TLS 1.3 represents a fundamental shift in this philosophy. Due to a sharp increase in attacks, such as Lucky13, BEAST, POODLE, Logjam and FREAK, which depend on such vulnerabilities for transmission, the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) opted to remove these ciphers altogether — and the resulting TLS 1.3 is vastly more secure because of it.

It’s also more private. In previous versions, including 1.2, digital signatures weren’t used to ensure a handshake’s integrity — they only protected the part of the handshake after the cipher-suite negotiation, allowing attackers to manipulate the negotiation and access the entire conversation.

In TLS 1.3, the entire handshake is encrypted, and only the sender and the recipient can decrypt the traffic. This not only makes it virtually impossible for outsiders to eavesdrop on client/server communications and much harder for attackers to launch man-in-the-middle attacks, it also protects existing communications even if future communications are compromised.

TLS 1.3: Safety Fast

With TLS 1.3, the handshake process isn’t just more secure — it’s faster, too. The four-step handshake required with TLS 1.2 necessitated two round-trip exchanges between systems, introducing latency and taking up bandwidth and power.

These slowdowns especially affected the growing class of Internet of Things (IoT) devices, which have trouble handling connections requiring lots of bandwidth or power, but also tend to need encryption most due to weak onboard security.

However, with just a single key exchange and significantly fewer supported ciphers, TLS 1.3 uses considerably less bandwidth. And because it requires just one round trip to complete the handshake, it’s significantly faster. TLS 1.3’s zero round trip time (0-RTT) feature is even quicker: On subsequent visits, it offers a latency time equal to that of unencrypted HTTP.

Is Your Firewall Up to the Task?

Experts estimate that 80-90% of all network traffic today is encrypted. But many legacy firewalls lack the capability or processing power to detect, inspect and mitigate cyberattacks sent via HTTPs traffic at all, let alone using TLS 1.3 — making this a highly successful avenue for hackers to deploy and execute malware.

According to the 2022 SonicWall Cyber Threat Report, from 2020 to 2021, malware sent over HTTPS rose a staggering 167%. All told, SonicWall recorded 10.1 million encrypted attacks in 2021 — almost as many as in 2018, 2019 and 2020 combined.

With an average of 7% of customers seeing an encrypted attack in a given month, the odds your organization will be targeted by an attack this year are enormous. But if your firewall cannot inspect encrypted traffic — and increasingly, if it cannot inspect TLS 1.3 — you’ll never know it until it’s too late.

SonicWall Supports TLS 1.3 Encryption

SonicWall Gen 7 firewalls bring a lot to the table: They combine higher port density and greater threat throughput with comprehensive malware analysis, unmatched simplicity and industry-leading performance. But among the biggest game-changers in Gen 7 (and its predecessors capable of running SonicOS Gen 6.5) is its support for TLS 1.3 encryption.

SonicWall NGFWs with SonicOS Gen 6.5 and later offer full TLS inspection, decrypting data, checking it for potential threats, and then re-encrypting it for secure transmission — all while ensuring you retain optimal performance and comprehensive visibility.

After all, as in the case of the classic Mustang, there’s no blind spot detection for firewalls that can’t handle today’s encrypted traffic — and these legacy solutions are easily outclassed when going head-to-head. Don’t let yesterday’s firewalls leave unprotected gaps in your network: Upgrade to SonicWall Gen 7 today.

 

Third-Party ICSA Testing – Perfect Score Number 4

SonicWall Capture ATP with RTDMI identified all malicious samples with no false positives — four times in a row.

As those in the cybersecurity industry know, ICSA doesn’t grade on a curve: testing rounds with no perfect scores are common, and the standards are both objective and unforgiving. It’s highly unusual for any vendor solution to identify 100% of malicious threats without flagging a single benign sample.

So when SonicWall’s Capture Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) with patented Real-Time Deep Memory Inspection (RTDMI)™ did just that in Q1 2021, it was quite the accomplishment.

Then we did the same thing in Q2, Q3 and Q4, becoming the first cybersecurity vendor in history to earn four consecutive perfect scores in Standard ICSA Labs Advanced Threat Defense (ATD) testing.

How ICSA Testing Works

Standard ICSA Labs Advanced Threat Defense (ATD) testing is designed with vendor solutions in mind, and helps determine new threats traditional security products do not detect. Eligible security vendors are tested quarterly for a minimum of three weeks. During that time, the ICSA Labs subjects advanced threat defense solutions to hundreds of test runs. The test set is comprised of a mixture of new threats, little-known threats and innocuous applications and activities.

Q4 2021’s testing cycle was particularly rigorous. Over 32 days of continuous testing, a SonicWall NSa 3600 NGFW with Capture ATP was subjected to 1,625 total test runs. During this time, SonicWall Capture ATP detected all 801 of the malicious samples, including the 432 threats that were four hours old or less. The testing also included 824 innocuous apps — none of which were improperly categorized as malicious by Capture ATP.

As a result, SonicWall received the highest ranking in this category, concluding a full year of perfect scores and eight consecutive ICSA certifications for SonicWall Capture ATP.

Capture ATP: Superior Threat Detection

Third-party testing cycles like these become even more important as cyberattacks become increasingly sophisticated and stealthy. The introduction of state-sponsored attacks in particular has changed the game, and what used to be no more than a hobby or a source of secondary income has turned into a full-time job. As a result, we are seeing a slew of complex and refined never-before-seen attacks that are capable of passing through the defenses of many organizations.

This highlights two tenets of modern cybersecurity:  the importance of sandboxing technology for a security vendor and the fact that not all technologies are created equally.

SonicWall Capture ATP — a cloud-based service available with SonicWall firewalls — detects and can block advanced threats at the gateway until verdict. This service is the only advanced threat-detection offering that combines multi-layer sandboxing (including SonicWall’s RTDMI™ technology), full-system emulation and virtualization techniques in order to analyze suspicious code behavior.

A graph showing the results of malware variants found by SonicWall Capture ATP

This combination allows Capture ATP to detect more threats than single-engine sandbox solutions, which are compute-environment specific and susceptible to evasion. And because it incorporates AI and machine learning technologies, it’s constantly becoming more effective.

For example, 141,390 never-before-seen malware variants were recorded in Q4 2021 — more than any quarter on record. A total of 442,151 total never-before-seen malware variants was identified in 2021, a 65% increase over 2020’s count and an average of 1,211 per day.

The full ICSA Labs report can be downloaded here. To learn more about SonicWall Capture ATP with RTDMI, visit our website.

 

A Record-Breaking Year for SonicWall’s Boundless Future

SonicWall experiences a fantastic year of accomplishments and growth – right in the middle of a global cybersecurity crisis!

Crisis often brings about growth in intuition, knowledge and skill. The cybersecurity industry has made tremendous strides over the past year amid record-breaking network breaches worldwide and a dramatic increase in cybercrime. But SonicWall in particular has proven itself more than equal to the challenges at hand, growing its product line, winning media recognition and earning third-party certifications and awards.

30 Years and More Boundless than Ever

2021 marked SonicWall’s 30th year as a major cybersecurity solutions provider. When the company — then called Sonic Systems — entered the firewall market, it had fewer than 40 employees. Today, the company serves more than 500,000 customers in more than 215 countries, including government agencies, organizations and enterprises.

During the year, SonicWall completed the rollout of a number of new solutions, including new NGFWs. These products represented the latest additions in the “Boundless” cybersecurity platform, designed to provide deployment choices to the customer while solving real-world use cases faced by SMBs, enterprises, governments and MSSPs.

SonicWall in the News

The Mid-Year Update to the SonicWall 2021 Cyber Threat Report, released in July, also made waves — and not just within the cybersecurity community. The update was cited in a number of news outlets, such as CNN and PBS News Hour. The Wall Street Journal drew on SonicWall’s threat data for a story about the record rise in ransomware and another about the arrest and extradition of a known criminal hacker. U.S. senators also used SonicWall threat data in their proposal for cybersecurity legislation.

As we noted recently in our weekly Cybersecurity News blog, these reports continue to be cited even months after their release, highlighting SonicWall’s role as an authority in cybersecurity research.

Certification with Flying Colors

During a year of unprecedented threats and attacks, SonicWall’s products have also earned their share of coverage, proving themselves more than capable of handling the increase in cybercriminal activity. Third-party evaluators conducted several tests during the year and found that SonicWall’s newly released NGFWs, combined with SonicWall protection software, are more efficient at keeping networks safe and stopping malware.

For example, in a recent Tolly Report, the SonicWall NSa 2700 showed a three-year total cost of ownership less than two-thirds of our nearest competitor’s model. In addition, the SonicWall NGFW was found to have three times the threat protection throughput and a “dramatically lower” cost per Gbps processed.

During testing by ICSA Labs, SonicWall TZ, NSa, NSsp and NSv firewalls flew through all testing certifications for enterprise firewalls and anti-malware protection. Additionally, SonicWall Capture Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) surpassed the lab’s Advanced Threat Defense testing regimen with a perfect score for the third time in a row.

Third-party testing also highlighted SonicWall’s patented RTDMI (Real-Time Deep Memory Inspection) technology, which can be found in our cloud-based ATP service. As reported in SonicWall threat reports, not only did RTDMI uncover 307,516 never-before-seen malware variants during the first three quarters of 2021, but the data also revealed that, during that time, cybercriminals released an average of 1,126 new malware versions per day. This sharp increase in variants has many security analysts worried about the rate at which cybercriminals have learned to diversify software and deploy new attacks.

An Award-Winning Year

SonicWall also racked up numerous awards during the year. For example, at the Globee 17th Annual 2021 Cybersecurity Global Excellence Awards, SonicWall received top honors from 10 technology categories, including advanced persistent threats, best security hardware, enterprise network firewalls and security management.

CRN recognized several SonicWall executives and managers in 2021, and it ultimately placed the company on its 2021 Edge Computing 100 list. This recognition is reserved for companies that excel in providing channel partners with the technology needed to build next-generation, intelligent edge cybersecurity solutions. Selection criteria include feedback from partner solution providers on the impact of cybersecurity companies, as well as these companies’ influence on the market and the types of technology and services they make available.

And to top off all, Frost & Sullivan recently analyzed the global network firewall market and awarded SonicWall its 2021 Global Competitive Strategy Leadership Award for “Best Practices.”

Meeting the Boundless Future

The challenges from the past are where we accumulate our best understanding of where we must go in the future. However, the middle part between the past and the future is where we face our most significant challenges.

Today, even as the number of distributed workforces grow and hybrid cloud environments become a greater fixture in the network schema, SonicWall is helping businesses build around the blind spots found in conventional office-centric networks. If our year of accomplishment and growth is any indication, we’ve successfully embarked on a path that delivers more efficient and effective solutions.

Learn more about our shared boundless future, and let’s prosper together.

SonicWall, ADT Ink Partnership to Offer Managed Cybersecurity Solutions to SMBs

Founded in 1874, ADT has long been synonymous with security. A new strategic partnership with SonicWall further expands the Florida-based company’s footprint into cybersecurity.

In a public release, “ADT Selects SonicWall as Exclusive Provider of Managed Cybersecurity Service Offering for SMBs,” the companies announced their plans to offer an exclusive managed security offering to small- and medium-sized businesses (SMB).

“The financial impact of a cyberattack can easily result in a company closing its door,” said SonicWall President and CEO Bill Conner in the official release. “As these threats evolve, so must the tactics we employ to protect organizations of all sizes. Their No. 1 focus should be on their business needs and operations, not on looming online threats.”

With SonicWall, ADT will deliver managed cybersecurity to SMBs much in the same manner as they simplify physical home security for the consumer market. This turn-key approach will make it easy and affordable for SMBs to protect their networks, data, email and brand — all for a single monthly price.

“For more than a century, ADT has been monitoring and responding to emerging threats for our customers. We will continue to do so with the help of cybersecurity pioneers like SonicWall … ”

— Jay Darfler
SVP Emerging Markets
ADT

“For more than a century, ADT has been monitoring and responding to emerging threats for our customers. We will continue to do so with the help of cybersecurity pioneers like SonicWall …,” said Jay Darfler, ADT SVP Emerging Markets.

ADT first began building its SMB cybersecurity offering in 2018 with the acquisition of Secure Designs, Inc (SDI). With the SonicWall partnership in place, ADT Cybersecurity now offers SMBs a truly end-to-end managed security solution. The new joint offering includes:

“We look forward to working with a world-renowned security provider to deliver the necessary tools to protect our customers,” said Conner.

SonicWall firewalls, secure email, cloud sandboxing and other networks security components are available now through ADT Cybersecurity.

4 Ways the WhatsApp Exploit Could Use Employees to Infiltrate Your Network

The recent WhatsApp breach was very sophisticated and clever in the manner it was delivered. And that should be expected considering who was reported as being behind the zero-day attack against the popular messaging application.

But the attack against the WhatsApp app is not just a concern for its millions of global customers. There’s a very real and imminent threat to businesses and enterprises, too.

For example, let’s assume one of your employees has WhatsApp installed on their device and it is subsequently compromised via the latest WhatsApp exploit. In many situations, this employee will, at some point, connect their device to the corporate network.

This legitimate access could be via VPN, cloud applications (e.g., Office 365, Dropbox, etc.), corporate Wi-Fi or, my personal “favorite,” plugging the device into the USB port of a corporate laptop so the phone can charge. Understanding how and where users connect to the corporate network is critical.

In most cases, organizations can’t prevent personal BYOD phones from being compromised — particularly when outside the network perimeter. They can, however, protect the network from exploits delivered via the compromised phone. Here are the four most common ways the WhatsApp vulnerability could be leveraged to infiltrate a corporate network and, more importantly, how SonicWall can prevent it:

  1. Via VPN. If an employee connects to corporate over VPN, SonicWall, for example, would be the endpoint where they establish the VPN Threat prevention (e.g., firewalls, Capture ATP) and access control (e.g., Secure Mobile Access) would prevent the WhatsApp breach from spreading any further than the compromised phone.
  2. Via Wi-Fi. In this scenario, next-generation firewalls and secure wireless access points should be in place to inspect all internal traffic and prevent the exploit from going further than the phone.
  3. Via compromised credentials. Because the WhatsApp exploit enabled attackers to steal credentials to cloud services and apps, organizations with Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB) solutions, like SonicWall Cloud App Security, would mitigate account takeovers (ATO), unauthorized access and any related data leakage.
  4. Via USB port. Users often forget that a powered USB port on their laptop is an entry point for attackers — even when doing something as innocent as charging a phone. A sound endpoint protection solution (see diagram), such as Capture Client, would monitor the connection to the laptop and inspect any malicious activity attempting to leverage the USB port to deliver malware payloads.

The libssh Vulnerability: What’s at Risk & How SonicWall Helps Prevent It

The greatest thing about cybersecurity, at least when viewed from a practicing cybersecurity engineer, is the fact that it is a constantly changing landscape. And that is certainly the case with libssh.

For those who haven’t heard, a libssh exploit was identified last week, one that was ranked as critical by CVSS Severity and Metrics. This latest breach, CVE-2018-10933, allows attacks to compromise specific builds of libssh, essentially the code used for many open-source products that support SSH.

For those unfamiliar with SSH, well, let’s just say if you don’t use it, you likely don’t know what it is. But for those who do know it, they will immediately recognize the drastic and alarming nature of such a breach.

SSH, or Secure Shell, is a command line interface used to connect and administer various technology products. This includes servers, switches, routers and, yes, even firewall and security installations. That means that when this attack is leveraged it could grant unauthorized (literally) access directly to certain systems that control the very security of an organization, business, website and even government or healthcare networks.

What is … ‘Shush’?

Just to point out this significance of this breach, allow me to tell you a brief story. While conducting a security vulnerability assessment for an organization that manufactured products for a very niche market, I found that their network was transmitting more than 30GB of SSH traffic in the period of three days.

When I inquired as to why they were running this traffic, the CFO for the company in question pointedly asked me, “What is Shush?”

Let that sink in for a second. I know I had to, too.

Upon further investigation, I found that this traffic was all being sourced to a knock-off marketer’s network and the customer had potentially lost billions in market product sales. In short, SSH is a very powerful network communication protocol and should be highly regulated inside any network.

SonicWall Products Not Vulnerable to libssh

Not only are all SonicWall products immune to this latest breach, but we are also able to prevent against it.

SonicWall products do not leverage the affected code contained in the lilbssh breach. Even better, provided the SonicWall firewall is deployed using DPI-SSH configurations, we can detect when susceptible machines have been attacked and can prevent the breach before it happens.

Not only are all SonicWall products immune to this latest breach, but we are also able to prevent against it.

The SonicWall solution encompasses a complete end-to-end, real-time security system. That includes protection against zero-day discoveries such as this. The same day this particular breach was identified, SonicWall was already preventing it in any exposed SSH sessions — even if network admins had not taken to preventing those connections initially.

SonicWall DPI-SSH operates in a proxy-like manner. Because it does not mirror commands across the firewall, but rather initiates a regular connection on the other side of the firewall, SonicOS DPI-SSH is not susceptible to this attack. But it also effectively nullifies the attack because the DPI-SSH functionality itself cannot be vulnerable since there is no authentication to the “incoming” side of the proxy.

Additionally, DPI-SSH is primarily used in the LAN-to-WAN scenario for DLP monitoring, and the attack vector for this CVE is primarily WAN-to-LAN. DPI-SSH can, of course, protect LAN-initiated traffic by scanning SCP and SFTP protocols (encrypted traffic) for malware.

With the ever-evolving threat landscape, make sure that you have a security solution that can stay ahead of the breaches — not just react to new ones when they appear in the headlines. It is always easier to prevent the breach before it happens than figure out what to do after the fact.

Protecting Your MSSP Reputation with Behavior-Based Security

You’ve been here before. Your customer gets hit by a cyberattack and they ask, “Why did this happen? Shouldn’t your managed security service have protected us?”

Unless you give them a satisfactory answer, they may be shopping for a new partner. Over the past few years, I’ve heard several MSSPs having to explain to their customers that the malware or ransomware attack could not be stopped because they didn’t possess the technology that could mitigate new attacks.

Don’t put yourself in a situation where you can’t properly safeguard your customers — even against new or unknown attacks. To protect both your customers and your reputation against the latest threats, you need to deploy behavior-based security solutions that can better future-proof your customer environment.

The Logistics of Threat Prevention

When talking with people about threat prevention I ask, “How many new forms of malware do you think SonicWall detected last year?”

I usually hear answers in the thousands. The real answer? 56 million new forms or variants of malware in a single year. That’s more than 150,000 a day. Every day, security companies like SonicWall have teams of people creating signatures to help build in protections, but this takes time. Despite the industry’s best effort, static forms of threat elimination are limited.

Layering Security Across Customer Environments

MSSPs understand the importance of selling perimeter security, such as firewalls and email security, to scrub out most threats. These solutions will cover roughly 94-98 percent of threats. But for the smaller percentage of threats that are no less devastating, this is where behavior-based solutions come into play.

On each edge-facing firewall and email security service you need to have a network sandbox, which is an isolated environment where files can be tested to understand their intended purpose or motive. For example, the SonicWall Capture Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) sandbox is an isolated environment that is designed to run suspicious files in parallel through multiple engines to resist evasive malware. With the ability to block a file until a verdict has been reached, you can ensure that you will deliver highly vetted and clean traffic to end users.

Endpoints require a form of security that continuously monitor the system for malicious behavior because they roam outside the network perimeter and encounter fileless threats that come from vectors like malvertising.

SonicWall’s endpoint security solution (called Capture Client) only uses roughly 1 percent of the CPU’s processing power on a standard laptop. It can stop attacks before they happen as well as halt attacks as they execute. MSSPs love the ability to prevent dynamic attacks but also roll them back (on Windows only) in case they do initiate.

Behavior-based Security in Action

The power of behavior-based security was clear with the initial WannaCry attack in 2017. It was made famous when 16 NHS hospitals in the UK were shut down due to this viral ransomware attack. These sites were protected by a competitor whose CEO had to explain himself and apologize on national television.

The sites protected by SonicWall were up and running and helped pick up the slack when the others went down. Three weeks before the attack, SonicWall put protections in place that prevented Version 1 of WannaCry and its SMB vulnerability exploit from working.

But it was the behavior-based security controls that helped to identify and stop all the subsequent versions that came after. This same pattern emerged again with the NotPetya and SamSam ransomware attacks; static defenses followed by proactive dynamic defenses.

Furthermore, SonicWall’s reporting enables MSSPs to be alerted when something has been stopped. SonicWall Capture Client attack visualization gives administrators a view of where the threat came from and what it wanted to do on the endpoint.

This approach gives our customers — and MSSPs powered by SonicWall — the ability to protect against threats detected by SonicWall. But this strategy also protects against attacks that shift and change to bypass safeguards. By doing our best to build protections in a timely manner, as well as providing technology that detects and stops unknown attacks, we protect your customer as well as your reputation.


This story originally appeared on MSSP Alert and was republished with permission.

SonicWall NSa Series Wins Cybersecurity Breakthrough Award as Best Firewall Solution

The CyberSecurity Breakthrough Awards named the SonicWall NSa the best next-generation firewall solution of 2018. The CyberSecurity Breakthrough Awards is an independent organization that recognizes the top companies, technologies and products in the global information security market. SonicWall has won 42 industry honors so far in 2018.

This year alone, SonicWall introduced seven new next-generation NSa firewall models: NSa 3650, 4650, 5650 6650, 9250, 9450 and 9650. The NSa series works in conjunction with the SonicWall Capture Cloud Platform as part of an end-to-end security solution that delivers integrated cloud-scale management to protect networks, email, endpoints, mobile and remote users.

CyberSecurity Breakthrough judges are experienced senior-level cybersecurity professionals who have personally worked within the information security space, including journalists, analysts and technology executives with experience in a range of information security positions and perspectives. From successful technology startups to veteran industry leaders, the panel of judges brings a balanced perspective of evaluation for the award nominations.

The judges have earned a reputation for fairness and credibility, and are committed to determining the break through nominations for each award category, which includes:

In 2017, SonicWall was named the Cybersecurity Breakthrough Overall Cybersecurity Company of the Year. More than 2,000 nominations from over 12 different countries throughout the world competed for the honor.

How MSSPs & Artificial Intelligence Can Mitigate Zero-Day Threats

So, here’s the problem: unknown zero-day threats are just that — unknown. You have no way (besides historical experience) to predict the next vulnerability avenue that will be exploited. You, therefore, don’t know what will need patching or what extra security layer needs injecting. This ultimately leads to a forecast-costing dilemma as you cannot predict the man hours involved.

The other quandary faced when tackling complex targeted zero days is the skills gap. Staffing a security operations center (SOC) with highly skilled cybersecurity professionals comes at a cost and only becomes profitable with economies of scale that a large customer base brings.

Coupled with the shortage of skilled cybersecurity professionals in the open market, how can you get your SOC off the ground? Could artificial intelligence (AI) level the playing field?

Machine Learning Reality Check

Machine learning and behavioral analytics continue to grow and become synonymous with zero-day threat protection. Is this all hype or is it the new reality? The truth is, it is both.

There is a lot of hype, but for good reason: AI works. Big data is needed to see the behaviors and therein the anomalies or outright nefarious activities that human oversight would mostly fail to catch. Delivered as a layered security approach, AI is the only way to truly protect against modern cyber warfare, but not all AI is deterministic and herein lies the hidden cost to your bottom line.

AI-based analysis tools that provide forensics are very powerful, but the horse has bolted by the time they are used. This approach is akin to intrusion detection systems (IDS) versus intrusion prevention systems (IPS). The former are great for retrospective audits, but what is the cleanup cost? This usage of behavioral analysis AI solely for detection is not MSSP-friendly. What you need is automated, real-time breach detection and prevention. Prevention is key.

So, how do you create an effective prevention technology? You need security layers that filter the malware noise, so each can be more efficient at its detection and prevention function than the last. That means signature-based solutions are still necessary. In fact, they are as important as ever as one of the first layers of defense in your arsenal (content filtering comes in at the top spot).

By SonicWall metrics, the ever-growing bombardment of attacks the average network faces stands at 1,200-plus per day (check out the mid-year update to the 2018 SonicWall Cyber Threat Report for more details).

When you do the math, it’s easy to see that with millions of active firewalls, it’s not practical to perform deep analysis on every payload. For the best results, you must efficiently fingerprint and filter everything that has gone before.

Aren’t All Sandboxes Basically the Same?

Only by understanding the behavior of the application and watching what it’s attempting to do, can you uncover malicious intent and criminal action. The best environment to do this is a sandbox, but no SOC manpower in the world could accomplish this with humans at scale. In order to be effective, you must turn to AI.

AI understands the big data coming from behavioral analysis. It can adapt the discovery approach to uncover threats that try to hide and, once determined as malicious, can fingerprint the payload via signature, turning a zero day into a known threat. It is the speed of propagation of this new, known signature to the protection appliances participating in the mesh protection network that drives the efficiencies to discover more threats.

Also, it’s the size of the mesh network catchment area that allows you the largest overall service area of attaches, which helps your AI quickly learn from the largest sample data set.

Luckily, SonicWall has you covered on all these fronts. With more than 1 million sensors deployed across 215 territories and countries, SonicWall has one of the largest global footprint of active firewalls. Plus, the cloud-based, multi-engine SonicWall Capture Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) sandbox service discovers and stops unknown, zero-day attacks, such as ransomware, at the gateway with automated remediation.

Our recent introduction of the patent-pending Real-Time Deep Memory Inspection (RTDMITM) technology, which inspects memory in real time, can detect and prevent chip vulnerability attaches such as Spectre, Meltdown and Foreshadow. It’s included with every Capture ATP activation.

At SonicWall, the mantra of automated, real-time breach detection and prevention is fundamental to our security portfolio. It is how our partners drive predictable operational expenditures in the most challenging security environments. Only via connected solutions, utilizing shared intelligence, can you protect against all cyber threat vectors.


A version of this story originally appeared on MSSP Alert and was republished with permission.

SonicWall’s Consistent Value, Cyber Security Effectiveness Earn ‘Recommended’ Rating from NSS Labs

For far too long the modern organization has been told it must pay hundreds of thousands of dollars (or even millions) for powerful, enterprise-grade security.

But for more than 25 years, SonicWall’s mission has been to deliver consistent value and powerful cyber security for organizations of all sizes and budgets. For the fifth time since 2012, this has been validated by one of the most trusted, fact-based organizations in the industry: NSS Labs.

In its 2018 group test of next-generation firewalls (NGFW), NSS Labs strongly positioned SonicWall and the NSa 2650 firewall in the upper-right ‘Recommended’ quadrant of the 2018 NSS Labs Security Value MapTM (SVM).

“NSS Labs is committed to independent testing that helps enterprises make informed cybersecurity decisions,” said NSS Labs CEO Vikram Phatak in SonicWall’s official announcement. “With ‘Recommended’ ratings for five years, SonicWall next-generation firewalls are an excellent choice for any company seeking devices with strong security and consistent product quality to evolve their security architectures. We applaud SonicWall’s focus on product consistency and security effectiveness.”

This year’s in-depth firewall comparison was comprised of totals based on security effectiveness, block rates, stability, performance, product purchasing price, maintenance, installation costs, required upkeep, management and installation. In its head-to-head comparison tests, NSS Labs verifies that NSa 2650:

  • Remains one of the highest-rated and best-value NGFWs in the industry, with a 98.8 percent security effectiveness rating
  • Delivers second-best total cost of ownership (TCO) with $4 per protected Mbps
  • Tested 100 percent effective in countering all advanced HTTP evasion, obfuscation and fragmentation techniques
  • Earned 100 percent ratings in stability and reliability testing

Many factors are taken into consideration when weighing vendor options, measuring security efficacy and calculating TCO.

Security Effectiveness of Firewalls

NSS Labs conducts one of the industry’s most respected, comprehensive and fact-based validation programs for a full range of cybersecurity products, including network and breach security, endpoint protection, cloud and virtual security, and more.

For this year’s comparison test, the SonicWall NSa 2650 next-generation firewall was compared against other industry offerings. During the NSS Labs evaluation, SonicWall NSa 2650 endured thorough testing exercises via the NSS Exploit Library, which exposed the appliance to more than 1,900 exploits.

To ensure real-world testing conditions, NSS Labs engineers utilize multiple commercial, open-source and propriety tools to launch a broad range of attacks. SonicWall NSa 2650 blocked 98.8 percent of all attacks was 100 percent reliable during testing. SonicWall also was successful in countering 100 percent of all advanced HTTP evasion, obfuscation and fragmentation techniques.

The SonicWall NSa 2650 strong security effectiveness and findings within the NSS report are applicable to the entire SonicWall NSa next-generation firewall series.

Total Cost of Ownership for Firewalls

“SonicWall offers the second-lowest TCO with $4 cost per protected Mbps.”

The cyber security industry’s pricing models are, frankly, out of date. Too many legacy vendors believe their old way of doing business — charging hundreds of thousands, or even millions of dollars — is beneficial to end customers and prospects. In some cases, high-end hardware is required, but there should also be powerful, cost-effective options for today’s business.

SonicWall understands and embraces this change.

It’s the reason we continually monitor and refine our pricing structures to ensure every organization is able to protect themselves from today’s most malicious cyberattacks. And we’re proud to say that NSS Labs found SonicWall to offer the second-lowest TCO with $4 cost per protected Mbps.

NSS Labs calculates TCO across a three-year period. At a high level, the formula includes:

  • Year 1 Purchase Price
  • Year 1 Installation & Labor
  • Year 1 Maintenance Costs
  • Year 2 Maintenance Costs
  • Year 3 Maintenance Costs

According to NSS Labs, “Calculations are based on a labor rate of $75 (USD) per hour and vendor-provided pricing information. Where possible, the 24/7 maintenance and support option with 24-hour replacement is used, since enterprise customers typically select that option. Pricing includes one enterprise-class CMS to manage up to five devices.”

As a best practice, enterprises and security-conscious organizations should include TCO as part of their NGFW evaluations, including:

  • Acquisition costs for NGFW and a central management system (CMS)
  • Fees paid to the vendor for annual maintenance, support and signature updates
  • Labor costs for installation, maintenance and upkeep