Malware Development Exceeding IT Security Capabilities

Friday, March 16, 2012



A report released by security provider Norman indicates that nearly two-thirds of the IT security leaders surveyed believe that the rapid growth of more sophisticated strains of malware are exceeding their operational capability to adequately defend networks.

"It is widely recognized that the volume and sophistication of threats continues to grow dramatically, yet many organizations are only incrementally adding resources to better understand these threats. Analysis is a critical component of a comprehensive defense-in-depth strategy. Failure to maintain an updated understanding of these threats will leave networks increasingly vulnerable," said Norman's Darin Andersen.

Multiple reports on the increase in malware production have shown record growth in the past several years, and according to survey respondents, 2012 looks to be another record breaking period.

Chief among the concerns of the enterprise security professionals surveyed is the incremental nature of network security deployments in response to the increased threats, coupled with severe budget constraints which limit the resources available for mitigation.

"Nearly two-thirds (65 percent) predict the sheer number of malware threats will grow by more than 25 percent this year. However, these IT leaders also report their organizations are not making the investments required to keep up.  Just 17 percent state that today they are catching all the malware targeted at their company.  Even more alarming, just under half (45 percent) predict their malware budgets will go up in 2012 and only one-third (33 percent) state they will add analysts to their response teams this year," the Norman report indicates.

Another area of concern is the limited number of adequately trained information security professionals available to confront the barrage of network attacks.

"Organizations that do plan to beef up their security capabilities will have a difficult time this year. Just under half believe it will be harder this year than in the past to find malware analysts and a similar number state they will have less time to train analysts this year than in the past."

As the cost of mitigation grows, an increasing number of companies who had previously developed security solutions within their own organization will be looking to supplement their network security with commercially available alternatives, according to the survey.

"As a result of these difficulties, 52 percent plan to augment their internally-developed solution with a commercial solution in 2012. Nearly three-quarters (71 percent) will make this move in part because in-house solutions require significant management attention and maintenance," the report notes.

Other key findings in the report include:

  • More than half of survey respondents (54 percent) use both internally-developed and commercially-available anti-malware analysis solutions
  • IT leaders who use commercial solutions outnumber those who have internally-developed solutions by more than 4-to-1 (37 percent versus 9 percent)
  • Forty percent of IT leaders who purchased a commercially-available malware analysis solution acquired it to support their internally-developed capabilities
  • More than one-third (35 percent) listed cost effectiveness as the reason for purchase
  • Thirty-five percent turned to a commercial solution to address the number of files their team must analyze


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