Nearly half of cyber attacks used malware hidden in encrypted traffic to evade detection, according to a new report from A10 Networks based on a survey conducted in partnership with Ponemon Institute of 1,023 IT and IT security practitioners in North America and Europe. A full 80% of organizations were victims of cyber attacks during the past year.
The problem of malware hidden in SSL traffic poses a serious threat to organization who are increasingly relying on encrypted traffic to protect their workflows. SSL hides data from both potential attackers and from common security tools.
A10 Networks said many network managers mistakenly believe that there will be a performance penalty for inspecting inbound and outbound SSL traffic.
“IT decision makers need to think more strategically,” said Dr. Chase Cunningham, director of cyber operations at A10 Networks. “The bad guys are looking for ROI just like the good guys, and they don’t want to work too hard to get it. Instead of focusing on doing everything right 100 percent of the time, IT leaders can be more effective by doing a few things very strategically with the best technology available. It’s the cyber security equivalent of the zombie marathon — as long as you can avoid being the slowest in outrunning the zombies, you minimize risk.”
Some highlights of the survey:
- Almost half of respondents (47 percent) cited a lack of enabling security tools as the primary reason for not inspecting decrypted web traffic—closely followed by insufficient resources and degradation of network performance (both 45 percent).
- 80 percent of survey respondents say their organizations have been victims of a cyber attack or malicious insider during the past year. And nearly half say that the attackers used encryption to evade detection.
- Although 75 percent of survey respondents say their networks are at risk from malware hidden inside encrypted traffic, roughly two-thirds admit that their company is unprepared to detect malicious SSL traffic.
“The Hidden Threats in Encrypted Traffic study sheds light on important facts about the malicious threats lurking in today’s corporate networks,” said Dr. Larry Ponemon, chairman and founder, Ponemon Institute. “Our goal is to help organizations better understand the risks to help them better address vulnerabilities in their networks.”