Why Zero-Day Detection Isn’t Enough to Keep Your Organization Safe

October 29, 2020

It’s a simple fact: Zero-day malware has proven to bypass even the most advanced detection mechanisms on the market today. Organizations have essentially become defenseless when it comes to protecting themselves against one of the most sophisticated threats. Unfortunately, many organizations have outdated practices and tools that are unable to keep up with the ever-evolving complexities of zero-day malware. In fact, there were 1,001 total reported data breaches in the United States in 2020 alone.

Make no mistake: cyber detection solutions are the most common form of cyber defense in organizations today for a good reason. They provide visibility and insight into how much of the organization was affected, where the attacks came from, where they were stopped, or where they were headed. However, detection-based solutions fall short when it comes to the most important challenge – stopping the attack from ever happening in the first place.

When it comes to choosing the right cyber ecosystem, it seems the risk might lie in the choice between detecting and preventing attacks. When deployed separately, detection and prevention-based solutions are imperfect at best. When combined, however, – they seem to be the ultimate technological mix for a comprehensive cyber defense, including against zero-day malware exploits.

Let’s dig into why zero-day detection is no longer enough, where your organization may be falling short when it comes to stopping these attacks, and how Votiro can help bring your organization up to date.

Why Companies Rely on Detection-Based Solutions

Organizations of all kinds rely on detection-based solutions to stave off harmful cyberattacks. As attacks become more complex, the pressure is on for IT departments to take their security measures to the next level. In fact, according to the Oracle and KPMG Cloud Threat Report 2020, close to 80% of IT professionals say that recent data breaches experienced by other businesses have increased their focus on securing data for the future.

Detection-based solutions may seem like a vital component of any given cybersecurity process. After all, if a mouse gets in the house, you would want to catch itin a snap trap. Further, detection-based solutions may provide additional benefits to organizations, most significantly with the visibility they are able to provide into the types of attacks being levied at the organization. 

This means you could gain insights into the employees most frequently targeted, the systems being targeted, the existing vulnerabilities, how the hacker was able to maneuver once inside the network, and how the organization’s cybersecurity tools performed in the face of an incident. All of these insights can be quite beneficial when it comes to adjusting a cybersecurity strategy, and these added benefits are one of the main reasons why organizations have continued to rely on detection-based solutions. 

Zero-Day Detection Solutions Aren’t Cutting It

Up until now, detection has been an essential component of strong cyber defense. If an attacker manages to get into an organization, they need to be stopped. And if organizations are going to improve their cybersecurity, the information that can be gleaned from detection solutions will go a long way towards informing decisions on technology needs, system fortifications, and employee training.

However, it’s not enough.

The damage is done before the trap is snapped.

If you catch a mouse in your house, that mouse is no longer free to get in your pantry and eat your food. A good thing, certainly. However, that doesn’t erase what the mouse was already able to do. On an internal network, this could mean a backdoor was installed, administrative accounts were compromised, or customer data was stolen. This is one of the main problems with zero-day detection, and it shows in cyber attack statistics: IBM has found that, on average, companies take about 197 days to identify and 69 days to contain a breach. 

Plus, in a world where unknown threats and zero-day malware are continuously developed, detection-based solutions alone simply won’t get the job done. These days, threats are easily able to evade detection, and security measures must go above and beyond. 

Today’s Zero-Day Attacks Are More Sophisticated Than Ever

Today’s cyber attacks – especially zero-day malware attacks – are sophisticated enough to evade even the best detection mechanisms. Perhaps not indefinitely, but certainly long enough for damage to be done. As many detection solutions are signature-based, they are not equipped to detect new malicious code or malware, rendering them entirely irrelevant for stopping the threats coming from dangerous cybercriminals. Some malware is even sophisticated enough to recognize that it is in a sandbox and will wait until it has escaped to execute malicious code.

Prevention-based cybersecurity solutions are all about stopping the attacks before they ever become truly harmful to the organization. In other words, forget the snap trap: prevention means keeping the mouse from ever getting into the house in the first place. When you take a more proactive approach, you will be able to stop the attack from ever gaining a foothold in the target network or system.

Prior to a fundamental shift towards detection-based solutions in 2014 and 2015, prevention had been the basis of cybersecurity strategies for decades. Well-known and widely-used prevention solutions include firewalls, malware scanners, or endpoint protection platforms. However, while these can all be integral components of a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy, many of them rely on signature-based monitoring or whitelisting and blacklisting to identify threats and attack attempts. For known threats, these tactics are highly efficient. For unknown threats, like zero-day malware, however, they’re scarily insufficient, and the unknown threat will slip right through the preventative cybersecurity measures.

This is why we here at Votiro believe file sanitization is the best way to ensure your network stays safe. File sanitization processes every file, recreating the file on a new, clean template with only the known good content. This, in turn, leaves behind all malicious code. 

With this method, you’re no longer wasting precious time scanning and detecting harmful files, nor are any threats slipping through. File sanitization is the only way to truly ensure your network stays clean, as any and all risky code is eliminated before it ever hits anyone’s inbox.

Votiro’s Positive Selection Technology Can Keep Your Network Safe

While all prevention solutions are dedicated to stopping attacks before they start, only select prevention solutions truly prevent every attack attempt they encounter. At Votiro, we power all of our Secure File Gateway (SFG) solutions with our proprietary Positive Selection technology, which singles out only the safest elements of each file that enters your organization. This means that every item that comes through your network is 100% safe to download, upload, and transfer. 

Unlike a detection-based solution, our SFG users can feel good knowing that a weaponized file won’t ever make its way into their organization. Today’s hackers know that every second they go undetected in your network is an opportunity to attack. When the stakes are this high, relying on zero-day attack detection simply won’t cut it. Through file sanitization, we are able to help your organization take a much more proactive approach to file security, leaving cybercriminals with zero opportunities to infiltrate.

If you would like to learn more about how to implement Votiro’s Secure File Gateway within your organization, be sure to book a demo. Or, if you’d like to speak with a member of our team, feel free to contact us today.