Why A Prevention-First Security Strategy Should Be Your Priority to Stop Cyber Attacks

A prevention-first security strategy has been more of an aspiration than a reality to most organisations up to now. The implementation of technology that can prevent malware execution at the earliest stage has been once perceived as costly and only accessible to the largest enterprises.

10 years on from its initial conception, ‘next-generation endpoint’ is now much more attainable for smaller organisations, and we feel is an essential part of a modern and robust cyber security posture.

Why Traditional Endpoint Protection No Longer Works

Endpoint security traditionally relied on signature hash matching and heuristics to detect malware. Essentially, a piece of ransomware or malware had to have been previously detected, through executing (in-turn infecting a subscriber’s endpoint), for the antivirus software to recognise it and provide adequate protection.

10-15 years ago, ransomware and other malware types were limited, available ‘off-the-shelf’ and subsequently didn’t differ much from their original source. With most forms of threats having been seen before, antivirus software could provide effective endpoint protection.

Today, more than 450,000 new malware variants are released every day. This unprecedented scale of mutation and distribution makes it impossible for traditional antivirus protection to keep up.

The sophistication of modern-day malware also threatens traditional antivirus protection. Ransomware-as-a-Service (RaaS) is ransomware supported by vendors who develop new features and continuously improve resilience. RaaS is replacing traditional ‘off-the-shelf’ malware toolkits, making cleverer attacks available to cybercriminals across the globe. Funded by ransomware payments by victims of successful attacks and backed by some of the most advanced minds in cybercrime, ransomware-as-a-service is a growing threat that inevitably will only be stopped through prevention.

An Overabundance of Alerts is Useless if you Cannot Act Upon Them

With so many malware variants in circulation, the sheer volume of alerts generated by security solutions is becoming increasingly difficult for IT teams to manage. Response times are likely to be reduced when wading through the ever-growing noise to find the alerts that require corrective action. This is exacerbated when part of a multi-layered approach across multiple vendors.

Alongside this, it’s becoming harder to find the staff with the correct security skills to man these solutions. As reported by the Infosecurity Magazine last year:

The global cybersecurity skills shortage has fallen for the second consecutive year, but the size of the workforce is still 65% below what it needs to be, according to the latest figures from (ISC).

Though even if this were not an issue, staffing up would not solve the problems organisations face today. There are simply too many ways for cybercriminals to break through traditional defences and too few experienced IT professionals to keep an organisation secure through reactive measures.

Prevention-first is the Future of Cyber Security

To tackle the cyber threats of today, organisations need cyber security solutions in place that autonomously prevent cyber attacks to allow security teams to focus on other areas such as business continuity, digital transformation, and resilience-building.

In 2012, a breakthrough was made by our then partners, Cylance, which introduced a new approach to endpoint security. Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) were combined to prevent the execution of never-before-seen ransomware and malware, without any reliance on signatures or a cloud connection. Cylance were acquired in February 2019 by BlackBerry and their product was rebranded as BlackBerry Protect.

A prevention-first security strategy begins with neutralising malware prior to the exploitation stage of the kill-chain. If malware cannot execute, the downstream consequences, and the resulting efforts to trace, contain, and remediate the damage, are dramatically reduced. The multi-layered security stack can be simplified, reducing the administrative burden on security staff bombarded with alerts from a number of downstream point solutions.

Working with BlackBerry, prevention is now possible and accessible to all kinds of organisations.

Want to learn more about how your organisation can adopt a prevention-first security strategy in 2022?

Register for our webinar on Tuesday 15th February at 14:00 GMT where we will be discussing today’s cyber threats in more detail and taking a deep dive into the prevention-first security strategy.