[Johannesburg, 1 March 2018]
Sophos has announced the availability of Intercept X, with malware detection powered by advanced deep learning neural networks, and combined with new active-hacker mitigation, advanced application lockdown and enhanced ransomware protection.
Deep learning is the latest evolution of machine learning. It delivers a massively scalable detection model that can learn the entire observable threat landscape. With the ability to process hundreds of millions of samples, deep learning can make more accurate predictions at a faster rate with far fewer false-positives when compared to traditional machine learning.
“Traditional machine learning models depend on expert threat analysts to select the attributes with which to train the model, adding a subjective human element. They also get more complex as more data is added, and these gigabyte-sized models are cumbersome and slow. These models may also have significant false positive rates which reduce IT productivity as admins try to determine what is malware and what is legitimate software,” explains Tony Palmer, senior validation analyst with the Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG).
“In contrast, the deep learning neural network of Intercept X is designed to learn by experience, creating correlations between observed behaviour and malware. These correlations result in a high accuracy rate for both existing and zero-day malware, and a lower false-positive rate. ESG Lab analysis reveals that this neural network model scales easily, and the more data it takes in, the smarter the model becomes. This enables aggressive detection without administrative or system performance penalty.”
This new version of Sophos Intercept X also includes innovations in anti-ransomware and exploit prevention, and active-hacker mitigations such as credential theft protection. As anti-malware has improved, attacks have increasingly focused on stealing credentials to move around systems and networks as a legitimate user, and Intercept X detects and prevents this behaviour.
Deployed through the cloud-based management platform Sophos Central, Intercept X can be installed alongside existing endpoint security software from any vendor, boosting endpoint protection. When used with the Sophos XG Firewall, Intercept X can introduce synchronised security capabilities to further enhance protection.
“Predictive protection is the future of IT security. Sophos has taken a huge step forward by bringing deep learning neural networks into the industry-leading exploit and ransomware protection of Intercept X,” says Brett Myroff, MD of Sophos distributor, Netxactics. “Being able to protect against the next unknown attack instead of waiting for it to arrive will change the way IT operations in organisations can protect their users and assets. Intercept X can bring advanced next-generation protection to any organisation, regardless of their current strategy.”
According to an ESG Lab Validation Report, every company should assume it is always under attack from cyber threats. In recent ESG research, when asked the primary reasons they believe cyber security analytics and operations are more difficult today, more than a quarter of respondents said it was the difficulty of keeping up with rapid change in the threat landscape.
New features in Intercept X include:
* A deep learning model, which detects known and unknown malware and potentially unwanted applications (PUAs) before they execute, without relying on signatures;
* Credential theft protection, which prevents theft of authentication passwords and hash information from memory, registry and persistent storage, as leveraged by such attacks as Mimikatz;
* Code cave utilisation, which detects the presence of code deployed into another application, often used for persistence and anti-virus avoidance;
* APC protection, which detects abuse of Asynchronous Procedure Calls (APC) often used as part of the AtomBombing code injection technique, and more recently used as the method of spreading the WannaCry worm and NotPetya;
* New and enhanced exploit prevention techniques;
* Malicious process migration, which detects remote reflective DLL injection used by adversaries to move between processes running on the system;
* Process privilege escalation, which prevents a low-privilege process from being escalated to a higher privilege, a tactic used to gain elevated system access; as well as
* Enhanced Application Lockdown, browser behaviour lockdown and HTA application lockdown.