Microsoft has recently released an updated version of their cloud-powered Windows Defender protection service to defend enterprises from increasingly sophisticated cyber terrorism attacks.
The nature of recent security attacks is at the very least shocking.
Take for example the following cases: in the US, hackers obtained more than 100,000 PINS for previously stolen Social Security numbers. Earlier in March, shady groups attempted to transmit and launder funds from Bangladesh’s central bank into Philippine and Sri Lankan banks. In the same month, Anonymous claimed responsibility for taking sensitive info of millions of Filipino voters from the Commission on Elections (Comelec) barely 6 weeks away from the presidential elections. Finally, the world saw a leakage of an estimated 2.6 terabytes of data from a private law firm on April 1 – the largest data breach so far – detailing the financial transactions of major corporations and the identities of their shareholders.
Cyberattacks are just a matter of time – but it’s not the end of the world
Cyber terrorism experts say that given the complexity of the attacks, traditional firewalls and antivirus solutions no longer suffice. Ethical hacker Warren Bituin, partner at Sycip Gorres Velayo & Co., says that while “your data and patches will only be secure for a time,” hackers have all the time in the world to wait until you become negligent in your technology environment before they strike.
Kiyoshi Watanabe, Senior Security Consultant at Microsoft, likewise adds that being a security compliant or ISO certified organization does not make one immune: “You can imagine these government institutions and organizations have unlimited budget for security, but still remained vulnerable.”
Says Pierre Noel, Chief Security Officer and Advisor for Microsoft Asia, despite these incidents, business owners either take cybersecurity for granted or overreact to them. “The impact [of a security breach] is at the operational and financial level. If you think cybersecurity deserves only 5 per cent of your attention you are way off,” he says. “But you don’t have to think that it is the end of the world either.”
Understand what you’re dealing with
Microsoft believes that the solution requires an understanding of how cyberattacks work and designing new technology that addresses that.
Cyberattacks can be a number of things, Bituin says – from denial of service attacks, defacement of websites that distract you from more sinister activities happening in the background, phishing, state-sponsored attacks or Anonymous-type pranks from organized groups that don’t like you for one reason or another. It takes an average of 243 days to detect a silent and undetectable malware, and in that time, the damage is done.
Advanced Threat Protection
Bituin says the first thing to do is “to anticipate and detect the attacks right from the start. Or we can minimize whatever damage they do assuming they get into our environment.”
The new service, called the Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection (ATP), makes it possible to see what’s happening inside the system and detect the compromise right away. “Once we know what is happening, the service responds with recommendations on how to mitigate and will work complementary with other solutions like Office 365 Threat Detection solutions,” says Watanabe.
Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection is powered by a combination of Windows behavioral sensors, cloud based security analytics, threat intelligence, and by tapping into Microsoft’s intelligent security graph. This immense security graph provides big-data security analytics that look across aggregate behaviors to identify anomalies – informed by anonymous information from over 1 billion Windows devices, 2.5 trillion indexed URLs on the Web, 600 million reputation look-ups online, and over 1 million suspicious files detonated every day. This data is then augmented by expertise from world-class security experts and advanced threat protection Hunters from across the globe, who are uniquely equipped to detect attacks. And with our cloud expertise, all the data coming in will get processed into actionable output.
In a recent announcement, Microsoft described the Windows 10 service as a new layer of protection that utilizes the power of the cloud and runs complementary to other Windows 10 security features. The service was innovated upon Windows Defender, Microsoft’s free malware service that is built into the Windows 10 system.
Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT” @microsoft) is the leading platform and productivity company for the mobile-first, cloud-first world, and its mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.
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