Two-thirds of security pros waste a ‘significant’ amount of time chasing false positives

Larry Ponemon

Larry Ponemon

We are pleased to present the findings of The State of Malware Detection & Prevention sponsored by Cyphort. The study reveals the difficulty of preventing and detecting malware and advanced threats. The IT function also seems to lack the information and intelligence necessary to update senior executives on cybersecurity risks.

We surveyed 597 IT and IT security practitioners in the United States who are responsible for directing cybersecurity activities and/or investments within their organizations. All respondents have a network-based malware detection tool or are familiar with this type of tool.

Getting malware attacks under control continues to be a challenge for companies. Some 68 percent of respondents say their security operations team spends a significant amount of time chasing false positives. However, only 32 percent of respondents say their teams spend a significant amount of time prioritizing alerts that need to be investigated.

Despite such catastrophic data breaches as Target, cyber threats are not getting the appropriate attention from senior leadership they deserve. As shown in the findings of this research, respondents say they do not have the necessary intelligence to make a convincing case to the C-suite about the threats facing their company.

The following findings further reveal the problems IT security faces in safeguarding their companies’ high value and sensitive information.

Companies are ineffective in dealing with malware and advanced threats. Only 39 percent of respondents rate their ability to detect a cyber attack as highly effective, and similarly only 30 percent rate their ability to prevent cyber attacks as highly effective. Respondents also say their organizations are doing poorly in prioritizing alerts and minimizing false positives. As mentioned above, a significant amount time is spent chasing false positives but not prioritizing alerts.

Most respondents say C-level executives aren’t concerned about cyber threats. Respondents admit they do not have the intelligence and necessary information to effectively update senior executives on cyber threats. If they do meet with senior executives, 70 percent of respondents say they report on these risks to C-level executives only on a need-to-know basis (36 percent of respondents) or never (34 percent of respondents).

Sixty-three percent of respondents say their companies had one or more advanced attacks during the past 12 months. On average, it took 170 days to detect an advanced attack, 39 days to contain it and 43 days to remediate it.

The percentage of malware alerts investigated and determined to be false positives. On average, 29 percent of all malware alerts received by their security operations team are investigated and an average of 40 percent are considered to be false positives. Only 18 percent of respondents say their malware detection tool provides a level of risk for each incident.

Do organizations reimage endpoints based on malware detected in the network? More than half (51 percent) of respondents say their organization reimages endpoints based on malware detected in the network. An average of 33 percent of endpoint re-images or remediations are performed without knowing whether it was truly infected. The most effective solutions for the remediation of advanced attacks are network-based sandboxing and network behavior anomaly analysis.

Download and read the rest of the report.

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