Threat actors are constantly evolving their techniques to avoid detection as they target an ever increasing volume of vulnerabilities. In 2021, there were more than 11,000 newly published vulnerabilities. Attackers started to scan for these vulnerabilities within 15 minutes of a CVE being announced. In this constant race between attackers and defenders, network security needs to find new ways to stay ahead. With the sophistication of today’s threat landscape, malware is more evasive than ever. It is critical for network security, especially traditional IPS and sandboxing solutions, to continue innovating to stay ahead of emerging threats for which there can be no prior knowledge. Today, we’re announcing PAN-OS 11.0 Nova – the next evolution of network security that allows you to stop zero-day malware with zero stress.
Barriers to accessing state-of-the-art malware have lowered considerably and malware is getting even easier to deploy thanks to “as-a-service” offerings. Attackers now leverage frameworks, such as Cobalt Strike, Metasploit and Sliver, with built-in evasion technology to bypass traditional security with ease. This is a powerful mix with a higher volume of attacks that are significantly more difficult to prevent. In fact, we are seeing attacks that use Cobalt Strike increase by 73% year over year.
Modern malware employs a combination of evasive techniques to avoid detection ranging all the way from staying dormant by sensing the execution environment to performing malicious activity completely in memory. This puts significant strain on network defenders to prevent attacks and rapidly close the gap between detection and prevention.
Beyond the uptick in volume and sophistication of attacks, there has been a significant increase in the use of zero-day exploits. In fact, we have seen a 100% YoY increase. This is partly due to the rising popularity of injection attacks – one of the top methods used by attackers to gain initial access into a network, according to the Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP) “Top 10 Web Application Security Risks” list. Furthermore, threat actors are able to exploit these vulnerabilities faster than software vendors can patch them, creating a window of exposure where organizations are left vulnerable. Once in, attackers are leveraging popular red team tools, like Cobalt Strike, for further exploitation (e.g., data theft, command–and-control and other malicious activity, such as infrastructure hijacking for crypto-mining). Network security must evolve to prevent further exploitation of known and zero-day vulnerabilities.
Earlier this year, we introduced PAN-OS 10.2 Nebula. Nebula was a monumental leap forward, giving organizations around the world the protection they need and, we believe, they deserve. Nebula enabled organizations to stay ahead of emerging threats by introducing, for the first time, inline deep learning.
By applying deep learning inline, in real-time, on network traffic, we can detect and prevent new threats, including malware variants. Introducing these inline deep learning capabilities in Nebula marked a shift in network security, allowing us to stop unknown attacks as they happen, not just remediate them after the fact.
But, the innovation can’t stop there. Threat actors continue to find new ways to fly under the radar of security defenses and penetrate networks. They continue to innovate, change and adapt. Network security must continue to do the same. It’s time for something new.
Just like early astronomers believed novas were new stars because of how brightly they lit up the night sky, PAN-OS 11.0 Nova brings about new security innovations that will shine a light on unknown threats. As the newest version of Palo Alto Networks best-in-class PAN-OS®, Nova extends our industry-leading inline deep learning capabilities to stop even more highly evasive, zero-day threats.
Nova not only sets up the foundation for modern day network security by continuously protecting against zero-day threats, it also raises the bar for how organizations can proactively improve cyber hygiene and simplify security architectures. Nova includes many innovations:
As George Bernard Shaw once said, “Progress is impossible without change.” At Palo Alto Networks, we have always believed in changing our industry for the better. To learn more about our newest innovations and how we’re pushing the boundaries of network security, register for our launch event, Stop Zero-Day Malware with Zero Stress, on January 31, 2023.