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When Every Attack Is a Zero Day
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FabricGuy
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FabricGuy,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/27/2019 | 9:10:11 PM
Re: Rational post.... Have you seen how Fortinet deals with this challenge?
I would love to tlak to you more about why the amount of virus/malware per week is not relevant when you do not have to create unique signatures for each variant.  Fortinet has patented technology that allows a core signature to match multiple variations where a typical A/V database has to contain a signature for every variant.  That large number of 1.8 million shrinks considerably down when you don't have to track each variation of the same family.
Saumitra Das
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Saumitra Das,
User Rank: Author
4/26/2019 | 2:56:41 AM
Re: Rational post.... Have you seen how Fortinet deals with this challenge?
Yes I have seen how several techniques have been used to deal with this including more complicated hashing techniques, complex signatures applied on more involved static analysis involving emulation or unpacking (like CPRL). While these are very interesting ways to deal with these challenges, in my opinion, they do not scale to the current threat landscape where we see a high degree of automation and millions of threats every single day. As an example, despite advancements like CPRL, documentation online touts the following - 
  • 1.8 Million new and updated AV definitions per week
  • Hourly updates of the AV signature database

Clearly if signatures need hourly updates and millions new per week, the existing signatures are not able to generalize to the scale of attack creation in the threat landscape despite the innovation in the nature of signatures. If that was the case, one should not need to update signatures so often.

Additionally, sandboxing is proposed to handle the real "unknowns" which are not captured by traditional "one signature, one variant" technique or CPRL. But that product has several caveats like max file sizes and a conserve mode (to reduce file types analyzed when sandbox is loaded). If CPRL could handle all the variants, I would assume the sandbox should have very few unknowns to deal with and not have these caveat and throughput concerns. Ideally, if signatures could generalize so well, one should not even need a sandbox appliance since there would be so few true unknowns that a cloud sandbox would suffice.

My opinion is that while techniques like CPRL are a meaningful and necessary improvement over the "one signature, one variant" technique, the current threat landscape calls for a level of generalization to cover attacks that is at the same scale as that of the attackers. This is not just needed for new unkown variants but also to cover the existing known attacks. Fitting the known attack signatures into perimeter protection without degrading throughput is as much a problem as detecting new variants.  
FabricGuy
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FabricGuy,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/25/2019 | 11:28:36 AM
Rational post.... Have you seen how Fortinet deals with this challenge?
Do a google search for "fortinet CPRL" - Compact Pattern Recognition Language


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