Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Attacks/Breaches

5/3/2006
04:30 AM
Connect Directly
Twitter
LinkedIn
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Bank Looks for Anomalies

Investment bank Thomas Weisel Partners has decided to forego intrusion detection systems in favor of anomaly detection

Thomas Weisel Partners was looking for a way to ensure that all of its Internet traffic would exit the network through secure servers, without bringing worms and viruses in. But like any good investment bank, Thomas Weisel bypassed the conventional choice -- and found something better.

Instead of deploying an intrusion detection systems, as most companies would do in a similar situation, Thomas Weisel is using an anomaly detection system, Arbor Networks Inc.'s PeakflowX, to solve its security problem.

The San Francisco-based banking firm -- which employs about 550 people and maintains offices in Boston, New York, Palo Alto, and Mumbai -- was looking for a tool that would maximize the resources of its small IT security staff, according to CISO Beth Cannon. Initially, when an outbreak occurred, Cannon and the IT staff would search through logs and deploy packet analyzers to determine what was happening on the network -- a process that was extremely time-intensive.

Cannon and her staff considered an IDS, but after investigating further, determined that such a system would actually add to the workload -- without providing detailed information necessary to take action against misbehaving hosts. The team then took a closer look at PeakflowX, because it "would give a view of what was happening on the internal network and by default what was going in and out of the network."

After deploying PeakFlowX, Thomas Weisel suffered two incidents in which malware was introduced to the network via laptops. The bank uses Symantec anti-virus software, but the AV product did not detect new variants on the laptops. With PeakFlowX, Cannon can issue trouble tickets asking the IT staff to investigate a misbehaving computer before the infection escalates. Cannon didn't track the productivity savings for the incidents, but in the cases where network traffic was slightly degraded during an early outbreak, she estimates that the IT group cut its time expenditure by a ratio of about forty to one.

Cannon also integrated PeakflowX into Microsoft's Active Directory so that she could tie a user to a computer. She could then correlate "what machine [and user account] tried to access a financial server that it had never accessed previously" -- a key element for Sarbanes-Oxley compliance reporting as well as for meeting Securities and Exchange Commission and NASD requirements for logging all electronic transmissions.

Cannon does have to explain to auditors why anomaly detection is as good as, or better than, having an IDS. A signature-based IDS won't detect problems it doesn't know about, but with PeakFlowX, Cannon can combine information from vendors such as Websense and Symantec, as well as controls on servers, with reports from the anomaly detection system to provide immediate, useable information about intrusions and anomalous activity. "What we find, and probably every security manager finds, is that no one system gives you everything," Cannon says. "With a few systems combined, you can get a reasonable picture of network activity."

— Mike Fratto, Editor at Large, Dark Reading

Organizations mentioned in this story

  • Arbor Networks Inc.
  • Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT)
  • Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)
  • Symantec Corp. (Nasdaq: SYMC)
  • Websense Inc. (Nasdaq: WBSN)
  • Thomas Weisel Partners

    Mike Fratto is a principal analyst at Current Analysis, covering the Enterprise Networking and Data Center Technology markets. Prior to that, Mike was with UBM Tech for 15 years, and served as editor of Network Computing. He was also lead analyst for InformationWeek Analytics ... View Full Bio

    Comment  | 
    Print  | 
    More Insights
  • Comments
    Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
    News
    Former CISA Director Chris Krebs Discusses Risk Management & Threat Intel
    Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  2/23/2021
    Edge-DRsplash-10-edge-articles
    Security + Fraud Protection: Your One-Two Punch Against Cyberattacks
    Joshua Goldfarb, Director of Product Management at F5,  2/23/2021
    News
    Cybercrime Groups More Prolific, Focus on Healthcare in 2020
    Robert Lemos, Contributing Writer,  2/22/2021
    Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
    White Papers
    Video
    Cartoon Contest
    Write a Caption, Win an Amazon Gift Card! Click Here
    Latest Comment: This comment is waiting for review by our moderators.
    Current Issue
    2021 Top Enterprise IT Trends
    We've identified the key trends that are poised to impact the IT landscape in 2021. Find out why they're important and how they will affect you today!
    Flash Poll
    Building the SOC of the Future
    Building the SOC of the Future
    Digital transformation, cloud-focused attacks, and a worldwide pandemic. The past year has changed the way business works and the way security teams operate. There is no going back.
    Twitter Feed
    Dark Reading - Bug Report
    Bug Report
    Enterprise Vulnerabilities
    From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
    CVE-2021-25284
    PUBLISHED: 2021-02-27
    An issue was discovered in through SaltStack Salt before 3002.5. salt.modules.cmdmod can log credentials to the info or error log level.
    CVE-2021-3144
    PUBLISHED: 2021-02-27
    In SaltStack Salt before 3002.5, eauth tokens can be used once after expiration. (They might be used to run command against the salt master or minions.)
    CVE-2021-3148
    PUBLISHED: 2021-02-27
    An issue was discovered in SaltStack Salt before 3002.5. Sending crafted web requests to the Salt API can result in salt.utils.thin.gen_thin() command injection because of different handling of single versus double quotes. This is related to salt/utils/thin.py.
    CVE-2021-3151
    PUBLISHED: 2021-02-27
    i-doit before 1.16.0 is affected by Stored Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) issues that could allow remote authenticated attackers to inject arbitrary web script or HTML via C__MONITORING__CONFIG__TITLE, SM2__C__MONITORING__CONFIG__TITLE, C__MONITORING__CONFIG__PATH, SM2__C__MONITORING__CONFIG__PATH, C__M...
    CVE-2021-3197
    PUBLISHED: 2021-02-27
    An issue was discovered in SaltStack Salt before 3002.5. The salt-api's ssh client is vulnerable to a shell injection by including ProxyCommand in an argument, or via ssh_options provided in an API request.