Uncover the Reasons Behind the Superiority of Proactive Web Security Over Conventional Antivirus Solutions

The digital landscape is constantly changing, and it is important to regularly reassess how we protect web environments. While traditional antivirus solutions have their benefits, they are reactive in nature. This means that they are designed to respond to threats after they have already infiltrated a system. As a result, they may not be effective against emerging threats that have not yet been identified.

To address this issue, a new report recommends embracing proactive web security solutions. These solutions are designed to identify and prevent threats before they can cause damage. By staying ahead of emerging threats, organizations can better protect their web environments and reduce the risk of data breaches and other security incidents.

Proactive web security solutions use a variety of techniques to identify and prevent threats. For example, they may use machine learning algorithms to analyze network traffic and identify patterns that indicate a potential threat. They may also use behavioral analysis to detect unusual activity that could be indicative of a cyber attack.

The New Paradigm

In today’s rapidly evolving digital landscape, the need to reevaluate web security measures is paramount. While traditional antivirus-based solutions have their advantages, they are inherently reactive. This means they are designed to respond to threats after they have already breached a system. As a result, they may not be fully effective against emerging threats that have not yet been identified. This is where the importance of adopting a proactive web security solution comes into play.

The primary rationale for embracing a proactive approach to web security is that prevention is always better than cure. Proactive security solutions are designed to identify and prevent threats before they can cause harm, providing a more forward-looking defense strategy. Unlike traditional antivirus-based approaches, proactive solutions are not limited to known malicious signatures and can adapt to the evolving threat landscape.

Research from Gartner emphasizes the need for a proactive approach, stating that the most successful protection strategy combines preparation for unknown threats with a risk reduction strategy that focuses on publicly known vulnerabilities and identified control gaps. This highlights the shift towards a more proactive stance in the face of modern cyber threats.

Proactive cybersecurity measures offer several benefits, including the ability to prevent threats, simplify reactive security, reduce clean-up costs, and stay ahead of evolving risks. By continuously monitoring and addressing potential threats, organizations can gain better control over their cybersecurity strategy and prioritize risks more effectively.

Comprehensive scoping

Many antivirus-oriented solutions primarily concentrate on identifying and mitigating vulnerabilities within checkout pages, given their prevalent attraction for web-skimming and Magecart attackers. Understandably, these pages are perceived as high-risk targets. However, it’s crucial to recognize that cybercriminals employ diverse points of entry for their malicious activities, extending beyond the commonly scrutinized checkout pages. Other potential targets include login pages, form submission pages, and redirects, all of which might be overlooked but are equally susceptible to exploitation.

Login pages, for example, are susceptible to brute force attacks and credential stuffing, presenting avenues for unauthorized access. Form submission pages, on the other hand, can be compromised through tactics such as JS injection or cross-site scripting. Additionally, cybercriminals can manipulate redirects, diverting users to malicious websites and compromising their security.

It’s imperative to acknowledge that cyber threats are dynamic, with adversaries constantly evolving their tactics and techniques. Beyond exploiting known vulnerabilities, they are adept at discovering and capitalizing on zero-day vulnerabilities—those unknown to software vendors and lacking available patches.

In contrast to a reactive, antivirus-centric approach, a proactive solution takes a comprehensive approach by monitoring all critical and sensitive website pages. This proactive stance involves mapping privacy risks and identifying misconfigurations before cybercriminals can exploit them to launch attacks. Antivirus-based solutions are inherently limited in this regard, as they can only respond once malware is already present. For a detailed exploration of superior protection measures, refer to the full Proactive Approach Report, available for download here.

Full dynamic inventory

Antivirus software, while serving a crucial role in cybersecurity, lacks the capability to automate the creation of an inventory for all assets within your digital supply chain. In the contemporary landscape, websites heavily rely on numerous external applications to augment functionality, enhance user experiences, and provide marketing insights to site owners. However, when entrusting these functions to third-party entities, a level of trust is extended, putting both your own and your customers’ data and security in the hands of external entities. Questions arise about the robustness of their security processes, the frequency of security updates in response to emerging threats, and the measures in place to safeguard sensitive customer data.

The intricate nature of modern websites involves the integration of dozens, if not hundreds, of third-party apps. Designers often leverage code from open-source libraries and frameworks to expedite production. If your website heavily relies on such third-party applications, it becomes imperative to establish a system for identifying and understanding their functionalities.

A proactive solution of high quality addresses this challenge by incorporating an automated inventory function that meticulously maps all components of the digital supply chain. This functionality not only locates every tool in use but also establishes a baseline for the expected behavior of each piece of code. Consequently, it can draw attention to any deviations from the anticipated norms. In contrast, an antivirus-centric approach is reactive in nature, only responding when it detects active malware in the system.

A pertinent example is the Log4J vulnerability, where supply chains were compromised, and the vulnerability remained undetected for weeks. Only proactive solutions were able to promptly identify and address this critical vulnerability. For further insights into the advantages of a proactive approach, the Proactive Approach Report provides comprehensive information, including details on the automated inventory mapping feature.

Prioritizing risk

A proactive monitoring platform leverages diverse data and business intelligence resources, providing users with precise insights. By monitoring thousands of web assets globally, the system accumulates a vast and expanding database encompassing common code, application behaviors, and domain patterns. This knowledge enables the platform to differentiate between common and unexpected events, continuously learning and evolving alongside the emerging threats it safeguards against. The advanced identification mechanisms of a proactive system adapt to emerging threats, enhancing its ability to protect customers from potential attacks.

Utilizing this extensive information, a proactive system constructs a comprehensive risk profile tailored to your business. In contrast, antivirus-centric solutions are limited to addressing script vulnerabilities, while a proactive approach precisely evaluates the most significant potential risks within the context of your business.

An important aspect addressed by a proactive system is alert fatigue. Security teams can experience diminished effectiveness when reacting to every alert, including numerous minor ones with minimal impact on the business. By focusing on meaningful risks and filtering out inconsequential alerts, the proactive system minimizes false positives, reducing alert fatigue and enabling security staff to concentrate on the most critical risks. This ensures that security personnel can apply their expertise where it is most needed, enhancing the overall efficacy of the security strategy.

Validating Your Security Posture:

A proactive solution extends its capabilities to validate the functionality and configuration of the security tools already in use, such as WAF, DAST, cookie consent, bot managers, and SCA. Maintaining a secure web app environment requires seamless collaboration among these tools, and a proactive system empowers security teams to ensure correct configurations and flawless operation. This proactive approach eliminates potential loopholes that attackers could exploit. If any issues arise with these tools, the proactive system promptly alerts the security team, providing guidance for timely issue resolution. In contrast, the antivirus-centric solution lacks the capacity to comprehensively address the validation of existing security tools, making a proactive approach essential for maintaining a robust security posture.

Security Baseline:

Additionally, a proactive system facilitates the establishment of a security baseline, allowing organizations to align security measures with their specific risk appetite. This entails the ability to safely approve or reject flagged actions, enabling security teams to avoid responding to inconsequential alerts. By gaining a comprehensive view of web exposure, organizations can proactively prioritize threats based on their criticality, preventing unnecessary operational restrictions. This level of customization in security management is not achievable with a reactive antivirus-approach solution. A proactive approach provides the flexibility to strike a balanced and tailored approach to security, aligning with the organization’s unique operational requirements and risk tolerance.

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