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Security Authors: Elizabeth White, Kevin Benedict, Rishi Bhargava, Shelly Palmer, Paul Mazzucco

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Why Healthcare IT Teams Love Intelligent Deception | @CloudExpo #Cloud #Cybersecurity

Healthcare IT professionals are scrambling for new approaches that can more effectively detect attacks

The healthcare industry is not immune from today's relentless wave of cyberattacks. Cyber theft of protected health information (PHI) is on the rise, and health organizations understand that 100 percent prevention of attacks is not realistic.

According to Ponemon Institute's Sixth Annual Benchmark Study on Privacy & Security of Healthcare Data report, nearly 90 percent of all healthcare organizations have suffered at least one data breach in the last two years. According to another report, 88 percent of ransomware attacks in Q2 2016 were on healthcare entities.

Traditional prevention and detection techniques are falling short, and healthcare IT professionals are scrambling for new approaches that can more effectively detect attacks and mitigate the growing risks and damage.

Emerging on the scene, deception-based solutions offer a proven way to stop attackers in their tracks. Instead of sitting back and waiting to be the victim, detection technologies empower health organizations to be proactive and take the attack to the attacker. Below is a list of top five reasons why more health IT teams are turning to deception:

1. Malware Agnostic
Today's healthcare networks cyber defenses focus on prevention. But next-generation firewalls, DLPs and antivirus solutions all rely on signatures and reputation to attempt to prevent attacks. But if they don't recognize the threat they can't stop it, resulting in so many data breaches at health organizations that have invested heavily in security. Threats are always changing and health organizations are besieged by new attacks never seen before.

Deception is a defense paradigm that's completely attack-agnostic, with no need to define which "irregular" attack is underway. With the assumption that attackers have already breached the network, deception solutions set traps, lures and fake data to detect and stop human and machine attackers.

With intelligent deception technologies, the triggering of a trap begins the process of determining the malicious nature of a particular software or user. Once an intruder is detected, the deception solution sends an alert to the IT team while profiling the threat. Using this approach, health organizations can significantly shorten breach-to-resolution time and more successfully deal with accurate incidents.

2. Attack Interference
Intelligent deception not only lures attackers to decoys, it also slows down attacks and keeps the attackers engaged with decoy systems instead of roaming and causing harm to the real network. Decoys engage attackers and keep them occupied in a number of ways, including:

  • Adjusting the decoy's TCP stream to cause a slower or faster interaction
  • Allowing password-guessing to continue engaging the attacker. For instance, a decoy can be preset to decline the first six password attempts, and allow the seventh to come through, regardless of the string that was typed in.
  • Feeding the attacker large files even when they are not requested by the attacker.

3. Enriched Threat Intelligence
The deception approach empowers IT teams to proactively collect threat intelligence that helps find the attacker's communication channels, understand how the connection was established, learn what protocols were used, and more. Some of the more advanced deception solutions employ traffic analysis engines to both place their traps most strategically and gather additional information about network threats.

By combining data from decoys, traps, traffic analysis and other active detection tools, deception platforms can feed and enrich SIEM/SOC systems to help health organizations build comprehensive threat maps using real data in real time. The threat intelligence and visibility generated by drawing the attacker in rather than simply repulsing the attack enables an understanding of the attacker's goals - preventing not only the current attack, but also future attacks. This is how health organizations can take the offensive - taking the attack to the attacker.

4. Minimizes False Positives
Two of the biggest challenges facing cyber defenders are alert fatigue and frustration from tedious analysis of false-positive. The former puts the health organization at risk when IT teams start ignoring alarms, and can't begin to address the wave of alerts. The latter creates frustration because to be classified as false positives, numerous events demand considerable analysis and collection of data from a wider pool of sources.

Deception solutions offer relief from this efficiency-draining paradigm. Decoys trigger a low number of false positives because legitimate traffic shouldn't go near them in the first place. False positives are further reduced by higher levels of interaction between the decoy and the attacker, and by correlating findings with other sensors in the network. Advanced intelligent deception platforms that have integrated traffic analysis capabilities can run internal correlation of data from both the deception and monitoring layers to ensure even higher alert accuracy. With far fewer false alarms, intelligent deception lets IT team avoid configuration and management distractions, and concentrate on real incidents.

5. Easy to Deploy and Manage
Current deception solutions are much more advanced than the old, clunky honeypots of 10 and 20 years ago. Deploying deception today is simple and fast. Intelligent deception is based on decoys and mini-traps - also known as breadcrumbs or lures. These are placed on endpoints and servers and point attackers back to the decoys. In advanced deception-based solutions, deception components are deployed using point-and-click configuration, which largely automates the rollout of phantom decoys and networks. Deception solutions that have integrated traffic analysis capabilities use them to strategically place traps and decoys where they can be most effective - and dynamically adjust the deception layer as the health network and threat environments evolve. Coupled with deception's accuracy and low false positives, ease of configuration and management allows health organizations to benefit from the technology without having to increase headcount.

The Bottom Line
The plague of cyber threats and the failure of traditional security approaches to address them have created an epidemic of cyberattacks in healthcare. Deception is one of the few solutions that can provide a cure in an effective and cost-effective way - shutting down attacks on healthcare IT systems before they cause damage, and letting network IT professionals go on the offensive against attackers.

More Stories By Yoel Knoll

Yoel Knoll brings over 15 years of international experience in Marketing and Investor Relations. He joins TopSpin Security from Secure Islands Technologies (acquired by Microsoft) where he built and managed the company's marketing department. Prior to that, Yoel held managerial positions in several publicly traded companies including VP Corp. Marketing and Investor Relations at Ceragon Networks (NASDAQ: CRNT), Media Relations Manager at Infineon Technologies (FSE: IFX) COM group (now part of Intel) and Product Marketing at Infineon Technologies SAVAN.

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