Unlike threat actors, enterprises have finite resources to dedicate to the war on malware. Even if enterprises had the means, however, throwing more money and people at malware containment wouldn’t necessarily level the playing field. The good news is that organizations can do much more with what they already have and make an impact.

According to a study Damballa commissioned from the Ponemon Institute, IT organizations are wasting valuable time and money hunting down false positives while advanced persistent threats evade preventive controls. Organizations spend an average of $1.2 million a year in time wasted responding to erroneous malware alerts, including false positives, and only 1 in 5 malware alerts deemed reliable are investigated.

For example, the typical organization has 17 IT or IT security staff members involved in the malware detection and containment process. Meanwhile, only 41 percent of survey respondents have automated tools to capture intelligence and evaluate the true threat caused by malware. Those that have such tools reported that an average of 60 percent of malware containment doesn’t require any human input or intervention. By implementing automated tools, IT organizations can free up some of those staff members. Resources can be further optimized by creating a structured malware containment process with one person or function accountable for overseeing the process.

With an average of 395 hours a week wasted chasing false negatives and/or false positives, organizations should also reevaluate where they obtain their threat intelligence. Sixty-nine percent of organizations use vendor-supplied information as their main source of threat intelligence, while 64 percent use peer-to-peer communications. Government and law enforcement are rarely the source of intelligence.

While IT organizations have an opportunity to strengthen their malware defenses, time constraints remain in the threat actors’ favor. The majority of survey respondents say the severity of malware infections has increased or significantly increased, while 45 percent say volume has increased in the past 12 months. There is no reason to believe this will change unless IT organizations begin optimizing their resources today.

Stay tuned for the second part of this series, which will discuss how many pieces of evidence it takes to convict.

More from Intelligence & Analytics

RansomExx Upgrades to Rust

IBM Security X-Force Threat Researchers have discovered a new variant of the RansomExx ransomware that has been rewritten in the Rust programming language, joining a growing trend of ransomware developers switching to the language. Malware written in Rust often benefits from lower AV detection rates (compared to those written in more common languages) and this may have been the primary reason to use the language. For example, the sample analyzed in this report was not detected as malicious in the…

Moving at the Speed of Business — Challenging Our Assumptions About Cybersecurity

The traditional narrative for cybersecurity has been about limited visibility and operational constraints — not business opportunities. These conversations are grounded in various assumptions, such as limited budgets, scarce resources, skills being at a premium, the attack surface growing, and increased complexity. For years, conventional thinking has been that cybersecurity costs a lot, takes a long time, and is more of a cost center than an enabler of growth. In our upcoming paper, Prosper in the Cyber Economy, published by…

Overcoming Distrust in Information Sharing: What More is There to Do?

As cyber threats increase in frequency and intensity worldwide, it has never been more crucial for governments and private organizations to work together to identify, analyze and combat attacks. Yet while the federal government has strongly supported this model of private-public information sharing, the reality is less than impressive. Many companies feel that intel sharing is too one-sided, as businesses share as much threat intel as governments want but receive very little in return. The question is, have government entities…

Tackling Today’s Attacks and Preparing for Tomorrow’s Threats: A Leader in 2022 Gartner® Magic Quadrant™ for SIEM

Get the latest on IBM Security QRadar SIEM, recognized as a Leader in the 2022 Gartner Magic Quadrant. As I talk to security leaders across the globe, four main themes teams constantly struggle to keep up with are: The ever-evolving and increasing threat landscape Access to and retaining skilled security analysts Learning and managing increasingly complex IT environments and subsequent security tooling The ability to act on the insights from their security tools including security information and event management software…