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

2022 Industry Threat Recap: Manufacturing

It seems like yesterday that industries were fumbling to understand the threats posed by post-pandemic economic and technological changes. While every disruption provides opportunities for positive change, it's hard to ignore the impact that global supply chains, rising labor costs, digital currency and environmental regulations have had on commerce worldwide. Many sectors are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. But 2022 has shown us that manufacturing still faces some dark clouds ahead when combatting persistent…

Cybersecurity in the Next-Generation Space Age, Pt. 3: Securing the New Space

View Part 1, Introduction to New Space, and Part 2, Cybersecurity Threats in New Space, in this series. As we see in the previous article of this series discussing the cybersecurity threats in the New Space, space technology is advancing at an unprecedented rate — with new technologies being launched into orbit at an increasingly rapid pace. The need to ensure the security and safety of these technologies has never been more pressing. So, let’s discover a range of measures…

Backdoor Deployment and Ransomware: Top Threats Identified in X-Force Threat Intelligence Index 2023

Deployment of backdoors was the number one action on objective taken by threat actors last year, according to the 2023 IBM Security X-Force Threat Intelligence Index — a comprehensive analysis of our research data collected throughout the year. Backdoor access is now among the hottest commodities on the dark web and can sell for thousands of dollars, compared to credit card data — which can go for as low as $10. On the dark web — a veritable eBay for…

The 13 Costliest Cyberattacks of 2022: Looking Back

2022 has shaped up to be a pricey year for victims of cyberattacks. Cyberattacks continue to target critical infrastructures such as health systems, small government agencies and educational institutions. Ransomware remains a popular attack method for large and small targets alike. While organizations may choose not to disclose the costs associated with a cyberattack, the loss of consumer trust will always be a risk after any significant attack. Let’s look at the 13 costliest cyberattacks of the past year and…