The limitations to Edge Defence and Anti-Virus Software

Published: 3 June 2024

Edge Defence and Anti-Virus software

For decades, when it came to cyber security, organisations had relied on edge defence and anti-virus software to protect them. However, in 2024 these systems are growing outdated and becoming insufficient. ‘Why?’ I hear you ask. Well, as we know the Cyber Security threat landscape is continually evolving with new threats and methods being utilised by criminals. Put simply, methods that have worked in the past are not up to the challenges cyber criminals are now throwing at them. 

So, let’s breakdown the functions of Edge Defence and Antivirus Protection… 

Companies use a variety of edge defences to try and minimise the threat of a cyberattack. Firewalls for example are a very common tool that most of us are aware of. This tool blocks out and filters certain traffic from coming in from outside sources on the internet, from here an IDS (Intrusion Detection System) device is used to inspect and detect any suspicious activity. When the IDS finds a threat, the system alerts the user. Another tool similar to this is an IPS (Intrusion Prevention System) which is like the IDS but this tool attempts to stop the malicious attack. Antivirus software is also used to help detect, identify and remove malware. These methods have worked well in the past, so much so that decision makers in businesses are naïve to the fact that they are not enough anymore. 

Why are Edge Defence and Anti-Virus software no longer sufficient? 

Put simply these tools are outdated. The beginnings of anti-virus software alone date back to 1971 (a whopping 53 years ago!), if this doesn’t highlight the issue, we’re not sure what does! Hackers are clever and are always creating new methods that penetrate networks, so much so, that they don’t even have to worry about edge defence. Modern-day tactics such as phishing, creating fake websites, and unsecured gaming and video streaming sites are all ways hackers can bypass firewalls and IDS systems. You could be forgiven for thinking you are safe with anti-virus software, but unfortunately, you are wrong. 

The state of Malware today 

Malware is a powerful weapon for cybercriminals, once the victim is tricked into allowing malware access to their infrastructure (through a dangerous email or an unsafe USB for example), it can do just about anything. Today’s malware is encrypted so well that it’s practically invisible to firewalls and IDS/IPS systems. As mentioned earlier antivirus software can no longer stop it either. Once malware has been let into an organisation it can then gain control of your network, extract or even destroy your data, monitor and hide other activity, remove your access or grant themselves access to anything! This usually ends up with a Ransomware attack – where the criminal demands a ransom to be paid in order to get access back. 

So, what can I do? 

Instead of relying on dated, ineffective antivirus software and edge defences to combat these threats you need the services of a cyber security company that can offer you monitoring and defence 24/7. With cyber-attacks continuing to evolve on a daily basis it is safe to say edge defences are insufficient.  

Summary  

Not keeping up to date with the cyber threat landscape could be catastrophic to your organisation. It is important to acknowledge that the cyber landscape does not stand still, and you must continually assess your cyber security posture to keep up with it. With this in mind, we advise businesses to take action before it is too late. Our PEN testing and SOC solutions can help you identify weaknesses in your set up and allow us to tailor a solution to help limit the threat from cyber criminals. 

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