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Palo Alto Networks flags top cyber threats, offers new zero-day protections

Palo Alto Networks flags top cyber threats, offers new zero-day protections

The first day of Palo Alto's Ignite conference brings new security features, as the company releases its latest cyberthreat research.

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Firewall and security software vendor Palo Alto Network’s annual Ignite conference has kicked off, highlighted by several product announcements, which were unveiled alongside the company’s latest threat report.

Palo Alto’s “What’s Next in Cyber” report named ransomware and business email compromise as the most common attacks faced by businesses worldwide, with supply chain threats, malicious insiders and DDoS attacks rounding out the top five.

Over the course of the past year, 96 per cent of respondents to the company’s executive survey said that they’d experienced at least one security breach, and over half said that they’d experienced three or more. Fully 84 per cent said that they pin the responsibility for increased security incidents in the past year on the growing prevalence of remote work.

What that means for the rank-and-file security professional remains to be seen, but Palo Alto predicts that one consequence, at least, is that a large-scale consolidation of security offerings is in the works.

The report found that more than 41 per cent of organisations surveyed said that they’re working with 10 or more cyber security vendors at once — an organisational headache that, Palo Alto implied, is going to become unsustainable for many.

The company also announced several of its own new offerings designed to help address the increasingly foreboding cyber threat landscape today, including a partnership for zero-trust network access with Google Cloud, zero-day protection improvements in Palo Alto’s PAN-OS firewall software, and better software defences via the company’s Prisma Cloud CNAPP (cloud-native application protection platform).

The new ZTNA offering pairs Google Cloud’s BeyondCorp Enterprise access control system with Palo Alto’s security service edge technology.

The latter is a subset of Gartner’s SASE security framework that provides in-built security services via a cloud platform, while the former is a fine-grained user access framework designed to ensure that only specific users have access to the computing resources they need.

The partnership is designed to address some of the aforementioned “security sprawl” and reduce the number of individual offerings required to provide end-to-end protection against modern threats.

Palo Alto’s PAN-OS improvements, which were initially announced in November, are focused on simplifying the software’s internal structure and providing updated detection and mitigation techniques to work against advanced modern threats — the company said that the latest versions of the operating system can catch 60 per cent of injection attacks that traditional intrusion prevention systems miss, as well as 26 per cent of advanced zero-day threats thanks to advanced sandboxing techniques.

Finally, the Prisma Cloud CNAPP now boasts built in “secret” detection, the company said. Throughout the software development and deployment process, the system can proactively scan for exposed configuration data — like passwords, usernames and access tokens — and alert developers if that data is present in runtimes.

“Cyber security has never been more important as governments and organisations prioritise their digitisation,” said CEO Nikesh Arora in a press release.


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