Indicators of Compromise are Dead — Introducing Evidence of Compromise

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15 February 2020

The mission of Evidence of Compromise is simple: empower companies to audit and continuously monitor the security of their supply chains to an unprecedented degree, with the possibility of even predicting future breaches based on this real-time intelligence.

Current methods of cyber risk management, incident response and risk modeling have failed to keep up with the growing sophistication and speed of cyber adversaries, which range from organized criminal groups to state-sponsored hackers. As geopolitical tensions increase around the world, they are accelerating the overall risk for the financial sector, as this industry remains a prime target for US adversaries.

Over the next few years, the financial industry will have to evolve its cyber intelligence operations to keep up with these rapidly advancing threats by shifting to a more reliable, actionable and machine-speed response capability. This will require that it move beyond the standard model of threat intelligence, which for over 20 years has been based largely on the highly imperfect “indicators of compromise” (IoC).

This legacy threat intelligence model has been problematic for companies in many ways, particularly due to its high rate of false positives and its slower method of execution, since the data must be carefully culled through, refined and verified by human analysts.

To keep up with modern threats, the industry will have to pivot toward a new and far superior class of threat intelligence, known as “evidence of compromise” (EoC). Unlike IoC, EoC is not at risk of errors, doesn’t require human analysts and is instantly actionable. That is because the data is collected directly from the source — the attacker’s own infrastructure — rather than relying on guesswork and interpretation. This means EoC is inherently accurate, with a false positive rate of at or near 0%.

The financial sector has been at the forefront of cybersecurity for years, so much so that its networks are often difficult to breach directly. As a result, attackers are increasingly shifting to the financial sector’s periphery, by targeting lower-hanging fruit within the corporate supply chain.

The “trusted vendor” is now the greatest vulnerability in a financial company’s network and overall security. Until now, it has been exceedingly difficult for these companies to accurately gauge their vendors’ security, particularly when it comes to active and emerging threats. EoC changes this equation, by allowing a company to see its vendors’ networks from the perspective of the attackers who are actively breaching them, gaining persistence and migrating to new targets affiliated with that organization.

This is a significant advancement over current threat intelligence capabilities, and it will become increasingly necessary in the next decade, as the threat landscape continues to evolve.

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