Security experts have always believed that file-sharing applications, video applications and social networking are all taking the best of one’s bandwidth, plus that they constitute a serious hole through which viruses and malware can get into your personal computer. This theory is now put to the test by a network security firm called Palo Alto.
During a period that covered May 2012 and December 2012, Palo Alto scrutinized the firewall logs of more than 3.000 of its customers. The logs showed that the average network had contained 30 video apps, 19 file-sharing apps, and 17 social networking apps (including established names like Facebook, YouTube, Dropbox).
All of them proved to consume just 20% of the available bandwidth; furthermore, the interesting part is that just 0.4% of the logs containing threat warnings were discovered. However, video applications proved to be the hungriest for bandwidth, accounting for 13% of the available bandwidth.
In other words, internet providers that choose to block these applications with the purpose of increasing security and bandwidth should reconsider their strategy.
The security firm had also discovered that a real security threat is to be found within some of the most popular applications, accounting for 97% of all software exploits – web browsing, Microsoft SQL, MS SQL Monitor, MS Office Communicator, MS Remote Procedure Call, Server Message Block, SIP (VoIP), Active Directory, and DNS.
Palo Alto is agreeing that by exploiting the aforementioned applications one is able “to exploit a system without ever crossing a perimeter IPS, underscoring the importance of organizations bringing IPS and threat prevention measures deeper into the network and not exclusively monitoring at the perimeter.”
“The volume of exploits targeting business critical applications was stunning and serves as a data center security wake-up call,” the firm’s senior research analyst and author of the report Matt Keil said.