Blog , 12 Apr 2017

How To Effectively Parse And Analyze Network Security Abuse Data

Tobias Knecht,

Founder and CEO, Abusix

It’s no secret that network abuse is on the rise and service providers are having to work overtime to enhance their network security. Verizon’s latest 2016 Data Breach Investigation Report shows that no industry or organization is safe from hacking. The year’s incidents occurred in 82 countries across a wide variety of industries. To effectively handle the escalating level of abuse, data monitoring and analysis is essential to troubleshoot and resolve issues before they bring a service provider’s network to a standstill.

See also: The History And Evolution Of Abuse Handling And Network Attacks

How to handle network abuse data

Network abuse data can come from a variety of sources these include:

  • The standardized low volume reporter: High priority

    These types of reports are the worst for a network abuse team can handle. They deal with highly illegal activity including child exploitation, drugs, arms deals, terrorism, human trafficking, and snuff videos. With these reports, every effort must be made to ensure that all actions are taken according to regulated procedures, all evidence is carefully collected, and no mistakes are made.

  • The standardized mass reporter: High to medium priority

    This type of reporter provides huge volumes of data and masses of reports that service providers can automate and action immediately. These types of reporters use standard formats that are easily parsable and tend to include security vendors and spam reports.

  • The standardized medium volume reporter: Medium priority

    These reports include phishing reports, blacklist reports, and brand protection reports. These reports use standard formats that are easily parsable, but due to the smaller volumes of evidence, they are not as easy to handle automatically.

  • The low non-standardized volume reporter: Medium to low priority

    These are usually reports from a private person sending or forwarding a spam message and asking the service provider to make it go away. The biggest problems a network abuse team usually faces with these types of reports are missing details about the incident or a format that cannot be parsed automatically.

See also: Abuse Desk Setup: The Rules Of The Game When It Comes To Network Abuse

How to handle unstructured data

When a service provider’s network abuse team receives this data, they need to normalize its format and structure in order to analyze it. Unstructured data adds unnecessary work, uncertainty, and noise to abuse handling. Before organizing and parsing your data, find a common format for incoming reports that does not require unnecessarily complicated rule sets. If you see high- or medium-volume reports coming from a reporter and they are not in a machine-parsable format, let that reporter know they should switch to one that is, such as X-Arf. X-Arf is on its way to become a M3AAWG (Messaging Malware Mobile Anti-Abuse Working Group) best practice.

If you receive personal reports that lack information, you can always send these reporters a link to a form, where they are asked for all mandatory information.

How To Efficiently Handle Data And Reduce Network Abuse Reports

According to Computer World, “5 Gbits must be analyzed every second to detect cyber attacks, potential threats, and malware attributed to malicious hackers”. Typical abuse desks collect data and handle it in batches. Then, abuse operations record information for a week and send out emails notifying clients of compromises. This is a labor-intensive approach and does not deal with abuse issues in a timely manner.

See also: Network Abuse: List Of Data Sources

The solution is to use real-time analytics to analyze data and collate reports from many different data sources. This ensures abuse teams can see the big picture and make correlations and connections they might otherwise miss. This automated approach reduces the time it takes for abuse desks to handle reports and requires less staff to do so, thereby lowering the overall running costs of the service provider.

Companies like Abusix have specialist products like AbuseHQ, which deliver an abuse report that quickly reveal insights that would otherwise remain buried within your noisy network.

AbuseHQ gives you all the clarity you need to take action with:

  • One easy-to-use platform which puts all your inbound network abuse, security reports, metrics, and actions in one place.
  • Faster insight via intelligent notifications that provide you with the information you need to make faster and smarter decisions.
  • Improved data that ensures you quickly discover key insights and security alerts – allowing you to take real-time decisive action that improves your business service and customer safety.
  • Smart and flexible integration allows you to map existing processes with full integration and flexible handling policies – allowing you to resolve up to 99% of network abuse incidents.

For more information about how Abusix can help you effectively parse and analyze network abuse data, get in touch with a network abuse specialist today.

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