VBWeb review: Trustwave Secure Web Gateway

Martijn Grooten & Adrian Luca

Virus Bulletin

Copyright © Virus Bulletin 2016


 

Introduction

Rig, Angler, Nuclear, Magnitude. Few people outside security circles will have heard of them, yet they are behind what is possibly the worst large-scale malware plague ever: encryption ransomware. In particular, these are exploit kits which, when embedded into websites (often through compromised ads), check your browser for vulnerabilities and exploit them to push malicious software onto your computer.

Indeed, when, during our tests, we made requests to websites serving exploit kits, we found our test machines infected with ransomware such as Locky, Teslacrypt and Cerber, as well as other kinds of malware, including Bedep and Zbot variants. Many individuals and organizations have found themselves infected with malware in this way, and many have ended up paying hefty ransoms to attackers to get their files back.

nuclear_followed_by_locky_trafic_april.png

Nuclear traffic followed by Locky traffic.

Patching remains a great way to reduce the chances of being infected, but in decades of IT security we've learned that users often don't do what's best for them or their employer. As a result, many organizations rely on web security products that run on the gateway and filter web content for malicious responses.

In Virus Bulletin's VBWeb tests we measure how effective products are at blocking malicious web traffic. In this report we focus on one particular product: Trustwave's Secure Web Gateway.

The Test Methodology

During the test period, which ran from 1 to 11 April 2016, we used a number of public sources, combined with the results of our own research, to open URLs that we had reason to believe could serve a malicious response in one of our test browsers, selected at random. When our systems deemed the response likely enough to fit one of various definitions of 'malicious', we made the same request in the same browser a number of times, each time with one of the participating products in front of it. The traffic to the filters was replayed from our cache. Note that we did not need to know at this point whether the response was actually malicious, meaning that our test didn't depend on instances already known to the industry or community. During the review of the corpus days later, we analysed the responses and only included cases in which the traffic was indeed malicious.

While we registered various types of malicious responses, including spam/scam sites and phishing pages, we decided to concentrate only on drive-by downloads, where the URL was an HTML page that forced the browser to download and/or install malware in the background. This is by far the biggest threat at the moment and makes unprotected web browsing more dangerous than ever.

In this test, we checked products against 439 cases, including 105 drive-by downloads (exploit kits) and 100 direct malware downloads that were all served in real time, while the malicious server was live. We also checked the product against 234 URLs that we call 'potentially malicious'. These are URLs for which we have strong evidence that they would serve a malicious response in some cases, but they didn't when we requested it. There could be a number of reasons for this, from server‑side randomness to our test lab being detected by anti-analysis tools.

The test focused on unencrypted HTTP traffic. It did not look at very targeted attacks or vulnerabilities in the products themselves.

Test Machines

We used two virtual machines, selected at random, from which to make requests. On each machine, an available browser was also selected at random.

We found that, in practice, we were far more likely to receive a malicious response for the Windows 7 machine using either version of Internet Explorer, hence most of the cases that ended up in the test used this configuration.

Windows XP Service Pack 3 Home Edition 2002 (x86)

This machine had the following software installed:

  • Adobe Flash Player 12 Active X 12.0.0.38
  • Adobe Flash Player 12 plug-in 12.0.0.43
  • Adobe Reader XI 11.0.0.0
  • Apple Application Support 2.0.1
  • Apple QuickTime 7.70.80.34
  • Oracle Java 7 update 51 7.0.510
  • VLC media player 2.1.3

The following browsers were installed:

  • Windows Internet Explorer 8 (8.0.6001.18072)
  • Mozilla Firefox 28.0

Windows 7 Service Pack 1 Ultimate 2009 (x86)

This machine had the following software installed:

  • Adobe Flash Player 13 Active X 13.0.0.182
  • Adobe Flash Player 13 plug-in 13.0.0.182
  • Adobe Reader XI 11.0.0.0
  • Apple Application Support 2.0.1
  • Apple QuickTime 7.70.80.34
  • Piriform CCleaner 5.0.4
  • Oracle Java 7 update 51 7.0.510
  • Microsoft .NET framework 4.5.2 (4.5.51.209)
  • Microsoft Silverlight 5.1.10411.0
  • VLC media player 2.1.3

The following browsers were installed:

  • Windows Internet Explorer 11 (11.0.09600.17843 update 11.0.20)
  • Windows Internet Explorer 9 (9.0.8112.16421 update 9.0.37)
  • Mozilla Firefox 28.0

Trustwave Secure Web Gateway

Drive-by download rate: 95.2%
Potentially malicious rate: 95.3%

vbweb-verified.jpg

Trustwave is one of the industry leaders when it comes to web security. Indeed, Trustwave's SpiderLabs blog is one of the resources we turn to for the latest research on exploit kits, so we were expecting the company's Secure Web Gateway product to do a very good job at blocking these threats.

We were not disappointed. The appliance, set up as an explicit proxy in our test lab, blocked more than 95 per cent of exploit kits – and did equally well at blocking potentially malicious URLs proactively. Given how quickly exploit kits change, and how difficult it is for organizations to make sure all endpoints are fully patched, this is a big deal.

There are many things users can and should do to mitigate drive-by downloads, patching being the most important. But for those organizations that cannot trust their users always to follow best security practice (which is probably all organizations), Trustwave's Secure Web Gateway removes 95 per cent of drive-by downloads. And that makes a huge difference.

Of course, Trustwave earns a very well deserved VBWeb award for its performance.

trustwave-VBWEB.jpg

Trustwave: excellent protection.

Download PDF

twitter.png
fb.png
linkedin.png
googleplus.png
reddit.png

 

Latest reviews:

VB100 Certification Report - August 2018

This test report details the performance of 30 anti-virus products from 29 different vendors tested during July and August 2018, all of which achieved a VB100 award.

VB100 Certification Report - June 2018

This test report details the performance of 31 anti-virus products from 29 different vendors tested during May and June 2018, each of which achieved a VB100 award.

VBWeb Comparative Review - Summer 2018

Because people make mistakes, and organizations find it hard always to patch software right away, web security products provide an important extra layer of defence - and the VBWeb report demonstrates that these products do a good job.

VBSpam Email Security Comparative Review - June 2018

In this test, 13 full email security solutions and eight blacklists of various kinds were assembled on the test bench to measure their performance against various streams of wanted, unwanted and malicious emails.

VB100 Comparative Review - April 2018

In the last of the current style VB100 tests, we put 35 anti-virus products from 32 vendors through their paces. 27 products achieved VB100 certification.

We have placed cookies on your device in order to improve the functionality of this site, as outlined in our cookies policy. However, you may delete and block all cookies from this site and your use of the site will be unaffected. By continuing to browse this site, you are agreeing to Virus Bulletin's use of data as outlined in our privacy policy.