It’s no secret that companies are targeted daily by attacks against your browsers and devices. These attacks include:
- Malware is any malicious software. This category includes spyware, viruses, and ransomware, the latter a type of malware that holds the victim’s data hostage until they make a payment (and sometimes after).
- Phishing attacks attempt to trick the user into providing credentials and other identifying information to the scammers.
- Malvertising uses legitimate advertising methods to spread malware through code injection and other methods.
Software developers, network administrators, and device manufacturers are among the professionals who attempt to thwart these attacks. Although their efforts are not always successful, and it can sometimes seem as though security efforts are still two steps behind. However, in the age of working from home, the importance of web security has never been more apparent.
Part of the reason that existing security tools fail is how they operate. Consider two standard methods of protecting data and traffic: VPNs and proxy servers. VPNs route the user’s Internet connection through their organization’s server rather than through their Internet service provider (ISP), encrypting the data during the process. Outgoing data appears to come from the VPN rather than the user’s computer. A VPN scans for and blocks threats.
A proxy similarly functions as a gateway between the user’s device and the Internet. Proxies are capable of hiding or altering the user’s information, including their IP address, from the websites they visit or apps they use.
Many people use proxies to protect their identity or get around location-based restrictions, while a VPN’s focus is more typically data protection. Neither is perfect at its intended goal, however.
First, VPNs can break websites that use Transport Layer Security (TLS) or Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) to verify the identity of the site. This technology adds a level of security to websites that’s typically denoted in the address bar with a lock icon, and many site owners now use TLS/SSL to increase trust with visitors and search engines. However, those security measures are sometimes voided when using a VPN.
Secondly, remote browser isolation proxies that “stream” Internet to the user do not protect against phishing attacks that seek to trick the user into giving away sensitive information.
Even if traditional cyber security methods such as proxies and VPNs worked perfectly, they only protect specific devices and networks and require maintenance. Relying on scanning keeps these methods a step behind hackers.
All of these solutions fail to take into consideration how people use the web. With data stored in the cloud and browser-based apps that provide access to and interact with that data, the future of web security must include cloud protection in addition to being fast and easy to implement and maintain.
One promising solution is that of native browser isolation. An app creates a sandbox within a regular browser to prevent malware from making any changes to the computer itself or the network it’s connected to. The sandbox can block various attacks, including phishing and malvertising. This solution also retrieves fully unencrypted URLs without breaking SSL or using a proxy.
With native browser isolation, neither productivity nor internet speeds need to suffer. Perhaps the most appealing aspect of the future of web security is the ability to protect any compatible device on any network, something that has undoubtedly become more important with millions of employees working remotely.