Blog Protecting Legacy Applications from Attacks with Modern Hardware Isolation

Legacy Applications provide mission critical services while putting you at cyber risk.

September 11, 2017 Category: Company News By: Michael Rosen Comments: 0

Protecting Legacy Applications from Attacks with Modern Hardware Isolation

  • Legacy applications are integral to most businesses and are heavily relied upon in the public sector
  • Many legacy applications were written in a time when security was much less of a concern than today
  • Isolation is the only solution that can absolutely eliminate kernel-level exploits and malware escapes
  • Detection is obsolete and the future of cybersecurity defense is rooted squarely in virtualization

What makes an organization unique? Arguably, one characteristic is its proprietary operational systems and processes that generate sustainable competitive advantage. Legacy applications are integral to most businesses and heavily relied upon in the public sector. They also represent some of the most difficult attack vectors to secure.

According to Gartner, Inc.’s 2017 CIO Agenda survey, 51 to 60 percent of government core business applications were implemented between 1990 and 2009, depending on the tier of government. By comparison, top performing organizations in the private sector report 42 percent of their core business applications date from the same time period. Since many of these older applications also interact with modern inbound data sources—coupled with a dramatic rise in Windows kernel exploits that few defensive solutions can prevent—it’s no wonder that few CIOs and CISOs sleep soundly at night!

Read: Virtualization-Based Security is Helping Security Professionals Relax

Many legacy applications were written when security was much less of a concern than it is today. Perhaps it’s a home-grown application whose programmer retired ages ago. Or maybe it’s a specialized viewer for proprietary filetypes or remote desktop access. In some cases, the products are obsolete or the vendors have long since gone out of business, yet the applications remain and are indispensable. How do you secure something like this? The answer is virtualization. Since you can’t change the old code, your only recourse is to contain its behavior.

Bromium looks at the files and registry entries needed to micro-virtualize the legacy application to see if it can potentially run in a micro-VM. Once it’s contained, it’s as safe to use as any modern security-aware application. We can’t micro-virtualize everything yet, but there is a lot we can do today to secure legacy and specialized attack vectors.

Extend the Life of Your Legacy Applications

Replacing legacy applications could be costly, time consuming, and disruptive—especially when they still work well and continue to meet your business needs. What if you could extend the life-cycle of your business-critical legacy applications by wrapping them inside a protective bubble, secured by hardware-enforced isolation? With Bromium Secure App Extensions, this is now possible*.

Isolation provides the following modern benefits to your legacy applications:

  • Isolates applications accessing untrusted content (e.g. websites, email, Office docs, USB) from the host
  • Detects malicious behavior executing within the protected isolation container
  • Constrains malicious activity to within the protected isolation container, preventing lateral spread
  • Ensures that destructive malware within the container cannot compromise user data or host integrity

Download: Secure App Extensions Solution Brief

It’s increasingly clear that virtualization is becoming the new security superstar. Our recent experience at VMworld was wonderful proof as the virtualization community immediately realized the value of the Bromium approach. Bromium uses unique, multi-patented hardware-enforced isolation and least-privilege restrictions on all tasks running within micro-virtualized environments to create high-fidelity, low-exposure endpoints without relying on detection to prevent threats from the kernel on up. Unlike detection, which necessitates a never-ending and unwinnable race between attackers and defenders, virtualization-based security is sustainable for the long term.

Forget emergency patching and daily downloads of instantly outdated signature-based updates. Simply isolate untrusted content and get on with your day, safely extending the usable lifespan of your indispensable legacy applications. Want to find out if we can protect your legacy apps? Contact us for a meeting.

*Some applications might not be suitable for micro-virtualization. Our Professional Services team can work with you to determine what will work.


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About the Author

Michael Rosen

Michael Rosen
Sr. Product Manager, Threat Intelligence and Technical Marketing

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2017-09-11T05:34:08+00:00September 11th, 2017|Company News|

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