West Coast Labs, part of the Haymarket Media Group and one of the world’s leading independent test facilities for information security products and services, today announces the launch of its newest Checkmark Certification testing – Checkmark Web Threats Certification. Webroot Software Inc. is the first company to submit its service for testing and certification evaluation, and the first to earn the Platinum Product Award for Checkmark Web Threats Certification.
Clearly, the most prevalent attack vector in the current threat landscape is malicious URLs. Social networking sites, advertisements, legitimate web sites, and questionable locations on the web can all contain links to threats.
As the Internet is increasingly considered the "operating system" thanks to the ubiquity of social networking sites and applications on everything from gaming systems and phones to traditional laptop and desktop environments, there is strong motivation for malware authors to exploit the Web to deliver malicious links and malware. The need for robust security protection against web-based threats is growing exponentially along with an increasingly hostile internet.
According to Lysa Myers, director of research, West Coast Labs, "The Web has become the primary vector in attacks, with people falling victim on a daily basis. Securing web browsers is critical as more demand is placed on internet usage. Prime targets for attackers are social networking sites, advertisements and even traditional online searching services like Bing, Google and Yahoo which are used to distribute malicious links when searches on popular topics are performed.
Checkmark Web Threats Certification – the Basics
Within the context of this Checkmark Certification, Baseline tests measure a product’s ability to block access to URLs that contain web threats including web browser exploits and plug-ins, AJAX and lframe vulnerabilities, drive-by downloads, and spear phishing.
Completion of this new testing regime qualifies vendor products for Checkmark Web Threats Certification, a standalone accreditation applicable and relevant to a range of information security technologies, including standalone solutions, desktop anti-malware solutions, intrusion detection solutions, intrusion prevention solutions, unified threat management solutions and integrated threat management solutions. To receive the certification, products must successfully detect 100% of the URLs in the test suite current at the time of registration and testing. Products are tested twice a year.
Testing includes visits via the browser to a series of URLs and record keeping of successfully recognized and blocked URLs. When URLs go undetected, the machine is rebooted into an alternative operating system and analysis to determine the extent of any infection occurs. The test continues if the machine is deemed clear of infection. Otherwise the machine is re-imaged back to the non-infected state.
Enhanced Testing Certification – Dynamic and Real Time – Defined
Baseline test certification requires a product to detect and block access to 100% of malicious URLs in the West Coast Labs Certification test suite that contain web threats.
A more robust level of product evaluation that measures product performance relative to malware downloading and/or executing as experienced in the real-world by end users and corporations is available in Dynamic testing. The solution is exposed to malware retrieved by West Coast Labs from various malicious, or otherwise infected, websites, and its ability to successfully prevent the malware from downloading over the appropriate protocol and/or executing at the endpoint level evaluated. To receive Web Threat Dynamic certification, products must successfully prevent the download and/or execution of 100% of a wide variety of executed samples in the test – viruses, Trojans, spyware and worms. A blanket blocking of extension types is considered insufficient to pass the test.
"Given the random and often short-lived presence of this type of threat it is imperative that testing be both rigorous and continuous. In addition to early recognition, the ability of a solution to identify these threats within the different stages of an infection lifecycle is the key test metric we are tracking," said Myers.
The third component that provides key data for evaluation of a vendor’s overall effectiveness in the Platinum certification is their commitment to the Real Time research and testing program. Real Time testing measures product performance and vendor responsiveness to both existing and emerging malcode threats. West Coast Labs tests products 24x7x365 against malicious URLs harvested in real time. For more information on the Real Time Network visit www.westcoastlabs.com
Webroot has demonstrated a commitment to continuous evaluation by West Coast Labs against malicious URLs. "With more than 85 percent of malware now distributed via the Web, we believe that delivering security as a service is the most effective way to protect businesses today," said Gerhard Eschelbeck, chief technology officer for cloud technologies, Webroot. "We are pleased to be the first company to receive Checkmark Web Threats Certification from West Coast Labs for protection against Web threats with Webroot Web Security Service. These test results from an independent third party further validate the performance and effectiveness of Webroot's cloud-based Web security."
Web Threat Test Environment, Test Specifications and Methodology Explained
The Checkmark Web Threats Certification test environment is designed to match system requirements of the solutions under test, and contain at least one client machine running the latest Service Pack of the supported operating system and the latest version of Internet Explorer, Firefox, or Opera.
Appropriate test arrangements are made for solutions requiring a server component, and steps taken to avoid exposing the server component to malicious URLs or any subsequent infection of files contained in the test set.
Machines on the internal network are configured with only the security provided by the default browser settings. During the test all security settings offered by the operating system are disabled. In addition, no additional security devices between the internal and external network are allowed, and access is granted via standard network routing. The single point of protection is the solution under test.
In addition to configuring all solutions and appliances with all the default settings, configuration of the solution or device will:
- cover the full range of service available on a standard corporate network
- include web browsing and email
The solution under test will be installed to a machine running a clean installation of the operating system, and a forensic image taken to provide a return-to point should infection to the machine occur.
Upon awarding the Checkmark Certification, a summary report detailing all of the current certification held by each qualifying solution is available to the participating vendors and end-users. Test result details for participating vendors and their products are available at: www.westcoastlabs.com/checkmark.
About West Coast Labs Checkmark Certification Checkmark is one of the world's leading certification systems for information security products and services. This highly regarded accreditation program provides a level of assurance across a wide range of technologies that products and services perform to industry accepted standards.
About West Coast Labs Real Time Testing Program The Real Time Testing Program builds upon Checkmark Certification program with the belief that effective independent performance validation of content security technologies should occur as an actual business experience in real-world environments. West Coast Labs now delivers sophisticated, live testing and real-time product performance through its 24x7x365 Real Time Testing program. Products are tested continuously against content security threats collected through West Coast Labs’ global network in real time to provide the ultimate in performance validation. Upon completion of the Checkmark Certification program and Real Time Testing program, products are recognized with a Platinum Product Award indicating its ability to meet superior levels of performance standards.
About West Coast Labs
Part of the Haymarket Media Group, West Coast Labs is a global leader in technical research, testing and the Checkmark Certification of information security products and services. With market-leading technology and testing facilities accredited to ISO17025 in the UK, USA and India, West Coast Labs' services and the Checkmark Certification System are used by the leading global brands to create market advantage and by large business enterprises for obtaining crucial technical insight into product performance.