Organisations face great risk from increasingly frequent and continually evolving attempts to render web properties unavailable or steal intellectual property and personally identifiable information. Akamai Technologies (NASDAQ: AKAM), a leading provider of cloud services for delivering, optimising and securing online content and business applications, today announced that several improvements to its Kona Site Defender web security solutions have been shown to result in dramatic improvements to WAF accuracy. Customers using Akamai’s new default Web Application Firewall (WAF) rulesconfiguration experienced, on average, 96 percent accuracy based on measurements that use the Matthews Correlation Coefficient (MCC) scoring. The accuracy levels demonstrated by Akamai’s out-of-the-box WAF configuration, represented by a reduction in reported false positives and false negatives, help customers better identify and block attacks while at the same time allowing legitimate traffic to pass.
As part of an initiative to provide its customers with WAF technology designed to be as accurate as possible, Akamai developed a custom-built, closed loop test framework for processing a vast amount of attack traffic data collected from the Akamai Intelligent Platform™. The ability to analyse attacks as they happen “in the wild” (representing an average throughput of 1.5 TB of data and over 10 billion WAF events per day) allowed the security engineering team to craft an improved rule set that detects and blocks more attack vectors without impacting legitimate user traffic. Further, Kona Site Defender’s WAF now includes protections designed to detect and block some of the newer, popular attack methods that other WAFs do not detect without extensive tuning, such as PHP Injections and Remote File Inclusions.
“Our goal was to advance the state of the art in WAF accuracy testing frameworks used to create and tune WAF rules and ensure that ours could take advantage of both the sheer amount of data and the intelligence afforded by Akamai’s global computing platform,” said Ory Segal, principal security architect and threat research team manager, Akamai. “Through our efforts to develop Akamai’s new advanced testing framework and combine it with our industry-leading data, we believe Akamai is the only company able to offer a WAF solution that takes advantage of data-driven continuous improvement to optimise accuracy and maximise threat coverage.”
Akamai initiated its testing framework program by reviewing the rule combinations that were involved in generating the most false positive scenarios and analysed their causes, in order to uncover recurring problems. This research allowed the team to modify and improve attack detection logic that was either inaccurate or that regularly resulted in false positives. Armed with these insights, Akamai improved the existing rule accuracy and coverage as well as developed new rules made available to customers.
Part of the Company’s Kona Site Defender web security solutions, the Kona WAF is a highly scalable edge defense service architected to detect and mitigate potential application layer attacks such as Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks and SQL injection attacks in HTTP and HTTPS traffic as they pass through Akamai's Intelligent Platform in their attempt to reach customer data centers. The Kona WAF is designed to scale instantly to preserve performance and filter attack traffic close to the source of the attack, protecting customer infrastructure and keeping web applications up and running.