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July 15, 2024

Why Do AI

Artificial Intelligence Insights and News

MITRE ATLAS: Proofpoint Evasion – A Case Study for CISOs

2 min read

In today’s threat landscape, adversaries are constantly adapting their tactics to bypass security measures. This includes exploiting vulnerabilities in machine learning (ML) models used for email security. The MITRE ATLAS (Adversarial Threat Landscape for Artificial Intelligence Systems) case study of Proofpoint evasion (AML.CS0008) serves as a stark reminder of this evolving threat and highlights the importance of proactive defense strategies. 

Understanding the Attack:

Researchers demonstrated how they evaded Proofpoint’s email protection system by:

  • Building a copy-cat model: They analyzed email data and trained a similar ML model to understand how Proofpoint scores emails.
  • Exploiting model insights: By analyzing the model’s scoring mechanisms, they identified key variables influencing spam classification.
  • Crafting evasive emails: They used this knowledge to manipulate email content, lowering its score and bypassing spam detection.

Implications for CISOs:

This case study illustrates just one of the many potential vulnerabilities of ML-based security solutions. As a defender of your organization and your users, you should consider the following:

  • Mitigate model bias: ML models can inherit biases from training data, making them susceptible to manipulation. Regularly audit and retrain models to address potential biases.
  • Embrace diverse defense strategies: Don’t solely rely on ML models. Layer your defenses with traditional security controls like sandboxing and content filtering.
  • Monitor for adversarial attacks: Implement anomaly detection and threat intelligence solutions to identify suspicious activity targeting your ML models.
  • Stay informed: Regularly review MITRE ATLAS and other resources to stay updated on the latest adversarial ML threats and mitigation strategies.

Taking Action:

By understanding the Proofpoint evasion case study and its implications, CISOs and their staff can take proactive steps to strengthen their defenses against evolving threats, especially with established security solution vendors. Remember, securing your organization requires a layered approach that combines advanced technologies with continuous vigilance and adaptation.

Additional Resources:

By staying informed and taking decisive action, CISOs can ensure their organizations remain vigilant against sophisticated cyberattacks.