Media Release

Sophos Intercept X for Server uses deep learning to prevent malware attacks

Network and endpoint security firm Sophos announced the availability of its Sophos Intercept X for Server, a next-generation server protection with predictive deep learning technology that provides constantly evolving security against cyber threats. Sophos’ deep learning neural networks are trained on hundreds of millions of samples to look for suspicious attributes of malicious code and prevent never-before-seen malware attacks.

SophosLabs research indicates that 75 percent of malware found in an organization is unique to that organization, indicating the majority of malware is previously unknown.

A recent Sophos survey reveals that two-thirds of IT managers worldwide do not understand what anti-exploit technology is, leaving their organizations vulnerable to data breaches. Once inside a network, cybercriminals can use persistent and lateral moves to target and takeover servers to access the high-value data stored there, such as personally-identifiable information (PII), banking, tax, payroll, and other financial records, proprietary intellectual properties, shared applications — all of which can be sold on the Dark Web or used for other types of attacks and monetary gain. Servers can also suffer collateral damage from ransomware and run-of-the-mill cyberattacks. Attacks reaching servers can be more devastating to a business than attacks on endpoints, due to the critical data they hold.

“Companies hold their most critical data on servers and cybercriminals understood this,” said Sumit Bansal, senior director of Asean and Korea at Sophos. “If a server is under attack and becomes unavailable, the whole organization may be impacted. Once breached, cyber attacks are capable of getting deep into the network and do some serious damage such as exfiltrate data and use stolen information for spear-phishing campaigns, or even resell them at a high cost on the Dark Web or to a private network of buyers.”

Crypto Miners

Attackers also use breached servers as proxies to redirect traffic to malicious websites and are now installing crypto miners on server farms and cloud accounts, so they can generate crypto-currencies by stealing a company’s CPU, RAM, electricity, and other resources. The motives of cybercriminals based on how servers are utilized, what is stored there and what can be leveraged for multiple crimes underscores the need for predictive, server-designed security with advanced anti-exploit technology that helps protect even unpatched systems.

Related Story: Inadequate protection against ransomware makes enterprises vulnerable to attacks

“Servers are critical infrastructure, but they are often overlooked in the endpoint strategy of many companies,” said Bansal. “Server-specific protection is necessary for a successful layered security strategy to reduce the risk of a data breach. Combined with Sophos’ Synchronised Security intelligence sharing and easy management from our Sophos Central dashboard, Intercept X for Server is a powerful addition that helps defend businesses from becoming the next victim.”

The need for server protection exists in organizations of all sizes, with smaller businesses being potentially at more risk than larger, better-resourced enterprises.

Cheap exploit kits

“The small- and mid-sized markets (SMBs) face challenges for server protection as they need the same level of protection as their enterprise counterparts, yet protection must be in an extremely easy to use offering,” said Frank Dickson, research vice president, Security Products with IDC. “Additionally, sadly, SMBs are too often tempted to use underpowered, inappropriate PC endpoint offerings to protect servers as a way to save cost, forcing SMB server security vendors to provide compelling, affordable offerings that are also appropriate for a smaller or understaffed IT department.”

“Sophos addresses the ease-of-use factor by integrating their products on Sophos Central, so there’s one dashboard for Partners and customers to manage each security layer regardless of being on-premise or in the cloud,” he added. “The new Intercept X for Server significantly advances server protection with deep learning, anti-exploit, and other key technology elements. The anti-exploit technology has a client right on the server, a necessary requirement based on the manner in which hackers leverage server vulnerabilities to breach systems. Given the readily available and inexpensive exploit kits for sale on the Dark Web, even cybercriminals with little expertise can launch powerful attacks, making sophisticated, server specific protection a fundamental requirement.”

New features in Sophos Intercept X for Server

Deep Learning Neural Network

  • Leverages the deep neural network from Intercept X to detect new and previously unseen malware and unwanted applications
  • Once deployed, the model constantly updates and identifies critical attributes resulting in more accurate decisions between benign and malware payloads

Active Adversary Mitigation

  • Blocks determined cybercriminals and persistent techniques commonly used to evade traditional anti-virus protection
  • Credential Theft Protection prevents theft of authentication passwords from memory, registries and local storage
  • Code Cave Utilisation detects the presence of malicious code deployed into legitimate applications

Exploit Protection

  • Prevents an attacker from leveraging known vulnerabilities
  • Protects against the browser, plugin or Java-based exploit kits even if servers are not fully patched

Master Boot-Record Protection

  • WipeGuard expands upon Intercept X anti-ransomware technology and prevents ransomware variants or malicious code that target the Master-Boot-Record

Root Cause Analysis

  • Detection recommendations on what to do next after an analysis of the attack

Cloud Workload Discovery for Server

  • Discovers and protects servers running on the public cloud, including Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services
  • Prevents risk exposure from rogue IT or forgotten assets

Sophos Intercept X for Server is available from registered Sophos partners worldwide. Additional information can be found on To sign up for a free 30-day trial, click here.