How to Determine Risk Level of Application

How to Determine Risk Level of Application

Created On 09/26/18 13:44 PM - Last Modified 06/01/23 17:36 PM


Explain the calculation to determine the risk score for the applications.


All PAN products that used Applications


Shown below is the matrix used to determine the risk level of threats, spyware, and anti-virus.



network-protocolAn application that is generally used for system to system communication that facilitates network operation.  This includes most of the IP protocols.
client-serverAn application that uses a client-server model where one or more clients communicate with a server in the network.
peer-to-peerAn application that communicates directly with other clients to transfer information instead of relying on a central server to facilitate the communication.
browser-basedAn application that relies on a web browser to function.



Capable of File TransferLikely has more than 1,000,000 users.  Has the capability to transfer a file from one system to another over a network.  A streaming app that has no other mechanism to transfer files other than the video or audio streaming should not be flagged as able to transfer files.
Used by MalwareMalware has been known to use the app for propagation, attack, or data theft, or is distributed with malware.
Excessive Bandwidth UseConsumes at least 1 Mbps on a regular basis through normal use.
EvasiveUses a port or protocol for something other than its originally intended purpose with the hope that it will traverse a firewall.
PervasiveLikely has more than 1,000,000 users.
Known VulnerabilitiesHas publicly reported vulnerability.  For web-based apps, it should also be set to yes, as HTTP always has vulnerability.
Prone to MisuseOften used for nefarious purposes or is easily setup to  expose more than the user intended.
Tunnels Other AppsIs able to transport other applications inside its protocol.
File-type identShould be set if app can upload or download a file-type over a decodable protocol (e.g. http).
Spyware-identShould be set if the app can upload or download an executable file over a decodable protocol.
Virus-identSame as spyware ident.
Vulnerability-identFor web-based apps, the vulnerability-ident should always be yes, since they are http and http always has some vulnerabilities.
deny-actionFor web-based apps,deny-action should be set to drop-reset (unless there is some issues with the app receiving tcp-reset).


Risk Calculation


Excessive Bandwidth Use1
Used by Malware4
Capable of File Transfer3
Known Vulnerabilities3
Tunnels Other Apps2
Prone to Misuse2


Risk Assignment




Additional Information

  • Many applications have such characteristics; however, SaaS characteristic does not impact the risk score.
  • This article covers the criteria of the Palo Alto Networks to categorize threat severity.

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