Endpoints are devices connected to your network, such as smartphones, laptops, routers, and Internet of Things (IoT) sensors. Endpoints enable users to access the network from different physical locations and devices. However, this benefit can turn into a risk when attackers take advantage of endpoints to breach the network. Read on to learn how to secure endpoints with EDR practices and tools.
What Is EDR?
The term endpoint detection and response was introduced by Gartner in 2013 as a new type of security technology. EDR technology detects attacks on endpoint devices and provides information about the attack. Without EDR, security teams have low visibility and minimal control over remote endpoints.
Another key role of EDR is to enable quick response to attacks by isolating infected endpoints, blocking processes, and running automatic incident response processes.
Most EDR solutions usually have three main components:
- Detection engine—responsible for analyzing endpoint activity, discovering anomalies, and reporting on unusual activity that can indicate a security incident.
- Data collection—responsible for collecting data about logins, process execution, and communication on endpoint devices.
- Data analysis engine—responsible for aggregating and analyzing data about security incidents from across the enterprise endpoints.
EDR systems also provide:
- Automated incident response—automated actions on endpoint devices like blocking access to networks, blocking processes or other actions that can initiate an attack.
- Alerts and forensics—real-time notifications about security incidents and access to context that can help security teams better investigate the incident.
- Threat intelligence—detection of threats and attack techniques.
- Traceback—identification of other endpoints or network devices that may be affected by the same attack and how the hacker initially penetrated the network.
The Connection Between Data Breaches and Endpoints
According to the Endpoint Security Trends Report, endpoints are responsible for 70% of data breaches. The report analyzed more than six million devices to show that existing vulnerabilities are the main reason for data breaches originating at endpoints. In fact, only 42% of endpoints were protected from threats.
Attackers usually use endpoints as the access point to the network and the data stored in an organization. Once hackers get their hands on sensitive data, they can sell it, use it for identity fraud, or demand a ransom.
There are a few types of attacks that exploit endpoints:
- Ransomware—a type of malware that blocks access to your files and data. You have to pay ransom to get your data back.
- Phishing—attacks send a legitimate-looking email to trick you into downloading malware or revealing sensitive information like passwords.
- Drive-by downloads—hackers trick you into downloading malware or ransomware. This is done through legitimate-looking links on websites, files or software.
- Malvertising—malicious ads that contain malware.
- Unpatched vulnerabilities—hackers use unpatched vulnerabilities to gain access to the network.
Major Data Breaches Resulted from Compromise of Endpoints
Here is a countdown of some of the worst data breaches originated on endpoints
Hackers gained access to an unsecured server in Blur, which is a password manager software. This breach exposed the information of 2,4 million users. After the attack, the company encouraged users to change their login credentials and use multi-factor authentication.
Evernote experienced a data breach when hackers gained access to the data of 4.6 million users. The reason for the breach was a flaw in the Evernote code. Hackers got their hands on financials, authentication, and other private data. After the attack, the company fixed the issue, but it is still unclear how long user data was exposed.
The Hy-Vee Point-of-Sale (PoS) system experienced a security breach that affected consumers who purchased at Hy-Vee coffee shops, fuel pumps, and restaurants. Security experts later discovered that 5.3 million stolen credit card accounts from the Hy-Vee breach are sold on the Dark Web.
How Can EDR Prevent Breaches?
EDR solutions actively block and respond to endpoint security incidents. That means that every smartphone, laptop or computer on the network is protected by the EDR solution. The following list reviews the main reasons for installing an EDR solution.
Security teams often overlook or ignore attacks due to the lack of visibility on endpoints. EDR solutions enable continuous monitoring of the security posture at any moment. Continuous monitoring enables you to proactively search for threats, and collect information about vulnerabilities. Most EDR solutions also generate automatic reports to comply with regulations.
Detection of unknown threats
Organizations usually rely on passive threat prevention to defend their network from attacks. Unfortunately, this method is not effective in defending against sophisticated attacks. Advanced threats can avoid traditional firewalls antiviruses and cause damage to the system.
An EDR solution proactively searches for threat indicators in all endpoints. Security teams can then prioritize and analyze the severity of alerts. EDR security solutions can enhance traditional antivirus software by searching for advanced threats like fileless attacks, and Advanced Persistent Threat (APT).
Faster incident response
EDR solutions use behavior analysis to search for anomalies that can indicate malicious activity. Anomalous activities are isolated by the EDR to prevent further damage to endpoints. The isolation enables security teams to respond quickly to security incidents since they don’t have to waste time on containment. This proactive approach helps organizations to deal faster with unknown attacks.
The forensic capabilities of EDR solutions provide a visual representation of the attack chain. The EDR system collects data and generates reports at each step of the attack.
Visual representation of attacks enables security teams to understand which processes and files were affected, and determine the impact of the attack. You can then reveal the identity of attackers, since the system presents the patterns they use. This type of visualization and reporting capabilities are crucial in preventing similar attacks in the future.
Organizations should collect as much information as possible on every threat and data breach on their endpoints. This data can be critical in preventing future attacks. However, this is easier said than done, because attacks get more sophisticated every time.
An EDR solution can help you gain the visibility needed to protect endpoint threats, detect unknown threats through proactive searching, and promote faster incident response. However, EDR should be implemented as part of your overall cyber security efforts. It does not replace backup and recovery strategies and any other protection mechanisms you have in place.