The Changing IT Landscape and Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR)
Threats are changing, EDR can help us adapt . . .
Today’s advanced persistent threat (APT) understands that the IT landscape has changed. In the post-COVID age, more and more organizations have adopted some form of work from home. While WFH offers many conveniences, it also imparts increased risks. BitSight conducted a 2021 study of 41,000 work from home organizations showing almost 1 in 7 work from home remote office IP addresses have cable modem control services exposed with “an exploitation channel used by Internet-wide attacks in the recent years.” Certain malware families thrive in these environments, with Mirai malware being observed 19 times more frequently and Trickbot malware 3.75 times more frequently from home office networks as compared to corporate networks.
More on the BitSight study here.
Whether the endpoint is at home or in the office, endpoints have been more of a target than ever. Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) offers an additional layer of security at the endpoint and can offer a multiplier effect to an organization’s cyber-risk strategy. Unlike policy and processes, EDR can bring real-time threat response directly to the endpoint. EDR’s ability to quickly isolate and notify administrators on detected attacks offers tremendous value to triaging an incident. When integrated with a Security Operations Center (SOC), triggered EDR events can be investigated in near-real time, preventing false-positives from slowing down workflows.
Endpoint detection and response (EDR) solutions are deployed agents that run on endpoint hosts, with the primary purpose of recording, analyzing, and reporting user and system activity. This is different from other host-based security tools such as anti-virus (AV). While AV conducts static analysis on system files and other artifacts to assess a threat, EDR will run behavioral analysis chains of activity to determine if an action is warranted. This type of correlation expands to a multitude of attacker patterns, to include malware processes, insider threat behavior, data exfiltration events, as well as other defined activities. Do not fret, most EDR solutions still offer traditional AV-type scanning.
The use of event correlation does not make EDR any less reactive than traditional AV, but instead smarter by analyzing an activity series to make a determination. This is done through baselining, where EDR solutions will measure what kind of activity is typical during day-to-day operations and flagging any activity that strays from the baseline. Different elements of the host are baselined, to include:
- Data that is being created and accessed by users and kernel host processes
- Applications running on the system and the behaviors of those applications
- Networking events; connections being made, hosts and domains being connected to and from
Most EDR platforms feature the ability to isolate the endpoint in real-time via containment. If a security incident is detected on the endpoint, EDR will alert an administrator and/or SOC of the event at the same time it is isolating the host from the network, limiting impact to other hosts. This gives incident response teams more time to investigate the incident instead of containing it.
The incident investigation process will benefit with tremendously with EDR, as most offer an interactive ‘single-pane of glass’ interface which displays security event chains and related historical information. While the interface differs per vendor, the offering is typically the same, allowing responders to quickly determine root cause. When combined with a SIEM, event chains can be investigated and correlated with other activity such as firewall logs, Windows Event Management, and so forth for additional context.
If you are interested in what infotex can do when it comes to EDR/MDR/XDR, visit offerings.infotex.com and reach out to us about it!
Original article by Steven Jakubin. Data Security Analyst, infotex