What is Endpoint Detection & Response? [Detailed Explanation]
Endpoints or remote computing devices are the key vulnerable points through which cybercriminals could enter and exploit vulnerabilities. And, securing them is crucial for businesses to ensure systems, intellectual property, customer data, and employees are protected from ransomware, phishing, malware, and other cyberattacks. In order to address this issue, endpoint security solutions like endpoint detection and response (EDR) or endpoint threat detection and response (ETDR) were developed.
Understand What Endpoint Detection & Response Is?
EDR is a sort of endpoint security that makes use of endpoint device data to comprehend how cyber threats behave and how organizations react to them. While some focus only on thwarting threats, there are several forms of endpoint protection.
Gartner researcher Anton Chuvakin introduced the term EDR to describe a solution that can monitor endpoint behavior and detect abnormal behavioral patterns using data analytics and context-based information. It’s a mechanism to prevent threats and assist security analysts in remediating and restoring damaged systems.
EDR continuously gathers data from all network endpoints, such as servers, mobile devices, IoT (Internet of Things) devices, and desktop and laptop computers. It analyses this data in real-time for evidence of known or suspected cyber threats and can automatically respond to prevent or minimize damage from risks it detects.
Importance of Endpoint Detection & Response [EDR]
The endpoint has become an essential component of enterprise cybersecurity as organizations become more decentralized and telework becomes increasingly widespread. If an attacker gains access to a teleworker’s computer, they can exploit it to steal sensitive information or leverage its connection to the workplace network to get access to corporate systems and data.
Endpoints that are not protected by endpoint detection and response (EDR) are vulnerable to contemporary attacks. EDR’s threat hunting, incident response, and reporting capabilities are critical for safeguarding against modern cybersecurity threats and addressing cybersecurity difficulties.
According to studies, endpoint devices are the source of up to 90% of successful cyberattacks and 70% of successful data breaches. Antivirus, anti-malware, firewalls, and other traditional endpoint security practices have significantly advanced over time. But, their capabilities remain confined to identifying known, file-based, or signature-based endpoint threats.
Further, they’re significantly less successful, for example, in preventing social engineering attacks like phishing messages that trick victims into disclosing private information or visiting bogus websites that carry harmful code.
EDR starts up where standard endpoint security solutions let off. Its threat detection analytics and automated response capabilities can detect and contain possible threats that breach the network perimeter, frequently without the need for human intervention. It also offers resources that security teams can use to independently identify, research, and mitigate known and unknown hazards.
Now, let’s cover how it works.
Endpoint Detection & Response – What are Its Key Functions
Despite variations across manufacturers, EDR solutions often integrate five fundamental functions: continuous endpoint data collecting, real-time analysis and threat detection, automated threat response, threat isolation, and remediation, and support for threat hunting.
Let’s discuss each of them in detail.
1. Collecting Endpoint Data Continuously
Every endpoint device on the network is continuously monitored by EDR. It helps in gathering data on processes, performance, configuration changes, network connections, etc. A central database or data lake, which is often housed in the cloud, is where the data is kept.
Some EDR security solutions may rely on capabilities included in the endpoint operating system, however, the bulk of EDR security solutions install a small data collection program, or agent, on each endpoint device to collect this data.
2. Real-Time Analysis and Threat Detection
EDR uses sophisticated analytics and machine learning algorithms for identifying trends. In return, it indicates known threats or dubious conduct as they emerge.
It typically looks for two different types of indicators: indicators of attack (IOAs), which are behaviors or occurrences linked to known cyber threats or cyber criminals, and indicators of compromise (IOCs), which are behaviors or occurrences consistent with a potential attack or breach.
Many businesses combine EDR with a SIEM (security information and event management) system, which collects security-related data from endpoints, apps, databases, web browsers, network hardware, and other areas of the IT infrastructure. This data can offer more context to EDR analytics so that threats can be better identified, prioritized, looked into, and remedied.
EDR uses data from threat intelligence services, which regularly update information on new and previous risks, including the strategies they employ, the endpoint or IT infrastructure vulnerabilities they attack, and more, to correlate its own endpoint data in real time with data from these indications. Threat intelligence services could be managed by the EDR provider, a different party, or a group with a local focus. The U.S. government contributes to Mitre ATT&CK, a freely available global knowledge repository about hacker tactics and techniques, and many EDR systems map data to it.
3. Automated Response to Threats
Automation is what gives EDR its “response”—which is essentially fast. EDR systems can automatically detect threats. And, it can be done through predefined rules created by the security team or “learned” over time using machine learning techniques. Some of the automated responses include:
- Informing security analysts of specific threats or shady behavior.
- Prioritizing notifications based on their seriousness.
- Creating a “trackback” report that tracks every stop a threat or event makes on the network back to the source of the problem.
- Disconnecting a device, or logging off the network.
- Stopping system or endpoint operations.
- Preventing a dangerous or suspicious file or email attachment from being executed (detonated) by an endpoint.
- Setting off an antivirus or anti-malware scan on other network endpoints to look for the same danger.
4. Investigation & Remediation
Security analysts can leverage EDR’s capabilities to further study a threat once it has been isolated. Forensic analytics, for instance, assists security analysts in determining the threat’s root cause, the various files it affected, and the vulnerabilities the attacker exploited to enter and move around the network, obtain authentication credentials, or engage in other malicious activities.
With this knowledge, analysts can employ corrective measures to get rid of the danger. Such as:
- Detecting and removing harmful files from endpoints
- Repairing corrupt files, in-built settings, data, etc.
- Updating or patching software to remove flaws
- Modifying detection rules to avoid a repeat
5. Threat Hunting Support
Threat hunting is a proactive security exercise in which a security analyst explores the network for dangers that are either new at this time or known threats that are still evading the automated cybersecurity tools of the organization. Keep in mind that advanced persistent threats can move stealthily for months before being discovered. Plus, they indulge in gathering user passwords and system data in preparation for a significant breach. Threat hunting is a prompt and effective practice. It can limit or avoid harm from an attack as well as shorten the time it takes to identify and address these risks.
EDR provides security analysts with these capabilities to enable threat hunting using UI-driven or programmatic ways, enabling them to do ad hoc searches, data queries, correlations to threat intelligence, and other investigations. The broad range of EDR technologies designed expressly for threat hunting ranges from straightforward scripting languages to tools for natural language queries.
How Does a Well-Versed EDR Solution Look Like?
It will be easier for you to decide what to search for in a solution if you are aware of the essential components of EDR security and why they are crucial. In order to add value to your security team without depleting resources, it’s critical to locate an EDR security solution that can offer the best degree of protection with the least amount of time and cost. The six essential EDR characteristics are listed below.
- Endpoint Visibility: You can see adversary activity in real-time across all of your endpoints, even as they try to break into your environment, and put a stop to them right now.
- Threat Database: For effective EDR, enormous amounts of data from endpoints must be collected and contextually enriched so that it can be mined for signals of assault using a range of analytical approaches.
- Behavioural Protection: Relying entirely on signature-based techniques or indicators of compromise (IOCs) causes a “silent failure” that makes it possible for data breaches to happen. Behavioral techniques that look for indications of attack (IOAs) are essential for effective endpoint detection and response because they let you know about the suspicious activity before a compromise takes place.
- Insight and Intelligence: A threat intelligence-integrated endpoint detection and response solution can offer contexts, such as specifics on the ascribed adversary who is assaulting you or other information about the attack.
- Quick Response: EDR that enables quick and accurate incident response can stop an attack before it develops into a breach and help your organization quickly resume operations.
- Cloud-based Solution: Only a cloud-based endpoint detection and response solution can guarantee no impact on endpoints while ensuring that functions like search, analysis, and investigation can be carried out precisely and in real-time.
IT security professionals require additional assistance from automated analysis and reaction provided by endpoint detection and response solutions as they deal with more intricate cyber threats and a wider variety of endpoints gaining network access.
For more information on how you can tackle ever-growing cyber threats, consult our expert team.