In today’s threat landscape, the ability to detect and respond to cyber threats within milliseconds is essential. After all, traditional antivirus solutions can only protect users against known malicious files. Thus, when a new file is detected as malicious, its digital footprint has already been left on the user’s device or network. Furthermore, cybercriminals are getting smarter by staying one step ahead of defenders at every turn. For example, they may use social engineering techniques to trick users into downloading malicious files disguised as harmless images or videos. Others may attempt to exploit outdated software vulnerabilities by sending link codes that redirect users to websites hosting malware. In addition, modern threats continue to evade detection by mutating so quickly that antivirus systems struggle to keep up with identifying them as a virus. As a result, it is imperative for organizations to have extended detection and response capabilities in their security arsenal. Let’s take a look at what you need to know about extended detection and response capabilities.
What Is Extended Detection and Response?
Extended detection refers to the ability of a security solution to detect malicious activities that occur on users’ devices and networks. Likewise, extended response refers to the ability of a security solution to respond quickly to detected malicious activities. Extended detection and response capabilities help security teams detect threats earlier, respond to them faster and minimize the impact of breaches on their organization.
Defining Extended Detection and Response
Detection: The first step in the cyberthreat lifecycle is the detection of malicious activities or code on users’ devices or networks. This may include the detection of an infected file, suspicious network traffic, abnormal process execution or abnormal access to sensitive data. This may include malicious code that mutates so much that it becomes unrecognizable to traditional antivirus solutions. Extended detection also refers to the ability of a security solution to detect threats that occur on IT systems long before they become a breach. It aims to detect threats across the entire lifecycle, from the initial infection to the point when the threat is fully removed.
Detecting Threats and Breaching Activities using IDS/IPS
Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS) and Intrusion Prevention Systems (IPS) are security solutions that monitor an organization’s network and look for signs of malicious activity. For example, they can detect when a new file is downloaded onto a user’s device, when a user attempts to access a sensitive file they don’t have permission to access, or when a user attempts to download a file that contains malicious codes. IDSs and IPSs are critical to the detection of binary (file-based) activities. However, they are unable to detect malicious activities that occur outside of files such as the custom code that is used to download Remote Administration Tools (RATs), ransomware, bots, or malvertising activities.
Detecting Binary Behaviors using a Behavior Analysis Platform
A behaviour analysis platform performs binary activity monitoring. It makes use of machine learning algorithms to analyse binaries for suspicious activities. A behaviour analysis platform can detect:
- Malicious URLs: Malicious URLs are the primary way in which malware infects a user’s device. A behaviour analysis platform can detect if a user has been redirected to a malicious URL. It can also detect if a user has attempted to download a malicious URL and is in the process of clicking on it.
- Suspicious Processes: A behaviour analysis platform can detect any suspicious processes that are being executed on a user’s device. For instance, it can detect if a malicious binary is attempting to run on a user’s computer without any user intervention. It can also detect if a user has mistakenly run a malicious binary. This can happen when a user mistakenly clicks on a malicious link or downloads a malicious file.
- Suspicious Interactions with Sensitive Data: A behaviour analysis platform can detect if any binary is attempting to interact with a user’s sensitive data. For example, it can detect if a malicious binary is attempting to send an employee’s credit card information to a remote server.
Detecting Malicious Activities using Network Monitoring Tools
Network monitoring tools are designed to detect malicious activities that take place outside of a user’s device. A network monitoring tool can only detect activities that are outside of a user’s device. For example, it can detect if a user has visited a malicious website or if a malicious website has visited a user’s computer. Network monitoring tools rely on signatures to identify malicious activities. For example, they can detect when a user visits a website that hosts malware. They can also detect when an end user downloads a malicious file from a website. However, network monitoring tools struggle to identify new and emerging threats that don’t have a known signature.
Responding to Cyberthreats with Real-Time Actions
As cybercriminals continue to find new ways to breach organizations, defenders need to find new ways to respond to these threats. Real-time actions allow security teams to respond to threats as they occur. They allow security teams to take specific actions based on the threat they are detecting. Real-time actions are essential when extended detection and response capabilities are unable to contain the breach. This may be due to a variety of reasons, including a malicious binary that is executing without any user intervention, a malicious URL that is being visited without any user being redirected to it, or a malicious file that is being downloaded without being clicked. This enables security teams to fully mitigate the effects of a breach on their organization.
With extended detection and response capabilities, organizations will be able to better defend against today’s sophisticated threats.
Sello Tech can secure your digital world with our complete XDR solution and a range of XDR packages that can suit any organisation’s scale and complexity. Reach out to us for a chat today to learn more!