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EDR Tools: Definition and Integration with SIEM

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EDR tools are technology platforms that alert security teams to suspicious activity and allow for quick investigation and containment of threats on endpoints. An endpoint can be an employee workstation or laptop, a server, a cloud system or even a mobile or IoT device. Look for EDR solutions with broad visibility and ML-based attack detection. Many use the MITRE ATT&CK framework to identify behavior patterns and apply threat intelligence to detect advanced attacks.

Threat Hunting

When security teams use the threat-hunting process as part of their overall cybersecurity strategy, they can identify and remediate threats before they become full-blown breaches. It requires a proactive approach to continuous monitoring and a team of skilled cybersecurity professionals who know how to plan, baseline and conduct hypothesis testing to find indicators of compromise. The most advanced EDR tools have visibility across the entire attack surface, enabling teams to identify and investigate threats that may bypass traditional security systems, such as antivirus. These platforms also provide telemetry from the endpoint, allowing security teams to triage and respond when they suspect an attack.

Intuitive dashboards allow analysts to easily search and see at-a-glance information about suspected incidents, including the scope of the attack and the impacted devices. They can also access forensic capabilities to gather artifacts and establish timelines that help identify the source of the threat.

Some EDR tools incorporate AI and machine learning to automate the detection and alerting processes, allowing security analysts to focus on higher-level analysis. Most offer response features that enable security admins to automatically remediate activities, such as stopping a compromised function or isolating and disabling a device from the network.

Detection

EDR tools identify threats by monitoring endpoints—desktop or laptop computers, servers, IoT devices and more—for signs of malicious activity. They look for known and unknown malware, ransomware and other threats that aren’t caught by basic protection systems such as antivirus. The best EDR software includes broad visibility and a powerful set of machine-learning capabilities to detect attacks that don’t fit the usual pattern. It also incorporates forensics and a variety of attack detection methods to help security professionals track lateral movement, establish timelines and detect hidden attack instances.

When a threat is detected, an EDR tool must contain it and prevent re-infection of other endpoints. It requires sanitizing files, isolating and shutting down suspicious processes, and deactivating user accounts. In addition, some EDR solutions include a search and destroy function that can eliminate ransomware by retrieving and deleting encrypted data. EDR tools should also be able to integrate with existing security and IT infrastructure. They should seamlessly complement other systems and work together to prevent the detection of blind spots. For example, they should use the latest threat intelligence from partners and industry groups and perform continuous analysis by sandboxing, pen testing and red teaming to provide comprehensive coverage. It can help minimize the risk of missed threats and increase the speed of incident response.

Analysis

EDR tools monitor endpoints like desktop PCs, laptops, mobile devices, servers, and IoT and cloud systems. They generate alerts to help security operations teams investigate and remediate threats on a single machine or network. Advanced solutions combine continuous monitoring of all activity on endpoints with machine learning and behavioral analysis to spot anomalies. The software looks at hundreds of activities, such as process creation, driver loading, registry changes and disk access, to detect traces of malicious activity that might otherwise go undetected.

When a threat is detected, an automated response can initiate a quarantine protocol to isolate the affected system and prevent it from communicating with other endpoints on the network. The security team can also review forensic data, such as live system memory and artifacts, to analyze the incident. Many EDR tools employ agents, small software components installed on each endpoint to record and send data to a central hub for processing. This extensive data retention can be useful during the investigation of a breach to understand how an attack happened and how it evaded prevention. It can be done by searching the event history stored in the cloud.

Response

For enterprises, the best EDR tools offer broad visibility and ML-based attack detection to help identify threats in real-time. To maximize the value of EDR, consider how it integrates with existing security tools like security information and event management (SIEM). An effective EDR solution scans machine data on endpoint devices to identify anomalies and threat activity. It then alerts the IT team so they can investigate and respond to suspicious activity. EDR is not a preventive service, as it cannot stop malicious activity from occurring in the first place. EDR software continuously monitors all activities on endpoints. It analyzes these activities, flags suspicious behavior, and compares them against a database of known indicators of compromise. Some tools even use ML and AI to automate the investigation process, helping analysts find the right information faster to take corrective action.

An EDR solution should retain the data it collects to allow for future analysis. It is particularly helpful for investigations into prolonged attacks or previously undetected threats. Data can also be useful during the incident response process, providing forensic insight into how an attack occurred to bolster preventive measures. Lastly, the EDR tool should be easy to deploy and install on all devices across the enterprise without disrupting employee productivity. For example, a dissolvable agent can eliminate the need for an IT administrator to visit each machine and manually install software physically.

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