IT endpoints are the devices that people use to access company resources. Examples of endpoints are personal computers, mobile devices, point-of-sale terminals, and other various devices where data is created, processed, and stored, such as IoT devices. The explosive growth of endpoints has been coupled with the explosive growth of cyber threats on endpoints, making endpoint defense solutions an important element of a cybersecurity plan aimed at analyzing, blocking, and containing potentially disastrous cyberattacks. A comprehensive endpoint defense plan should include many of these elements:
Access controls. Implement a least privilege model where only users who need access to data can gain access to data. This high-level control can preserve data integrity by limiting access to both the cyber assets and to the physical servers, ensuring that the few people with access are knowledgeable and trusted individuals. In a least privilege model, even if an individual endpoint is compromised, cyberattackers will not be able to capture and leverage administrative credentials to reach critical resources.
Privilege management. Privilege management solutions provide administrators with a great amount of control over what actions and accesses individual users will be permitted to take via their endpoints. For instance, an individual user may only be given a limited amount of functionality in a program or can only access certain sections of a web page. Privilege management tools achieve this by using software or accessing web applications.
Endpoint protection platform (EPP). An endpoint protection platform is a solution deployed on endpoint devices to prevent file-based malware attacks, detect malicious activity, and provide the investigation and remediation capabilities needed to respond to security alerts and incidents. EPP solutions may use static indicators of compromise (IOC), analytic threat detection, port and app control, next-generation firewalls (NGFW), and behavioral analysis tools. Desirable EPP solutions are primarily cloud-managed, allowing for continuous monitoring and remote remediation. These solutions are often cloud-data-assisted, so the endpoint agent does not need to maintain a local database of all IOCs and can monitor via a cloud resource.
Endpoint detection and response (EDR). Endpoint data is continuously collected and analyzed through an analytical surveillance endpoint protocol tool. The data can be used for forensic analysis after a breach, or for predictive analytics that can reveal patterns or new exploits.
Penetration testing. Penetration testing tools are often used by an outside vendor who can conduct security tests aimed at uncovering vulnerabilities, threats, and risks that an attacker could exploit in software applications, web applications, or networks.
Endpoint attack surface reduction. Malicious applications typically exhibit certain behaviors when they are trying to infect endpoints, such as attempting to download or run files with executable files and scripts used in Office apps or hiding obscured scripts among temporary files. Removing or constraining these behaviors limits the attack surface, making it more difficult for malware to infect an endpoint.
Fileless threat detection. Fileless malware does not store its body directly onto a disk. Fileless attacks often used malicious scripts stored in Windows Management Instrumentation subscription (WMI), malicious script directly passed as a command line parameter to PowerShell, malicious script stored in registry and/or OS scheduler task and executed by OS scheduler, and malicious executable extracted and executed directly in memory without saving on disk via .Net reflection technique. Fileless attacks can be prevented using fileless attack protection solutions that use machine learning, deep learning, and AI techniques to block malicious behaviors.