5 Unique Digital Threats (Endpoint Security Can Defend Against)
By Ben Canner
What are five unique digital threats endpoint security can help defend against? Why should your enterprise invest in endpoint security? Moreover, why can next-generation endpoint security protect against these unique digital threats while legacy solutions can’t?
In the earliest days of cybersecurity, enterprises largely focused on adopting antivirus solutions. After all, doing so proved relatively easy: download the solution your endpoints and run it once in a while. If it detects something, simply follow its advice.
However, those simple days have long since passed. The prevalence of antivirus and now-legacy endpoint security solutions forced hackers to adapt. As a result, they worked to make their threats more evasive and sophisticated. Signatures, the legacy method of detecting and preventing malware, became increasingly less relevant.
Instead, now hackers turn to much more effective cyber-attacks such as signature-less threats and fileless malware. Additionally, social engineering attacks can infiltrate your corporate endpoints.
Compounding these crises, enterprise networks continue to grow and scale. More and more devices connect to enterprise IT infrastructures, sometimes numbering in the thousands. If your endpoint security solution can’t protect all the connected devices, it can’t help your enterprise.
Next-generation endpoint security handles these problems, as well as five unique digital threats in cybersecurity. Let’s dive into those five unique digital threats now!
Five Unique Digital Threats Endpoint Security Fights
1. Malicious Connecting Devices
One thing that separates endpoint security from network security or identity security is right in the name: endpoints. By their nature, endpoints must interact with the analog world. Of course, hackers can use this to their malicious advantage. For example, hackers may program a USB drive to immediately deliver a malicious payload upon connection.
In other cases, the payload may not prove immediately dangerous but may contain a malicious email attachment. A more bizarre example involved hackers creating malicious charging cables that resemble the real deal and using them to sneak malware.
Thankfully, next-generation endpoint security comes with a critical capability designed to fight these threats: port control. Port control carefully monitors every device connecting to your connected endpoints; it blocks malicious payloads and works with your IT security team to alert them to potential threats.
2. Malicious Browser Extensions
Don’t get us wrong: browser extensions used responsibly can provide functionality for your users’ endpoints. However, browser extensions are technically applications. Like all applications, they need proper vetting before deployment. Applications and browser extensions can prove benevolent, but they could also prove malevolent. Moreover, they may not appear that different at first or even second glance.
Of course, this is where next-generation endpoint security steps in to help. They offer application control, which strictly regulates what users can download as applications or browser extensions. Further, application control can perform a kind of behavioral analysis on applications and extensions, looking for possible infiltration or exploitation.
Endpoint security monitors what occurs on the endpoints as well as what tries to penetrate it. Use it to your advantage.
Few unique digital threats carry such a legacy of fear and damage as ransomware. Even fewer deserve that same legacy. Ransomware does both.
Ransomware works to penetration enterprise networks and holding their critical files hostage through encryption. In fact, more sophisticated ransomware can hold entire servers and networks hostage. Unless your business pays the ransom, your files remain locked. In severe cases, hackers may destroy the files if the ransom isn’t paid in a timely fashion.
Your enterprise needs to protect itself against ransomware. Therefore, your enterprise needs next-generation endpoint security to protect itself. Through its next-generation antivirus capabilities, it can detect and repel ransomware attacks. Additionally, through its email security features, endpoint protection platforms can look through incoming messages and detect malicious payloads; then they can prevent them from reaching the targeted user in the first place.
4. Cryptocurrency Mining Malware
This distinct malware operates in a manner unlike any other threat seen before. Opposed to their loud ransomware cousins, cryptocurrency mining malware (cryptojacking) works quietly. It slips between the cracks in your endpoint visibility and dwells in the blind spots. From there, it draws on your endpoint processing power to perform its tasks; essentially, it performs complex processes to generate cryptocurrency for hackers. So long as it lingers on your devices, it can cost you thousands in electrical costs and cause major slowdowns.
Thankfully, next-generation endpoint security provides one of the most critical capabilities in modern cybersecurity: EDR. Endpoint detection and response, or EDR, functions like SIEM—it looks for unusual activities and behaviors among users and processes. After that, it can alert your IT security team to any potential threats lingering on your endpoints for investigation and remediation. In other words, with EDR you can find dwelling threats like cryptojacking malware far more easily and quickly than before.
5. Fileless Malware
We alluded to these above, of course. But no list of unique digital threats would be complete without mentioning fileless malware. Fileless malware infects a host computer’s dynamic memory and turns the power of the operating system against the user. The fileless malware seeks out vulnerabilities such as unpatched programs or applications.
By exploiting the dynamic memory processes, fileless malware can act without writing anything onto the disk. It just attaches its code to the native code and lets it run as such. Thus most legacy solutions never notice a malicious program running at all.
Next-generation endpoint security aims to curtail and prevent fileless malware; after all, it may be the most dangerous threat to enterprise infrastructures. Every endpoint security capability works to recognize potential fileless malware—EDR, next-generation antivirus, email security, application control, and port control.
Everything in endpoint security works to the same goal, to put it simply. Each capability operates alongside the others; the platform isn’t complete without all of them. Keep that in mind when you make your selection.
Endpoint security works to keep your enterprise safe from the unique digital threats facing your network every day. If you would like to learn more, you can check out our 2019 Endpoint Security Buyer’s Guide. We cover the top security providers in the market and their key capabilities. Also, we share a Bottom Line analysis on each vendor.