The 5 Most Common Attack Vectors in Endpoint Security
By Ben Canner
What are the five most common attack vectors in endpoint security? How can modern, next-generation endpoint security secure these common attack vectors? How can you protect what you can’t see? Well, the answer is you can’t—at least not well. You need to know what’s attacking your enterprise, but also what they target as your weak spots. Here is our list of the top five!
The Five Most Common Attack Vectors in Endpoint Security
Of the common attack vectors, the largest may surprise you: your own employees. Indeed, every employee could potentially compromise your endpoint security. Whether through malicious intent or sheer negligence, your user’s behaviors determine the success or failure of your endpoint security.
Thus you need to make sure your employees participate in your endpoint security. Moreover, you need to take precautions to prevent employees from subverting your cybersecurity. As such, you need to ensure you offer your employees cybersecurity education.
This education should provide critical information in an engaging and regular manner (at least bi-monthly). Additionally, you need to ensure your employees know how to incorporate endpoint protections into their regular workflows. Critically, your employees can’t view your endpoint security as an obstacle; they should see it as another component of their work processes.
Obviously, this education should include information on not oversharing data online. The number one way hackers penetrate endpoints is through authentication portals. By finding personal data via social media, hackers can guess passwords or subvert authentication questions.
Of course, education can help impress upon them the importance of regular updates for their endpoints; since neglecting updates can mitigate future penetrative attacks, this proves crucial.
However, your efforts should cover another of the common attack vectors in endpoint security: remote employees. Remote employees log onto your network from outside the premises, but they can still cause malware to penetrate your network. With the right endpoint security, you can enforce endpoint security even on remote devices.
Speaking of which…
2. Mobile Devices and BYOD Policies
More and more enterprises continue to embrace bring-your-own-devices (BYOD) cultures. These provide employees and employers alike with numerous benefits; for example, enterprises have less of a need for on-premises endpoints and employees feel more comfortable working on their own devices.
However, BYOD mobile devices are one of the most common attack vectors in endpoint security. Introducing more mobile or non-premises devices increases the possibility of reduced visibility in the network. Devices could go unprotected or unmonitored for months at a time. Data could move into and out of these mobile devices without regulation.
Thankfully, next-generation endpoint security enforces data loss prevention and enhanced visibility over mobile devices. Additionally, it can deploy data encryption while your enterprise stores data on mobile devices so only authorized users can access it.
Also, you should encourage your employees to never connect over public wi-fi. That is a recipe for disaster.
3. Internet of Things (IoT)
One of the most common attack vectors in endpoint security is the IoT…and it looks to only grow in the coming years. More enterprises than ever embrace the IoT as a means to facilitate communications and workflows. However, IoT devices rarely if ever have cybersecurity protections on their firmware or software. Additionally, they rarely update whatever protections they do possess and even more rarely advertise it.
When IoT devices connect to enterprise networks, they could also become blind spots through which hackers could penetrate. They could plant dwelling threats onto them or use them as stepping stones to more profitable targets.
Next-generation endpoint security can increase visibility over IoT devices but also provide patch management; these facilitate patches and upgrades, scheduling them and alerting your team to perform them or performing them automatically.
4. Endpoint Ports
Increasingly common among attack vectors in endpoint security could be called the most direct route—the ports of the endpoints themselves. USB ports rarely receive the attention they deserve; in fact, hackers like to use infected physical data drives to transfer their viruses directly.
Thankfully, endpoint security offers port control, which monitors the drives connecting to endpoints to ensure malware doesn’t install itself. In other words, it sets up another checkpoint on a potential gateway into your network.
Finally, no list of common attack vectors in endpoint security would be complete without applications. Often, employees download applications without first consulting your IT security team. Even if it is an approved application, it still moves data without monitoring. Hackers could exploit your applications to move throughout your network undetected.
Endpoint security can help you establish and enforce clear rules about employees can and cannot download on your network. Application control maintains visibility over your applications and ensures their authenticity.