February 27, 2023 By Pooja Parab 7 min read

As cyber attackers become adept at evading detection and encrypting organizations’ data quickly, EDR solutions like IBM Security QRadar EDR may help security teams spot “early warning signs.”

Navigating an evolving threat landscape has become difficult as attackers become faster and stealthier. According to the IBM Threat Intelligence Index 2023 report, the time to execute ransomware attacks dropped by 94% over the last few years; what once took months now takes attackers mere days. With attackers moving faster, organizations need to take a proactive approach.

The problem: Endpoint detection challenges in cybersecurity

A surge in remote work trends post-pandemic led to a rapid increase and interconnectivity of endpoints. This new-normal way of working brought on its own set of cybersecurity challenges. There has been an increase in advanced threat activity and a rise in the sheer volume of alerts that security teams need to investigate (which often turn out to be false positives, resulting in major alert fatigue).

Already overtaxed security teams are left with little to no time to respond. Therefore, securing your endpoints against advanced zero-day threats can be challenging without the right endpoint detection and response (EDR) tools to avoid costly business delays.

The fix: Amplifying your cybersecurity with EDR solutions

Security teams should up the ante by having a strong endpoint security solution to offer a swift and decisive comeback. Why endpoint security? Simple. Because endpoint protection ensures the threat is contained before the devices get infected or encrypted by ransomware. It also provides support during various stages of the incident response lifecycle and supercharges gaps left by traditional antivirus solutions with enhanced detection, visibility and control before widespread malware or ransomware damage occurs.

The need: Accelerating your response to threats and improving efficiency within the SOC teams

Quick endpoint detection and malware reporting can reduce the overall impact of an attack and ultimately save both time and expenses. To create effective response solutions to cyberattacks, defenders can use EDR tools to do the following:

  1. Leverage AI and security automation to speed response to threats.
  2. Improve efficiency within the Ops teams to save both time and expenses.
  3. Get high-fidelity alerts that help reduce analyst workloads.
  4. Gain deep visibility into all processes and applications running on all endpoint devices.

Sophisticated (yet easy-to-use) EDR solutions like IBM Security QRadar EDR can help with all these aspects. Let’s find out how.

1. Leverage AI and security automation to speed response to threats

IBM QRadar EDR leverages exceptional levels of automation using artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to secure endpoint threats—helping detect and remediate known and unknown threats or fileless attacks in near real-time.

Let’s see IBM QRadar EDR in action to learn more about its detection and automated response to malware.

IBM QRadar EDR dashboard

IBM QRadar EDR provides an alert overview of your endpoint ecosystem.

Unlike complicated dashboards, the IBM QRadar EDR dashboard is designed to offer a minimalist and simplified view for ease of use. The home screen always provides a high-level overview of alerts, showing the state of all your endpoint devices.

An alert is triggered

The behavioral tree triggers an alert on detecting any anomalies.

IBM QRadar EDR helps identify anomalous activities like ransomware behavior quickly. In the case of any behavioral anomalies, an alert is automatically triggered. The top left of the screen shows the severity of the alert (medium, in this case). The right side shows more information about the alert as to the cause for the trigger point of the alert, the endpoints involved and how the threat maps to the MITRE ATT&CK framework.

Investigating the alert

Security teams can quickly analyze if the threat is malicious or benign by clicking Alert details.

To speed up response, analysts can click on the alert details page to quickly analyze whether the threat is malicious or benign and determine if it’s a false positive. This helps reduce alert fatigue as analysts don’t waste their time and energy filtering through thousands of lines of event logs to try to identify the exact path of what went wrong.

Visual storyline is automatically created as an attack unfolds.

For every alert, a behavior tree that provides a full alert and attack visibility is created. This user-friendly visual storyline provides a chronological storyboard of the attack. For instance, which applications and behaviors triggered the alert, how the attack unfolds, etc. Security teams can easily view the breadth of the threat activity on a single screen, helping them take quick decisions.

Detailed behavioral analytics and full attack visibility

Full attack visibility ensures analysts understand the scope of the attack and respond accordingly.

Clicking on the circles in the behavioral tree functionality shows detailed information about the applications that were launched. While nothing may seem alarming at this point, certain attacks that are launched via signed applications can bypass antivirus or firewall software.

Simple behavior tree visualization for alert prioritization

Analysts can easily prioritize their search when looking for an alert.

To speed analysts’ investigation further, IBM QRadar EDR shows the threat activity through a simple behavior tree visualization with circles and hexagons. Circles denote applications and hexagons are behaviors. For each shape, there are different colors. Red denotes severe risk, orange for medium risk and yellow for low risk. These colors signify severity and help security teams prioritize their search when looking for an alert.

2. Improving efficiency within the operations teams with IBM QRadar EDR

Efficiency within the operations teams can be greatly improved through the ease and speed that EDR security tools like IBM QRadar EDR can remediate threats, terminate processes or isolate infected devices. IBM QRadar EDR also supports forensic analysis and reconstruction of the root cause of the attack. This helps Ops teams to remediate threats and regain business continuity quickly.

Remediating and isolating threats with IBM QRadar EDR

Quick view showing how many other endpoints were affected by the malicious activity.

Once a threat is analyzed and deemed malicious, the analyst can access containment controls to triage, respond and protect by creating a blocklist policy to prevent the threat from running on other endpoints.

Security teams can also view the number of compromised endpoints to find out if the threat was isolated or recurring. The threats can then be terminated, and infected endpoints can be completely isolated from the network no matter where the end-user is (e.g., Singapore, the U.S., the UK, Africa, etc.). If the endpoint is connected to the server, the malware can be terminated and blocklisted in real-time.

Preventing similar threats in the future

Analysts can create workflows to counteract similar threats.

IBM QRadar EDR allows you to create workflows to act against specific threats. That way, these plans can be triggered autonomously when a similar threat is detected in the future.

It also provides options to select any dropped executables, filesystem, or registry persistence and remove them. You can select the endpoints you’d like to isolate as part of this remediation plan and close the alert.

3. Get high-fidelity alerts that help reduce analyst workloads

IBM QRadar EDR can provide high-quality alerts and help reduce investigation time from minutes to seconds with threat intelligence and analysis scoring. Analysts can identify potential cyber threats with metadata-based analysis to expedite triage. Moreover, the threat-hunting capabilities of IBM QRadar EDR enable real-time, infrastructure-wide search for indicators of compromise (IOC), binaries and behaviors. 

Threat classification to help reduce false positives

Cyber Assistant learns from analyst decisions and helps reduce alert fatigue.

Once an alert is closed, it’s critical that the analyst classifies the threat as malicious or benign because Cyber Assistant—an AI-powered alert management system within the endpoint protection platform—continuously learns from analyst decisions.

It collects data and uses AI to constantly learn from threat patterns to assess similar threats. If the new threat shows a similar telemetry of above 85% or more, it utilizes its learned behaviors to make an assessment.

Cyber Assistant retains this intellectual capital to help reduce false positives. This means high-alert fidelity and lowering analysts’ workloads to reduce alert fatigue and improve efficiency within the security teams.

4. Gain deep visibility into all processes and applications running on all endpoint devices

Businesses need to have deep visibility into their entire endpoint estate—including laptops, desktops, IoT, mobile devices, tablets, etc.—to protect their assets and indicate the presence of attackers in the event of a cyberattack.

NanoOS—a lightweight agent that sits outside the operating systems in the hypervisor layer—is designed to be undetectable, making it invisible to attackers and malware because it cannot be altered, shut down, or replaced.

Security teams can also take advantage of NanoOS to invisibly track the attackers’ movements for as long as possible to understand their objectives until the security team shuts down access. Then, the IBM QRadar EDR security solution can be deployed to clean up compromised devices without downtime.

Conclusion

An effective endpoint security solution like IBM Security QRadar EDR can help cybersecurity teams identify weak spots. Endpoint detection and response (EDR) solutions aren’t the sole protection mechanism for threat detection, but they should still be the initial mechanism along with an extended detection and response (XDR) security solution to detect suspicious behavior.

IBM QRadar EDR offers easy integration with QRadar SIEM, empowering organizations with a more secure defense system that unifies protect, detect and response capabilities to improve IT security against advanced cyberattacks.

IBM QRadar EDR provides a 24×7 managed detection and response (MDR) service that acts as an extension of your security team to ensure the endpoint threat is contained and remediated as soon as it’s detected.

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