Endpoint Security: Why You Shouldn’t Ignore?
Endpoint security is the practice to protect endpoints in the network, including desktops, laptops, servers, tablets etc. from malicious activities. It has become the need of an hour especially in 2021. Let’s explore why endpoints are of great interest to cyber criminals these days.
Cybercriminals often target endpoint devices to gain access to organization’s infrastructure and steal the data. These compromised endpoints can not only offer confidential data to an attacker directly, but even allow them to use them as launch pad for doing reconnaissance, performing lateral movement or even launching a final attack.
The privilege access & the network access of an compromised endpoint determines an important role in the impact of any compromise. More privileges an attacker gets on an endpoint, or the wider network access he gets from this system, the more destructive he can be.
Endpoints are also easy targets because often organizations focus less on this domain & most of the time we have serious hygiene issues on the endpoints making them a lot more vulnerable for attacks & compromise. These hygiene issues can be in the form of missing AV or AV running with old definitions, removable media allowed, not hardened etc.
Running EOL / EOS operating systems, using unauthorized softwares & missing OS or third party patches, again few common scenarios, can make these endpoints easy pray to cyber criminals.
While it’s difficult for attackers to breach the perimeter defense, it’s easy for them to compromise the roaming endpoints, when they are out of the protected corporate network. As many of these roaming endpoints do enjoy access to corporate infra even when they are away, the attacker gets easy access to the corporate network.
How you can strengthen your endpoint security?
Many people think that running an AV is good enough to protect their endpoints where the fact is that in todays world full of file less, in memory attacks or other sophisticated attacks, signature based AV solutions are not good enough. Following are the certain things you can do strengthen your endpoint security:
- Prevent usage of EOL / EOS operating system
- Loss of productivity
- Build the endpoint using golden image with required hardening guidelines
- Prevent provisioning administrator rights to normal users
- Restrict USB / removable media access
- Enable windows firewall
- Ensure AV real time scan is ON & the definitions remain updated
- If possible augment AV with use of EDR that can detect more sophisticated attacks
- To prevent data leakage of confidential data, use DLP solution
- Regularly apply OS & third party patches
- For all moving endpoints like laptops, tablets etc, use encryption to protect the data in case you lose the assets
- Use enterprise backup solution & design backup strategy based on criticality of asset & data
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