The Evolution of Enterprise Endpoint Attack Vectors

How does the evolution of enterprise endpoint attack vectors affect your enterprise? What new components does your enterprise need to consider when forming its cybersecurity strategies? Which threats could change the enterprise endpoint attack vectors of the future? 

Formerly, endpoint security operated on the simple signature-based detection model. This worked by compiling a database of known malware signatures. So long as the malware signature tried to breach the protected system, the malware couldn’t execute.  

This worked effectively back in the day when endpoints remained on-premises and malware always had signatures. However, signature-based malware continues to decline; simple antivirus solutions can’t possibly protect businesses. Additionally, enterprise endpoint attack vectors now include mobile devices and Internet of Things (IoT) devices.

We explore the evolution of enterprise endpoint attack vectors here. 

Threats and the Enterprise Endpoint Attack Vectors  

1. Fileless Malware and Zero-Day Attacks

First, we need to explore how malware itself evolves in response to increased cybersecurity protections. An increasing amount of malware—according to the Ponemon Institute 41 percent of attacks—count as “fileless malware.” Instead of downloading a file like typical malware, fileless malware exploits the native process of endpoints. 

Therefore, when the native process activates, legacy endpoint security solutions simply allow the process to run without monitoring. Any malicious code embedded within it runs and disappears without a trace.

Additionally, enterprises need to contend with zero-day attacks. Zero-day attacks don’t yet have a signature or might exploit a vulnerability discovered before a patch. In fact, zero-day attacks can circumvent legacy solutions with machine learning; they may possess attributes no present in the learning sample set. 

Therefore, you need a next-generation endpoint security solution that can protect against both fileless malware and zero-day attacks. It should have the threat intelligence and capabilities to deflect oncoming attacks and protect endpoint attack vectors.

2. The Perils of the Cloud

In a recent article for Dark Reading, Corey Nachreiner predicts ransomware will soon target the cloud. 

He gave several reasons for this; businesses’ everyday workflows become more dependent on the cloud, so hackers follow to maximize their profits. Moreover, the original “spray-and-pray” model for ransomware no longer profits as much as the more targeted ransomware model now on the rise; this increases the chances of larger profits overall. 

Additionally, Nachreiner notes that many businesses mistakenly believe their cloud providers handle their cybersecurity.  

The editors at Solutions Review agree with Nachreiner; the cloud represents one of the new and vulnerable enterprise endpoint attack vectors. Also, it’s a digital attack vector that legacy endpoint protection platforms and antivirus can’t protect. 

Thus, your organization needs an endpoint security solution that can properly handle the cloud; it should ideally include behavioral monitoring and machine learning. Furthermore, it should include configuration security and some form of identity management. 

3. The IoT 

We’ve spoken at length about the cybersecurity dangers posed by the rise of the IoT. Critically, the Internet of Things rarely comes with any sort of firmware cybersecurity; they may still possess basic administrator passwords hard-coded into it. Traditional security best practices rarely have the capabilities necessary to monitor IoT devices. 

In fact, even endpoint detection and response (EDR) solutions may not see IoT devices, allowing the device to slip into and out of the network unseen. Therefore, the IoT allows hackers to plant dwelling threats or move laterally throughout the network without visibility. 

Visibility thus must become a key priority in your endpoint protection platform; you can’t protect what you can’t see. Further, you need a solution that incorporates IoT devices into your digital perimeter. In fact, your solution should ensure that all endpoints connecting to your IT infrastructure undergo validation.  

How to Learn More

Download our Endpoint Security Buyer’s Guide. We cover the key capabilities and solution providers in the market.  

Ben Canner

Ben Canner is an enterprise technology writer and analyst covering Identity Management, SIEM, Endpoint Protection, and Cybersecurity writ large. He holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English from Clark University in Worcester, MA. He previously worked as a corporate blogger and ghost writer. You can reach him via Twitter and LinkedIn.

Ben Canner

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