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Understanding the MITRE ATT&CK Framework and Evaluations – Part 2

Capture Client delivers capabilities that are underscored by the ATT&CK framework. Here’s how CISOs can leverage these capabilities to define and implement their security strategy.

(Note: In Part 1, we explained the MITRE ATT&CK framework and how security products are evaluated for detection efficacy and efficiency. Check it out here if you haven’t already.)

With attacks rising almost across the board, ensuring your security posture is up to date has never been more critical. But as a CISO, navigating through various cybersecurity vendors’ positions can be a real challenge. How can you know that you’re actually getting what you’re paying for? Here are a few critical pointers:

  • Be wary of excessive misses, delays and config changes: Vendors that have lots of delays are getting credit for detections using means typically outside of the tool’s normal workflow — which means your people will have to do the same thing. Vendors with lots of config changes felt the need to modify their detection capabilities in the middle of the test. Try to understand whether these changes are understandable or if the test was being gamed.
  • Be wary of high Telemetry numbers and low Techniques numbers: Vendors that trumpet their big Telemetry numbers without many Techniques have a tool that does not automate the correlation of events. This means your people will have to do it manually or that there may be significant delays and inaccuracy in connecting the dots. Delays here lead to delays in response, and that leads to more risk.
  • Be wary of vendors that invent their own scoring systems: We’ve seen many vendors obfuscating poor results with statistics and numbers that make them look good but are complete nonsense. Stats like “Context per alert” and “100% Detection” (when a closer look shows there clearly were missed detections) are silly. Read the fine print.

Capture Client and the MITRE ATT&CK Framework

SonicWall’s Capture Client is powered by SentinelOne, which delivers best-in-class autonomous endpoint protection with next-gen antivirus, EDR (endpoint detection and response), and Deep Visibility. SentinelOne has been a participant in the MITRE ATT&CK Evaluations since 2018 and was a top performer in the 2022 Evaluations (emulating Wizard Spider and Sandworm threat groups). Here is a quick summary of how SentinelOne leads in protection against the attacks better than any other vendor.

  1. Autonomous Protection Instantly Stops and Remediates Attacks
    Security teams demand technology that matches the rapid pace at which adversaries operate. MITRE Protection determines the vendor’s ability to rapidly analyze detections and execute automated remediation to protect systems.
    Delivered 100% Protection: (9 of 9 MITRE ATT&CK tests)
    Source: www.sentinelone.com
  2. The Most Useful Detections are Analytic Detections
    Analytic detections are contextual detections that are built from a broader data set and are a combination of technique plus tactic detections.
    Delivered 100% Detection: (19 of 19 attack steps)
    Delivered 99% – Highest Analytic Coverage: (108 of 109 detections)
    Source: www.sentinelone.com
  3. Detection Delays Undermine Cybersecurity Effectiveness
    Time plays a critical factor whether you’re detecting or neutralizing an attack. Organizations that want to reduce exposure need to have real-time detections and automated remediation as part of their security program.
    Delivered 100% Real-time (0 Delays)

    Source: www.sentinelone.com
  4. Visibility Ensures That No Threats Go Undetected
    Visibility is the building block of EDR and is a core metric across MITRE Engenuity results. In order to understand what’s going on in the enterprise as well as accurately threat hunt, cybersecurity technology needs to create a visibility aperture. The data needs to be accurate and provide an end-to-end view of what happened, where it happened, and who did the happening regardless of device connectivity or type.

Conclusion

The MITRE Engenuity ATT&CK Evaluations continue to push the security industry forward, bringing much-needed visibility and independent testing to the EDR space. As a security leader or practitioner, it’s important to move beyond just the numbers game to look holistically at which vendors can provide high visibility and high-quality detections while reducing the burden on your security team. CISOs will find these product-centric tenets to be compatible with the spirit of MITRE Engenuity’s objectives:

  1. EDR Visibility and Coverage Are Table Stakes: The foundation of a superior EDR solution lies in its ability to consume and correlate data economically and at scale by harnessing the power of the cloud. Every piece of pertinent data should be captured — with few to no misses — to provide breadth of visibility for the SecOps team. Data, specifically capturing all events, is the building block of EDR and should be considered table stakes and a key MITRE Engenuity metric.
  2. Machine-Built Context and Correlation Is Indispensable: Correlation is the process of building relationships among atomic data points. Preferably, correlation is performed by machines and at machine speed, so an analyst doesn’t have to waste precious time manually stitching data together. Furthermore, this correlation should be accessible in its original context for long periods of time in case it’s needed.
  3. Console Alert Consolidation Is Critical: “More signal, less noise” is a challenge for the SOC and modern IR teams who face information overload. Rather than getting alerted on every piece of telemetry within an incident and fatiguing the already-burdened SOC team, ensure that the solution automatically groups data points into consolidated alerts. Ideally, a solution can correlate related activity into unified alerts to provide campaign-level insight. This reduces manual effort, helps with alert fatigue and significantly lowers the skillset barrier of responding to alerts. All of this leads to better outcomes for the SOC in the form of shorter containment times and an overall reduction in response times.

For a first-hand look at how Capture Client delivers best-in-class protection and detection, click here for a free trial.

7 Factors to Consider When Evaluating Endpoint Protection Solutions

The threat landscape is evolving. Attackers are getting craftier with infiltrating secure environments. Is your endpoint protection able to keep up? In many cases, organizations just aren’t sure.

The increase in the number of cyberattacks targeting endpoints — and attackers using craftier methods to gain access to user machines — has lead to a highly competitive endpoint protection market. There’s plenty of confusion surrounding what differentiates one endpoint protection solution from another, let alone which product will meet your unique business needs.

Among the claims and counter-claims about which solution is best, the reality is that the right solution for your organization is not necessarily the one with the loudest voice in the marketplace.

Instead, consider whether your approach to endpoint protection matches that of the providers you evaluate. With rapid changes in the way malware and threat actors are compromising victims, which security solutions are keeping up?

Let’s take a look at seven basic checks that can help enhance endpoint compliance and lead to better protection against cyberattacks.

  1. Don’t underestimate the risks of mobility

    The traditional approach that legacy AV software is just there to protect your devices from malware and data loss creates a blind spot in defensive thinking. The task is to protect your network from both internal and external threats, and that includes the potential threat from end-user behavior when they’re mobile and off-network.

    Today, users who login from airports and cafés using public and open access points pose a greater threat to the corporate network.

    Modern, integrated security thinking understands that this means more than just anti-malware or AV coverage on the device. Off-network content filtering and media control are necessary adjuncts to protect your entire network, regardless of where the threat may come from.

    And in the event a verdict from the agent doesn’t have confidence, having a second layer of defense via a cloud-based malware analysis engine helps handle it in real-time.

  2. Avoid drowning in the noise of alerts

    Even today, some endpoint vendors still believe that the quantity — rather than the quality — of alerts is what should differentiate a superior product from the rest. But alerts that go unnoticed because they are swimming in a sea of hundreds of other alerts clamoring for attention are as good as no alerts at all.

    The Target Corporation learned this lesson at a great cost. False positives (i.e., the boy who cried wolf) condition weary admins and SOC specialists to “tune out” things that may be the next big threat because they simply cannot cope with the quantity of work.

    Rather than a security solution that provides hundreds of single alerts for each command with little or no context, choose one that provides a single alert with the telemetry and details of all the related commands — whether that be one or 100 — automatically mapped into the context of an entire attack storyline.

  3. Secure the endpoint locally

    We live in the age of the cloud, but malicious software acts locally on devices, and that’s where your endpoint detection needs to be, too.

    If your security solution needs to contact a server before it can act (e.g., get instructions or check files against a remote database), you’re already one step behind the attackers.

    Make sure that your endpoint protection solution has the capability to secure the endpoint locally by taking into consideration the behavioral changes and identify malicious processes without cloud dependency.

    And when using a cloud-based second layer, make sure the suspected threat is contained to eliminate impact while a verdict is made.

  4. Keep it simple, silly

    There’s power in simplicity, but today’s threat landscape is increasingly sophisticated. While some vendors think the number of tools they offer is a competitive advantage, it just increases the workload on your staff and locks knowledge into specialized employees who may one day take themselves — and that knowledge — elsewhere.

    You want to be able to eliminate threats fast and close the gaps without needing a large or dedicated SOC team. Look for endpoint protection that takes a holistic approach, builds all the features you need into a unified client and is managed by a user-friendly console that doesn’t require specialized training.

  5. Build for the worst-case scenario

    Let’s face it, ANY protection layer can fail. It’s the nature of the game that attackers will adapt to defenders. If you can’t see what your endpoints are doing, how can you be sure that one of them hasn’t been compromised?

    Has a remote worker clicked a phishing link and allowed an attacker access to your network? Is a vulnerability in a third-party application allowing cybercriminals to move around inside your environment undetected? Have you factored for attackers who have now embraced encrypted threats (e.g., HTTPs vectors) and acquired their own SSL certificates?

    The modern cyber threat landscape requires a defense-in-depth posture, which includes SSL/TLS decryption capabilities to help organizations proactively use deep packet inspection of SSL (DPI-TLS/SSL) to block encrypted attacks. DPI-SSL technology provides additional security, application control, and data leakage prevention for analyzing encrypted HTTPs and other SSL-based traffic.

    In addition, drive visibility into application vulnerability risk and control over web content access to reduce the attack surface.

  6. Drive compliance across all endpoints

    It’s the quiet ones at the back you have to look out for. If your enterprise is 95% harnessed to one platform, it doesn’t mean you can write-off the business risk presented by the other 5% as negligible.

    Attackers are able to exploit vulnerabilities in one device and jump to another, regardless of what operating system the device itself may be running. To avoid the risk of vulnerable endpoints connecting to your corporate network, integrate endpoint security with your firewall infrastructure and restrict network access for endpoints that don’t have endpoint protection installed on the machine.

    Remember, you’re only as strong as your weakest link.

  7. Don’t trust blindly

    Blocking untrusted processes and whitelisting the known “good guys” is a traditional technique of legacy AV security solutions that attackers have moved well beyond, and businesses need to think smarter than that, too.

    With techniques like process-hollowing and embedded PowerShell scripts, malware authors are well-equipped to exploit AV solutions that trust once and allow forevermore. Endpoint protection needs to look beyond trust and inspect the behavior of processes executing on the device. Is that “trusted” process doing what it’s supposed to be doing or is it exhibiting suspicious behavior?

Endpoint protection integrated across your environment

SonicWall Capture Client is a unified endpoint offering with multiple protection capabilities. With a next-generation malware protection engine powered by SentinelOne, Capture Client applies advanced threat protection techniques, such as machine learning, network sandbox integration and system rollback.

The solution uses automated intelligence to adapt and detect new strains of malware through advanced behavior analytics. It provides multi-layered defense against advanced threats, like fileless malware and side-channel attacks, using SentinelOne’s AI-driven behavioral analysis and SonicWall Real-Time Deep Memory InspectionTM (RTDMI) engine with the Capture Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) sandbox service.

The solution also delivers granular visibility into threat behavior, helping identify potential impact and remediation actions. A sound endpoint protection solution also should be paired with a defense-in-depth security strategy across all the key layers of transport, including email, network and cloud.

4 Ways the WhatsApp Exploit Could Use Employees to Infiltrate Your Network

The recent WhatsApp breach was very sophisticated and clever in the manner it was delivered. And that should be expected considering who was reported as being behind the zero-day attack against the popular messaging application.

But the attack against the WhatsApp app is not just a concern for its millions of global customers. There’s a very real and imminent threat to businesses and enterprises, too.

For example, let’s assume one of your employees has WhatsApp installed on their device and it is subsequently compromised via the latest WhatsApp exploit. In many situations, this employee will, at some point, connect their device to the corporate network.

This legitimate access could be via VPN, cloud applications (e.g., Office 365, Dropbox, etc.), corporate Wi-Fi or, my personal “favorite,” plugging the device into the USB port of a corporate laptop so the phone can charge. Understanding how and where users connect to the corporate network is critical.

In most cases, organizations can’t prevent personal BYOD phones from being compromised — particularly when outside the network perimeter. They can, however, protect the network from exploits delivered via the compromised phone. Here are the four most common ways the WhatsApp vulnerability could be leveraged to infiltrate a corporate network and, more importantly, how SonicWall can prevent it:

  1. Via VPN. If an employee connects to corporate over VPN, SonicWall, for example, would be the endpoint where they establish the VPN Threat prevention (e.g., firewalls, Capture ATP) and access control (e.g., Secure Mobile Access) would prevent the WhatsApp breach from spreading any further than the compromised phone.
  2. Via Wi-Fi. In this scenario, next-generation firewalls and secure wireless access points should be in place to inspect all internal traffic and prevent the exploit from going further than the phone.
  3. Via compromised credentials. Because the WhatsApp exploit enabled attackers to steal credentials to cloud services and apps, organizations with Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB) solutions, like SonicWall Cloud App Security, would mitigate account takeovers (ATO), unauthorized access and any related data leakage.
  4. Via USB port. Users often forget that a powered USB port on their laptop is an entry point for attackers — even when doing something as innocent as charging a phone. A sound endpoint protection solution (see diagram), such as Capture Client, would monitor the connection to the laptop and inspect any malicious activity attempting to leverage the USB port to deliver malware payloads.