Real-Life Endpoint Security Breach Examples and How to Prevent Them

Endpoint Security Breach

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Whether it’s an IoT thermometer or a conference room smart speaker, any device connected to the internet presents an opportunity for hackers to gain a foothold and infiltrate company systems. This is why a strong endpoint security solution capable of detecting threats even when a device is off-network is critical.

AI-Based Threat Detection

Artificial intelligence-based systems can detect and respond to threats more accurately than human analysts. These systems can process massive amounts of data and sift through the noise to identify suspicious patterns, anomalies, or indicators of an attack. They can also alert security teams to potential breaches in real time, shortening the window of opportunity for hackers.

However, like any cybersecurity technology, AI-based detection can also be attacked. Adversaries can manipulate AI-based systems to make them malfunction by altering the input fed into it. This is known as an input attack, which can take many forms. For example, an attacker can add a pattern or mark to a target, triggering an AI system to make a mistake. This can be done by adding a pattern or marking to the target inconsistent with variations in a dataset or other signals used by an AI-based detection system.

Alternatively, an adversary can poison the process during which the AI system is created so that it malfunctions in the manner desired by the attacker. This is known as a poisoning attack, and it is particularly effective when targeting AI-based systems that work with unstructured data such as audio, video, or text.

To mitigate the threat of AI attacks, organizations should evaluate third-party software vendors carefully and conduct thorough logging and monitoring processes to ensure the integrity of their security systems. They should also implement a risk-based approach to selecting and deploying third-party software and create incident response plans to address detected breaches or vulnerabilities.

Device Usage Policy Enforcement

The security risks associated with employees using their devices at work are substantial. Hackers may have a direct line into the business’s data if they use their devices to access secure company applications.

This is why every business needs to have a clear BYOD policy with strict acceptable usage policies. These are critical to ensuring users respect and protect their employer’s privacy.

However, enforcing these policies can be challenging. Especially when an employee may feel that it’s a violation of their privacy to be monitored by their employer, if you don’t want to risk your employees’ trust and morale, consider implementing an advanced threat protection (ATP) solution, which is one of endpoint security examples with a centralized management dashboard.

These solutions will highlight out-of-date operating system versions to your admins and offer 24/7 threat detection and monitoring, so you don’t have to worry about a cybercriminal getting in by an unpatched device. This is also why it’s crucial to train your security teams to be proactive about patching out-of-date software and educating employees on its importance.

In addition to improving workplace safety, these ATP solutions are critical for preventing cyber attacks and malware that compromise systems, steal or destroy information. These include passive attacks that gain unauthorized access to sensitive information without altering it and active threats that modify data, such as encrypting or harming it.

Memory Protection

Many cyber threats exploit software vulnerabilities that give attackers unauthorized access to devices, servers, and other endpoints, enabling them to steal or destroy data. The vulnerabilities can be passive, allowing attackers to monitor or steal data without making any changes, or active, letting attackers modify or even delete data, files, or accounts.

Most cybersecurity solutions fail to prevent this class of threats because they rely on static threat detection signatures. However, the modern ransomware used to infect devices and steal valuable customer data ruthlessly avoids leaving detectable signatures by employing highly obfuscated in-memory attack chains that are very difficult for traditional threat intelligence feeds to recognize.

A memory leak occurs when input data exceeds the buffer storage capacity, forcing the program to write the excess data to adjacent memory. These data locations may contain sensitive information like login credentials or customer data. Memory leaks are one of the most common and severe security weaknesses. It is possible to prevent a memory leak by using a memory-safe programming language. Still, if the application is already written in a non-memory-safe language, a memory leak will happen regardless of whether a programmer uses a memory-safe language. Memory protection techniques prevent these attacks by preventing memory access and providing multiple layers of protection against buffer overflow and code execution attacks.

Phishing Protection

Phishing attacks happen when cyber criminals send communications (usually email, but also SMS or a phone call) disguised as legitimate sources to trick people into clicking malicious links and attachments. When successful, phishing allows attackers to steal sensitive information like bank accounts or credit card numbers.

Phishers often take advantage of people’s tendency to trust businesses and brands. To this end, they impersonate trusted brand names in phishing emails or SMS messages. They may also use watering hole phishing to lure victims into clicking on a link that leads them to a fake website where they enter their login credentials, or they may target specific individuals with a spear phishing attack.

Another common attack vector is insider threats – an employee intentionally compromises their employer’s systems in revenge or unknowingly hand over their login credentials to a cyber-criminal. The latter scenario is hazardous when employees can work remotely, and the organization doesn’t remove remote access as soon as an employee leaves.

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