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7/16/2018
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Less Than Half of Cyberattacks Detected via Antivirus: SANS

Companies are buying next-gen antivirus and fileless attack detection tools but few have the resources to use them, researchers report.

Businesses are investing in more advanced endpoint security tools but don't have the means to properly implement and use them, according to a new report from the SANS Institute.

The SANS 2018 Survey on Endpoint Protection and Response polled 277 IT professionals on endpoint security concerns and practices. In this year's survey, 42% of respondents reported endpoint exploits, down from 53% in 2017. However, the number of those who didn't know they had been breached jumped from 10% in 2017 to 20% in 2018.

Traditional tools are no longer sufficient to detect cyberattacks, the data shows: Antivirus systems only detected endpoint compromise 47% of the time; other attacks were caught through automated SIEM alerts (32%) and endpoint detection and response platforms (26%).

Most endpoint attacks are intended to exploit users. More than 50% of respondents reported Web drive-by incidents, 53% pointed to social engineering and phishing attacks, and half cited ransomware. Credential theft was used in 40% of compromises reported, researchers state.

The majority (84%) of endpoint breaches involve more than one device, experts report. Desktops and laptops are still the top devices of concern, but attackers are also compromising server endpoints, cloud-based endpoints, SCADA, and other industrial IoT devices. Cloud-based endpoints are increasingly popular, going from just over 40% in 2017 to 60% in 2018.

Given the commonality and effectiveness of user-targeted attacks, it's worth noting that detection technologies designed to look at user and system behavior, or provide context awareness, were less involved in detecting breaches. Only 23% of breaches were found with attack behavior-modeling and only 11% were detected with behavior analytics.

Businesses aren't using these technologies as often because they lack the means, SANS reports. Many IT and security pros report investing in next-gen capabilities but not installing them. For example, half have acquired next-gen AV tools but 37% have not implemented them. Forty-nine percent have fileless attack detection tools but 38% haven't implemented the tech.

When breaches do occur it seems many businesses can trace them to the source. Nearly 80% of respondents report they can tie a user to endpoints and servers at least half the time (34% always, 45% at least half), which adds an identity when making decisions about user behavior.

Data collection makes a major difference in data breach remediation, but  organizations don't always have access to the data they needed. Most (84%) respondents want more network access and user data, 74% want more network security data from firewall/IPS/unified threat management systems, and 69% want better network traffic analysis.

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Kelly Sheridan is the Staff Editor at Dark Reading, where she focuses on cybersecurity news and analysis. She is a business technology journalist who previously reported for InformationWeek, where she covered Microsoft, and Insurance & Technology, where she covered financial ... View Full Bio

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