How does EDR work for ransomware threats?

Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) is a security approach that focuses on detecting and responding to endpoint security risks – suspicious activity on endpoint devices such as laptops, servers and mobiles. EDR solutions can be deployed on any endpoint in your network, including remote users.

Its most valuable function in cybersecurity is to contain and diffuse threats originating on endpoint devices before they can infect and control critical business IT or access sensitive data. As such, it is particularly useful for mitigating the risk of ransomware lockouts – isolating downtime to single endpoints while the threat is dealt with.

Keep reading to learn how EDR manages, mitigates, and minimises ransomware attacks and the anti-ransomware EDR features your business should look for.

How Does Endpoint Detection and Response Work in Cybersecurity?

EDR solutions continuously monitor endpoint devices for security threats and signs of suspicious activity, and alert people (such as security analysts) or Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) software to act upon detection. Ideally, your EDR solution should also have incident response capabilities, including infected device isolation and event rollbacks, and deploy ATP algorithms to identify known and unknown threats.

The primary goal of EDR is to provide a proactive and comprehensive approach to detecting and responding to threats on endpoint devices, helping organisations minimise the impact of cyberattacks and prevent future attacks.

  1. Continuously monitor and log all activity on endpoints
  2. Detect and respond to suspicious activity via alerts
  3. Gain the visibility and insight to contain endpoint risks and threats
  4. Use security resources more efficiently with alert triage
  5. Correlate data to reveal the root cause of successful attacks or near misses


Is EDR Good for Preventing Ransomware Attacks

As part of a robust security stack, Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) is an effective tool in helping to prevent, contain and disable ransomware attacks. That’s because endpoints are the ideal distribution tool and pathway into and across a business IT network. Security analysts must have visibility and control over said hardware to prevent endpoints from being hijacked as a trojan horse for ransomware.

Many threat actors consider user endpoints – especially remote ones – soft targets with huge potential disruption. As a result, ransomware attacks targeting endpoints are a critical business continuity and data security risk in any business, especially those with a hybrid network of employee devices.



What Ransomware Signs Does EDR Look for?

EDR solutions are particularly proficient at detecting suspicious activity indicative of ransomware – either the red flags for an attack in waiting or the early stages of an unfolding infection. For example, changes to file sizes (such as critical system files, temporary files and Excel files) are a tell-tale sign of file encryption or malicious code injection.

To maintain security posture, it’s critical that your business monitors for these tiny, discreet changes because today’s most prevalent ransomware does not leave an encryption signature. It is built to evade more traditional monitoring tools – infecting, laying dormant, and launching attacks at the most destructive moment.

As a result, advanced EDR is vital in your battle against ransomware. When working with a Managed Security Service Provider (MSSP), your EDR solution can be configured to a tight specification, i.e., establishing a file change baseline for threat alerts and response.


What Anti-Ransomware Features does EDR Have?

EDR has several impressive ransomware detection and mitigation features, which are as follows:

  1. Continuously monitor and log all activity on endpoints
  2. Detect and respond to suspicious activity via alerts
  3. Gain the visibility and insight to contain endpoint security risks
  4. Use security resources more efficiently with alert triage
  5. Correlate data to reveal the root cause of successful attacks or near misses


Is Endpoint Detection and Response all you need to Stop Ransomware?

Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) is not a silver bullet for stopping ransomware. No cybersecurity solution can ever be guaranteed 100% effective – the scope of attack and IT infrastructure is too varied to offer blanket assurances.

IT leaders and security professionals should focus on managing, mitigating and minimising risk with a robust, integrated security stack. This should include EDR – ideally as part of a SOC approach – and other technologies like NDR, ATP, NGFW, backup, DR and filtering solutions.


complete EDR guide

Can EDR stop Active Ransomware Attacks that are in Progress?

EDR solutions can potentially detect and respond to active ransomware attacks that are in progress. However, the effectiveness of EDR in stopping an active ransomware attack will depend on various factors, including the specific EDR system being used, how it is configured, triage alert rules, and the nature of the attack.

In some cases, EDR may be able to stop an active ransomware attack. For example, if EDR can detect the attack early (i.e., by analysing those small file changes we mentioned above), security teams can be alerted and respond quickly. There is a chance that incident response teams can keep ahead of the ransomware’s spread, cut it off, and limit the damage caused by the attack.

However, no security system can provide 100% protection against ransomware attacks, and there is always a risk that an active attack may be successful in causing some level of damage.

Here is a comprehensive list of products that can help minimise the impact of any successful ransomware attacks as a collective, and more about the defence gold standard – a Security Operations Centre.


Is EDR Part of a Security Operations Centre (SOC)?

Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) is often an important component of a Security Operations Centre (SOC).

A SOC is a centralised team or department within an organization that is responsible for managing and coordinating cybersecurity efforts. The primary function of a SOC is to monitor networks, systems and applications for security threats and to respond to incidents as they occur. A good SOC  will have the following features:

  1. 24/7 threat hunting, analysis, and response
  2. Coordinated team of elite cybersecurity specialists
  3. Armed with the best SIEM technology
  4. Lower cost than hiring a top-tier internal team

EDR, SIEM and NDR can be important tools in a SOC. The data collected from endpoint devices is aggregated with other security events to form a big picture of an enterprise’s security posture and current threat levels. As a result, it can provide crucial insight and context that would be missed by solutions deployed lower down the stack, i.e., at the network or hosting level, where ransomware can wreak true havoc.


EDR best practices

How is EDR Implemented in a Business’ Anti-Ransomware Strategy?

Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) is typically implemented as part of an organisation’s overall IT security stack. Its configuration and implementation should always be undertaken with ransomware risk in mind.

To implement EDR, software agents are deployed on each endpoint device that needs monitoring. The software will be configured to a specification most effective at managing and mitigating threats in a business context. I.e., if handling a lot of sensitive data, you may choose a zero-trust approach for file changes. Or if providing a critical public service, you may categorise all unknown network access attempts as an immediate response priority.

The software agent then communicates with a central EDR server, which collects and analyses all endpoint data and provides alerts to other tools and security analysts when suspicious activity is detected.

In addition to deploying EDR agents on endpoint devices, an organization may also need to implement additional infrastructure components to support the EDR system. This can include installing a central EDR server, configuring it to receive data from the EDR agents, and setting up any necessary networking and security infrastructure to support communication between the EDR agents and server.


Sentis Managed Solutions Provides EDR Solutions

Are you considering adding EDR to your security stack, or do you want to confirm your current threat detection and response is ransomware attack-ready?

Sentis Managed Solutions would love to hear from you. We’re a Managed Security Services Provider (MSSP) delivering a complete range of specialist anti-ransomware and threat detection and response solutions EDR included. We also offer a free, no-obligation security audit – so you can confirm what’s working well and what needs reinforcement before committing.

Learn more about our audits here or browse our threat detection solutions here.


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