Many people say, “Prevention is the best medicine.” In cyber security, prevention does indeed play a vital role as the first pillar of the threat lifecycle. Proactive threat prevention is the first step to keeping a network safe, but it’s only one aspect of managing security. Not all threats can be prevented. Some will get through your prevention safety net—no matter how good your system is. For the threats that do slip through, you need to first be able to detect them.

Detection is the next pillar of the lifecycle of cyber security. You need to be able to find the threats that can’t be prevented, so you can then take the next crucial step: response. Essentially, your cyber security plan should be thorough with a strong solution for detecting threats and responding to them quickly. Once a threat is detected and eliminated, you can then determine how to make sure a similar threat doesn’t make its way through again.

What Is Threat Detection and Response?

A threat is anything that’s intended to harm a computer, network, or system. Therefore, threat detection tools are designed to find these. Threat detection tools are anything that monitors your network for any kind of malicious activity and then alerts you quickly. As most threats are becoming increasingly complex, threat detection should also be multi-faceted with a focus on prevention, deep monitoring, quick alerts, and reaction to persistent threats. Most detection solutions are designed to assess risk. What threats are the most urgent? What would be the most detrimental? From there, you will have a clear picture of what you’re facing.

After detecting a threat, the work isn’t done. You need to respond to the threat as quickly as possible and as effectively as possible. Threat response includes any coordinated efforts to eliminate a threat before damage is done. These tools could include any orchestration, automation, or anything else that can quickly patch, eliminate, and remove any risks or threats. A good response system will also help you determine the root cause of the threat, so you can prepare to prevent similar threats in the future.

Together threat detection and response solutions can help your security team find threats and eliminate them before they can damage your organization. As threats evolve, detection and response will also continue to evolve. There’s no single way to detect and respond to threats, so a solid solution will include many aspects—from everything like AI detection to automated responses for malware—to effectively protect your organization from the crippling damage security threats pose. Every team should plan for the worst-case scenario threats and prepare their prevention, detection, and response solutions accordingly.

What Are Common Cyber Threats I Could Encounter?

To adequately protect your organization, you need to prepare in advance for the common types of threats your system will need to detect and respond to. These are some of the most common threats and vulnerabilities in most systems that your threat detection solution should be prepared for.

Virus
A virus is a type of malware that infects a computer system much like a biological virus. Computer viruses replicate without permission and insert their own code into the system itself until the entire system is infected and damaged. Viruses can enter a system from infected attachments and links or from an infected site. Infected attachments, links, and sites can only work though if opened. Viruses can’t enter your system without something or someone opening it.

Ransomware
Ransomware is a type of malware that also lives up to its namesake. A ransomware attack will hold your data hostage until you pay a ransom for it. As with true ransom, you will have no guarantee the attacker will give you your data if you pay, and paying could lead to repeat attacks later. Sometimes ransomware attacks are used as decoys because they draw a lot of attention, leaving the attackers prime opportunity to weasel into other vulnerabilities.

Worms
Worms are similar to viruses in that they enter a system and replicate, causing varying levels of damage to your network. But a worm doesn’t need a link to be opened to begin wreaking havoc. They’re a standalone program that’s inserted into the system.

Privilege Misuse
Certain accounts within a company have different levels of privilege to access sensitive data. A privilege misuse attack takes advantage of that and exploits a high-access account to begin stealing information and causing system damage. Essentially, this attack will mean someone’s privileged account is hacked and used to cause harm.

Phishing
Phishing and other forms of social engineering are ways for attackers to access your system. These attacks trick people within an organization to divulge sensitive information that can be stolen or used to gain access to the larger system. For example, attackers can use phishing to start a virus attack. They may send out emails with infected links that users click on, which allows the virus inside the system.

DDoS
A distributed denial-of-service attack (DDoS) interrupts the normal operations of your system, which can force your system to deny users access or cause the system to shut down. A DDoS attack will use multiple sources of traffic to overwhelm your system, so your regular traffic can’t get through. Since the malicious traffic is coming from many different sources, these types of attacks can be hard to pinpoint and eliminate quickly.

Zero-Day Threat
Zero-day attacks are new attacks that nobody’s ever seen before—hence having zero days to prepare. These attacks result in a race between your security team and the attackers to see who can patch the system before valuable information is stolen. Halting zero-day attacks rely heavily on strong detection because they can rarely be prevented.

Advanced Persistent Threat
With an advanced persistent attack, the attackers will use extensive surveillance and reconnaissance to figure out exactly how to attack a system. The attackers are lurking in your system for unprecedented amounts of time, and they’re often successful as long as they stay undetected.

What Are Core Elements of Threat Detection Services?

With so many potential threats to consider, what does a solid detection solution look like? These are some of the core elements to look for with threat detection services.

Antivirus
Antivirus is such a pillar to threat detection that many industries require it. An antivirus detection solution can do anything from sending insecure emails to spam to scanning the network for virus replication. Each computer in a network should include some type of antivirus to help you detect potential threats.

Malware Detection
Malware attacks—like viruses, worms, ransomware, and more—are always increasing in sophistication and intensity. Likewise, you want to have malware detection that’s equally sophisticated and even more intelligent than the attackers. Strong malware detection will use advanced techniques and technology (like AI) to dodge the attacker’s evasion strategies and to detect the threat.

Data Analytics
There’s more to detection than just the detection pillars. You also need detailed information about each endpoint to thoroughly analyze and monitor each one. You get a mass of data from your endpoints, but effective data analytics help you transform that into usable insights that can help you detect threats and vulnerabilities in your system.

Vector Visibility
Most organizations have a wide variety of vectors to keep track of — computers, phones, email, apps, the cloud, and more. Strong threat detection will provide you with full visibility of these vectors, so you can find the vulnerabilities and watch out for threats.

Automated Remediation
Attackers use automation to increase their attacks, and you should also use automation to detect attacks. Automating the process of detection to alerting to responding can save crucial time to help you stay ahead of an attack.

Proactive Threat Hunting
Your security team should also have the tools to do proactive threat hunting to find potential risks that could be threats to the network. These tools will help prepare your team to find and quickly identify potential threats in time to respond.

Why Is Threat Detection and Response So Important?

Threat detection and response is crucial to protecting your network. When used in conjunction with prevention, you will have a powerful defense system in place. These are some of the key reasons why using TDR is so important:

  • Shift to proactive security. Actively detecting and responding to threats keeps you working proactively instead of just reactively—helping you tighten security and respond to threats quickly.
  • Reduce intruder dwelling time. The longer an attacker stays inside your system, the more likely they are to inflict crippling damage. Rooting out attackers early can help you mitigate damages and prevent larger attackers. Detection helps you find intruders earlier.
  • Shorten attack length. Along with finding intruders earlier, detecting and responding to threats shortens the attack.
    Reduce damage. Shorter and fewer attacks from mitigating risk with detection and response reduces the damage to your system.
  • Decrease costs. Attacks are expensive. Reducing the number of attacks and the damage of the attacks can help keep the costs of security threats lower.

Why MDR+ Fits Threat Detection and Response Needs

You need threat detection and response. We have the solution: Open Systems MDR+. MDR+ goes beyond traditional managed detection and response (MDR) services in a way that will help you find threats and eliminate them quickly and efficiently—all with one tool. With curated threat intelligence, investigation, internal team empowerment, and so much more, MDR+ from Open Systems provides the TDR you need. Learn more about the MDR+ service plan to get started with threat detection and response.