What is Advanced Threat Detection?



Learn about advanced threat detection solutions and how they work in Data Protection 101, our series on the fundamentals of information security.

A Definition of Advanced Threat Detection

As malware evolves to evade detection by traditional antivirus solutions, intrusion prevention systems, firewalls, and other network security solutions, a new type of security solution called advanced threat detection has emerged. Advanced threat detection solutions are designed to detect attacks that employ advanced malware and persistent remote access in attempt to steal sensitive corporate data over a length of time. In order to discover these attacks, advanced threat detection solutions often include capabilities such as sandboxing, behavioral analysis, automated monitoring, and other detection mechanisms.

How Advanced Threat Detection Works

Most advanced malware detection solutions employ sandboxing. Sandboxing is a method of isolating a program from other programs and networks so that it can execute without impacting other resources. Sandboxing allows malware to run in a virtual environment so that its behavior can be analyzed without infecting the host device, spreading to other devices, or accessing sensitive data. Advanced threat detection solutions use sandboxing to identify malware based on its behavior rather than through fingerprinting, the method relied on by traditional antivirus solutions.

Advanced threat detection tools use network traffic analysis to flag and sandbox suspicious files, which are then examined by virtual machines that analyze behavior across various operating system and software configurations. As programs execute their behavior is logged, allowing information security professionals to determine while files are malware. By detecting the threat, passing it to the sandbox, and analyzing its behavior for malicious activity, advanced threat detection solutions can discover and contain malware that would otherwise go undetected, all before it infects a device.

Benefits of Advanced Threat Detection

The primary benefit of advanced threat detection solutions is their ability to detect malware that has sophisticated evasion or obfuscation capabilities as well as new malware that has not been identified previously. Advanced threat detection plays a critical role in protecting data from advanced and persistent malware attacks. When advanced threat detection solutions are integrated into a company’s security program, they provide another key source of threat intelligence to protect against zero-day attacks, improve detection-to-containment times, and aid in the follow-up investigation to make security improvements after a threat is neutralized.

Choosing the Right Advanced Threat Detection Solution

If your organization is often targeted in sophisticated malware or advanced persistent threat attacks, advanced threat detection should be considered as a component of your security program. However, it is essential to note that a single solution alone will not provide protection against all threats, and as such advanced threat detection should be employed in tandem with other security solutions for prevention, detection, and response and supported by employee security awareness training as well as comprehensive organizational security policies.

Solution providers take different approaches to advanced threat detection, and most offer combinations of threat intelligence, monitoring, and big data analytics to safeguard against malware and advanced threats. It’s important to review each solution’s capabilities and determine which type of advanced threat detection best fits your organization’s security needs as well as existing defenses. When choosing an advanced threat detection solution, be sure that it includes endpoint agent kernel-level visibility and real-time behavioral correlation to provide for faster, more precise detection of threats and incidents with automated response and alerting to halt attacks in their tracks in real time.

Nate Lord

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