Cyberattacks have become an everyday affair, especially with the WannaCry attack and EquiFax breach making headline news recently. You might be asking yourself why cyberattacks have become more common. Is it because of loosened security policies or sophisticated attack methodologies? Either way, when security is compromised, money is lost and people are put in distress.
Attacks can happen for only two reasons—security loopholes and malicious insiders. Despite taking measures to keep both these factors in check, organizations face many threats and one out of five times that threat becomes an attack. This turnover rate brings into question how thoroughly organizations are combed for vulnerable spots and anomalous user activities.
The IT infrastructure of most organizations is complex and a hybrid of cloud and on-premises assets. These assets include a wide array of network components that must be watched and tracked, including switches, routers, and firewalls, along with all entry points such as desktop and laptop computers, remote access, third-party network connections, pluggable external devices, and wireless access points. This list is clearly exhausting to consider and it is humanly impossible for anyone to monitor and audit all these entities manually.
Is log management enough to contain attacks?
In general, log management solutions are used to ease admins’ jobs. These tools collect and aggregate log data from all network devices and collate them into reports, which admins can pull up at any time to look for abnormal network activity. The only shortcoming with this process is that logs are generated every millisecond by an extensive list of devices. Imagine the number of reports an admin is required to look through and analyze each day.
To put things into perspective, let’s assume a brute force attack is currently hitting your system. Unless your admin looks into the reports that detail failed user logons, chances are they wouldn’t know about the attack. Once the admin does find out about the attack, remedial steps would have to be taken to combat it. So, the missing gap here is a system that can identify signs of threats and notify admins about them in real time. This is where security information and event management (SIEM) plays a huge role; SIEM solutions go hand in hand with log management solutions, helping organizations mitigate and combat threats.
Leveraging SIEM with correlation, real-time alerts, and threat intelligence
SIEM solutions correlate events in real time to identify potential threats and send out real-time alerts. Let’s go back to our scenario of a brute force attack to understand how SIEM can help admins handle these kinds of attacks better. Brute force attacks are carried out by programs that try to gain access into a user account by applying a constant stream of varying password combinations, resulting in many failed logon attempts within a short span of time. A SIEM solution puts two and two together, correlates these failed logon events to recognize the attack pattern, and notifies the admin of the attack.
How does this work? Most attacks follow a general pattern, which is fed into the SIEM solution so it can see how common attacks are carried out. When the SIEM solution catches wind of any similar patterns, it sends out instant notifications to reduce the incident response time.
Another distinctive characteristic of a SIEM solution is that it identifies anomalous network behavior, intelligently classifies it as either a threat or a false positive, and notifies the admin if it’s the former. Admins can prioritize certain alerts by configuring a SIEM solution for IoCs (indicators of compromise), meaning they’ll only get notified in the case of critical events.
Most SIEM solutions are integrated with global threat feeds so they’re continually updated with universally blacklisted malicious sources. This lets admins stay threat-smart by proactively blocking harmful sources, even before their organization is attacked.
SIEM solutions can be customized to fit dynamic attack trends. For example, our SIEM solution Log360 has many predefined alert profiles designed to identify various attack patterns. Admins can also design additional alert profiles in Log360, keeping the SIEM tool constantly updated with all the trending attack patterns. This makes SIEM a robust system for securing any network.
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