Is there anyone who has not heard of the Equifax breach? It was the biggest data breach in 2017 that saw 146 million user accounts compromised. What about the 2018 attack on Aadhar, the Indian government’s portal for storing its residents’ information. The system was hacked and 1.1 billion user data exposed. And now just a few months ago Toyota’s sales office in Japan was hacked and the user data for 3.1 million clients exposed. These are just some of the major breaches that have occurred over the last three years. And it is worrying because it seems to be getting worse as time passes by. Cybercriminals are getting more intelligent and coming up with new methods to gain access to networks and access user data. We are in the digital age and data is gold.
But what is more worrying is that some organizations are not addressing the issue with the seriousness it deserves. Clearly, the old methods are not working. You have a firewall? Good for you. But let’s see how the firewall protects you against insider attacks.
Insider Threats – The New Big Threat
Compared to last year, the number of attacks originating from within the Network has significantly increased. And the fact that businesses are now contracting job to outsiders who either work remotely or from within the organization has not done much to help the case. Not to mention that employees are now allowed to use personal computers for work related jobs.
Malicious and corrupt employees account for the bigger percentage of insider attacks but sometimes it’s also unintentional. Employees, partners, or outside contractors making mistakes that leave your Network vulnerable. And as you might imagine, insider threats are far dangerous than external attacks. The reason for this is that they are being executed by a person who is well informed about your Network. The attacker has a working knowledge of your network environment and policies and so their attacks are more targeted consequently leading to more damage. Also in most cases, an insider threat will take longer to detect than the external attacks.
Moreover, the worst thing about these attacks is not even the immediate loss resulting from disruption of services. It is the injury to your brand’s reputation. Cyber attacks and data breaches are often succeeded by drops in share prices and a mass departure of your clients.
So, if there is one thing that is clear is that you will need more than a firewall, a proxy or a virus protection software to keep your network completely safe. And it is this need that forms the basis of this post. Follow along as I highlight the 5 best threat monitoring software to secure your whole IT infrastructure. An IT Threat Monitor associates attacks to different parameters such as the IP addresses, URLs, as well as file and application details. The result is that you will have access to more information about the security incident like where and how it was executed. But before that, let’s look at four other ways you can enhance your network security.
Additional Ways to Enhance IT Security
The first thing an attacker will target is the database because that’s where you have all the company data. So it makes sense that you have a dedicated Database Monitor. It will log all the transactions carried out in the database and can help you detect suspicious activities that have the characteristics of a threat.
This concept involves analyzing data packets being sent between various components in your network. It’s a great way to ensure that there are no rogue servers set up within your IT infrastructure to siphon information and send it outside the network.
Every organization needs to have a clear guideline on who can view and access the various system resources. This way you can limit access to the sensitive organizational data to just the necessary people. An Access Rights Manager will not only allow you to edit the permission rights of users in your network but also allows you to see who, where and when data is being accessed.
This is a concept where only authorized software can be executed within the nodes in your network. Now, any other program trying to access your network will be blocked and you will be notified immediately. Then again there is one downside to this method. There is no clear way of determining what qualifies a software as being a security threat so you may have to work a little hard coming up with the risk profiles.
And now to our main topic. The 5 Best IT Network Threat Monitors. Sorry, I digressed a bit but I thought we should build a solid foundation first. The tools I am now going to discuss cement everything together to complete the fort that surrounds your IT environment.
1. SolarWinds Threat Monitor
Is this even a surprise? SolarWinds is one of those names that you are always assured will not disappoint. I doubt there is any system admin who has not used a SolarWinds product at some point in their career. And if you haven’t it may be time you changed that. I introduce to you the SolarWinds Threat Monitor.
This tools allows you to monitor your Network and respond to security threats in almost real-time. And for such a feature-rich tool, you will be impressed by how simple it is to use. It will only take a little while to complete installation and setup and then you are ready to begin monitoring. The SolarWinds Threat Monitor can be used to protect on-premise devices, hosted data centers, and public cloud environments like Azure, or AWS. It is perfect for medium to large organizations with big growth possibilities due to its scalability. And thanks to its multi-tenant and white-labeling capabilities this threat monitor will also be an excellent choice for Managed Security Service Providers.
Due to the dynamic nature of the cyber attacks, it’s critical that the cyber threat intelligence database be always up to date. This way you stand a better chance of surviving new forms of attacks. The SolarWinds Threat Monitor uses multiple sources such as IP and Domain reputation databases to keep its databases to date.
It also has an integrated Security Information and Event Manager (SIEM) that receives log data from multiple components in your Network and analyzes the data for threats. This tool takes a straightforward approach in its threat detection so that you don’t have to waste time looking through the logs to identify problems. It achieves this by comparing the logs against multiple sources of threat intelligence to find patterns signifying potential threats.
The SolarWinds Threat Monitor can store normalized and raw log data for a period of one year. This will be quite useful when you want to compare past events with present events. Then there are those moments after a security incidence when you need to sort through logs to identify vulnerabilities in your network. This tool provides you with an easy way to filter the data so that you don’t have to go through every single log.
Another cool feature is the automatic response and remediation to threats. Apart from saving you the effort, this will also be effective for those moments that you are not in a position to respond to threats immediately. Of course, it is expected that a threat monitor will have an alert system but the system in this threat monitor is more advanced because it combines multi-condition and cross-correlated alarms with the Active Response Engine to alert you of any significant events. The trigger conditions can be manually configured.
2. Digital Guardian
Digital Guardian is a comprehensive data security solution that monitors your network from end to end to identify and stop possible breaches and data exfiltration. It enables you to see every transaction carried out on the data including the details of the user accessing the data.
Digital Guardian collects information from different fields of data, endpoint agents, and other security technologies analyzes the data and tries to establish patterns that may signify potential threats. It will then notify you so that you can take the necessary remediation actions. This tool is able to produce more insights into threats by including IP addresses, URLs, and file and application details leading to more accurate threat detection.
Not only does this tool monitor for external threats but also internal attacks that target your intellectual property and sensitive data. This is in parallel to the various security regulations so by default, Digital Guardian helps prove compliance.
This threat monitor is the only platform that offers Data Loss Prevention (DLP) together with Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR). The way this works is that the end-point agent records all system, user, and data events on and off the network. It is then configured to block any suspicious activity before you lose data. So even if you miss a break into your system, you are assured that data won’t get out.
Digital Guardian is implemented on the cloud which means fewer system resources being used up. The network sensors and endpoint agents stream data to a security analyst-approved workspace complete with analytics and Reporting cloud monitors that help to reduce false alarms and filter through numerous anomalies to determine which require your attention.
3. Zeek Network Security Monitor
Zeek is an open-source monitoring tool that was previously known as the Bro Network Monitor. The tool collects data from complex, high throughput networks and uses the data as security intelligence.
Zeek is also a programming language of its own and you can use it to create custom scripts that will enable you to collect custom network data or automate the monitoring and identification of threats. Some custom roles you can perform include identifying mismatched SSL certificates or the use of suspicious software.
On the downside, Zeek does not give you access to data from your network endpoints. For this, you will need integration with a SIEM tool. But this is also a good thing because, in some instances, the huge amount of data collected by SIEMS can be overwhelming leading to many false alerts. Instead, Zeek uses network data which is a more reliable source of truth.
But rather than just rely on the NetFlow or PCAP network data, Zeek focuses on the rich, organized and easily searchable data that provides real insights into your network security. It extracts over 400 fields of data from your network and analyzes the data to produce actionable data.
The ability to assign unique connection IDs is a useful feature that helps you see all protocol activity for a single TCP connection. Data from various log files is also time-stamped and synchronized. Therefore, depending on the time you receive a threat alert, you can check the data logs for the around the same time to quickly determine the source of the problem.
But as with all the open source software, the biggest challenge of using open source software is setting it up. You will handle all the configurations including integrating Zeek with the other security programs in your Network. And many usually consider this too much work.
4. Oxen Network Security Monitor
Oxen is another software I recommend for monitoring your Network for security threats, vulnerabilities, and suspicious activities. And the main reason for this is that it continuously performs an automated analysis of potential threats in real time. This means that whenever there is a critical security incident, you will have enough time to act on it before it escalates. It also means that this will be an excellent tool to detect and contain zero-day threats.
This tool also helps in compliance by creating reports on the security position of the network, data breaches, and vulnerability.
Did you know that on every single day there is a new security threat that you will never know exists? Your threat monitor neutralizes it and proceeds with business as usual. Oxen is a little different though. It captures these threats and lets you know that they exist so that you can tighten your security ropes.
5. Cyberprint's Argos Threat Intelligence
Another great tool to strengthen your perimeter-based security technology is Argos Threat Intelligence. It combines your expertise with their technology to enable you to collect specific and actionable intelligence. This security data will help you identify real-time incidents of targeted attacks, data leakage and stolen identities that may compromise your organization.
Argos identifies threat actors targeting you in real time and provides relevant data about them. It has a strong database of about 10,000 threat actors to work with. Additionally, it uses hundreds of sources including IRC, Darkweb, Social media and Forums to collect commonly targeted data.