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Versions: 00                                                            
Individual Submission                                       M. McFadden
Internet Draft                         internet policy advisors, ltd uk
Intended status: Informational                        February 14, 2021
Expires: August 14, 2021



        Evolution of Endpoint Security - An Operational Perspective
                  draft-mcfadden-opsec-endp-evolve-00.txt


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   This Internet-Draft will expire on August 14, 2021.

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   Section 4.e of the Trust Legal Provisions and are provided without
   warranty as described in the Simplified BSD License.

Abstract

   This draft discusses the traditional model of security where
   endpoints in the network are protected by a variety of tools. It
   proposes a model for endpoints and then argues that the older,
   traditional approach is no longer sufficient for operational
   security at the endpoint. A series of operational examples are
   discussed in an Appendix.

Table of Contents


   1. Introduction...................................................3
   2. Endpoints, Definition, Model and Scope.........................3
      2.1. Scope.....................................................3
      2.2. Models....................................................4
      2.3. Internal representation of an endpoint....................4
      2.4. External representation of an endpoint....................5
   3. Limitations of the Threat Landscape............................6
      3.1. Typical Categories of Threats.............................7
      3.2. Evolution of threat types and their descriptions..........7
   4. Endpoint Security Capabilities.................................8
      4.1. Intrinsic versus added security...........................9
      4.2. Specific Endpoint Security Capabilities..................10
   5. Optimal Properties of an Endpoint Security Solution...........11
   6. Case Studies in the Limitations of Endpoint Security Only.....12
      6.1. Unable to put an endpoint security add-on on the UE......13
      6.2. Endpoints may not see the malware on the endpoint........16
      6.3. Endpoints may miss information leakage attacks...........18
      6.4. Suboptimality and gray areas.............................20
   7. Defense-in-depth from the perspective of protocol design......23
   8. Endpoint security from the perspective of protocol design.....24
      8.1. Simplicity of design is important........................25
      8.2. Diversity in protocol design.............................25
      8.3. Protocol design and failure of intermediaries............26
      8.4. Protocol evolution.......................................26
   9. Security Considerations.......................................26
   10. IANA Considerations..........................................27
   11. Acknowledgements.............................................27
   12. References...................................................27
      12.1. Informative References..................................27
   Appendix A. Operational Experience and Endpoint Security.........31
      A.1. Endpoint only incidents..................................32



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      A.2. Security incidents detected primarily by network security
      products......................................................33

1. Introduction

   There is currently significant discussion of the evolution of the
   Internet's treat model. The evolution of the Internet has brought
   new approaches to transport, connectivity, service provision and the
   type of devices connected to the Internet. This document is a
   discussion of the capabilities and limitations of security solutions
   based on the traditional strategy of protecting endpoint devices.

   The typical approach of protecting endpoints is affected by the
   evolution of those endpoints and the emergence of threats that do
   not rely on exploits at the endpoints. The goal of this document is
   to provide an operational perspective on this evolution.

   The focus here will be capabilities and limitations of endpoint-only
   security solutions and the impact of the evolution of the Internet's
   threat model on operational security.

   Our goal with this review is to describe the benefits and
   limitations of endpoint security in the real world - from an
   operational perspective - rather than in the abstract. We aim to
   highlight security limitations that cannot be addressed by endpoint
   solutions and to suggest how these may be mitigated with the concept
   of a defence-in-depth approach, in order to increase the resilience
   against attacks and data breaches.

   Finally, this draft suggests how this approach might affect protocol
   design.

2. Endpoints, Definition, Model and Scope

2.1. Scope

   Endpoints are the origin and destination for a communication between
   parties. This encompasses User Equipment (UE) and the Host at the
   other end of the communication. This is a simplification of
   operational experience in the real world. In fact, there is an
   enormous variety of devices at the endpoints of communication of
   parties. However, a generalized approach to endpoints is not only
   possible, but the subject of other work in the IETF.  For instance,
   the TEEP Working Group [1] has attempted to describe a generalized
   model for endpoints. As a companion to this work, a taxonomy of
   endpoints [2] is also provided.



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   The goal is to provide a uniform way to describe the security
   properties of endpoints in order to also describe the threat model,
   or attack surface, of those endpoints.

   For example:

   o The following would be considered UEs: a smartphone, a smart
   device, any IoT device, a laptop, a desktop, a workstation, etc.



   o Hosts might be represented by the following examples: physical
   servers, virtual servers/machines, etc.

2.2. Models

   In what follows, the discussion is limited to modeling the endpoints
   that are User Equipment (UE) rather than hosts. Having a model for
   Internet hosts is important but beyond the scope of this draft. The
   goal is to have a generalized description of the endpoint, its
   security properties, and the position of the endpoint in the
   network.

   In addition, there are two separate descriptions for the endpoint.
   First, an internal view of the endpoint is provided and then a view
   of the external model for the endpoint is suggested. This approach
   provides a mechanism to cover the full attack surface and the threat
   landscape for the endpoint.

2.3. Internal representation of an endpoint

   The companion endpoint taxonomy draft [2] provides a hierarchy of
   endpoint types, properties and capabilities. The taxonomy draft
   begins from the simplification represented in the following diagram:

+----------------------------+
| Application                |
+----------------------------+
| OS / Execution Environment |
+----------------------------+
| Hardware                   |
+----------------------------+
                              Internal Endpoint Model

   Today there are an enormous set of combinations of Hardware, OS/EE
   pairing, and Application layers, offering the user a vast set of
   features with a wide spectrum of capabilities. One of the features


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   of the evolution of the Internet's threat model is that the variety
   of these combinations is an enormous change compared to one or two
   decades ago.

   The variety of combinations provide users with a rich set of new
   capabilities. Applications designers can provide services that were
   not possible even five years ago. However, with those new
   capabilities come new risks: new vectors for delivery of attacks and
   new attack surfaces at the endpoint.

   The result is: the operational implications for endpoint security
   have evolved as the capabilities and variety of endpoints has
   expanded.

2.3.1. Applications as Endpoints

   One of the other features of this evolution is that the application
   layer has evolved in such a way that it can be an endpoint as well.
   This has important operational security implications because prior
   approaches to providing endpoint security emphasized "per-device"
   security. In an evolved internet, the endpoint may be the
   application with multiple applications running on a single piece of
   User Equipment (UE). In this case, the threat model may be different
   for individual applications - resulting in different threat
   landscapes on a single device.

2.4. External representation of an endpoint

   Section 2.3 describes a model for understanding the threat landscape
   of an individual UE device. In order to provide a complete view of
   the threat landscape there must also be a model for the connectivity
   properties of the device. This is a view of the attack surface of
   the device as viewed externally.

   A representation of endpoints in an end-to-end context could look
   like the following diagram:

+-------+           +---------------------+---------+

| Human | <- (1) -> | Digital Persona | Application | <- (2) ->

+-------+           +-----------+-------------------+

                    | User Equipment                |

                    +-------------------------------+



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                    +----------------+           +----------------+

          <- (2) -> | Network        | <- (3) -> | Platform/Hosts |

                    | Infrastructure |           +----------------+

                    +----------------+
                              External Endpoint Model

   1. Humans have a user experience (UX) with the UE, starting with an
   explicit or implicit Digital Persona, engaging with an application;

   2. The application will have sessions through a network
   infrastructure. There are no assumptions made about how the network
   infrastructure is provisioned or what its properties are, (as an
   example, it could include landlines, mobile networks, satellites,
   etc.) nor are any assumptions made about the characteristics of
   those sessions (for instance, unicast or multicast, or sessions
   sourced from multiple hosts).

   3. A platform consisting of many Hosts either physical or virtual
   which ensures a large part of the end-to-end user experience.

   In this end-to-end model we see that many other systems may have
   interactions with the UE: the human, the UX, the digital persona,
   the sessions, the intermediate network infrastructure, and the hosts
   and applications at the destination.

   This means that the operational security requirements for the model
   have expanded significantly. The threat landscape is very large and
   the attack surface will involve all the components and interactions
   at any level of either model.

3. Limitations of the Threat Landscape

   In sections 2.3 and 2.4 above we saw that the pace of evolution of
   endpoints on the Internet has had a resulting change to the types
   and properties of attacks on those endpoints. In the past, the
   number of User Equipment (UE) was well-bounded and an approach to
   operational security that addressed the endpoints made intuitive and
   practical sense.

   In today's Internet, the vast number and range of combinations that
   the generic modeling in sections 2.3 and 2.4 offers us, makes
   defining a threat landscape far more complicated. From an



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   operational perspective the prior approach of concentrating security
   on endpoints may have to be reconsidered.

3.1. Typical Categories of Threats

   Any description of a threat model for endpoints must address
   typical, well-known attacks such as:

   o Malware (Trojans, viruses, backdoors, bots, etc.)

   o Adware and spyware

   o Exploits

   o Phishing

   o Script-based attacks

   o Ransomware, local Denial of Service (DoS) attacks

   o Denial of Service (DoS) attacks

   o Malicious removable storage devices (USB)

   o In memory attacks

   o Rootkits and firmware attacks

   o Scams and online fraud

   o System abuse (staging/proxying)

3.2. Evolution of threat types and their descriptions

   However, the threat landscape is not static. Like the endpoints
   themselves, the threats evolve. It's difficult, for instance, to
   decide if cryptojacking or coinmining belong as examples of attacks
   in categories above. It is possible that they represent new
   categories of attack. In either case, a model of endpoint security
   must cope with a threat landscape that evolves as the properties of
   the endpoints evolve.

   There are frameworks for describing threats:

   O MITRE Common Attack Pattern Enumeration Classification (CAPEC).
   See [3]. CAPEC offers a hierarchical view of attack patterns by
   domains which can match some aspects of both of our above models,


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   but we will need to identify those attacks that fit exactly in our
   scope.

   O MITRE ATT&CK. See [4]. ATT&CK offers a very straightforward
   categorized knowledge base of attacks, but it concentrates on the
   enterprise attack chain, so we will need to do some work to extract
   what we need.

   In both cases, the frameworks do not address all of the threats that
   can affect the security of a system, for example they do not cover:
   routing hijacking, flooding, selective blocking, unauthorised
   modification of data sent to an endpoint, etc.

   Phishing is an example of the limitations of using this approach.
   Phishing should be included as an attack, but while this is indeed
   an attack that will materialize on an end-device through an
   application (email, webmail, etc.), the real target of this attack
   is not the device, but the human behind the digital persona.

4. Endpoint Security Capabilities

   For the purpose of this draft, endpoint security capabilities are
   the features that are used to protect the endpoint from attack.
   Protection has many meanings, however it is important to distinguish
   three different aspects of protection:

   o Prevention - The attack doesn't succeed by intrinsic or explicit
   security capabilities.

   o Detection - The attack is happening or has happened and is
   recorded and/or signaled to another component for action.

   o Mitigation - Once detected, the attack can be halted or its
   effects can at least be reduced or reversed.

   For example, prevention methods include keeping the software updated
   and patching vulnerabilities, implementing measures to authenticate
   the provenance of incoming data to stop the delivery of malicious
   content, or choosing strong passwords. Detection methods include
   inspecting logs or network traffic. Mitigation could include
   deploying backups to recover from an attack with minimal disruption.

   The endpoint model definitions in sections 2.3 and 2.4 are simple
   but the security capabilities of each component may be complex. Each
   layer may or may not have a certain spectrum of intrinsic
   capabilities and there may be multiple ways to provide add-on and



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   third-party endpoint security capabilities, allowing complex
   interactions between all of these components.

4.1. Intrinsic versus added security

   In terms of security capabilities for each layer of the model, there
   are those capabilities that are built-in or intrinsic, and there are
   those that are added to the layer through external means.

   (A) Intrinsic security capability can be built-into each of the
   endpoint model layers

   o (1) Hardware

   o (2) OS/EE

   o (3) Application

   (B) Add-on security capability can be

   o (4) a component of the hardware

   o (5) a component of the OS/EE

   o (6) an application by itself

   In (A), there is a built-in, 'security by design' approach of the
   developer or manufacturers. They often offer a security model and
   security capabilities as part of their design.

   In (B), a 3rd party is offering an additional security component
   which was not necessarily considered when the Hardware, OS/EE or
   Application was designed.

   With regard to (6), there are many available options for add-on
   security capabilities offered by third-parties as applications on a
   commercial or open-source basis.

   Gartner (see [5] highlights the evolution of endpoint security
   towards two directions as shown in [6], [7], and [8].

   o Endpoint Protection Platform (EPP) as an integrated security
   solution designed to detect and block threats at the device level.

   o Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) as a combination of next
   generation tools to provide anomaly detection and alerting, forensic
   analysis and endpoint remediation capabilities.


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4.2. Specific Endpoint Security Capabilities

   Endpoint security capabilities can be grouped into four broad areas:

   o those capabilities that are intrinsic to the endpoint and its
   network connectivity

   o those that protect against the execution of problematic code

   o those that protect against malware installation and execution

   o those that protect against weaknesses in applications.

   In the following sections, examples of these capabilities are
   provided.

4.2.1. Intrinsic Capabilities

   o Software updates / patching

   o Access Control (RBAC, ABAC, etc.)

   o Authentication

   o Authorization

   o Detailed event logging

4.2.2. Execution protection

   o Exploit mitigation (file/memory)

   o Tamper protection

   o Whitelisting filter by signatures, signed code or other means

   o System hardening and lockdown (HIPS, trusted boot, etc.)

4.2.3. Malware protection

   o Scanning - on access/on write/scheduled/quick scan (file/memory)

   o Reputation-based blocking on files or by ML

   o Behavior-based detection - (heuristic based/ML)

   o Rootkit and firmware detection


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   o Threat intelligence based detection (cloud-based/on premise)

   o Static detection - generic, by emulation, by ML, by signature

4.2.4. Attack/Exploit/Application Protection

4.2.4.1. Application protection (browser, messaging clients, social
   media, etc.)

   o Disinformation Protection (anti-phishing, fake news, anti-spam,
   etc.)

   o Detection of unintended link location (URL blocklist, etc.)

   o Memory exploit mitigation, e.g. browsers

4.2.4.2. Network Protection (local firewall, IDS, IPS and local proxy)
   inbound and outbound

   o Detection of network manipulation (ARP, DNS, etc.)

   o Data Loss Prevention and exfiltration detection (incl. covert
   channels)

5. Optimal Properties of an Endpoint Security Solution

   It is impossible to provide a complete list of the properties of an
   optimal endpoint security solution. The evolution of the threat
   landscape ensures that endpoint security solutions will require new
   features in the future. However, it is possible to provide a (non-
   exhaustive) list of properties - in the spirit of best practices -
   for an endpoint security solution.

   o find instantly accurate reputation for any file before it gets
   executed and block it if needed.

   o monitor any behavior on the endpoint, including inbound and
   outbound network traffic, learn and identify normal behavior and
   detect and block malicious actions, even if the attack is misusing
   legitimate clean system tools or hiding with a rootkit.

   o patch instantly across all devices/systems/OSes, including virtual
   patching, meaning you can patch or shield an application even before
   an official patch is released.

   o exploit protection methods for all processes where applicable,
   e.g. no execute bit (NX), data execution prevention (DEP), address


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   space layout randomization (ASLR), Control Flow Integrity Guard
   (CFI/CFG), stack canaries, shadow stack, reuse attack protection
   (RAP), etc. all of which are methods, which make it very difficult
   to successfully run any exploit, even for zero day vulnerabilities.

   o detect attempts to re-route data to addresses other than those
   which the user intended, e.g. detect incorrectly served DNS entries,
   TLS connections to sites with invalid certificates, data that is
   being proxied without explicit user consent, etc.

   o have an emulator/sandbox/micro virtualization to execute code and
   analyse the outcome and perform a roll back of all actions if
   needed, e.g. for ransomware.

   o allow the endpoint to communicate with the other endpoints in the
   local network and globally, to learn from 'the crowd' and
   dynamically update rules based on its findings.

   o be in constant sync with all other endpoints deployed on a network
   and other security solutions, run on any OS, with no delay
   (including offline modes and on legacy systems).

   o run from the OS/EE when possible.

   o run as one of the first process on the OS/EE and protect itself
   from any form of unwanted tampering.

   o offers a reliable logging that can't be tampered with, even in the
   event of system compromise.

   o receive updates instantly from a trusted central entity.

6. Case Studies in the Limitations of Endpoint Security Only

   The previous section discusses what some of the optimal features of
   endpoint security 'system' would be. However, a more realistic view,
   based on operational security data would indicate:

   o may not be able to run at full capacity due to computational power
   limits, battery life, performance, or policies (such as BYOD
   restrictions in enterprise networks), etc.

   o may not be able to run at full capacity as it slows down
   performance too much.





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   o will miss some of the malware or attacks, regardless of detection
   method used, like signatures, heuristics, machine learning (ML),
   artificial intelligence (AI), etc.

   o have some level of False Positives (FP).

   o not monitoring or logging all activities on the system, e.g. due
   to constraints of disk space or when a clean windows tool is being
   triggered to do something malicious but the activity is not logged.
   Such activity can be logged, but a decision needs to be made if it's
   clean or not.

   o have its own vulnerabilities or simple instabilities that could be
   used to compromise the system.

   o be tampered with by the user, e.g. disabled or reconfigured.

   o be tampered with by the attacker, e.g. exceptions added or log
   files wiped.

   In the following section, a number of these limitations are reviewed
   in case studies.. Some limitations are absolute, and some
   limitations result in a grey area or suboptimality for the endpoint
   security solution.

6.1. Unable to put an endpoint security add-on on the UE

   We have seen that UEs will vary a lot; by 2022, an estimated 29
   billion devices will be connected, with 18 billion of them related
   to IoT [9]. Many IoT products lack the capacity to install any
   endpoint security capabilities, are unable to update the software,
   and it is not possible to force the UE provider to improve or even
   offer an intrinsic security capability.

   In IoT we find UEs such as medical devices which are limited by
   regulation, welding robots that can't be slowed down, smart light
   bulbs which are limited by the processing power, etc. There are many
   factors influencing whether endpoint security can be added to a UE:

   * The UE is simply not powerful enough or the performance hit is too
   high.

   * Adding your own security will breach the warranty or will
   invalidate a certification or a regulation (breach of validity).

   * The UE needs to run in real-time and any delay introduced by a
   security process might break the process.


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   * Some UEs are simply locked by design and the manufacturer does not
   provide a security solution (e.g. smart TV, fitness tracker or
   personal artificial assistants) see [10], [11].

   In the future, a possible research problem would be to find hard
   data on the exact proportion of IoT devices that are unable to run
   any endpoint security add-on or that have no intrinsic security
   built-in.

   The other hidden dimension here is the economical aspect. Many
   manufacturer are reluctant to invest in IoT device security, because
   it can significantly increases the cost of their solution and there
   is the perception that they will lose market shares, as customers
   are not prepared to pay the extra cost for added security.

6.1.1. Not receiving any updates or functioning patches

   The endpoint security system may lack a built-in capability to be
   patched or it may be connected to a network that prevents the
   process of downloading updates automatically. For example stand-
   alone medical systems or industrial systems in isolated network
   segments often do not have a communication channel to the Internet.

   Even if security updates are received, they typically will only be
   periodically updated; hence there will be a window of opportunity
   for an attacker, between the time the attack is first used, and the
   time the attack is discovered/patched and the patch is deployed.

   In addition updates and patches may themselves be malicious by
   mistake, or on purpose if not properly authenticated, or if the
   source of the updates has malicious intent. This could be part of a
   software update supply chain attack or an elaborate attacker
   breaking the update process, as for example seen with the Flamer
   group (see [12]).

   A recent survey found that fewer than 10% of consumer IoT companies
   follow vulnerability disclosure guidelines at all, which is regarded
   as a basic first step in patching vulnerabilities (see [13]). This
   indicates that many IoT devices do not have a defined update process
   or may not even create patches for most of the vulnerabilities.

   Furthermore some endpoints system may reach the end of their support
   period and therefore no longer receive any updates for the OS/EE or
   the security solution due to missing licenses. However the systems
   may remain in use and become increasingly vulnerable as time goes on
   and new attacks are discovered.



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   In the following sections, individual examples of attacks on
   endpoints unable to provide for their own security are examined. In
   each case, the description of the attack follows the format of . . .

6.1.2. Mirai IoT bot

6.1.2.1. Mirai Description 1

   | Description | A Mirai bot infecting various IoT devices through
   weak passwords over Telnet port TCP 23 and by using various
   vulnerabilities, for example the SonicWall GMS XML-RPC Remote Code
   Execution Vulnerability (CVE-2018-9866) on TCP port 21009. Once a
   device is compromised it will scan for further victims and then
   start a DoS attack. |

   | Simplified attack process | Compromised device scans network for
   multiple open ports, attempts infection through weak password and
   exploits, downloads more payload, starts DoS attack. |

   | UE | No security tool present on majority of IoT devices, hence no
   detection possible. If a rudimentary security solution with limited
   capabilities such as outgoing firewall is present on the IoT device
   e.g. router, then it might be able to detect the outbound DoS attack
   and slow it down. |

   | References | [14] }[15] |

6.1.2.2. Mirai Description 2

   | Name | Mirai |

   | Description | A device infection for participation into a botnet
   activity |

   | Endpoint Targeted | IoT Devices |

   | Attack Surface Categories Involved | Telnet remote access; Weak
   default and existing passwords; Code vulnerabilities in exposed
   services |

   | Attack Surface Examples | Weak passwords over Telnet TCP port 23;
   SonicWall GMS XML-RPC Remote Code Execution Vulnerability (CVE-2018-
   9866) on TCP port 21009 |

   | Attack Objective | Deployment of a custom code or commands on the
   device for participation in botnet activities |



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   | Attack Category | Botnet Deployment; DDoS |

   | Attack Orchestration | Exploit remote access weaknesses on the
   device to deploy a bot on the device |

   | Mitigation | If a rudimentary security solution with limited
   capabilities such as outgoing firewall is present on the IoT device
   e.g. router, then it might be able to detect the added bot or the
   outbound DoS attack and slow it down |

   | Attack Surface Minimisation | Better password management; Uptodate
   patching |

   | References |  [14] [15] |

6.2. Endpoints may not see the malware on the endpoint

6.2.1. LoJax UEFI rootkit

   | Description | A device compromised with the LoJax UEFI rootkit,
   which is active before the OS/EE is started, hence before the
   endpoint security is active. It can pass back a clean 'image' when
   the security solution tries to scan the UEFI. Infection can either
   happen offline with physical access or through a dropper malware
   from the OS/EE. |

   | UE | A perfect endpoint security could potentially detect the
   installation process if it is done from the OS/EE and not with
   physical modification or in the factory. Once the device is
   compromised the endpoint security solution can neither detect nor
   remove the rootkit. The endpoint solution may detect any of the
   exhibited behaviour, for example if the rootkit drops another
   malware onto the OS/EE at a later stage. |

   | Reference | [16] |

6.2.2. SGX Malware

   | Description | Malware can hide in the Intel Software Guard
   eXtensions (SGX) enclave chip feature. This is a hardware-isolated
   section of the CPU's processing memory. Code running inside the SGX
   can use return-oriented programming (ROP) to perform malicious
   actions. |

   | UE | Since the SGX feature is by design out of reach for the
   OS/EE, an endpoint security solution can neither detect nor remove
   any injected malware. A perfect endpoint security solution could


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   potentially detect the installation process if it is done from the
   OS/EE and not with physical modification or in the factory. |

   | References | [17] [18] |

6.2.3. AMT Takeover

   | Description | A targeted attack group can remotely execute code on
   a system through the Intel AMT (Active Management Technology)
   vulnerability (CVE-2017-5689) over TCP ports 16992/16993. This
   provides full access to the computer, including remote keyboard and
   monitor access. The attacker can install malware, modify the system
   or steal information. |

   | UE | The AMT is accessible even if the PC is turned off. Therefore
   any endpoint security software installed on the OS, would not be
   able to see this traffic and therefore also not able to detect it. |

   | References | [19], [20] |

6.2.4. AMT case study (anonymised)

   An enterprise has a data center containing very sensitive data.
   Their workstations use a certain Intel chipset which integrates the
   AMT feature for remote computer maintenance. AMT is an interface for
   hardware management of the workstations, including transmission of
   screen content and keyboard and mouse input for remote maintenance.
   Communication with the management workstation is implemented by AMT
   through the network interface card (NIC) on the motherboard. The
   network packets generated in this way are invisible both to the main
   processor and thus to the OS running on the workstation. In autumn
   of 2015, it became known that some AMT-enabled computers had a flaw
   that allowed AMT's remote maintenance component to be activated and
   configured by attackers. This also worked when the workstations were
   switched off. The leakage of data through this vulnerability is
   elusive and difficult to detect. The identified threat situation led
   the organization to a new requirement implementing a method that can
   reliably detect this and similar vulnerabilities. In particular, the
   detection of rootkits and manipulated firmware, and this includes
   also (UEFI) BIOS - has also been a focus of their attention.

   The method used as a solution, compares the desired data packets
   generated by a client operating system - the user, with the data
   packets received on the switch port. If more data has been received
   on the switch port than was been sent by the operating system - the
   user, there is a strong possibility that something bad is happening
   - like for example an infection via modified firmware or by rootkit.


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6.2.5. Users bypass the endpoint security

   | Description | Endpoint security systems should not interfere with
   the normal operation of the endpoint to the extent that users become
   frustrated and want to disable them or configure them to disable a
   significant fraction of important security capabilities. |

   | UE | Add-on endpoint security is now bypassed or disabled by the
   user. Unless the endpoint is under monitored management or can
   prevent a user from modifying the configuration, then this is
   shutting down a significant fraction of the security capabilities. |

   | References | [21] |

6.3. Endpoints may miss information leakage attacks

   Another aspect that endpoint security has issues in detecting are
   information disclosure or leakage attacks, especially on shared
   virtual/physical systems.

6.3.1. Meltdown/Specter

   The Meltdown/Specter vulnerabilities and all its variants may allow
   reading of physical memory belonging to another virtual machine (VM)
   on the same physical system. This could reveal passwords,
   credentials, certificates etc. The trick is that an attacker can
   spin up his own VM on the same physical hardware. As this VM is
   controlled by the attacker, they will ensure that there is no
   endpoint security that detects the Meltdown exploit code when run.
   It is very difficult for the attacked VM to detect the memory read-
   outs. For known CPU vulnerabilities there are software patches
   available than can be applied. If it is an external service
   provider, it might not be in the power of the user to patch the
   physical system or to determine if this has been done by the
   provider.

6.3.2. Network daemon exploits

   Other attack types, which leak memory data from a vulnerable web
   server, are quite difficult to detect for an endpoint security. For
   example the Heartbleed bug allows anyone on the Internet to read the
   memory of the systems protected by the vulnerable versions of the
   OpenSSL software. This could lead to credentials or keys being
   exposed. An endpoint solution needs to either patch the vulnerable
   application or monitor it for any signs of exploitation or data
   leakage and prevent the data from being exfiltrated.



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6.3.3. SQL injection attacks

   A SQL injection attack is an example of an attack that exploits the
   backend logic of an application. Typically, this is a web
   application with access to a database. By encoding specific command
   characters into the query string, additional SQL commands can be
   triggered. A successful attack can lead to the content of the whole
   database being exposed to the attacker. There are other similar
   attacks that can be grouped together for the purpose of this task,
   such as command injection or cross site scripting (XSS). Although
   they are different attacks, they all at their core fail at input
   filtering and validation, leading to unwanted actions being
   performed.

   Applications that are vulnerable to SQL injections are very common
   and are not restricted to web applications. An endpoint solution
   needs to monitor all data entered into possible vulnerable
   applications. This should include data received from the network. A
   generic pattern matching for standard SQL injection attack strings
   can be applied to potentially block some of the attacks. In order to
   block all types of SQL injection attacks the endpoint solution
   should have some knowledge about the logic of the monitored
   application, which helps to determine how normal requests differ
   from attacks.

   Applications can be analysed at source code level for potential
   weaknesses, but dynamically patching is very difficult. See { [22] }

6.3.4. Low and slow data exfiltration

   An endpoint security solution can detect low and slow data
   exfiltration, for example  when interesting data sources are tracked
   and access to them is monitored. If the data source is not on the
   endpoint itself, e.g. a database in the network, then the received
   data needs to be tagged and its further use needs to be tracked. To
   make detection difficult, an attacker could decide to use an
   exfiltration process that sends only 10 bytes every Sunday to a
   legitimate cloud service. If that is not in the normal behavior
   pattern, then this anomaly could be detected by the endpoint. If the
   process that sends the data or the destination IP address have a bad
   reputation, then they could be stopped. Though it is very difficult
   to reliably block such an attack and most solutions have a specific
   threshold that needs to be exceeded before it is detected as an
   anomaly.





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6.4. Suboptimality and gray areas

6.4.1. Stolen credentials

   Stolen credentials and misuse of system tools such as RDP, Telnet or
   SSH are a valid scenario during attacks. An attacker can use stolen
   credentials to remotely log into a system and access data or execute
   commands in this context like the legitimate user might do. An
   endpoint security solution can restrict access from specific IP
   addresses, but this is difficult in a dynamic environment and when
   an attacker might have already compromised a trusted device and
   misuse it as a stepping stone for lateral movement. The endpoint
   could perform additional checks of the source device, such as
   verifying installed applications and certain conditions. Again this
   will not work in all scenarios, e.g. a hijacked valid device during
   lateral movement.

   This means that the system will not be able to simply block the
   connection if the authentication with the stolen credentials
   succeeds. A multi factor authentication (MFA) could limit the use of
   stolen credentials, but depending on the system used and the
   determination of the attacker they might be able to bypass this
   hurdle as well e.g. cloning a SIM card to read text message codes.

   As a next step, a solution on the endpoint can monitor the behavior
   of the logged in user and determine if it represents expected normal
   behavior. Unfortunately, there is the chance for false positives
   that might block legitimate actions, hence the rules are usually not
   applied too tightly. The system can monitor for suspicious behavior,
   similar to malware detection, where every action is carefully
   analyzed and all activity is tracked. For example if the SSH user is
   adding all files to archives with passwords and then deletes the
   original files in the file explorer, then this could result in a
   ransomware case scenario. If only a few files are processed per
   hour, then this activity will be very difficult for the endpoint to
   distinguish from normal activity, in order to flag it as malicious.

   The problem of attackers blending in with normal activity is one of
   the biggest challenges with so called living off the land attack
   methods. The attacker chooses to keep their profile low by not
   installing any additional binary files on the system, but instead
   misuses legitimate system tools to carry out their malicious intent.
   This means that there is no malware file that could be identified
   and the detection relies solely on other methods such as behaviour
   based monitoring { [23] }.




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   If information is shared across multiple endpoints, then each one
   could learn from the others and see how many connections came in
   from that source, what files were involved and what behavior the
   clients exhibited. This crowd wisdom approach would allow blocking
   rules to be applied after the first incident across multiple
   endpoints.

6.4.2. Zero Day Vulnerability

   | Description | An attacker exploits a zero day vulnerability or any
   recent vulnerability. |



   | UE | In theory this scenario could be handled by the endpoint
   security: a) Once the intrinsic security system has been patched,
   exploitation of the vulnerability can be prevented. b) The add-on
   security with enhanced capabilities or updated methods can detect
   and mitigate the vulnerability. It does not necessarily require the
   official patch.|

   | Challenge | In practice many systems remain vulnerable to a
   vulnerability months or even years after a security fix has been
   released. Moreover there is a big gap between when a vulnerability
   is disclosed and when a security fix is available. Also there is a
   big gap between when a security fix is available and when the
   security fix is actually applied. A recent study over three years,
   examined the patching time of 12 client-side and 112 server-side
   applications in enterprise hosts and servers. It took over 6 months
   on average to patch 90% of the population across all
   vulnerabilities. { [24] }. We note too: "The patching of servers is
   overall much worse than the patching of client applications. On
   average a server application remains vulnerable for 7.5 months." |

   | References | { [25] }{{ [26] } |

6.4.3. Port scan over the network

   An infected machine, let's say a Mirai bot on a router, is scanning
   a class B network for IP addresses with TCP port 80 open. The
   malware can slow it down to 1 IP address per 5 seconds (or any other
   threshold) and it can go in randomized order (like for example the
   nmap tool does) in order to make it difficult to find a sequential
   pattern. To increase detection difficulties, legitimate requests to
   existing web servers can be added in at random intervals.




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   An endpoint solution might be able to detect this behaviour,
   depending on the threshold, but it will be difficult. At some point
   the pattern will be similar to browsing the web, so either the
   endpoint blocks the bot scanning and also the user from surfing, or
   it allows both.

   To make it even harder, the attacker can use a botnet that
   communicates over peer-to-peer (P2P) or a central command and
   control server (C&C) and then distribute the scan load over multiple
   hosts. This means each endpoint only scans a subset, let's say 100
   IP addresses, but all 1,000 bots scan a total of 100,000 IP
   addresses.

   This attack is difficult to detect by a reasonable threshold on each
   endpoint individually. If the endpoints talk to each other and
   exchange information, then a collective decision can be made on the
   bigger picture of the bot traffic.

   Another option for the endpoint solution is to block the bot malware
   from operating on the computer, for example by detecting the
   installation, analyzing the behavior of the process or by preventing
   the binary from accessing the network. This includes blocking any
   form of communication for the process to its C&C server, regardless
   of if it is using a P2P network or misusing legitimate system tools
   or browsers to communicate with the Internet. Blocking indirect
   communication over system tools as part of living off the land
   tactics, can be very challenging.

   See { [27] }

6.4.4. DDoS attacks

   For this example let us consider a botnet of 100,000 compromised
   computers and each one sends a burst of traffic to a remote target,
   for one second each, alternating in groups. This will generate some
   waves of pulse attack traffic. Similar comments can be made about
   overall pulsed DDoS attacks { [28] }.

   A solution on the endpoint can attempt to detect the outgoing
   traffic. If the DoS attack is volume based and the time span of each
   pulse is large enough or the repeating frequency for each bot is
   high, then detection with thresholds on the endpoint is feasible. It
   is different, if it is an application layer DoS attack, where the
   logic of the receiving application is targeted, for example with too
   many search queries in HTTP GET requests. This would flood the
   backend server with intensive search requests, which can result in
   the web site no longer being responsive. Such attacks can succeed


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   with a low amount of requests being sent, especially if its
   distributed over a botnet. This makes it very difficult for a single
   endpoint to detect such an ongoing attack, without knowledge from
   other endpoints or the network.

   Another option for the endpoint solution is to block the bot malware
   from operating on the computer, for example by detection the
   installation, analyzing the behavior of the process or by preventing
   the binary from accessing the network. This includes blocking any
   form of communication for the process to its C&C server, regardless
   of if it is using a P2P network or misusing legitimate system tools
   or browsers to communicate with the Internet. Blocking indirect
   communication over system tools as part of living off the land
   tactics, can be very challenging.


7. Defense-in-depth from the perspective of protocol design

   While endpoint security systems have good capabilities (for
   instance, those seen in section 5 above), sometimes it is debatable
   and perhaps suboptimal to let the endpoint run the capability alone
   or at all. It is generally considered good security practice to
   adopt a defense-in-depth approach (see [29]). The Open Web
   Application Security Project group (OWASP) describes the concept as
   follows:

   "The principle of defense-in-depth is that layered security
   mechanisms increase security of the system as a whole. If an attack
   causes one security mechanism to fail, other mechanisms may still
   provide the necessary security to protect the system." (see [29]).

   Indeed, there are many other constituencies as per our end-to-end
   model that can participate in the defence process: The network, the
   infrastructure itself, the platform, the human, the user experience
   and in a hybrid of an on premise and cloud approach, an Integrated
   Cyber Defence (ICD) of the entire chain.

   The simple idea behind the concept is that "every little bit helps".
   If the endpoint is not 100% secure itself, the detection chance can
   increase with additional security capabilities from other entities.
   We acknowledge that there are some case where adding an additional
   component to the system may degrade the overall security level by
   introducing new weaknesses.

   There are various reference articles in the industry highlighting
   limitations of endpoint only solutions. For example this quote here,
   which talks about multi-tier solutions:


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   "There are limitations with any endpoint protection solution,
   however, that can limit protection to only the client layer. There
   is also a need for security above the client layer, as endpoint
   protection products cannot intercept traffic. Vendors will often
   sell a multi-tiered solution that enables a network appliance to
   assist the endpoint protection client by intercepting traffic
   between the attacker and the infected client. Vendors will also sell
   solutions that monitor and intercept traffic on internal or external
   network segments to protect the enterprise from these threats. A
   prime example of the limitations of endpoint protection software is
   infection via a phishing attack." [30].

   Some sources point out that even the best solution might not get
   deployed in the optimal way in a real world scenario as the
   environment can be very complex:

   "While endpoint security has improved significantly with the
   introduction of application whitelisting and other technologies, our
   systems and devices are simply too diverse and too interconnected to
   ensure that host security can be deployed 100% ubiquitously and 100%
   effectively." [31]

   On these grounds it is considered a good idea to follow a layered
   approach when it comes to security.

   "In today's complex threat environment, companies need to adopt a
   comprehensive, layered approach to security, which is a challenging
   task in such as rapidly evolving, crowded market." [331]

   It is important to comprehend the capabilities of endpoint security
   solutions in this overall picture of the connected environment,
   which includes other systems, networks and various protocols that
   are used to interact with these entities. Understanding possible
   shortcomings from single layered solutions can help counterbalance
   such weaknesses in the architectural concept or the protocol design.

8. Endpoint security from the perspective of protocol design

   The previous sections have reviewed two models for endpoints on the
   Internet, a review of how endpoints have evolved, an examination of
   the features of endpoint security and - finally - a view of how
   endpoint security, alone, may not be sufficient to protect endpoints
   and users in a evolved Internet. A taxonomy of endpoints is provided
   in a companion draft [2]. The evolution has brought a significant
   set of new threats and there is evidence that endpoint security is
   not enough to protect against those threats.



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   This is an observation about operational security, but what does it
   mean for protocol design?

8.1. Simplicity of design is important

   Protocol design is often informed by attempting to get all possible
   use cases addressed in early versions of the protocol design. It is
   widely observed that subsequent versions of a protocol - popular or
   not - are difficult to achieve. However, simplicity in protocol
   design ensures that a protocol will be well-understood at design-
   time, it can be modelled and receive a full (and, perhaps formal)
   security analysis. The Security Directorate already routinely
   reviews protocols in Last Call for their security characteristics -
   a practice that should endure. However, making protocol design
   decisions that allow for easy, open review helps build confidence in
   the security of the underlying design.

   It is certain that there will always be unintended consequences in
   choices made at protocol design time. However, if the underlying
   protocol is not overly complex, those unintended consequences can be
   limited. It also make possible modularization or code-reuse allowing
   for the reuse of security analysis from one protocol to another.

   It is worth noting that implementation is also affected by protocol
   design decisions. Complex or poorly defined methods for deployment
   of software that implements a protocol means that they are more
   likely to be deployed incorrectly or insecurely.

8.2. Diversity in protocol design

   Protocol design can include decisions that limit - or, encourage the
   limitation - or service diversity. This has market-facing risks but
   also has security implications. Where a protocol is too complex to
   upgrade or implement, only those with the necessary resources are
   likely to benefit from the deployment. Where larger stakeholders
   dominate deployment of a particular protocol - because of its
   underlying design - the result can be a limited pool of deployments
   with potentially smaller numbers of points of failure.

   When protocol choices lead to lack of service diversity, this also
   increases the risk of shared vulnerabilities among a small set of
   providers of service. In this case, the attractiveness of the target
   becomes higher as the number of service implementation becomes
   lower.

   Protocol design should encourage diversity of service provision.



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8.3. Protocol design and failure of intermediaries

   The rise of intermediaries has been an important feature of the
   evolution of the Internet. In a prior era, it would have been
   natural and sufficient to concentrate on deploying security at
   endpoints. The end-to-end principle seems to encourage thinking of
   building intelligence - and thus, protection - at the edges of the
   network.

   From previous sections, it is apparent that a strict view of the
   end-to-end model no longer applies. Even the model for an endpoint,
   as provided in section 2, no longer can support the view of endpoint
   protection being for the device or UE. The result is the security of
   the endpoint is, in part, dependent on the security of the
   middleboxes and intermediary hosts that provide services.

   From the point of protocol design, planning for this includes
   planning for when those intermediaries are compromised, unavailable
   or stop delivering expected services correctly. Protocols that
   depend upon intermediaries should clearly adapt to failure modes of
   the intermediaries and give choices to endpoint on what actions to
   take in the event of third-party failure.

8.4. Protocol evolution

   A core message in this draft is that: as the Internet evolves, its
   endpoints do as well, and with them the threats they face.  Even
   ancient protocols are rarely static - especially if they have any
   deployment base.

   As protocols evolve their designers have to achieve a balance
   between interoperability, strictness, agility and extensibility.
   Considering this deployment, and altered use case, during design has
   the property of making protocol evolution more secure.

   Care must be taken, especially in complex protocols where many new
   use cases are being account for, in development of the evolution. It
   may make the underlying protocol so complex that few are able to
   implement it securely. Thus, while the protocol itself may be
   secure, it's complexity makes for error in implementation which
   leads to operational security problems.

9. Security Considerations

   This document is all about security considerations of operational
   security for endpoints. In particular it provides a model for



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   endpoint security and then discusses why traditional approaches to
   endpoint security are no longer sufficient.

10. IANA Considerations

   This memo contains no instructions or requests for IANA. The authors
   continue to appreciate the efforts of IANA staff in support of the
   IETF.

11. Acknowledgements

   The original idea for this draft came from another, now expired
   draft [33].  The authors of that draft intended a comprehensive
   discussion of endpoint security and a clear description of how the
   evolution of the Internet made endpoint security - on its own -
   insufficient.

   The author thanks those previous contributors: Arnaud Taddei, Bret
   Jordan, Candid Wueest, Chris Larsen, Andre Engel, Kevin Roundy,
   Yugiong Sun, and David Wells.

   The author also extends his appreciation to the discussions in the
   IAB Activity called model-t where the future of the Internet's
   threat landscape has also been discussed.

   This document was prepared using 2-Word-v2.0.template.dot.

12. References

12.1. Informative References

   [1]   Thaler, D. and Tschofenig, H., Pei, M., Tsukamoto, A., " Trust
         Execution Environment Protocol ", draft-ietf-teep-protocol-02
         (work in progress), April 2020.

   [2]   McFadden, M., "Evolution of Endpoint Security - A Taxonomy for
         Endpoints," draft-mcfadden-opsec-endp-taxonomy-00 (work in
         progress), February 2021.

   [3]   "MITRE CAPEC", <https://capec.mitre.org/data/definitions/3000.html>, n.
         d.

   [4]   "MITRE ATT&CK", <https://attack.mitre.org>, n.d.

   [5]   Crotty, J., "New Gartner Report Redefines Endpoints Protection for 2018
         ", January 2018, <https://www.crowdstrike.com/blog/new-gartner-report-
         redefines-endpoint-protection-for-2018/>.


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   [6]   Redscan, ., "EPP and EDR - What's the difference?", June 2018, <https:/
         /www.redscan.com/news/epp-vs-edr-whats-the-difference/>.

   [7]   Hunt, J., "Advantages and Disadvantages of Three Top Endpoint Security
         Vendors", n.d., <https://www.adapture.com/blog/evaluating-leading-endpo
         int-security-vendors/>.

   [8]   "IT Pro's Guide to Endpoint Protection", n.d., <https://www.barkly.com/
         it-pros-guide-to-endpoint-protection>.

   [9]   Ericsson, ., "Internet of Things forecast", n.d., <https://www.ericsson
         .com/en/mobility-report/internet-of-things-forecast>.

   [10]  Wueest, C., "How my TV got infected with ransomware and what you can le
         arn about it", November 2015, <https://www.symantec.com/connect/blogs/h
         ow-my-tv-got-infected-ransomware-and-what-you-can-learn-it>.

   [11]  Dickson, B., "Millions of smart TVs are vulnerable to hackers", Februar
         y 2014, <https://www.dailydot.com/debug/protect-smart-tv/>.

   [12]  Symantec, ., "W32.Flamer Microsoft Windows Update Man-in-the-Middle", J
         une 2012, <https://www.symantec.com/connect/blogs/w32flamer-microsoft-w
         indows-update-man-middle>.

   [13]  Rogers, D., "Handling vulnerabilities as an IoT vendor", December 2018,
         <https://www.iotsecurityfoundation.org/less-than-10-of-consumer-iot-com
         panies-follow-vulnerability-disclosure-guidelines/>.

   [14]  Symantec, ., "Mirai, what you need to know about the botnet behind rece
         nt major DDoS attacks", October 2016, <https://www.symantec.com/connect
         /blogs/mirai-what-you-need-know-about-botnet-behind-recent-major-ddos-a
         ttacks>.

   [15]  Krebs on security, ., "19 Mirai Botnet Authors Avoid Jail Time", Septem
         ber 2018, <https://krebsonsecurity.com/tag/mirai-botnet/>.

   [16]  ESET, ., "LoJax First UEFI rootkit found in the wild, courtesy of the S
         ednit group", September 2018, <https://www.welivesecurity.com/2018/09/2
         7/lojax-first-uefi-rootkit-found-wild-courtesy-sednit-group/>.

   [17]  Claburn, T., "Intel SGX safe room easily trashed by white-hat hacking m
         arauders Enclave malware demoed", February 2019, <https://www.theregist
         er.co.uk/2019/02/12/intel_sgx_hacked/>.

   [18]  Cimpanu, C., "Researchers hide malware in Intel SGX enclaves", February
         2019, <https://www.zdnet.com/article/researchers-hide-malware-in-intel-
         sgx-enclaves/>.


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   [19]  Khandelwal, S., "Explained - How Intel AMT Vulnerability Allows to Hack
         Computers Remotely", May 2017, <https://thehackernews.com/2017/05/intel
         -amt-vulnerability.html>.

   [20]  Symantec, ., "Web Attack Intel AMT Privilege Escalation CVE-2017-5689",
         2017, <https://www.symantec.com/security_response/attacksignatures/deta
         il.jsp?asid=29888>

   [21]  Smith, K., "9 signs your endpoint security isn't working", May 2017, <h
         ttps://securelement.com/9-signs-your-endpoint-security-isnt-working/>.

   [22]  Cobb, M., "SQL injection detection tools and prevention strategies", No
         vember 2009, <https://www.computerweekly.com/tip/SQL-injection-detectio
         n-tools-and-prevention-strategies>.

   [23]  Wueest, C., "Living off the land and fileless attack techniques", July
         2017, <https://www.symantec.com/content/dam/symantec/docs/security-cent
         er/white-papers/istr-living-off-the-land-and-fileless-attack-techniques
         -en.pd>.

   [24]  Caballero, J., "Mind Your Own Business A Longitudinal Study of Threats
         and Vulnerabilities in Enterprises", February 2019, <https://www.ndss-s
         ymposium.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/ndss2019_03B-1-2_Kotzias_paper.
         pdf>

   [25]  McHugh, J., "Windows of Vulnerability A Case Study Analysis", 2000, <ht
         tp://www.cs.colostate.edu/~cs635/Windows_of_Vulnerability.pdf>.

   [26]  Plattner, B., "Large-Scale Vulnerability Analysis", September 2006, <ht
         tp://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.173.3056&rep=rep
         1&type=pdf>.

   [27]  Marinho, R., "Exploring a P2P transient botnet - From Discovery to Enum
         eration", July 2017, <https://morphuslabs.com/exploring-a-p2p-transient
         -botnet-from-discovery-to-enumeration-e72870354950>.

   [28]  Seals, T., "Pulse-Wave DDoS Attacks Mark a New Tactics in Q2", October
         2017, <https://www.infosecurity-magazine.com/news/pulsewave-ddos-attack
         s-mark-q2/>.

   [29]  UK, GOV., "Secure by Design", February 2019, <https://www.gov.uk/govern
         ment/collections/secure-by-design>.

   [30]  Cullen, T., "Limits of endpoint only", July 2017, <https://www.adapture
         .com/blog/evaluating-leading-endpoint-security-vendors/>




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   [31]  Dix, J., "Layered Security Defenses What layer is most critical network
         or endpoint", July 2011, <https://www.networkworld.com/article/2220204/
         tech-debates/layered-security-defenses--what-layer-is-most-critical--ne
         twork-or-endpoint-.html>.

   [32]  Hstoday, ., "Layered Approach Critical to Effective Endpoint Protection
         ", October 2016, <https://www.hstoday.us/channels/federal-state-local/l
         ayered-approach-critical-to-effective-endpoint-protection/>.

   [33]  Taddei, A., et.al., [I-D:draft-taddei-smart-cless-
         introduction], "Capabilities and Limitations of an Endpoint-
         only Security Solution, July 2020, (expired).





































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Appendix A.                 Operational Experience and Endpoint Security

   This appendix attempts to document operational experience related to
   endpoint security. The original text in this Appendix comes from
   research and experienced from a single security solution provider.
   What follows is reporting from that organization.

   There are two appaorches to reporting on security incidents that are
   based on operational experience.  They are:

   o the method described in {{MONEYBALL}}

   o the anonymised production data of Symantec MSS production for the
   past 3 months

   The core idea is to consider, based on all the imperfections we
   started to list above including the 'grey areas', that cybersecurity
   analysts are often presented with suspicious machine activity that
   does not conclusively indicate a compromise, resulting in undetected
   incidents or costly investigations into the most appropriate remedi

   As Managed Security Services Providers (MSSP's) are confronted with
   these data quality issues, but also possess a wealth of cross-
   product security data that enables innovative solutions, we decided
   to use the Symantec MSS service for the past 3 months. The Symantec
   MSS service monitors over 100 security products from a wide variety
   of security vendors for hundreds of enterprise class customers from
   all verticals.

   We selected the subset of customers using the service that deploy
   both network and endpoint security products to determine which types
   of security incidents were most likely to be detected by endpoint
   products vs. network products. In doing so, we were particularly
   interested in identifying which categories of incidents are detected
   by endpoint products and not network products, and vice versa. Thus,
   we examined prevalent categories of incidents for which the only
   actionable security alerts were predominantly produced by one type
   of security product and not the other. To do so, we extracted all
   security incidents detected by Symantec MSS on behalf of hundreds of
   customers that deploy both network and endpoint security products,
   over a three-month period from December 2018 through the end of
   February 2019. We acknowledge that some attacks might have been
   blocked by the first product and therefore have never been seen by
   the next security solution, which influences the final numbers.

   With this in mind, we could identify incidents based on:



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   | Severity | 4 - Emergency, 3 - Critical, 2 - Warning, 1 -
   Informational |

   | Incident Category | Malicious Code, Deception Activity, Improper
   Usage, Investigation, etc. |

   | Incident Type | Trojan Horse Infection, Suspicious DGA Activity,
   Suspicious Traffic, Suspicious URL Activity, Backdoor infection,
   etc. |

   | # network incidents | Amount of network only security incidents |

   | # all incidents | What is the total amount of incidents on all
   security solutions |

   | Percentage | Percentage of network security only incidents  |

   We ended up with

   o Hundreds of thousands of security incidents

   o which we could categorize in 275 incident types by category and
   severity (triplets Severity-Category-Type)

   o out of which we searched how many incidents of each type were
   detected by a network security product and missed by deployed
   endpoint security products at least 75% of the time or vice versa

A.1. Endpoint only incidents

   The categories of incidents that are detected primarily by endpoint
   security products are fairly intuitive. They consist primarily of
   detections of file-based threats and detection of malicious
   behaviors through monitoring of system and network behavior at the
   process level. The most prevalent of these behavioral detections
   include detections of suspicious URLs based on heuristics and
   blacklists of IP addresses or domain names. Since most of these
   alerts are not corroborated by network products, it seems probable
   that the blacklists associated with network products tend to be more


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   focused on attacks while host-based intrusion prevention system
   alerts focus more on malware command and control traffic. Most other
   behavioral detections at the endpoint provide alerts based on system
   behavior that is deemed dangerous and symptomatic of malicious
   intent by a malicious or infected process. The highest severity
   incidents detected on endpoints are instances of post-compromise
   outbound network behavior that are symptomatic of command and
   control communications traffic, but these did not show up as being
   primarily detected by endpoint products as they are frequently
   corroborated by network-based alerts.

A.2. Security incidents detected primarily by network security products

   Perhaps less intuitive are the results of examining categories of
   security incidents that are detected primarily by network security
   products and only rarely corroborated by endpoint security products.
   Below we provide details regarding incident categories for which a
   network security product produced a detection and for which there
   were no actionable endpoint alerts for at least 75% of the incidents
   in the category.

   In our study we found 32 incident type, category, and severity
   triplets of this type. The following categories critical incident
   types were reported by MSS customers, and we discuss each in turn in
   decreasing order of prevalence:

A.2.1. Unauthorized external vulnerability scans

   Perhaps unsurprisingly, unauthorized external attempts to scan
   corporate resources for vulnerabilities and other purposes are
   detected in large volumes by a broad variety of network-focused
   security products. 79% of incidents of this type were detected by
   network security products with critical-severity alerts, these
   security incident detections are not accompanied by any actionable
   endpoint alerts, despite the fact that endpoint security products
   are deployed by these enterprises. This category of threats
   encompasses a broad variety of attacks, the most prevalent of which
   are the following: Horizontal scans, SQL injection attacks, password
   disclosure vulnerabilities, directory traversal attacks, and
   blacklist hits. Of these categories of detections, horizontal scans
   stand out as the category of detection that endpoint-security
   products are least likely to detect on their own.

A.2.2. Unauthorized internal vulnerability scans

   Unauthorized internal vulnerability scans, though less frequent, are
   more alarming, as they are likely to represent possible post-


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   compromise activity. We note that the Managed Security Service works
   with its customers to maintain lists of devices that are authorized
   to perform internal vulnerability scans, and their activity is
   reported separately at a lower levels of incident severity. 89% of
   detected unauthorized internal vulnerability scans are detected by
   network products without any corroborating actionable alerts from
   endpoint security products. As compared to unauthorized external
   scan incidents, internal hosts that perform vulnerability scans are
   far more active and the fraction of alerts that detect horizontal
   scans is higher, representing half of the total alerts generated.
   Alerts focused on Network-Behavior Anomaly Detection also appear for
   internal hosts.

A.2.3. Malware downloads resulting in exposed endpoints

   This category of threats is generally detected by network security
   appliances. Despite these enterprises being purchasers of endpoint
   security products, 76% of the incidents detected by the network
   security products do not show a corresponding alert by an endpoint
   security product. A broad variety of network appliances contributed
   to the detection of a diverse collection of malware samples.

A.2.4. Exploit kit infections

   This category of infections represents instances in which the
   customer's machines are exposed to exploit kits. These threats were
   detected by network appliances that extract suspicious URLs from
   network traffic taps and use a combination of sandbox technology and
   blacklists to identify websites that deploy a variety of exploit
   kits that were not being caught by endpoint security products. In
   this three month time period, the most prevalent categories of
   exploit kits detected involved redirections to the Magnitude exploit
   kit and exploit kits associated with phishing scams and attempts to
   expose users to fake Anti-Virus warnings and tools. A breakdown of
   the results is included below:

   | Severity | 3 - Critical |

   | Incident Category | Malicious Code |

   | Incident Type | Exploit Kit Infection |

   | # network incidents | 26 |

   | # all incidents | 26 |

   | Percentage | 100%  |


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   The network security product that detected these incidents produced
   the following alerts:

   o Advanced Malware Payloads

   o Exploit.Kit.FakeAV

   o Exploit.Kit.Magnitude

   o Exploit.Kit.MagnitudeRedirect

   o Exploit.Kit.PhishScams

   o HTMLMagnitudeLandingPage

A.2.5. Attacks against servers

   In addition to detecting the aforementioned critical security
   incident categories, network security devices frequently detect a
   broad variety of attacks against servers that usually lack
   corroboration at the endpoint. Most server attacks are not matched
   by endpoint protection alerts: 62% are unmatched for critical
   incidents, and 88% are unmatched as lower severity incidents. This
   category of incidents is the most prevalent category of incidents
   detected primarily by network products, but they are usually rated
   lower in severity than the aforementioned classes of alerts as they
   are very commonplace. Even when these alerts are corroborated by
   endpoint protection alerts, the endpoint alerts are often low in
   severity, as in the case of file-based threats that appear to have
   been blocked or successfully cleaned up by an Anti-Virus solution.
   The challenge in taking action against server attacks is that it can
   be difficult to assess which of these attacks were successful in
   causing actual damage, and for this reason, for the fraction of
   server attacks that demonstrate corroborating endpoint security
   alerts, even if of low severity, should be examined. It is
   interesting to note the cooperative role played by both network and
   endpoint security devices in these instances.












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Authors' Addresses

   Mark McFadden
   Internet policy advisors ltd uk
   6 Bridge Street
   Chepstow, Wales NP16 5EY
   United Kingdom

   Phone: +44 2921 25 3649
   Email: mark@internetpolicyadvisors.com







































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