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Next-Gen Endpoints Risks and Protections: Results of the SANS 2017 Endpoint Security Survey

End Users Source of Most Breaches; Patching Falling Behind; Improvement in EDR and Automation Needed

  • Bethesda, MD
  • February 22, 2017

Browser-based attacks and social engineering are the two most powerful techniques targeting organizations represented in the SANS 2017 Endpoint Risks and Protections Survey. Both techniques prey upon users as their initial point of entry.

"Organizations must devote more resources to user education and to monitoring activities that result from user behavior," says the report's author and SANS Analyst G.W. Ray Davidson. "The insider threat is no longer just the malicious actor with unauthorized access; well-intentioned but naive employees can be just as dangerous."

The results of this new survey are to be released by SANS Institute on February 28 in the first of a two-part webcast series. In it, 53% of respondents had known, impactful compromises starting at their endpoints in the past 24 months. And that total doesn't include the 37% who don't know whether or not they've been compromised during that timeframe.

While users represent the top vulnerability leveraged by attackers, vulnerabilities such as misconfigurations or software flaws were also commonly leveraged in attacks against the endpoints, ranking as the third most common source of significant compromise, according to responses.

Of the 53% of significant breaches that respondents knew about, just 48% were detected through endpoint detection and response (EDR) solutions. The remainder of detections were not directly endpoint solutions, and included such sources as log analysis, security information and event management (SIEM) system alerts, cloud-based monitoring, and even third-party notification.

"The farther from the endpoint a breach is discovered, the more time it has to pivot from system to system and increase the impact of the breach," adds Davidson. "As organizations develop sufficient maturity, they should automate remediation activities as much as possible, because the scope of a breach can quickly outpace remediation efforts."

Full results will be shared during a two-part webcast at 1 PM EDT on Tuesday, February 28 and Wednesday, March 1 webcasts, sponsored by Carbon Black, Great Bay Software, Guidance Software, IBM Security, Malwarebytes, and Sophos, and hosted by SANS. Register to attend the February 28 webcast at and the March 1 webcast at

Those who register for the webcast will also receive access to the published results paper developed by SANS Analyst and network security expert, G.W. Ray Davidson.

  • Endpoints most often breached by their users-SANS survey webcasts Feb 28 and March 1 |
  • Who's managing your endpoints? SANS survey webcasts Feb 28 and March 1 |
  • Smart devices are the new endpoints: Who's managing them and how? SANS survey webcasts Feb 28 and March 1 |

About SANS Institute

The SANS Institute was established in 1989 as a cooperative research and education organization. SANS is the most trusted and, by far, the largest provider of cyber security training and certification to professionals at governments and commercial institutions world-wide. Renowned SANS instructors teach over 60 different courses at more than 200 live cyber security training events as well as online. GIAC, an affiliate of the SANS Institute, validates a practitioner's qualifications via over 35 hands-on, technical certifications in cyber security. The SANS Technology Institute, a regionally accredited independent subsidiary, offers master's degrees in cyber security. SANS offers a myriad of free resources to the InfoSec community including consensus projects, research reports, and newsletters; it also operates the Internet's early warning system—the Internet Storm Center. At the heart of SANS are the many security practitioners, representing varied global organizations from corporations to universities, working together to help the entire information security community. (