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Shweta Sharma
Senior Writer

Mandiant adds ransomware defense validation to XDR security platform

Feb 25, 20223 mins

Mandiant Advantage Ransomware Defense Validation tests companies' ability to thwart cyberattacks by selecting and repurposing the most critical ransomware variants to run in production environments.

ransomware attack
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Cyberdefense and response company Mandiant is offering a new Ransomware Defense Validation service for its SaaS-based XDR (extended detection and response) platform, Mandiant Advantage, to help organizations measure the ability of their security systems to prevent ransomware attacks. 

The subscription service, now generally available, is designed to combine threat intelligence, ransomware reconfiguration capabilities, and an automated validation infrastructure to help security leaders understand how effectively their existing security controls can prevent specific ransomware attacks and multifaceted extortion campaigns. 

“Ransomware Defense Validation is based on the most up-to-date and relevant ransomware intelligence and uses real (not simulated) ransomware in a safe manner to test an organization’s security controls for their ability to prevent the encryption of critical data by the relevant ransomware,” says Mike Armistead, senior vice president for Mandiant Advantage Products.

Ransomware was the most significant malware threat for enterprises in 2021,  according to a recent IBM Security’s annual X-Force Threat Intelligence Index report. Ransomware accounted for 21% of all cyberattacks, more than any other type of malware, according to X-Force. 

Validation tests repurpose critical ransomware

The Mandiant Advantage Ransomware Defense Validation service uses Mandiant’s ability to repurpose, or modify, ransomware to run in company production environments in order to obtain realistic insights into endpoint security control performance.

For the service, Mandiant selects specific, critical ransomware to be tested, adding new variants on an ongoing basis. The selection process is informed by the company’s global threat intelligence team, according to Armistead. The ransomware selected includes the most recent and relevant ransomware types Mandiant’s experts encounter such as Conti, Ryuk, and REvil.  

“It’s important to note that, while ransomware is certainly a significant cyberthreat, the actual techniques used by a threat actor to compromise an organization and execute a successful ransomware attack are not new so many companies just repurpose existing solutions and market them to address ransomware specifically,” says Gary McAlum, senior analyst at TAG Cyber. “The Mandiant solution is specifically focused on ransomware”.

Although a significant addition to the Mandiant platform, the Mandiant Ransomware Defense Validation would need consumers to already have (or plan to deploy) a significant Mandiant footprint since the capability is integrated within Mandiant Advantage, according to McAlum. 

Live dashboard yields a stage-wise attack analysis

Mandiant’s Ransomware Defense Validation features a live dashboard that displays an up-to-date view of the ability of an organization to prevent ransomware from encrypting data under a “Current Readiness” widget. This widget provides the results of the latest validation run, enabling customers to preview a stage-wise report of the ransomware attack’s success or failure. 

Additionally, the validation results can be pivoted to a more detailed threat intelligence report by enterprise users, should they want to learn more about the tested ransomware. 

“I think the concept of visualizing the various stages of a ransomware attack and then operationalizing that with real-time telemetry from an organization’s security stack and threat intelligence is very intriguing,” McAlum says.