Identity Threat Detection and Response

What Is Identity Threat Detection and Response?

Identity threat detection and response (ITDR) is the process of detecting and responding to security threats that relate to identity breaches. Through ITDR procedures, businesses seek to discover potential and actual identity-related threats, respond to them appropriately, and reduce the likelihood of them reoccurring.

An identity-related threat can take a range of forms. It can include account takeover fraud, where a fraudster exploits an account that belongs to a genuine business user. This can result from leaked passwords, data breaches, and phishing, each of which can fall under the umbrella of an identity threat.

The use of synthetic identities is also something that businesses need to guard against in terms of end-user identity threats. These are fake identities created by manipulating or blending data belonging to real individuals. Fraudsters obtain the data through identity theft or even create entirely fictitious details.

With artificial intelligence (AI) on hand to support fraudsters with the creation of seemingly realistic identity documents, the use of synthetic identities can create significant headaches for unwary businesses.

ITDR procedures can help businesses monitor and analyze various customer interactions, allowing them to spot identity-related fraud attempts. This can help organizations lower their risk of fraud and its associated headaches, from reputational damage to lost time – much of which staff will spend dealing with regulations and fines.

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How Does ITDR Work?

Identity threat detection and response uses various security tools and techniques, combined with threat intelligence, to implement fine-tuned detection mechanisms that flag up suspicious activity in relation to user identities.

It is a security discipline rather than an individual product. As such, effective ITDR isn’t simply about buying a piece of software to set up and forget about. It requires regular thought and staff awareness raising, as well as the right equipment integration.

Continual monitoring is at the heart of successful ITDR solutions, as this supports the detection of unusual and suspicious behavior. This behavior can relate to internal users (your staff) and external users (your customers and/or third parties with access to your systems).

With the right approach, ITDR can protect your business from all these threats, keeping your systems and sensitive data safe by flagging any unusual or unexpected behavior for investigation. It can monitor for threats in real-time and put automated remediation measures in place to respond to them.

Why Is ITDR So Important?

ITDR is crucial because it can protect companies from fraud and its resultant financial loss, reputational damage, legal complications, and regulatory fines. It is particularly important given the scale of data breaches and credential theft that modern businesses face.

For instance, in 2022, the Identity Defined Security Alliance (IDSA) stated that 84% of organizations have experienced an identity-related breach. Plus, 78% of those observed businesses reported that their operations were directly affected.

As a comprehensive security discipline that encompasses the detection of – and swift response to – identity threats, ITDR plays a vital role in protecting business data and systems.

It gives security teams the power to suspend and disable suspicious user accounts as soon as possible. This is an important way for businesses to fight account takeover attempts and credential stuffing attacks, where cybercriminals attempt to log in with stolen credentials at scale (often using bots to carry out the login attempts).

With an ITDR solution in place, businesses can automate a range of actions in response to such identity-related threats. Triggering a forced password change is an example of this. By throwing up an additional barrier like this, ITDR processes can block fraudsters attempting to take over accounts that might otherwise provide them with access they shouldn’t have.

A robust ITDR system can go further still. It can quarantine endpoint devices (we’ll talk more about the differences between ITDR and EDR – endpoint detection and response – below). It can even gather endpoint telemetry to provide a clearer picture of the nature of a particular threat.

Modern businesses are fighting identity-related threats by harnessing the power of in-depth monitoring solutions. Deep data analysis can shed light on many identity-related patterns, activities, and connections that are not visible to the human eye – and certainly not when it views them in real-time.

Businesses can use this in-depth data to identify sophisticated attack patterns through an enhanced understanding of what threat actions are occurring.

Automated responses are another crucial part of how businesses are fighting identity-based threats. Being able to automatically trigger a response, such as a forced password change or locking a user out of an account, buys a business breathing space to concentrate on which threats are genuine.

This means they can focus resources on fighting real identity-related threats (versus a user simply trying several passwords because they’ve forgotten their correct one, for example).

Ultimately, businesses are using ITDR to protect users’ credentials and the privileges associated with them. When it’s well-designed and implemented, ITDR can stop fraudsters in their tracks, raising roadblocks all around them as they attempt to exploit identity breaches.

It bears repeating: This is not about software alone. Staff awareness is a core component of the modern fight against identity-related threats. Training should be regular and focused, with staff supported to understand the range of threats the business faces and the continually evolving nature of fraud attempts.

This will help individuals remain vigilant not only against known threats but also regarding anything that simply feels a little “off”.

With billions of spam emails sent daily, many of which are phishing attempts, it can only take a momentary lapse for human error to allow a fraudster’s foot in the door. This is why modern ITDR solutions blend technology with sharing insights as part of a broad security discipline that creates a solid line of defense.

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The Difference Between ITDR and EDR

Some businesses implement endpoint detection and response (EDR) in addition to ITDR. The key difference is that ITDR monitors data from identity and access management sources, while EDR focuses on endpoint devices (such as users’ laptops and PCs).

By implementing both monitoring solutions, businesses can take an even more robust stance against fraudsters determined to find a way into their systems. It is not a choice of either/or: Such solutions can be integrated together for enhanced protection against identity-based threats.

As with ITDR, EDR uses automation to enable security teams to respond in real-time to identified threats. EDR allows for the swift detection of a compromised device so that access privileges can be revoked (before further investigation and remediation work takes place). Doing so reduces the size of the attack surface available to fraudsters, in line with established IT security best practice measures.

Key Features for ITDR Solutions

If you’re ready to implement an ITDR solution, there are certain key features to look out for when reviewing products. Customizable risk rules, in-depth monitoring that makes use of machine learning, and customizable automation are all essential.

  • Customizable risk rules allow you to shape your IDTR solution around your business’s particular needs, threats, and risk appetite. You can fine-tune the system to reduce the number of false positives, reducing the threat of fraud while avoiding unnecessary friction for genuine users.
  • In-depth monitoring is fundamental. Look for a solution that harnesses the power of machine learning so that it can adapt to your specific business. Identity and behavioral analysis are also key, along with anomaly detection to flag anything unusual.
  • Customizable automation is also crucial. It allows you to shape your ITDR solution’s responses to suspicious activity, ensuring that the right actions are triggered in real-time and the right staff are alerted.

Finally, remember to focus on the threat knowledge and human defense elements of ITDR as well to ensure the overall success of your solution.

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