McAfee Endpoint Security
Strengths: Solid performance, straightforward operation and tight integration with other McAfee products and the ePolicy Orchestrator.
Weaknesses: None that we found.
Verdict: An exceptional effort on behalf of the McAfee technical support team that provided the SC Lab with the opportunity to dedicate more time to testing the product package. Overall, an excellent product, but you’ll get the most out of it as part of the entire McAfee suite managed, as ours was, by ePolicy Orchestrator. For its comprehensive feature set and excellent performance and support, we make this our Best Buy.
McAfee delivered a fully configured virtual test environment installed on an Intel Next Unit of Computing (NUC) system.
After connecting the NUC device to a keyboard, mouse and monitor, we were ready to complete the installation of the virtual files needed to establish five endpoint machines and two virtual (host) servers, as well as access to the internet.
Our test package included McAfee Endpoint Security (ENS), Data Loss Prevention (DLP), McAfee Active Response (MAR) Server, Threat Intelligence Exchange (TIE) Server, and Data Exchange Layer (DXL). While these components can be purchased separately, we found that this product package offers layered endpoint security and ease of real-time monitoring and management across the enterprise using McAfee ePolicy Orchestrator (ePO).
McAfee ePO is where the action is for managing endpoint security. The user interface is clean, well-organised and easy to understand. Its menu provides a comprehensive, though not complicated, layout, which serves as an excellent roadmap to all of the functional product areas, such as policy management, user management, systems, software, configuration, automation, common catalog, data protection and reporting.
We walked around the system for a few minutes exploring some of the product documentation and then launched into our evaluation with several data exfiltration and malware attacks on targeted endpoints. To determine the impact of these attacks we opted to view the "Active Response Workspace," found in McAfee ePO, which displays a visual timeline for total, high risk, suspicious, and monitored threats, including information related to affected hosts and trace details.
The exfiltration attacks used a cut/paste approach to remove folders and files from one machine to another. Although not blocked (based on our policy), these attacks were detected in real time, and displayed in the monitored threats category, described as "Data Stolen" events. We also found detailed trace information for each of the targeted endpoints, conveying where the exfiltration process started, the file command line data, reputation and IOC (Indicator of Comprise) data, as well as file creation events. Some of the event line items displayed a numbered badge, indicating multiple instances of the same exfiltration activity. This number can serve as an at-a-glance indication that an endpoint is under siege.
McAfee stayed the course by taking down a direct malware attack that we introduced through a flash drive connected to an external USB port. The endpoint sensor detected and blocked our first malware sample. The counter-activity happened so fast that we thought that our sample had failed. So, we decided to try another encryptor, far more destructive than the first. However, when we re-connected the same flash drive to the external USB port to launch another attack, McAfee recognised the flash drive and would not allow it to connect any of the endpoint machines.
Again, we returned to the "Active Response Workspace" to view the impact data. As before, we found detailed information to further examine the threat event and malware sample, including MD5 Hash, SHA-1 and 2, along with an embedded link to retrieve Virus Total analysis, which enables a forensic capability that takes the guesswork out of endpoint security monitoring and management.
The help portal, located on the main page of the ePO, is another valuable resource to quickly reference additional details about McAfee products in the package - what they do, how they work, etc. - including examples and connectivity diagrams. We visited this area a few times and quickly found exactly what we were looking for by using the index and search options.
- Judy Traub conducted this test and review.