Endpoint Security with Advanced EDR/XDR Controls Playbook

December 16, 20234 min read

Playbook Objectives

  • Evaluate the effectiveness of the current Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) and Extended Detection and Response (XDR) solutions.
  • Train the IT and cybersecurity teams in detecting, analyzing, and responding to advanced persistent threats within the network using EDR/XDR controls.
  • Enhance the incident response protocols and refine the alert triage processes.
  • Identify any gaps in the security posture and remediate vulnerabilities in endpoint security.
  • Assess the robustness of the network architecture in terms of endpoint resilience against sophisticated attacks.

Difficulty Level

  • Advanced: This exercise is tailored for an organization with an established cybersecurity infrastructure seeking to enhance its security measures against complex threats.


  • Company name: DataFortress Inc., a leading financial services provider with a significant online presence.
  • Characters:
    • Sam Parker: CISO of DataFortress Inc.
    • Alex Mercer: Senior Cybersecurity Analyst
    • Rachel Adams: IT Systems Manager
  • Network and Systems:
    • A mix of Windows and Linux endpoints, network servers, a web application gateway, active directory servers, and a cloud infrastructure for remote employees.
  • Situation: Following a surge in sophisticated cyber-attacks in the financial sector, DataFortress Inc. recognizes the need to strengthen its current security controls to protect sensitive customer data and maintain regulatory compliance. The CISO has proposed a cyber range exercise that simulates an advanced persistent threat to test the new EDR/XDR controls that have recently been integrated into the company’s cybersecurity framework.


  • Endpoint Security: Focusing on the application of EDR/XDR solutions to identify and halt sophisticated cyber threats.

Exercise Attack Steps

  • Begin with a phishing email campaign targeting multiple employees, including IT staff, to entice them to click on a malicious link that simulates the installation of a stealthy malware that bypasses initial antivirus defenses.
  • The malware attempts to escalate privileges on an employee’s workstation to gain deeper access to the network, simulate the lateral movement to sensitive servers, and establish persistence while avoiding detection.
  • Meanwhile, the cyber range’s red team introduces network traffic anomalies and attempts data exfiltration, triggering alerts that the blue team using EDR/XDR tools must investigate.
  • The blue team, using the EDR/XDR system, analyzes the generated alerts, applying threat intelligence to differentiate between false positives and genuine threats.
  • Once potential threats are identified, the blue team must trace the attack’s entry point, the scope of the breach, and move to isolate the compromised endpoint while preserving critical forensic data.
  • They execute a playbook for incident response using the XDR platform, which includes blocking the IP addresses associated with the attack, revoking compromised user credentials, and implementing stricter control over user access.
  • Simulate a full incident response including containment, eradication, and recovery phases. After the threat has been neutralized, perform a post-mortem analysis to evaluate the response effectiveness and update the security policies and protocols accordingly.
  • Throughout the exercise, detailed logs and attack telemetry are to be captured and used for enhancing the machine learning capabilities of the EDR/XDR systems, refining alert fidelity, and tuning the systems for better automated response options.