Add a New Malware Security Profile

Malware security profiles allow you to configure the action Cortex XDR agents take when known malware and unknown files try to run on Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android endpoints.
By default, the Cortex XDR agent will receive the default profile that contains a pre-defined configuration for each malware protection capability supported by the platform. To fine-tune your Malware security policy, you can override the configuration of each capability to block the malicious behavior or file, allow but report it, or disable the module. For each setting you override, clear the option to
Use Default
.
To configure a Malware security profile:
  1. Add a new profile.
    1. From Cortex XDR, select
      Endpoints
      Policy Management
      Profiles
      + New Profile
      .
    2. Select the platform to which the profile applies and
      Malware
      as the profile type.
  2. Identify the profile.
    1. Enter a unique
      Profile Name
      to identify the profile. The name can contain only letters, numbers, or spaces, and must be no more than 30 characters. The name you choose will be visible from the list of profiles when you configure a policy rule.
    2. To provide additional context for the purpose or business reason that explains why you are creating the profile, enter a profile
      Description
      . For example, you might include an incident identification number or a link to a help desk ticket.
  3. Configure the Cortex XDR agent to examine executable files, macros, or DLL files on Windows endpoints, Mach-O files
    or DMG files
    on Mac endpoints, ELF files on Linux endpoints, or APK files on Android endpoints.
    1. Configure the
      Action Mode
      —the behavior of the Cortex XDR agent—when malware is detected:
      • Block
        —Block attempts to run malware.
      • Report
        —Report but do not block malware that attempts to run.
      • (
        Android only
        )
        Prompt
        —Enable the Cortex XDR agent to prompt the user when malware is detected and allow the user to choose to allow malware, dismiss the notification, or uninstall the app.
      • Disabled
        —Disable the module and do not examine files for malware.
    2. Configure additional actions to examine files for malware.
      By default, Cortex XDR uses the settings specified in the default malware security profile and displays the default configuration in parenthesis. When you select a setting other than the default, you override the default configuration for the profile.
      • (
        Windows only
        )
        Quarantine Malicious Executables
        —By default, the Cortex XDR agent blocks malware from running but does not quarantine the file. Enable this option to quarantine files depending on the verdict issuer (local analysis, WildFire, or both local analysis and WildFire.
        The quarantine feature is not available for malware identified in network drives.
      • Upload
        <file_type>
        files for cloud analysis
        —Enable the Cortex XDR agent to send unknown files to Cortex XDR, and for Cortex XDR to send the files to WildFire for analysis. With macro analysis, the Cortex XDR agent sends the Microsoft Office file containing the macro. The file types that the Cortex XDR agent analyzes depend on the platform type. WildFire accepts files up to 100MB in size.
      • Treat Grayware as Malware
        —Treat all grayware with the same
        Action Mode
        you configure for malware. Otherwise, if this option is disabled, grayware is considered benign and is not blocked.
      • Action on Unknown to WildFire
        —Select the behavior of the Cortex XDR agent when an unknown file tries to run on the endpoint (
        Allow
        ,
        Run Local Analysis
        , or
        Block
        ). With local analysis, the Cortex XDR agent uses embedded machine learning to determine the likelihood that an unknown file is malware and issues a local verdict for the file. If you block unknown files but do not run local analysis, unknown files remain blocked until the Cortex XDR agent receives an official WildFire verdict.
      • (
        Windows only
        )
        Examine Office Files From Network Drives
        —Enable the Cortex XDR agent to examine Microsoft Office files in network drives when they contain a macro that attempts to run. If this option is disabled, the Cortex XDR agent will not examine macros in network drives.
      (
      Windows only
      ) As part of the anti-malware security flow, the Cortex XDR agent leverages the OS capability to identify revoked certificates for executables and DLL files that attempt to run on the endpoint by accessing the Windows Certificate Revocation List (CRL). To allow the Cortex XDR agent access the CRL, you must enable internet access over port 80 for Windows endpoints running Traps 6.0.3 and later releases, Traps 6.1.1 and later releases, or Cortex XDR 7.0 and later releases. If the endpoint is not connected to the internet, or you experience delays with executables and DLLs running on the endpoint, please contact Palo Alto Networks Support.
    3. (
      Optional
      ) Add files and folders to your allow list to exclude them from examination.
      1. +Add
        a file or folder.
      2. Enter the path and press
        Enter
        or click the check mark when done. You can also use a wildcard to match files and folders containing a partial name. Use
        ?
        to match a single character or
        *
        to match any string of characters. To match a folder, you must terminate the path with * to match all files in the folder (for example,
        c:\temp\*
        ).
      3. Repeat to add additional files or folders.
    4. Add signers to your allow list to exclude them from examination.
      When a file that is signed by a signer you included in your allow list attempts to run,
      1. +Add
        a trusted signer.
      2. Enter the name of the trusted signer (Windows) or the SHA1 hash of the certificate that signs the file (Mac) and press
        Enter
        or click the check mark when done. You can also use a wildcard to match a partial name for the signer. Use
        ?
        to match any single character or
        *
        to match any string of characters.
      3. Repeat to add additional folders.
  4. (
    Windows, Mac, and Linux only
    ) Configure
    Behavioral Threat Protection
    .
    Behavioral threat protection requires Traps agent 6.0 or a later release for Windows endpoints, and Traps 6.1 or later versions for Mac and Linux endpoints.
    With Behavioral threat protection, the agent continuously monitors endpoint activity to identify and analyze chains of events—known as
    causality chains
    . This enables the agent to detect malicious activity in the chain that could otherwise appear legitimate if inspected individually. A causality chain can include any sequence of network, process, file, and registry activities on the endpoint. For more information on data collection for Behavioral Threat Protection, see Endpoint Data Collected by Cortex XDR.
    Palo Alto Networks researchers define the causality chains that are malicious and distribute those chains as behavioral threat rules. When the Cortex XDR agent detects a match to a behavioral threat protection rule, the Cortex XDR agent carries out the configured action (default is Block). In addition, the Cortex XDR agent reports the behavior of the entire event chain up to the process, known as the
    causality group owner (CGO)
    , that the Cortex XDR agent identified as triggering the event sequence.
    To configure
    Behavioral Threat Protection
    1. Define the
      Action mode
      to take when the Cortex XDR agent detects malicious causality chains:
      • Block
        (default)—Block all processes and threads in the event chain up to the CGO.
      • Report
        —Allow the activity but report it to Cortex XDR.
      • Disabled
        —Disable the module and do not analyze or report the activity.
    2. Define whether to quarantine the CGO when the Cortex XDR agent detects a malicious event chain.
      • Enabled
        —Quarantine the CGO if the file is not signed by a highly trusted signer. When the CGO is signed by a highly trusted signer or powershell.exe, wscript.exe, cscript.exe, mshta.exe, excel.exe, word.exe or powerpoint.exe, the Cortex XDR agent parses the command-line arguments and instead quarantines any scripts or files called by the CGO.
      • Disabled
        (default)—Do not quarantine the CGO of an event chain nor any scripts or files called by the CGO.
    3. (
      Optional
      ) Add to your allow list files that you do not want the Cortex XDR agent to terminate when a malicious causality chain is detected.
      1. +Add
        a file path.
      2. Enter the file path you want to exclude from evaluation. Use
        ?
        to match a single character or
        *
        to match any string of characters.
      3. Click the check mark to confirm the file path.
      4. Repeat the process to add any additional file paths to your allow list.
  5. (
    Windows only
    ) Configure
    Ransomware Protection
    1. Define the
      Action mode
      to take when the Cortex XDR agent detects ransomware activity locally on the endpoint or in pre-defined network folders:
      • Block
        (default)—Block the activity.
      • Report
        —Allow the activity but report it to Cortex XDR.
      • Disabled
        —Disable the module and do not analyze or report the activity.
    2. Configure the ransomware module
      Protection mode
      .
      By default, the protection mode is set to
      Normal
      where the decoy files on the endpoint are present, but do not interfere with benign applications and end user activity on the endpoint. If you suspect your network has been infected with ransomware and need to provide better coverage, you can apply the
      Aggressive
      protection mode. The aggressive mode exposes more applications in your environment to the Cortex XDR agent decoy files, while also increasing the likelihood that benign software is exposed to decoy files, raising false ransomware alerts, and impairing user experience.
  6. (
    Windows only
    ) Configure the Cortex XDR agent to
    Prevent Malicious Child Process Execution
    .
    1. Select the
      Action Mode
      to take when the Cortex XDR agent detects malicious child process execution:
      • Block
        —Block the activity.
      • Report
        —Allow the activity but report it to Cortex XDR.
    2. To allow specific processes to launch child processes for legitimate purposes, add the child process to your allow list with optional execution criteria.
      +Add
      and then specify the allow list criteria including the
      Parent Process Name
      ,
      Child Process Name
      , and
      Command Line Params
      . Use
      ?
      to match a single character or
      *
      to match any string of characters.
      malware-profile-child-processes.png
      If you are adding child process evaluation criteria based on a specific security event, the event indicates both the source process and the command line parameters in one line. Copy only the command line parameter for use in the profile.
  7. (
    Windows and Mac only
    ) Enable endpoint file scanning.
    Periodic scanning enables you to scan endpoints on a reoccurring basis without waiting for malware to run on the endpoint.
    malware-profile-scanning.png
    1. Configure the
      Action Mode
      for the Cortex XDR agent to periodically scan the endpoint for malware:
      Enabled
      to scan at the configured intervals,
      Disabled
      (default) if you don’t want the Cortex XDR agent to scan the endpoint.
    2. To configure the scan schedule, set the frequency (
      Run Weekly
      or
      Run Monthly
      ) and day and time at which the scan will run on the endpoint.
      Just as with an on-demand scan, a scheduled scan will resume after a reboot, process interruption, or operating system crash.
    3. (
      Windows only
      )
      To include removable media drives in the scheduled scan, enable the Cortex XDR agent to
      Scan Removable Media Drives
      .
    4. Add folders you your allow list to exclude them from examination.
      1. Add (
        +
        ) a folder.
      2. Enter the folder path. Use
        ?
        to match a single character or
        *
        to match any string of characters in the folder path (for example,
        C:\*\temp
        ).
      3. Press
        Enter
        or click the check mark when done.
      4. Repeat to add additional folders.
  8. (
    Windows Vista and later Windows releases
    ) Enable
    Password Theft Protection
    .
    Select
    Enabled
    to enable the Cortex XDR agent to prevent attacks that use the Mimikatz tool to extract passwords from memory. When set to
    Enabled
    , the Cortex XDR agent silently prevents attempts to steal credentials (no notifications are provided when these events occur). The Cortex XDR agent enables this protection module following the next endpoint reboot. If you don’t want to enable the module, select
    Disabled
    .
    This module is supported with Traps agent 5.0.4 and later release.
  9. (
    Linux only
    ) Enable
    Local File Threat Examination
    .
    The Local Threat-Evaluation Engine (LTEE) enables the Cortex XDR agent to detect webshells and optionally quarantine malicious PHP files on the endpoint.
    This module is supported with Cortex XDR agent 7.2.0 and later release.
    1. Select the
      Action Mode
      to take when the Cortex XDR agent detects the malicious behavior.
      • Enable
        —Enable the Cortex XDR agent to analyze the endpoint for PHP files arriving from the web server and alert of any malicious PHP scripts.
      • Disable
        —Disable the module and do not analyze or report the activity.
    2. Quarantine malicious files.
      When
      Enabled
      , the Cortex XDR agents quarantine malicious PHP files on the endpoint. The agent quarantines newly created PHP files only, and does not quarantine updated files.
    3. (
      Optional
      ) Add files and folders to your allow list to exclude them from examination.
      1. +Add
        a file or folder.
      2. Enter the path and press
        Enter
        or click the check mark when done. You can also use
        *
        to match files and folders containing a partial name. To match a folder, you must terminate the path with * to match all files in the folder (for example,
        /usr/bin/*
        ).
      3. Repeat to add additional files or folders.
  10. (
    Linux only
    ) Configure
    Reverse Shell Protection
    .
    The Reverse Shell Protection module enables the Cortex XDR agent to detect and optionally block attempts to redirect standard input and output streams to network sockets.
    1. Define the
      Action Mode
      to take when the Cortex XDR agent detects the malicious behavior.
      • Block
        —Block the activity.
      • Report
        —Allow the activity but report it to Cortex XDR.
      • Disabled
        —Disable the module and do not analyze or report the activity.
    2. (
      Optional
      ) Add processes to your allow list that must redirect streams to network sockets.
      1. +Add
        a connection.
      2. Enter the path of the process, and the local and remote IP address and ports.
        Use a wildcard to match a partial path name. Use a
        *
        to match any string of characters (for example,
        */bash
        ). You can also use a
        *
        to match any IP address or any port.
        malware-profile-reverse-shell-protection.png
      3. Press
        Enter
        or click the check mark when done.
      4. Repeat to add additional folders.
  11. Save
    the changes to your profile.
  12. You can do this in two ways: You can
    Create a new policy rule using this profile
    from the right-click menu or you can launch the new policy wizard from
    Policy Rules
    .

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