Protect your Windows endpoints from connecting to malicious USB-connected removable devices.
By default, all external USB devices are allowed to connect to your Cortex XDR endpoints. To protect endpoints from connecting USB-connected removable devices—such as disk drives, CD-ROM drives, floppy disk drives, and other portable devices—that can contain malicious files, Cortex XDR provides device control.
For example, with device control, you can:
- Block all supported USB-connected devices for an endpoint group.
- Block a USB device type but add to your allow list a specific vendor from that list that will be accessible from the endpoint.
- Temporarily block only some USB device types on an endpoint.
The following are prerequisites to enforce device control policy rules on your endpoints:
Requirements and Limitations
Cortex XDR agent 7.0 or a later release.
If you are running Cortex XDR agents 7.3 or earlier releases, device control rules take effect on your endpoint only after the Cortex XDR agent deploys the policy. If you already had a USB device connected to the endpoint, you have to disconnect it and connect it again for the policy to take effect.
Device Control Profiles
To apply device control in your organization, you define device control profiles that determine which device types Cortex XDR blocks and which it permits. There are two types of profiles:
Allow or block these USB-connected device type groups:
The Cortex XDR agent relies on the device class assigned by the operating system. For Windows endpoints only, you can configure additional device classes.
Allow specific devices according to device types and vendor. You can further specify a specific product and/or product serial number.
Device Configuration and Device Exceptions profiles are set for each operating system separately. After you configure a device control profile, Apply Device Control Profiles to Your Endpoints.
Add a New Configuration Profile
- Log in to Cortex XDR.Go toand selectEndpointsPolicy managementExtension Profiles. Select+ New ProfilePlatformand click.Device ConfigurationNext
- Fill in the General Information.Assign the profileNameand add an optionalDescription. The profile Type and Platform are set by Cortex XDR.
- Configure the Device Configuration.For each group of device types, select whether toAlloworBlockthem on the endpoints. For Disk Drives only, you can also choose to allow to connect inRead-onlymode. To use the default option defined by Palo Alto Networks, leaveUse Defaultselected.Currently, the default is set to Use Default (Allow) however Palo Alto Networks may change the default definition at any time.To view in XQL Search connect and disconnect events of USB devices that are reported by the agent, theDevice Configurationmust be set toBlock. Otherwise, the USB events are not captured. The events are also captured when a group of device types are blocked on the endpoints with a permanent or temporary exception in place. For more information, see Ingest Connect and Disconnect Events of USB Devices.
- Save your profile.When you’re done,Createyour device profile definitions.If needed, you can edit, delete, or duplicate your profiles.You cannot edit or delete the default profiles pre-defined in Cortex XDR.
- (Optional) To define exceptions to your Device Configuration profile, Add a New Exceptions Profile.
Add a New Exceptions Profile
- Log in to Cortex XDR.Go toand selectEndpointsPolicy managementExtension Profiles. Select+ New ProfilePlatformand clickDevice ExceptionsNext
- Fill in the General Information.Assign the profileNameand add an optionalDescription. The profileTypeandPlatformare set by the system.
- Configure Device Exceptions.You can add devices to your allow list according to different sets of identifiers-vendor, product, and serial numbers.
- (Disk Drives only)Permission—Select the permissions you want to grant:Read onlyorRead/Write.
- Type—Select the Device Type you want to add to the allow list (Disk Drives, CD-Rom, Portable, or Floppy Disk).
- Vendor—Select a specific vendor from the list or enter the vendor ID in hexadecimal code.
- (Optional)Product—Select a specific product (filtered by the selected vendor) to add to your allow list, or add your product ID in hexadecimal code.
- (Optional)Serial Number—Enter a specific serial number (pertaining to the selected product) to add to your allow list. Only devices with this serial number are included in the allow list.
- Save your profile.When you’re done,Createyour device exceptions profile.If needed, you can later edit, delete, or duplicate your profiles.You cannot edit or delete the predefined profiles in Cortex XDR.
Apply Device Control Profiles to Your Endpoints
After you defined the required profiles for Device Configuration and Exceptions, you must configure Device Control Policies and enforce them on your endpoints. Cortex XDR applies Device Control policies on endpoints from top to bottom, as you’ve ordered them on the page. The first policy that matches the endpoint is applied. If no policies match, the default policy that enables all devices is applied.
- Log in to Cortex XDR.Go toand selectEndpointsPolicy managementExtension Policy Rules.+ New Policy
- Configure settings for the Device Control policy.
- Assign a policy name and select the platform. You can add a description.The platform will automatically be assigned to Windows.
- Assign the Device Type profile you want to use in this rule.
- Select the target endpoints on which to enforce the policy.Use filters or manual endpoint selection to define the exact target endpoints of the policy rules.
- Configure policy hierarchy.Drag and drop the policies in the desired order of execution. The default policy that enables all devices on all endpoints is always the last one on the page and is applied to endpoints that don’t match the criteria in the other policies.
- Savethe policy hierarchy.After the policy is saved and applied to the agents, Cortex XDR enforces the device control policies on your environment.
- (Optional) Manage your policy rules.In theProtection Policy Rulestable: you can view and edit the policy you created and the policy hierarchy.
- View your policy hierarchy.
- Right-click toView Policy Details,Edit,Save as New,Disable, andDelete.
- Monitor device control violations.After you apply Device Control rules in your environment, use thepage to monitor all instances where end users attempted to connect restricted USB-connected devices and Cortex XDR blocked them on the endpoint. All violation logs are displayed on the page. You can sort the results, and use the filters menu to narrow down the results. For each violation event Cortex XDR logs the event details, the platform, and the device details that are available.EndpointsDevice Control ViolationsIf you see a violation for which you’d like to define an exception on the device that triggered it, right-click the violation and select one of the following options:
- Add device to permanent exceptions—To ensure this device is always allowed in your network, select this option to add the device to the Device Permanent Exceptions list.
- Add device to temporary exceptions—To allow this device only temporarily on the selected endpoint or on all endpoints, select this option and set the allowed time frame for the device.
- Allow device to a profile exception—Select this option to allow the device within an existing Device Exceptions profile.
- Tune your device control exceptions.To better deploy device control in your network and allow further granularity, you can add devices on your network to your allow list and grant them access to your endpoints. Device control exceptions are configured per device and you must select the device category, vendor, and type of permission that you want to allow on the endpoint. Optionally, to limit the exception to a specific device, you can also include the product and/or serial number.Cortex XDR enables you to configure the following exceptions:Exception NameDescriptionPermanent ExceptionsPermanent exceptions approve the device in your network across all Device Control policies and profiles. You can create them directly from the violation event that blocked the device, or through the Permanent Exceptions list.Permanent exceptions apply across platforms, allowing the deceives on all operating systems.Temporary ExceptionsTemporary exceptions approve the device for a specific time period up to 30 days. You create a temporary exception directly from the violation event that blocked the device.Profile ExceptionsProfile exceptions approve the device in an existing exceptions profile. You create a profile exception directly from the violation event that blocked the device.
- Create a Permanent Exception.Permanent device control exceptions are managed in the Permanent Exception list and are applied to all devices regardless of the endpoint platform.
- If you know in advance which device you’d like to allow throughout your network, create a general exception from the list:
- Go toand selectEndpointsPolicy ManagementExtensionsDevice Permanent Exceptionson the left menu. The list of existing Permanent Exceptions is displayed.
- Select:Type,Permission, andVendor.
- (Optional) Select a specific product and/or enter a specific serial number for the device.
- Click the adjacent arrow andSave. The exception is added to the Permanent Exceptions list and will be applied in the next heartbeat.
- Otherwise, you can create a permanent exception directly from the violation event that blocked the device in your network:
- On theDevice Control Violationspage, right-click the violation event triggered by the device you want to permanently allow.
- SelectAdd device to permanent exceptions. Review the exception data and change the defaults if necessary.
- Create a Temporary Exception.
- On theDevice Control Violationspage, right-click the violation event triggered by the device you want to temporarily allow.
- SelectAdd device to temporary exceptions. Review the exception data and change the defaults if necessary. For example, you can configure the exception to this endpoint only or to all endpoints in your network, or set which device identifiers will be included in the exception.
- Configure the exceptionTIME FRAMEby defining the number of days or number of hours during which the exception will be applied, up to 30 days.
- ClickSave. The exception is added to the Device Temporary Exceptions list and will be applied in the next heartbeat.
- Create an Exception within a Profile.
- On theDevice Control Violationspage, right-click the violation event triggered by the device you want to add to a Device Exceptions profile.
- Select thePROFILEfrom the list.
- ClickSave. The exception is added to the Exceptions Profile and will be applied in the next heartbeat.
Add a Custom
Windows only) You can include custom USB-connected device classes beyond Disk Drive, CD-ROM, Windows Portable Devices and Floppy Disk Drives, such as USB connected network adapters. When you create a custom device class, you must supply Cortex XDR the official ClassGuid identifier used by Microsoft. Alternatively, if you configured a GUID value to a specific USB connected device, you must use this value for the new device class. After you add a custom device class, you can view it in Device Management and enforce any device control rules and exceptions on this device class.
To create a custom USB-connected device class:
- Go to.EndpointsPolicy ManagementSettingsDevice ManagementThis is the list of all your custom USB-connected devices.
- Create the new device class.Select+New Device. Set aNamefor the new device class, supply a valid and unique GUIDIdentifier. For each GUID value you can define one class type only.
- Save.The new device class is now available in Cortex XDR as all other device classes.
Add a Custom User Notification
Requires a Cortex XDR agent 7.5 or a later release for Windows) You can personalize the Cortex XDR notification pop-up on the endpoint when the user attempts to connect a USB device that is either blocked on the endpoint or allowed in read-only mode. To edit the notifications, refer to the Agent Settings Profile.
Ingest Connect and Disconnect Events of USB Devices
This feature requires a Cortex XDR Pro license.
The Cortex XDR Query Language (XQL) supports the ingestion of connect and disconnect events of USB devices that are reported by the agent. To view in XQL Search these USB device events, you must set the
Device Configurationof the endpoint profile to
Block. Otherwise, the USB events are not captured. The events are also captured when a group of device types are blocked on the endpoints with a permanent or temporary exception in place. For more information, see Add a New Configuration Profile.
You can use XQL Search to query for this data and build widgets based on the
xdr_datadataset, where the following use cases are supported:
- Displaying devices by Vendor ID, Vendor Name, Product ID, and Product Name.
- Displaying hosts that a specific device, based on serial number, is connected.
- Query for USB devices that are connected to specific hosts or groups of hosts.
Examples of XQL queries that query the USB device data.
- This query returns theaction_device_usb_product_namefield from allxdr_datarecords, where theevent_typeisDEVICEand theevent_sub_typeisDEVICE_PLUG.dataset = xdr_data | filter event_type = DEVICE and event_sub_type = DEVICE_PLUG | fields action_device_usb_product_nameCode copied to clipboardUnable to copy due to lack of browser support.
- This query returns theaction_device_usb_vendor_namefield from alldevice_controlrecords (preset of thexdr_datadataset) where theevent_typeisDEVICE.preset = device_control | filter event_type = DEVICE | fields action_device_usb_vendor_nameCode copied to clipboardUnable to copy due to lack of browser support.
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