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What is Content Disarm and Reconstruction (CDR)?

CDR is a security technology that removes executable content from documents, safeguarding against potential threats, and ensuring safe file delivery; it provides true zero-day prevention by eliminating malicious content regardless of detection, offering protection against new and unknown threats.

Content Disarm and Reconstruction (CDR) Explained

Content Disarm and Reconstruction (CDR), also known as Threat Extraction, is a security technology that proactively protects against known and unknown threats contained in documents by removing executable content. It is designed to prevent file-borne cyber security threats from breaching an organization's network by sanitizing files and ensuring their safe delivery to recipients. CDR operates by assuming all files are malicious and scrutinizing them outside of the approved firewall, removing any potentially harmful content while preserving the usability of the file.

Who is Content Disarm and Reconstruction Technology Meant for?

CDR technology is primarily intended for organizations across various industries that aim to protect their network and prevent file-borne cyber threats. Industries benefiting from CDR include banking, financial services and insurance, telecom and information technology (IT), manufacturing, construction, wholesale distribution, non-profit organizations, chemicals, food and beverage, retail, hospitality, government, public sector, health insurance, and healthcare, among others.

Why is CDR Technology Needed?

CDR technology addresses the limitations of traditional defenses against advanced threats, which are constantly evolving and becoming more sophisticated. Conventional cybersecurity technologies, such as anti-malware and antivirus solutions, can only detect known threats and are unable to protect against undisclosed or zero-day attacks. As file complexity increases, cybercriminals find more opportunities for exploits. Moreover, sandboxes, often used for threat detection, struggle to keep up with advanced techniques employed by malware creators. Human error also poses a risk, as the majority of data breaches are caused by human actions. Additionally, the cost of breaches is significant, leading to data loss, service disruption, downtime, reputation damage, and financial losses.

What Does Content Disarm and Reconstruction Help Protect Against?

CDR helps protect organizational networks from file-borne cyber threats originating from various channels, such as email, web browsers, file servers and FTP, the cloud, and computer endpoint devices. It prevents malware delivery through file attachments and removes active content, embedded objects, macros, and malicious code from files, rendering them safe for use. By neutralizing file-based attacks, CDR mitigates the risks, threats, and vulnerabilities associated with file sharing and prevents exploits targeting vulnerabilities in applications.

History of Content Disarm & Reconstruction Technology

Over time, CDR technology has evolved to enhance its capabilities and address its limitations. It has progressed through different types of CDR:

  1. CDR Type 1: Converting files to PDF: This approach converts files into PDF format, eliminating the possibility of activating malicious code but resulting in flattened and unusable documents.

  2. CDR Type 2: Stripping out active code and embedded objects: This type of CDR focuses on removing specific content, such as embedded objects and potentially active code, to ensure file safety. However, it can lead to loss of functionality and overlook security risks.

  3. CDR Type 3 - Positive Selection technology: This advanced form of CDR employs template-based reconstruction, preserving all features and functionality of the original file. It selectively copies known-good and safe content, ensuring that only secure template elements remain, providing full protection and usability.

How Email Security with CDR Prevents Most Malware Attacks

A significant portion of malware infections begin with a phishing email using a malicious document as the delivery mechanism. Documents such as PDF, Microsoft Office Word, Excel, and PowerPoint are commonly used for weaponizing attacks. However, not all content within a document is malicious. CDR focuses on removing executable content, which is often a small fraction of the files or objects that make up the document. By excising the executable elements and reconstructing the document, CDR enables the safe delivery of files to recipients without the risk of malware delivery. This approach provides true zero-day prevention, as CDR removes executable content whether or not it is detected as malicious, offering protection against new and unknown threats.

CDR eliminates delays associated with traditional sandboxing methods, enabling rapid file delivery and real-world deployment for zero-day protection. It also allows access to the original file if needed, once it has been confirmed to be benign after sandbox inspection. By mitigating the risks associated with weaponized documents, CDR ensures minimal recipient impact, allowing the safe transmission of important information while maintaining high levels of cybersecurity.

In summary, Content Disarm and Reconstruction (CDR) is a security technology that removes executable content from documents to proactively protect against known and unknown threats. It is designed for organizations across various industries to prevent file-borne cyber threats, addressing the limitations of traditional defenses and sandboxes. CDR helps protect organizational networks by removing malicious content from files and ensuring their safe delivery. Over time, CDR has evolved to provide full functionality while maintaining security, offering true zero-day prevention and rapid file delivery. By neutralizing file-based attacks, CDR helps mitigate risks, vulnerabilities, and threats associated with weaponized documents.

Threat Extraction Using IRONSCALES

IRONSCALES is an enterprise email security platform that offers a comprehensive solution for threat detection, response, and remediation. In addition to Content Disarm and Reconstruction (CDR) technologies, IRONSCALES utilizes multiple other techniques to handle threat protection and enhance the organization's overall cybersecurity posture. Here's an overview of how IRONSCALES handles threat extraction:

  1. CDR (Content Disarm and Reconstruction): IRONSCALES employs CDR technology to proactively protect against known and unknown threats contained within documents. By redirecting inbound emails into a sandbox to test executable content and removing malicious elements from files, IRONSCALES ensures that malicious pieces are removed while preserving the usability of the document if not otherwise remediated. This process helps prevent the delivery of weaponized files and mitigates the risks associated with opening malicious documents.

  2. AI-Powered Threat Detection: IRONSCALES leverages artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML) algorithms, and computer vision to detect and identify various types of threats, including phishing attacks, malware, fake login pages, and other email-based threats. These technologies analyze email content, attachments, webpages, and metadata to identify suspicious patterns and indicators of compromise, enabling the system to effectively detect and flag potential threats.

  3. Advanced URL Protection: IRONSCALES performs link unfurling and analysis to examine the URLs contained within emails. This process involves expanding shortened or obfuscated URLs to determine their actual destination. By analyzing the reputation and safety of the target websites, IRONSCALES can identify potentially malicious links and warn users before they interact with them.

  4. Reputation Analysis: IRONSCALES examines the header information of incoming emails to verify their authenticity and detect any signs of email spoofing or impersonation. By analyzing the source, routing, and authentication details of emails, IRONSCALES can identify indicators of phishing attacks or malicious actors attempting to deceive recipients.

  5. User Behavior Analysis: IRONSCALES employs user behavior analysis to establish baseline patterns of user interactions with emails. By monitoring individual user behavior and identifying anomalies, such as sudden changes in email handling or unusual attachment downloads, IRONSCALES can detect potential account compromise or insider threats.

  6. Incident Response Automation: IRONSCALES automates the incident response process to expedite threat remediation. When a potential threat is detected, the system can automatically trigger predefined actions, such as quarantining malicious emails, removing malicious attachments, or notifying security administrators for further investigation and response.

By combining these various technologies, including CDR, AI-powered threat detection, email sandboxing, advanced link protection, reputation analysis, user behavior analysis, and incident response automation, IRONSCALES provides a comprehensive approach to handling threat extraction and bolstering email security defenses. This multifaceted approach helps organizations detect and respond to modern threats effectively, minimizing the impact of attacks and enhancing overall security posture.

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