End-user protection or endpoint security is a crucial aspect of cyber security. After all, it is often an individual (the end-user) who accidentally uploads malware or another form of cyber threat to their desktop, laptop or mobile device.
So, how do cyber-security measures protect end users and systems? First, cyber-security relies on cryptographic protocols to encrypt emails, files, and other critical data. This not only protects information in transit, but also guards against loss or theft.
In addition, end-user security software scans computers for pieces of malicious code, quarantines this code, and then removes it from the machine. Security programs can even detect and remove malicious code hidden in Master Boot Record (MBR) and are designed to encrypt or wipe data from computer’s hard drive.
Electronic security protocols also focus on real-time malware detection. Many use heuristic and behavioural analysis to monitor the behaviour of a program and its code to defend against viruses or Trojans that change their shape with each execution (polymorphic and metamorphic malware). Security programs can confine potentially malicious programs to a virtual bubble separate from a user's network to analyse their behaviour and learn how to better detect new infections.
Security programs continue to evolve new defences as cyber-security professionals identify new threats and new ways to combat them. To make the most of end-user security software, employees need to be educated about how to use it. Crucially, keeping it running and updating it frequently ensures that it can protect users against the latest cyber threats.