An Application Detection & Response (ADR) is a security solution that uses application-layer insights to identify indicators of compromise and mitigate malicious activity in real-time.

What is 'Application Detection & Response'?

Application Detection & Response (ADR) is an approach to application security that focuses on the application layer itself at runtime, rather than what happens at the perimeter of the application on the infrastructure layers or the network. ADR detects when application components behave in anomalous ways that indicate the beginning of an attack, allowing security teams to stop these attacks immediately before they escalate.

ADR uses modern instrumentation methods and is designed to be lightweight so that it does not impact application performance or stability, making it distinct from older runtime approaches, such as Runtime Application Self Protection (RASP). Likewise, ADR can provide application-level analysis to security teams without needing to be "built into" the application beforehand by developers.

Because ADR is instrumented at the application layer or just below at the operating system layer, deep insights into the attack are available whatever the runtime infrastructure–cloud, virtual machine, or bare-metal server.

What challenges does ADR solve?

Application blindspots

Year after year organizations increase their application security budgets and despite their efforts, application attacks continue to rise. Attackers know that if they can exploit vulnerabilities at the application level they can hang around undetected for a long time, covering their tracks as they go. "Shift-left" solutions like Software Composition Analysis (SCA) and Static Application Security Testing (SAST) can help developers make applications more secure before they deploy, but many vulnerabilities will still slip through the cracks.

Most cyberattacks target applications, but most detection and response solutions, including Web Application Firewalls (WAF) or Cloud Native Application Protection Platforms (CNAPP), can only see and protect an application from the outside. With this blindspot, organizations can only detect and block attacks once they reach the infrastructure perimeter around the application–meaning they have little insight as to what part of the application needs to be repaired.

Detection delays

The average time it took organizations to identify a breach in 2023 was 204 days according to IBM. Breaches are costly, each one costing on average over $4 million, and the longer they take to detect, the more that dollar amount rises. For critical applications, even one day is too long. Security practitioners need tools that help them identify application attacks within seconds, not days.

Response precision

If a detection tool sees an application as a black box, what is the next step when an attack is detected? More often than not, all that can be done is to take the application down while the true source of the vulnerability is located and patched. This sledgehammer approach leads to unnecessary downtime. For many organizations, significant downtime of a critical application could rival a breach in terms of cost.

Key benefits and capabilities of ADR

  • Immediate detection - ADR enables security teams to be alerted the instant a library is used in an unusual way, indicating compromise. This brings the dwell time (the amount of time between an attacker gaining access and the attacker being detected) of application-layer attacks down to mere seconds.
  • Context and visibility - ADR is able to provide key insights, including the specific library function involved in an attack, to help security teams and developers focus their patching efforts.
  • Precision - Knowing exactly which vulnerable library is an active target helps security practitioners address the real problem without bringing down the entire application.
  • Guardrails - With visibility into every components' behavior in runtime, guardrails and rules can be created to make exploiting those components impossible.
  • Attack vector agnosticism - An ADR solution doesn't care if the attack comes via a known CVE, zero-day vulnerability, or misconfiguration.
  • Simple deployment - A tool that takes an entire team to set up and maintain has limited value. An ADR solution uses lightweight agents, is easy to deploy, and starts defending applications immediately.
  • Stronger relationships between devs and security teams - No one likes false alarms. ADR allows security teams to connect with developers on real, not theoretical, issues to address.

What is the difference between ADR and...?

ADR exists to solve the "last mile problem" of application security: what is happening within the applications themselves at runtime. ADR is not meant to replace other cloud and application tools, but rather to cover a gap in security that can't be covered with other technologies.

What is the difference between ADR and RASP?

Runtime Application Self Protection (RASP) was an early attempt at gaining security insights from applications but has largely been ignored by security practitioners. RASP requires developers to build it into each application and set rules for application logic, which makes utilizing RASP costly and difficult to scale. In contrast, ADR does not need to be deployed prior to the development of an application and can detect signs of compromise in third party applications as well.

What is the difference between ADR and WAF?

A Web Application Firewall (WAF) protects applications from obvious malicious traffic. Like ADR, WAF can protect applications regardless of where they are hosted, but unlike ADR, WAF can often be bypassed by clever attackers and is limited in insights about attacks as it has no visibility into applications.

What is the difference between ADR and CSPM?

Cloud Security Posture Management (CSPM) solutions are deployed at the infrastructure layer and concerned with managing configurations and compliance settings. CSPM can detect certain kinds of vulnerabilities that can lead to attacks but does not detect active application attacks.

What is the difference between ADR and CNAPP/CWPP?

A Cloud Workload Protection Platform (CWPP) is focused on misconfigurations and malware detection. Cloud Native Application Protection Platform (CNAPP) combines CWPP and features with posture management and detection and response capabilities. CNAPP and CWPP both protect at the perimeter, leaving them without the application-level visibility that ADR offers.

Oligo ADR

Oligo ADR is the only fully featured ADR on the market today. Our approach to ADR puts customer needs first:

Low overhead - The Oligo Sensor is lightweight with a technical overhead of less than 1%.
Easy deployment - Oligo ADR takes minutes to deploy and begins protecting immediately.
Fast-acting detection - Oligo ADR can bring the time for detecting an application breach down from six months to under 1 second.
First and third-party applications - Oligo ADR works on all the applications you build, buy, or use—and can tie findings back to specific software components, even without access to source code.
- On-prem or off, VMs or containers, private or public cloud – Oligo ADR protects applications however they're hosted.
Non-intrusive instrumentation - Oligo ADR sits at the operating system layer and uses patented eBPF technology to gain application insights without getting in the way of development.

See Oligo ADR in Action

Book a live demo to see how Oligo ADR identifies exploitation in all your applications, using library-level behavioral profiles to identify anomalous behavior and unmask application-layer attacks in real-time.

Read more:

ADR - The Future of Runtime - James Berthoty from Latio Tech highlights the shift from EDR to ADR, emphasizing the limitations of traditional EDR in containerized environments and ADR's comprehensive visibility across cloud, container, and application contexts.

How ADRs solve the the last mile problem of application security - Mouad Kondah from Deep Kondah explains how ADRs address application security challenges by providing real-time monitoring and response, surpassing the limitations of traditional EDR and RASP solutions.

Oligo ADR Prevents LLM Prompt Injection - Prompt injection can lead LLMs to produce harmful outputs or execute malicious code. Oligo ADR detects and stops these threats instantly.

Oligo ADR Mitigates PaddlePaddle Shadow Vulnerability - PaddlePaddle, a popular deep learning platform, has a critical shadow vulnerability in its Paddle Serving component. Oligo ADR detects and neutralizes this threat.

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