checkpoint vs paloalto
Image: VideoFlow/Adobe Stock

What is Check Point?

Check Point Harmony Endpoint (previously SandBlast Agent) is an exhaustive endpoint security solution that prevents imminent endpoint threats like ransomware, phishing and drive-by malware while reducing attack impact using autonomous detection and response. Harmony Endpoint protects the remote workforce from today’s evolving threat landscape.

What is Palo Alto?

Palo Alto Networks Traps is an endpoint solution that prevents and responds to threats to ensure cyberattacks fail by coordinating enforcement with cloud and network security. It combines effective endpoint protection technology with vital EDR capabilities in one agent. Through monitoring attack behaviors and techniques, Palo Alto blocks known and unknown exploits, malware and ransomware.

Note that Palo Alto Networks’ support for Traps ended on March, 2022. Traps is currently a part of Cortex XDR. A step-by-step guide on how to migrate from Traps Endpoint Security Manager to Cortex XDR is available.

Check Point vs Palo Alto: Feature comparison

FeatureCheck PointPalo Alto
Real-time preventionYesYes
IdentificationYesYes
Unified management configurationYesYes
Zero-trust approachYesYes
Shared threat intelligenceYesYes

Featured Partners

Head-to-head comparison: Check Point vs Palo Alto

Ransomware and malware prevention

Check Point prevents malware from reaching the endpoint through web browsing and email attachments without impacting user productivity. Each file received passes through Check Point’s Threat Emulation sandbox for malware inspection. Check Point’s Threat Extraction process uses content disarm and reconstruction technology to sanitize files in milliseconds. Check Point also automatically restores ransomware-encrypted files from snapshots to maintain business continuity and productivity and keep away ransomware variants.

SEE: Password breach: Why pop culture and passwords don’t mix (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

Palo Alto also provides solutions against malware and ransomware. It reduces the attack surface to improve the accuracy of malware and ransomware protection by preventing malicious executables, DLL files and Office macros. This approach mitigates endpoint infections from known and unknown malware.

Palo Alto uses machine learning to perform local analysis of file characteristics through Cortex XDR. It examines hundreds of characteristics without reliance on prior threat knowledge to provide immediate verdicts before handling threats. It also integrates its next-generation antivirus with its WildFire malware prevention service to analyze files and coordinate protection across all Palo Alto security products.

Unknown files are examined by WildFire inspection and analysis. WildFire uses dynamic, static and bare-metal analysis to provide thorough and evasion-resistant threat identification. It scans and remediates dormant malicious files without opening them.

Block exploit and file-less attacks

Exploit attacks capitalize on system vulnerabilities to hijack or steal resources and data. Check Point’s Anti-Exploit feature prevents legitimate applications from being compromised and their vulnerabilities leveraged by protecting them from exploit-based attacks. It detects both zero-day and unknown attacks. Anti-Exploit identifies dubious memory manipulations in runtime to discover exploits. When it detects an exploited process, it remediates the entire attack chain.

Palo Alto focuses on blocking the exploit techniques of an attack as opposed to individual attacks. Threats are left ineffective by blocking exploit techniques at each step of an exploit attempt, ultimately breaking an attack lifecycle. Palo Alto uses pre-exploit protection to block reconnaissance and vulnerability-profiling methods that precede exploit attacks to prevent attacks.

Palo Alto implements technique-based exploit prevention for zero-day exploits to thwart attack techniques to manipulate legitimate applications. It also implements kernel exploit prevention to prevent exploits that target operating system vulnerabilities to devise processes with system-level privileges. Attackers also attempt to load and run malicious code from the kernel using injection techniques similar to the WannaCry attack; Kernel exploit prevention prevents these injection techniques.

The Cortex XDR agent offers a broad set of exploit protection modules to stop exploits that cause malware infections. An adaptive AI-driven local analysis engine that’s constantly learning to counter newly discovered attack techniques examines every file.

Behavior-based protection

Check Point’s Behavioral Guard takes an adaptive approach to the detection and blocking of malware mutations. Blocking occurs based on the real-time behavior of mutations. Blocking of malware mutations, along with their identification and classification, is also based on similarities between minimal process execution trees.

Harmony Endpoint Anti-Bot protection is part of Check Point’s behavioral protection. The Check Point Endpoint Anti-Bot component prevents bot threats to ensure users are safe from denial-of-service attacks and data theft while ensuring that their productivity is not impacted by irregular bandwidth consumption. It utilizes the ThreatCloud repository to classify bots and viruses as it has more than 250 million addresses previously analyzed for bot discovery. Check Point also uses behavioral protection to detect and prevent ransomware.

Palo Alto Networks enacts its behavioral threat protection engine to detect and halt attack activity. It monitors for malicious events across processes and terminates detected attacks. It uses granular child process protection to block fileless and script-based attacks that deliver malware. Since child processes can be used to bypass traditional security, granular child process protection blocks known processes from launching various child processes.

Cortex XDR compares past behavior and peer behavior to detect anomalies and expose malicious activity. It uses behavioral analytics to identify unknown and elusive threats that target networks. Palo Alto uses AI and machine learning models to expose threats from any source, including unmanaged and managed devices.

Choosing between Check Point and Palo Alto

As much as Check Point offers a modern endpoint solution that is part of a broad and integrated product portfolio, its range of attack surface reduction features is modest. It is however cheaper than the Palo Alto endpoint solution.

Check Point should be considered by enterprises that are subscribed to Check Point’s non-endpoint products to reduce vendor relationships and overhead and get the most out of Check Point’s integrated portfolio.

Palo Alto’s transition to XDR from EDR ultimately makes this an unbalanced comparison between the two security products, as XDR represents an evolution from EDR. This means that compared head-to-head, Palo Alto’s XDR offering has a clear advantage against Check Point’s EDR tools.

Subscribe to the Developer Insider Newsletter

From the hottest programming languages to commentary on the Linux OS, get the developer and open source news and tips you need to know. Delivered Tuesdays and Thursdays

Subscribe to the Developer Insider Newsletter

From the hottest programming languages to commentary on the Linux OS, get the developer and open source news and tips you need to know. Delivered Tuesdays and Thursdays