Add a New Agent Settings Profile - Administrator Guide - Cortex XDR - Cortex XSIAM - Cortex - Security Operations

Cortex XDR Pro Administrator Guide

Cortex XDR
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Agent Settings Profiles enable you to customize Cortex XDR agent settings for different platforms and groups of users.

  1. Add a new profile.

    1. From Cortex XDR, select EndpointsPolicy ManagementPreventionProfiles+Add Profile and select whether to Create New or Import from File a new profile.


      New imported profiles are added and not replaced.

    2. Select the platform to which the profile applies and Agent Settings as the profile type.

    3. Click Next.

  2. Define the basic settings.

    1. Select a unique Profile Name to identify the profile. The name can contain only letters, numbers, or spaces, and must be no more than 30 characters. The name will be visible from the list of profiles when you configure a policy rule.

    2. To provide additional context for the purpose or business reason for creating the profile, specify a profile Description. For example, you might include an incident identification number or a link to a help desk ticket.

  3. (Windows, Mac, and Linux only) Configure the Disk Space to allot for Cortex XDR agent logs.

    Specify a value in MB from 100 to 10,000 (default is 5,000).

  4. (Windows and Mac only) Configure User Interface options for the Cortex XDR console.

    By default, Cortex XDR uses the settings specified in the default agent settings profile and displays the default configuration in parenthesis. When you select a setting other than the default, you override the default configuration for the profile.

    • Tray Icon—Choose whether you want the Cortex XDR agent icon to be Visible (default) or Hidden in the notification area (system tray).

    • XDR Agent Console Access—Enable this option to allow access to the Cortex XDR console.

    • XDR Agent User Notifications—Enable this option to operate display notifications in the notifications area on the endpoint. When disabled, the Cortex XDR agent operates in silent mode where the Cortex XDR agent does not display any notifications in the notification area. If you enable notifications, you can use the default notification messages, or provide custom text for each notification type. You can also customize a notification footer.

      From version 7.8, you can enable the option to maintain a persistent notification regarding the disconnection of the endpoint from the network. The settings, Persistent Isolation Notification and Blocked Connectivity Notification must be enabled. Until the threat on the endpoint has been removed, the endpoint remains disconnected from the network.

    • Live Terminal User Notifications—Choose whether to Notify the end user and display a pop-up on the endpoint when you initiate a Live Terminal session. For Cortex XDR agents 7.3 and later releases only, you can select to Request end-user permission to start the session. If the end user denies the request, you will not be able to initiate a Live Terminal session on the endpoint.

    • (Cortex XDR agent 7.3 and later releases only) Live Terminal Active Session Indication—Enable this option to display a blinking light (live-terminal-indication.png) on the tray icon (or in the status bar for Mac endpoints) for the duration of the remote session to indicate to the end user that a live terminal session is in progress.

  5. (Android only) Configure network usage preferences.

    When the option to Upload Using Cellular Data is enabled, the Cortex XDR agent uses cellular data to send unknown apps to the Cortex XDR for inspection. Standard data charges may apply. When this option is disabled, the Cortex XDR agent queues any unknown files and sends them when the endpoint connects to a Wi-Fi network. If configured, the data usage setting on the Android endpoint takes precedence over this configuration.

  6. (Windows and Mac only) Configure Agent Security options that prevent unauthorized access or tampering with the Cortex XDR agent components.

    Use the default agent settings or customize them for the profile. To customize agent security capabilities:

    1. Enable XDR Agent Tampering Protection.

    2. (Windows only) By default, the Cortex XDR agent protects all agent components, however, you can configure protection more granularly for Cortex XDR agent services, processes, files, and registry values according to the following options: With Traps 5.0.6 and later releases, when protection is enabled, access will be read-only. In earlier Traps releases, enabling protection disables all access to services, processes, files, and registry values.

      • Service Protection-Protects against stopping the agent services. When this protection is on, the service won't accept OS requests to stop willingly.

      • Process Protection-Protects against tampering attempts with the agent processes; injecting into them, terminating them, reading, or writing into their virtual memory.

      • File Protection-Protects against tampering attempts with the agent files; deleting, replacing, renaming, moving, or writing files/directories.

      • Registry Protection-Protects against tampering attempts with the agent registry settings and agent policies, for example; deleting, adding, and renaming registry keys or values which belong to the agent.

      • Pipe Protection-Protects against tampering attempts with the agent pipe-based inter-process communication (IPC) mechanism.

  7. (Windows and Mac only) Configure an Uninstall Password.

    Define and confirm a password the user must specify to uninstall the Cortex XDR agent. The uninstall password is encrypted using an encryption algorithm (PBKDF2) when transferred between Cortex XDR and Cortex XDR agents. Additionally, the uninstall password is used to protect against tampering attempts when using Cytool commands.

    The default uninstall password is Password1. A new password must satisfy the Password Strength indicator requirements:

    • Contain eight or more characters.

    • Contain English letters, numbers, or any of the following symbols: !()-._`~@#"'.

  8. (Windows only) Configure Windows Security Center Integration.

    The Windows Security Center is a reporting tool that monitors the system health and security state of Windows endpoints on Windows 7 and later releases:

    • Enabled—The Cortex XDR agent registers with the Windows Security Center as an official Antivirus (AV) software product. As a result, Windows shuts down Microsoft Defender on the endpoint automatically, except for endpoints that are running Windows Server versions. To avoid performance issues, Palo Alto Networks recommends that you disable or remove Windows Defender from endpoints that are running Windows Server versions and where the Cortex XDR agent is installed.

    • Enabled (No Patches)—For the Cortex XDR agent 5.0 release only, select this option if you want to register the agent to the Windows Security Center but prevent from Windows automatically install Meltdown/Spectra vulnerability patches on the endpoint.

    • Disabled—The Cortex XDR agent does not register to the Windows Action Center. As a result, Windows Action Center could indicate that Virus protection is Off, depending on other security products that are installed on the endpoint.


    When you Enable the Cortex XDR agent to register to the Windows Security Center, Windows shuts down Microsoft Defender on the endpoint automatically. If you still want to allow Microsoft Defender to run on the endpoint where Cortex XDR is installed, you must Disable this option. However, Palo Alto Networks does not recommend running Windows Defender and the Cortex XDR agent on the same endpoint since it might cause performance issues and incompatibility issues with Global Protect and other applications.

  9. Configure Alerts Data collection options.

    When the Cortex XDR agent raises alerts on process-related activity on the endpoint, the Cortex XDR agent collects the contents of memory and other data about the event in what is known as an alert data dump file. You can customize the Alert Data Dump File SizeSmall, Medium, or Full (the largest and most complete set of information)—and whether to Automatically Upload Alert Data Dump File to Cortex XDR. During event investigation, if automatic uploading of the alert data dump file was disabled, you can manually retrieve the data.

  10. (Requires a Cortex XDR Pro per Endpoint license) Enable and configure Cortex XDR Pro Endpoint capabilities on the endpoint, including enhanced data collection, advanced responses, and available Pro add-ons.

    1. Enable XDR Pro Endpoints Capabilities to configure which Pro capabilities to activate on the endpoint.

      The Pro features are hidden until you enable the capability. Enabling this capability consumes a Cortex XDR Pro per Endpoint license.

    2. (Supported on Cortex XDR agent 6.0 or later for Windows endpoints, and Cortex XDR agent 6.1 or later for Mac and Linux endpoints) Enable Monitor and Collect Enhanced Endpoint Data.

      By default, the Cortex XDR agent collects information about events that occur on the endpoint. If you enable Behavioral Threat Protection in a Malware Security profile, the Cortex XDR agent also collects information about all active file, process, network, and registry activity on an endpoint (see Endpoint Data Collection). When you enable the Cortex XDR agent to monitor and collect enhanced endpoint data, you enable Cortex XDR to share the detailed endpoint information with other Cortex apps. The information can help to provide the endpoint context when a security event occurs so that you can gain insight into the overall event scope during an investigation. The event scope includes all activities that took place during an attack, the endpoints that were involved, and the damage caused. When disabled, the Cortex XDR agent will not share endpoint activity logs.

    3. (Requires Host Insights add-on and Cortex XDR agent 7.1 or later releases) Enable Host Insights Capabilities.

      • Enable Endpoint Information Collection to allow the Cortex XDR agent to collect Host Inventory information such as users, groups, services, drivers, hardware, and network shares, as well as information about applications installed on the endpoint, including CVE and installed KBs for Vulnerability Assessment.

      • (Supported on Cortex XDR agent 7.2 or later for Windows endpoints and Cortex XDR agent 7.3 or later for Mac endpoints) Enable File Search and Destroy Action Mode to allow the Cortex XDR agent to collect detailed information about files on the endpoint to create a files inventory database. The agent locally monitors any actions performed on these files and updates the local files database in real-time.

        With this option you can also select the File Search and Destroy Monitored File Types where Cortex XDR monitors all file types or only common file types. If you choose Common file types, Cortex XDR monitors the following file types:

        • Windowsbin, msi, doc, docx, docm, rtf, xls, xlsx, xlsm, pdf, ppt, pptx, pptm, ppsm, pps, ppsx, mpp, mppx, vsd, xsdx and wsf.

          A hash will also be computed for these file types: zip, pe, and ole.

          File size is limited to 30 MB by default. Searches of files larger than 30 MB by hash are not supported.

        • Macacm, apk, ax, bat, bin, bundle, csv, dll, dmg, doc, docm, docx, dylib, efi, hta, jar, js, jse, jsf, lua, mpp, mppx, mui, o, ocx, pdf, pkg, pl, plx, pps, ppsm, ppsx, ppt, pptm, pptx, py, pyc, pyo, rb, rtf, scr, sh, vds, vsd, wsf, xls, xlsm, xlsx, xsdx, and zip.

        Additionally, you can exclude files that exist under a specific local path on the endpoint from inclusion in the files database.

    4. (Requires Forensics Add-on and Cortex XDR agent 7.4 or later for Windows endpoints) Enable Monitor and Collect Forensics Data to allow the Cortex XDR agent to collect detailed information about what happened on your endpoint to create a forensics database. Define the following if to enable collection and in what time intervals of the following entity types:

      • Process Execution

      • File Access

      • Persistence

      • Command History

      • Network

      • Remote Access

      • Search Collections

      Data collected by the agent is displayed in the Forensic Data Analysis page.

    5. (Supported on Cortex XDR agent 7.5 or later for Windows endpoints ) Enable Distributed Network Scan to allow the Cortex XDR agent to scan your network using Ping or Nmap to provide updated identifiers of your unmanaged network assets. Ping scans return the IP address, MAC address, Hostname, and Platform, whereas Nmap will scan the most common ports for the IP address, Hostname, Platform, and OS version.

      The scan is performed according to the subnets detected in each network interface found on the endpoint and up to a maximum of ~1K IP addresses calculated according to agent_ip/22. For example, an agent with the IP address will be assigned the scan range: - (1024 addresses). Each agent is assigned scan ranges randomly from all the scannable subnets, meaning the same agent can scan multiple subnets.

      The following criteria effects the scan:

      • There must be at least 2 endpoints detected in order to assign a scan.

      • Network Location configuration must be enabled.

      • Subnet masking settings and service name configurations influence the scan.

      • Excluded IP address ranges are not scanned.

      1. In the Network Location Configuration section, set the Action Mode to Enabled.

      2. In the Distributed Network Scan section, set the Action Mode to Enabled.

      3. In Scan Mode, select Nmap or Ping.


        When using Nmap, the Cortex XDR agent downloads an Nmap driver for the duration of the scan and removes the driver upon completion. If an Nmap scan is in process, Cortex XDR identifies the Nmap driver and places any additional scans in a queue.

        The scan is performed according to the subnets detected in each network interface found on the endpoint.

      4. Select if you want to Excluded IP Address Ranges. The IP address ranges are populated from your Network Configurations.Configure Your Network Parameters

      5. If you selected Nmap, enable or disable whether to return the OS Fingerprinting of the IP address.

      Depending on the type of scan you defined, the agent Ping scan takes 30 minutes and Nmap 60 minutes. Following each scan, Cortex XDR aggregates the IP address collected and displays the results in the Asset Management table.

  11. (Windows and Mac only) Response Actions.

    If you need to isolate an endpoint but want to allow access for a specific application, add the process to the Network Isolation Allow List. The following are considerations to the allow list:

    • When you add a specific application to your allow list from network isolation, the Cortex XDR agent continues to block some internal system processes. This is because some applications, for example, ping.exe, can use other processes to facilitate network communication. As a result, if the Cortex XDR agent continues to block an application you included in your allow list, you may need to perform additional network monitoring to determine the process that facilitates the communication, and then add that process to the allow list.

    • (Windows) For VDI sessions, using the network isolation response action can disrupt communication with the VDI host management system thereby halting access to the VDI session. As a result, before using the response action you must add the VDI processes and corresponding IP addresses to your allow list.

    1. +Add an entry to the allow list.

    2. Specify the Process Path you want to allow and the IPv4 or IPv6 address of the endpoint. Use the * wildcard on either side to match any process or IP address. For example, specify * as the process path and an IP address to allow any process to run on the isolated endpoint with that IP address. Conversely, specify * as the IP address and a specific process path to allow the process to run on any isolated endpoint that receives this profile.

    3. Click the check mark when finished.

  12. (Supported on Cortex XDR agent 7.0 or later for Windows endpoints and Cortex XDR agent 7.3 or later for Mac and Linux endpoints) Specify the Content Configuration for your Cortex XDR agents.

    • Content Auto-update—By default, the Cortex XDR agent always retrieves the most updated content and deploys it on the endpoint so it is always protected with the latest security measures. However, you can Disable the automatic content download. Then, the agent stops retrieving content updates from the Cortex XDR Server and keeps working with the current content on the endpoint.


      • If you disable content updates for a newly installed agent, the agent retrieves the content for the first time from Cortex XDR and then disables content updates on the endpoint.

      • When you add a Cortex XDR agent to an endpoint group with a disabled content auto-upgrades policy, the policy is applied to the added agent as well.

    • Content Rollout—The Cortex XDR agent can retrieve content updates Immediately as they are available, or after a pre-configured Delayed period. When you delay content updates, the Cortex XDR agent will retrieve the content according to the configured delay. For example, if you configure a delay period of two days, the agent will not use any content released in the last 48 hours.


    If you disable or delay automatic-content updates provided by Palo Alto Networks, it may affect the security level in your organization.

  13. Enable Agent Auto Upgrade for your Cortex XDR agents.

    To ensure your endpoints are always up-to-date with the latest Cortex XDR agent release, enable automatic agent upgrades. If you choose One release before the latest one option,

    1. Select the Automatic Upgrade Scope:

      • Latest agent release

      • One release before the latest one

      • Only maintenance release

      • Only maintenance release in a specific version

      If you choose One release before the latest one, Cortex XDR upgrades the agent to the previous release before the latest, including maintenance releases.

    2. Select the Upgrade Rollout:

      • Immediate

      • Delayed—Specify the Delay Period In Days using a numeric value. Optional values are 7 through 45.

      To control the agent auto upgrade scheduler and number of parallel upgrades in your network, see Configure Global Agent Settings.


      Automatic upgrades are not supported with non-persistent VDI and temporary sessions.

    3. (Optional) For Critical Environment (CE) versions, make sure to select if you want to upgrade your CE versions only within the CE lines. It can take up to 15 minutes for new and updated auto-upgrade profile settings to take effect on your endpoints.

  14. (Supported on Cortex XDR agent 7.0 or later for Windows endpoints and Cortex XDR agent 7.3 or later for Mac and Linux endpoints) Specify the Download Source for agent and content updates.

    To reduce your external network bandwidth loads during updates, you can select the Download Source(s) from which the Cortex XDR agent retrieves agent release upgrades and content updates: from a peer agent in the local network, from the Palo Alto Networks Broker VM, or directly from the Cortex server. If all options are selected in your profile, then the attempted download order is first using P2P, then from Broker VM, and lastly from the Cortex Server.

    • (Requires Cortex XDR agents 7.4 and later for P2P agent upgrade) P2PCortex XDR deploys serverless peer-to-peer P2P distribution to Cortex XDR agents in your LAN network by default. Within the six hour randomization window during which the Cortex XDR agent attempts to retrieve the new version, it will broadcast its peer agents on the same subnet twice: once within the first hour, and once again during the following five hours. If the agent did not retrieve the files from other agents in both queries, it will proceed to the next download source defined in your profile.

      To enable P2P, you must enable UDP and TCP over the defined PORT in Download Source. By default, Cortex XDR uses port 33221. You can configure another port number.

    • (Requires Cortex XDR agents 7.4 and later releases and Broker VM 12.0 and later) Broker VM—If you have a Palo Alto Networks Broker VM in your network, you can leverage the Local Agent Settings applet to cache release upgrades and content updates. When enabled and configured, the Broker retrieves from Cortex XDR the latest installers and content every 15 minutes and stores them for a 30-days retention period since an agent last asked for them. If the files were not available on the Broker VM at the time of the ask, the agent proceeds to download the files directly from the Cortex XDR server.

      If you enable the Broker download option, proceed to select one or more available brokers from the list. Cortex XDR enables you to select only brokers that are connected and for which the caching is configured. When you select multiple brokers, the agent chooses randomly which broker to use for each download request.

    • Cortex Server—To ensure your agents remain protected, the Cortex Server download source is always enabled to allow all Cortex XDR agents in your network to retrieve the content directly from the Cortex XDR server on their following heartbeat.


    Limitations in the content download process:

    • When you install the Cortex XDR agent, the agent retrieves the latest content update version available. A freshly installed agent can take between five to ten minutes (depending on your network and content update settings) to retrieve the content for the first time. During this time, your endpoint is not protected.

    • When you upgrade a Cortex XDR agent to a newer Cortex XDR agent version, if the new agent cannot use the content version running on the endpoint, then the new content update will start within one minute in P2P and within five minutes from Cortex XDR.

  15. Enable Network Location Configuration for your Cortex XDR agents.

    (Requires Cortex XDR agents 7.1 and later releases) If you configure host firewall rules in your network, you must enable Cortex XDR to determine the network location of your device, as follows:

    1. A domain controller (DC) connectivity test— When Enabled, the DC test checks whether the device is connected to the internal network or not. If the device is connected to the internal network, it is in the organization. Otherwise, if the DC test failed or returned an external domain, Cortex XDR proceeds to a DNS connectivity test.

    2. A DNS test—In the DNS test, the Cortex XDR agent submits a DNS name that is known only to the internal network. If the DNS returned the pre-configured internal IP, the device is within the organization. Otherwise, if the DNS IP cannot be resolved, the device is located elsewhere. Specify the IP Address and DNS Server Name for the test.

    If the Cortex XDR agent detects a network change on the endpoint, the agent triggers the device location test and re-calculates the policy according to the new location.

  16. (Supported for Cortex XDR Agent 7.7 or later for Linux only) Define the Agent Operation Mode.

    1. Select with which Mode you want Cortex XDR to run the Linux endpoint. You can select either Kernel (default) or User Space.

    2. Enable whether you want to run User Space mode when Kernel mode is unavailable. By default, the User Space fall-back is disabled.

  17. Define your Agent Proxy Settings.

    Select whether to Enable or Disable Direct Server Access for the agent when connected using a proxy.

  18. (Supported for iOS only) Configure the following notifications that can be pushed to the iOS device.

    1. App Notifications - Select whether to Disable or Enable app notifications to the device.

    2. Jailbreak Detection - Select whether to Enable or Disable Jailbreak detection notification to the device.

    3. Restart Recommendation - Select whether to Enable or Disable a reboot notification to the device. An option can be set for a reminder every number of days. Default 15 days.

    4. Stationary device indicators—Select whether to Enable or Disable notifications for stationary iOS devices, such as iPads that are expected to remain in a fixed location. Options include significant location change, removal of power source, significant change of network, and low battery. In the case of low battery notifications, you can configure a threshold for the device's remaining charge level (10% - 90%). You can also configure the device to display a Stationary Device indication on its home screen.

  19. Create your profile to save the changes to your profile.

  20. Apply Security Profiles to Endpoints.

    You can do this in two ways: You can Create a new policy rule using this profile from the right-click menu or you can launch the new policy wizard from Policy Rules.