Troubleshoot performance issues for Microsoft Defender for Endpoint on Linux

Applies to:

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This article provides some general steps that can be used to narrow down performance issues related to Defender for Endpoint for Linux.

Real-time protection (RTP) is a feature of Defender for Endpoint for Linux that continuously monitors and protects your device against threats. It consists of file and process monitoring and other heuristics.

Depending on the applications that you are running and your device characteristics, you may experience suboptimal performance when running Defender for Endpoint for Linux. In particular, applications or system processes that access many resources over a short timespan can lead to performance issues in Defender for Endpoint for Linux.

Before starting, please make sure that other security products are not currently running on the device. Multiple security products may conflict and impact the host performance.

The following steps can be used to troubleshoot and mitigate these issues:

  1. Disable real-time protection using one of the following methods and observe whether the performance improves. This approach helps narrow down whether Defender for Endpoint for Linux is contributing to the performance issues.

    If your device is not managed by your organization, real-time protection can be disabled from the command line:

    mdatp config real-time-protection --value disabled
    
    Configuration property updated
    

    If your device is managed by your organization, real-time protection can be disabled by your administrator using the instructions in Set preferences for Defender for Endpoint for Linux.

    If the performance problem persists while real-time protection is off, the origin of the problem could be the endpoint detection and response component. In this case please contact customer support for further instructions and mitigation.

  2. To find the applications that are triggering the most scans, you can use real-time statistics gathered by Defender for Endpoint for Linux.

    Note

    This feature is available in version 100.90.70 or newer.

    This feature is enabled by default on the Dogfood and InsiderFast channels. If you're using a different update channel, this feature can be enabled from the command line:

    mdatp config real-time-protection-statistics --value enabled
    

    This feature requires real-time protection to be enabled. To check the status of real-time protection, run the following command:

    mdatp health --field real_time_protection_enabled
    

    Verify that the real_time_protection_enabled entry is true. Otherwise, run the following command to enable it:

    mdatp config real-time-protection --value enabled
    
    Configuration property updated
    

    To collect current statistics, run:

    mdatp diagnostic real-time-protection-statistics --output json > real_time_protection.json
    

    Note

    Using --output json (note the double dash) ensures that the output format is ready for parsing.

    The output of this command will show all processes and their associated scan activity.

  3. On your Linux system, download the sample Python parser high_cpu_parser.py using the command:

    wget -c https://raw.githubusercontent.com/microsoft/mdatp-xplat/master/linux/diagnostic/high_cpu_parser.py
    

    The output of this command should be similar to the following:

    --2020-11-14 11:27:27-- https://raw.githubusercontent.com/microsoft.mdatp-xplat/master/linus/diagnostic/high_cpu_parser.py
    Resolving raw.githubusercontent.com (raw.githubusercontent.com)... 151.101.xxx.xxx
    Connecting to raw.githubusercontent.com (raw.githubusercontent.com)| 151.101.xxx.xxx| :443... connected.
    HTTP request sent, awaiting response... 200 OK
    Length: 1020 [text/plain]
    Saving to: 'high_cpu_parser.py'
    
    100%[===========================================>] 1,020    --.-K/s   in 0s
    
  4. Next, type the following commands:

    chmod +x high_cpu_parser.py
    
    cat real_time_protection.json | python high_cpu_parser.py  > real_time_protection.log
    

    The output of the above is a list of the top contributors to performance issues. The first column is the process identifier (PID), the second column is te process name, and the last column is the number of scanned files, sorted by impact. For example, the output of the command will be something like the below:

    ... > python ~/repo/mdatp-xplat/linux/diagnostic/high_cpu_parser.py <~Downloads/output.json | head -n 10
    27432 None 76703
    73467 actool     1249
    73914 xcodebuild 1081
    73873 bash 1050
    27475 None 836
    1    launchd    407
    73468 ibtool     344
    549  telemetryd_v1   325
    4764 None 228
    125  CrashPlanService 164
    

    To improve the performance of Defender for Endpoint for Linux, locate the one with the highest number under the Total files scanned row and add an exclusion for it. For more information, see Configure and validate exclusions for Defender for Endpoint for Linux.

    Note

    The application stores statistics in memory and only keeps track of file activity since it was started and real-time protection was enabled. Processes that were launched before or during periods when real time protection was off are not counted. Additionally, only events which triggered scans are counted.

  5. Configure Microsoft Defender ATP for Linux with exclusions for the processes or disk locations that contribute to the performance issues and re-enable real-time protection.

    For more information, see Configure and validate exclusions for Microsoft Defender ATP for Linux.